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LIRR banning alcohol on trains during Saturday's SantaCon spree

Ho! Ho! No!

The Long Island Rail Road said there'll be no bellying up to the bar aboard its trains during the planned annual SantaCon barhopping spree this weekend in New York City.

Instead, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will ban booze aboard LIRR and Metro-North trains and at stations -- implementing a 24-hour alcohol ban scheduled to start at noon Saturday.

The ban is designed to "ensure safe travel" during the SantaCon celebration, an event that began Friday and runs through Saturday in 317 locations across 44 countries from Ankara to Adelaide, from Ho Chi Minh City to New York. Organizers warn on the official SantaCon website that the event, which involves "guys & girls of legal age" dressing up like Santa to "go cavorting around town for no better reason than it's huge fun" is "not suitable for children."

The railroad is just the latest of many official agencies to announce a crackdown on SantaCon-related frolicking after reports of drunken escapades after previous SantaCon celebrations in the city.

The railroad said MTA police will be on duty at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, and at LIRR and Metro-North stations systemwide to enforce the alcohol restrictions, the MTA said in a news release.

"The police will confiscate illegal liquor and issue summonses carrying fines up to $50 or 30 days imprisonment or both," the railroad said in Friday's release, adding: "Violators may also be subject to ejection from the train or station by police."

The ban will remain in effect until noon Sunday.

The MTA noted that while SantaCon is "an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading around publicly on streets and in bars" and while the focus of the event is "on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill," there have been incidents with participants creating "a public nuisance" -- and that the ban is being put in place to combat and control any potential incidents.

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