NEW YORK (CBS 2) – It’s the news Long Island Railroad customers waited all week to hear: commuter chaos is over.
After days of delays and cancellations, riders won’t have to get up extra early Monday, thanks to round-the-clock repair work this weekend.
“We have restored the system to its full and safe operating capacity,” LIRR head Helena Williams said.
“It could’ve been worse, but it could’ve been better as well,” one rider said. “It could’ve been better handled.”
It’s been a long six days for just about everyone associated with the Long Island Railroad. Monday marks one wee since a fire at a switching tower east of Jamaica crippled much of the service and put work crews on round-the-clock duty, replacing hundreds of fried wires and testing the switches.
“This week, I am very proud to say that we had an outstanding workforce, an outstanding team, and a terrific effort to both provide service and get us to restoration,” Williams said.
For the masses of riders who were tormented by cancellations and confused by modified schedules, Sunday’s announcement was welcome – but not necessarily trusted.
“I’m not too sure about that,” said one rider.
“I’ll have to believe them and keep my fingers crossed,” said another straphanger.
LIRR officials say the ugly scenario is unlikely to happen again because of a major switching project beginning in the fall.
The antiquated switching and signal system in Jamaica gets its overdue fix, with a new $56 million control center. The computerized system replaces several old, outdated signal towers.
The LIRR released the following statement: “We are now confident we can rely on the switching signal system that was severely damaged on Monday to once again control our trains as they move through Jamaica.”
In one bit of bad news, the LIRR says commuters won’t be getting any refunds for last week’s chaos.