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LIRR posted slight ridership gain in 2012 despite Hurricane Sandy

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) ridership increased 0.7 percent to 81.7 million in 2012 despite the devastating impact Hurricane Sandy had on the railroad's network late in the year.

LIRR's ridership had increased for 13 consecutive months until October, when the super storm ravaged the Northeast region, forcing temporary service reductions and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, LIRR officials said in a prepared statement. Overall October ridership declined 8 percent compared with October 2011.

November ridership was down 17.7 percent year over year, and the loss in ticket sales during the month cost the railroad about $10.2 million in operating revenue, LIRR officials said. The railroad restored full service on Dec. 10 after Amtrak tunnels reopened.

With service restored, repairs still under way and new investments in service scheduled to be implemented in March, LIRR President Helena Williams anticipates ridership will continue to grow this year.

"Sandy dealt a severe blow to the LIRR and its customers, but with their patience and the hard work of our employees we were able to get this railroad back on track," she said.

Among the railroad's 2012 ridership bright spots: the September opening of the much-anticipated Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which helped fuel ridership to and from the Atlantic Terminal.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2013