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LIRR Resumes Full Service

Amtrak continues repairs in one East River Tunnel; expects to replace signal system to another by next week.

The Long Island Rail Road has now resumed full restoration of morning and evening rush-hour service, after weeks of cancelled, combined trains and overcrowding following superstorm Sandy.

According to the MTA, this change in service is a result of Amtrak restoring the signal system capacity in one of its two flood-damaged East River tunnels.

"Amtrak is continuing their work to replace the damaged signal system in the other remaining tunnel to restore full train capacity to their East River tunnels," according to the MTA. "LIRR signal workers are assisting Amtrak in that effort by rewiring one of Amtrak's five new signal cases for the tunnels."

This will mark the first full service rush hour since Sandy hit six weeks ago. Near-normal service was restored on Nov. 26, following partial restoration of service on the badly damaged Long Beach branch.

The second tunnel signal system is expected to be restored to full capacity in time for the Christmas holiday.

“This is a real holiday present for commuters in a busy travel season,” Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council Chair Mark Epstein said. “Throughout this ordeal, the LIRR Commuters Council has had three goals: Better and quicker Communication, Cooperation, and Conclusion. Since our call for same, we have seen Amtrak reach out and enlist the help and cooperation of the LIRR. That has resulted in the announcement of a quicker conclusion to the restoration of service."

LIRR customers complained on Patch sites about the partially-restored service, which resulted in longer commutes and overcrowding.

In a letter to the editor to Patch, Rena Barnett of Rockville Centre discussed the conditions on the Babylon line, saying it was "standing-room-only on the morning and evening rush hour trains."

She wrote, "The new LIRR trains were not designed to accommodate people standing up and there are insufficient handholds. When people are in the aisles, the trains become only something short of a death trap as there is no easy ingress or egress."

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Chris Wendt December 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Okay the first new/old morning rush hour went like this. The 8:23 Express from Wantagh ran Express from Freeport to Jamaica, as it was originally scheduled, then on to Penn. There was no crowding, in fact my car had just about exactly 50% seat occupancy into Jamaica. While "comfortable" that is not healthy for a rush hour train, because it indicates poor scheduling and pressure on future ticket prices to make up for this inefficiency. After leaving Freeport, the train announcements were still programmed for the local stops at Baldwin and RVC, and it was funny to hear the announcement: "This station is Baldwin" as the train went speeding past the platform at 75 MPH. In Jamaica, the transfer to the 8:53 Hunterspoint Avenue train was vintage LIRR performance. Instead of coming in on Track #1, it was the following train on Trank #2, plus it was 8 minutes late, you know, due to "equipment trouble". We could tell things had once again returned to "normal" on the LIRR. On the Hunterspoint Avenue train, I had a 4-seat compartment all to myself, despite the fact the train was only three cars long (double-decker Diesel). Has the MTA finally priced the LIRR out of sustainability?
Robert Demarco December 10, 2012 at 05:42 PM
When I arrived at the Wantagh Station at 6:15, a six minute delay was being announced for the 6:28 to Penn. Within 2 minutes, there was an announcement that the 6:28 was on time. It actually came into Wantagh about 5 minutes late, but that is considered on time in LIRR culture. The train was somewhat crowded, but not like the previous weeks.
Mo Bongs December 11, 2012 at 01:08 PM
What....a....difference! Hopefully, we will never have to endure a month and half of commutes like that.

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