2015 a Landmark Year for Long Island Rail Road Rail Cars

Long Island Railroad
The Long Island Railroad's West Side Yard in Manhattan. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

MTA Long Island Rail Road rail cars achieved their best mechanical reliability in 2015 since record-keeping began in 1981, the agency said. The achievement marked the railroad’s 16th consecutive year of improvement for rail car reliability.

LIRR rail cars in 2015 traveled an average of 208,383 miles between breaking down and causing a delay. That’s enough to circle the earth more than eight times, tops 2014’s results by more than 2,000 miles and it was 18 percent above railroad’s goal of 176,000 miles.

“There are many factors that can cause a train delay, from track conditions to problems at grade crossings to congestion from other trains,”  LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said in a news release.

“I am pleased to report that the LIRR is doing a better job than ever before in neutralizing the category of potential train delays that we have the most control over: problems with the trains themselves,”  Nowakowski added. “Our all-time high performance in terms of rail car mechanical reliability is a testament to the hard work that our employees perform every day to keep our rail cars inspected and maintained in top condition, even as the fleet ages.”

Today’s mean distance between failures has risen from 50,000 in 2005, and from 150,000 in 2010. The LIRR credits the improvements to its successful adherence to its Reliability Centered Maintenance strategy, known inside the railroad as RCM. The strategy, which was put into place in 2009, has led to dramatic improvements in train car reliability in recent years, officials said.