As the first blizzard in nearly two years heads for Connecticut and the rest of the metro area, Metro-North Railroad is preparing for the worst as 18 to 24 inches are expected along the New Haven Line and its branch lines to New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury.

Extra engineers and signal maintainers are being called in, the railroad announced on Monday. Metro-North will take steps to ensure that switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are working throughout the storm. The railroad is activating switch heaters, lubricating the switches and treating them with anti-freeze agents. Rail traffic controllers will activate the switches to keep them from freezing shut. In addition, track workers will be positioned in critical locations to be able to respond if any difficulties do crop up at switches.

In the region served by Metro-North, which includes the New Haven Line that serves Connecticut, a primary concern for the railroad the safety of station platforms. All stations will be pretreated with salt. Metro-North will continue to clear snow and ice throughout the week.

Trains will be protected by pretreating with deicer all door tracks and third rail contact shoes, which are used on the Harlem and Hudson Lines, the other two major lines that go into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. To prevent ice build-up on the pantographs on top of New Haven Line trains, they will be raised and lowered throughout the storm. All couplers between cars will be covered with snow bags to prevent icing.

At Pelham, where New Haven Line trains change from overhead power to third rail power, mechanics are stationed to assist any train that experiences changeover issues.

Extra train crews will be stationed at major junctions to assist in case any train breaks down. And extra signal maintainers, power and track department personnel will be stationed at critical interlockings.

Railroad customers with smartphones can use the Metro-North Train Time App for real-time train information.