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Emergency and evacuation instructions for LIRR and Metro-North

Updated Feb 28, 2022
Evacuations don’t happen often on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, but if you must evacuate, we want you to be prepared.

In an emergency

Evacuations don’t happen often. MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad operate close to a half million trips annually, and rarely have to evacuate a car. All railroad personnel receive training for emergencies on a regular basis.

We want you to understand emergency procedures. First, familiarize yourself with safety signage in cars so you will know how to locate and operate emergency exits. And remember that your best protection is to remain calm, think clearly, and follow the instructions of the train crew.

Evacuation instructions


Don’t attempt to leave the train on your own. In most circumstances that is the most dangerous thing you can do. Tracks may still be electrified; other trains may still be in motion around you. If you can’t stay in the car you are on, walk calmly to another car that is unaffected by the emergency. Don’t try to leave the train without instructions or help from the train crew. The safest place for you is on the train.


If there is an emergency, look for a member of the train crew and report it immediately. The sooner we know about an emergency, the sooner we can act to bring the situation under control. On newer cars, two-way intercom systems are located near the doors.


It is important that you follow the instructions of our train crews as well as the instructions of emergency personnel on the scene. The train crew will keep you informed about the emergency either in person or through the train’s pubic address system. Stay calm and remain seated. In most instances, all you need to do to be safe is to move to another car on the same train. If an evacuation is necessary crew members will help you exit the train quickly and safely.

An illustration showing evacuation instructions for a train

Evacuation safety

Most emergencies can be managed without taking passengers off of a train, but sometimes an evacuation is necessary. If a full train evacuation is necessary, crew members will provide specific instructions. The simplest way to evacuate a railroad coach is to have a rescue train pull alongside the disabled train. An evacuation board is placed at the exit doors to serve as a walkway between the two trains. On very rare occasions, you may be evacuated to track level using evacuation ladders or the train’s lower-level platform stairs.

For safety purposes, if you are in a wheelchair you might be evacuated by stretcher, with your wheelchair removed separately and returned to you as soon as possible.

If you are directed to evacuate to the track level, follow the train crew’s directions carefully, notify the train crew if you require assistance evacuating, watch your step and stay away from the third rail or any downed wires that may be on the ground.

Emergency exits and brake systems

All Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad cars have emergency door opening panels and emergency exit windows. Look for the emergency information posted on each car and become familiar with the location of operation of emergency exits on the various types of train cars you ride in.

If you must get out of the train car, use the exit doors. They can be opened by following the instructions on the Emergency Exit panel located in the vestibule area. The panel is clearly labeled with an instructional sticker explaining how to open it. Once the panel is open, slide the red lever to open the doors. On some cars the narrow windows in the vestibule doors can be kicked out. If you cannot exit through the doors you may have to use the emergency exit windows. Each emergency exit window is clearly marked by an instructional sticker on or above the window (the sticker will glow in the dark). On bi-level trains, the emergency exit windows are staggered on the upper and lower levels.

Emergency brake systems
Use the emergency brake only when the forward motion of the train presents an imminent danger to life and limb. Otherwise, do not activate the emergency brake, especially in a tunnel. Once the emergency brake is pulled, the brakes have to be reset before the train can move again, which reduces the options for dealing with the emergency.