LIRR testing out new air purifying technology for trains

LIRR Train
A train conductor walks through a near empty car on the Long Island Railroad on March 18, 2020 in Merrick, New York. Photo credit Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

NEW YORK(WCBS 880) — A new high-tech air purifying system may be coming to Long Island Rail Road trains.

The new system is designed to kill not only the coronavirus, but all airborne viruses on LIRR trains.

The system is being installed on one train for now.

If all goes well, the technology could be rolled out across the entire fleet of 1,100 cars within a few months.

Currently, the trains rely on ventilation systems that are decades old.

LIRR President Phil Eng said the cost of the system is about $10,000 per car, and would cost the railroad about $10 million to equip the entire fleet.

"But the health and safety of our riders, our workforce, this is an area that we would definitely prioritize," Eng said, stressing that trains are currently safe to ride.

LIRR ridership is way down compared to pre-pandemic levels and LIRR Commuter Council President Gerry Bringmann hopes the new system helps bring back riders.

"I think it's great that the railroad is investigating these technologies," he tells WCBS 880's Sophia Hall. "Maybe coronavirus may not be here two years from now, but hey theflu is never going away and people are constantly going to be spewing germs, but at least we'll still have this technology because once it's in the trains, it's in the trains."

The LIRR says the system would be the first of its kind in the United States.