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LIRR set to handle Thanksgiving-eve rush, railroad's president says 

Long Island Rail Road president Phillip Eng joined other Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders Tuesday at Grand Central Terminal to discuss the MTA's plans to handle what is expected to be a record number of riders Wednesday — traditionally the busiest travel day of the year. Credit: Newsday / Alfonso A. Castillo

The LIRR will be ready to handle its biggest crowds of the year Wednesday, as it adds a dozen eastbound afternoon trains for commuters heading out of work early, the railroad's president said Tuesday.

Long Island Rail Road president Phillip Eng joined other Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders Tuesday at Grand Central Terminal to discuss the MTA's plans to handle what is expected to be a record number of riders Wednesday — traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.

Eng said the LIRR carried 21% more riders on Thanksgiving eve in 2018 than on an average weekday, and 5% more than on the same day the previous year. And, with the LIRR on pace to set a modern ridership record this year, Eng said the railroad is "ramping up service" throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend.

"We want to be able to accommodate all our riders who travel on these days," Eng said.

The LIRR's service will include 12 extra eastbound trains Wednesday, beginning with a 12:46 p.m. train to Ronkonkoma.

On Thursday, for people heading to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the railroad will add six extra westbound morning trains from 6 a.m. until 7:45 a.m., and 11 extra eastbound trains out of Penn Station in the afternoon.

Train service will return to a regular weekday schedule Friday, but the LIRR will charge off-peak fares all day, as it will throughout the four-day holiday weekend. Customers traveling with children between the ages of 5 and 11 can get the $1 Family Fare discount Thursday through Sunday.

Eng said the railroad also will "monitor demand" throughout the busy travel period, and add cars to trains as necessary.

"Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather together," Eng said. "That is our goal — to make everyone's day and weekend much easier for commuting."

With Lisa L. Colangelo

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