Major delays forecast after fire near station on NY’s LIRR, largest US commuter train systemBy Colleen Long, AP
Monday, August 23, 2010
Delays forecast on NY’s huge Long Island Rail Road
NEW YORK — Passengers traveling in New York City and its suburbs on the nation’s largest commuter train system can expect major headaches.
The Long Island Rail Road says there will be significant schedule changes and delays during Tuesday’s rush hours after an electrical fire in a switching tower.
The fire halted train service for four hours early Monday and disrupted the evening commute.
The railroad says it’s likely to take several days to repair the tower’s switching machine and wiring. Hundreds of wires need to be checked for possible fire damage.
The fire happened near the Jamaica station in Queens, a major transfer point for commuters going to or from Manhattan and Brooklyn and to various locations across Long Island.
The railroad carries about 265,000 daily riders.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
NEW YORK (AP) — A fire in a Long Island Rail Road switching station knocked out train service for more than four hours Monday, leaving passengers on the nation’s largest commuter rail line to contend with delays into the evening commute and possibly longer.
The 11 a.m. fire happened near the Jamaica station in Queens, a major transfer point for commuters going to or from Manhattan and Brooklyn and to various locations across Long Island.
Limited service out of Penn Station in Manhattan resumed shortly after 3 p.m., and as the evening commute wore on commuters appeared to be taking the disruptions in stride.
“It’s really not so bad,” said Luke Powers, who was headed home to Floral Park, about 15 miles east of midtown Manhattan. “I mean the wait is much longer than usual, but all things considered I’m still going to get home at a reasonable hour.”
Ann Christensen and her 9-year-old son, Christian, only had to travel a short distance from Manhattan to nearby Queens Village, but she was expecting a long journey.
“You would think that they would be better prepared to handle something like this,” she groused. “I’m expecting a very crowded ride.”
Ten of the railroad’s 11 branches were affected. The lone line running without delays was between New York and Port Washington, because the branch does not go through Jamaica.
The commuter rail system carries about 265,000 daily riders, including about 100,000 evening commuters, LIRR President Helena Williams said.
She said the railroad would provide about 60 percent of its normal evening service Monday. The railroad was bypassing Jamaica, but trains were leaving Brooklyn and Penn Station.
Inside Penn Station, one of the nation’s busiest travel hubs, it was crowded, but commuters remained very orderly.
“There’s simply nothing we can do about it,” said Liz Ring, visiting New York with her husband, John Ring, from New Castle Upon Tyne in England and spending time in Long Beach, on Long Island. “It’s not going to ruin our vacation. Any time you are visiting a city of this size there are bound to be problems.”
LIRR spokesman Mike Charles said there were questions about Tuesday’s commute.
“It’s not an easy repair, and it may take more than overnight to fix it,” he said.
Riders were offered the option of using New York City subways and buses with their LIRR tickets.
Tags: Lirr, Mass Transit Systems, New York, New York City, North America, Rail Travel Disruptions, Train Travel, Transportation, United States