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LIRR: We're Sorry for Service Snafu

The agency issues a public apology after Thursday's signal outage stranded commuters.

For the second time in the Long Island Rail Road is for a major that stranded passengers at Penn Station, at branch stations and on trains Thursday evening.

The MTA said a lightning strike early evening knocked a signal system west of Jamaica out of commission, and that crews worked overnight and into Friday morning to restore it. The LIRR ran all but four normal rush hour trains Friday and said Friday's evening should be “normal.”

“The LIRR apologizes for the service suspension last night that left many of our customers without a regular means of getting home and that stranded some passengers on trains between stations,” said the agency in a public statement on its website posted Friday afternoon.

It stated that it's launched a full review of both the service and communications and the underlying failure of the Jamaica signal system network.

“We're working closely on identifying the root causes of the malfunctions with Ansaldo, the designer of the newly installed micro-processing switch and signal equipment. In addition, the LIRR's retaining an outside consultant, Systra, to help in the review process, including the system's protection, diagnostics and back-up systems,” said the LIRR.

After the strike damaged the primary and back-up signal systems, workers began manually setting switches. Meanwhile, the initiated a service diversion plan, advising customers to take the E train from Penn Station to Jamaica. New York City Transit Authority cross-honored tickets.

However, just after many customers had reached Jamaica via the subway and boarded eastbound trains, the "Hall" signal location east of Jamaica, which is part of the complete Jamaica signal network, then failed, causing a full suspension of service. Some standing trains were unable to safely move in either direction because of the second signal system failure. It was a while before service was restored eastbound.

Lorna Taylor October 01, 2011 at 11:43 AM
The LIRR just doesn't care. End of story.
Angela October 01, 2011 at 11:48 AM
I would like to thank Caroline Kieffer who spotted me and Penn Station. And Jim Kieffer and Karl Auwaerter who drove into the city to drive us, their wives and the girl scouts home. Thank You. Just got a love a small town, able to help you out no matter where you are.
Mark Wilson October 01, 2011 at 12:41 PM
As long as Tax Payers hand over unlimited authority to the MTA, and keep voting in their Political Enablers this is going to continue...suck it up !
Michael Ragan October 02, 2011 at 06:31 AM
The sad part is that the LIRR is part of the MTA, as is Metro North. I lived in Westchester for 10 years before moving to Long Island and never experienced the complete & utter failure of a railroad to operate under everday circumstances until I moved here. On numerous occasions the LIRR has had to shut down due to lightning strikes. But lightning strikes everywhere at will, not just exclusively on Long Island. The obvious conclusion is that it is NOT the act of nature that is the cause of the problem, rather the railroads inability to deal with every day events.
Candide08 October 03, 2011 at 12:14 PM
For the second time in two months - get the pattern? EVERY MONTH there is something. Too hot, too cold, rain, snow.... The LIRR is simply incompetent. Look at MNRR - farther to the North, worse weather MUCH BETTER service.


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