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LIRR Resumes Service After Storm

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LIRR delays

Thanks to a tornado-like storm, commuters waited for hours on Sept. 16, 2010, to get aboard an LIRR train home

NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — The Long Island Rail Road has resumed service to and from Penn Station through Jamaica Friday morning, after Thursday night’s storm spelled out commuter chaos.

Some early-morning rush hour service was affected before the trains began running again on Friday, but the morning commute provided a stark contrast to Thursday’s rush hour fiasco. The severe storm hit during the evening rush hour, sending a ripple effect that had thousands of people still trying to get home hours later.

Officials at the nation’s largest commuter rail line said crews worked through the night to clear tracks of fallen trees, which caused service to be suspended temporarily between Penn Station in Manhattan and Jamaica, Queens. CBS 2’s Derrike Dennis spent Thursday night at Penn Station, which was closed for much of the evening.

It was jam-packed.

Hundreds crowded the gates at the entrance to the Long Island Rail Road, but storm damage knocked out train service for hours, forcing travelers to stand or sit and wait.

“You just swallow it and deal with it, that’s all you can do. You just have to deal with it,” said Gail Clement of Roslyn.

Added Alan Gerber of Cedarhurst: “We pay a lot of money for this and what do we get for it?”

How about departure boards with no information?

Commuters were forced to check for cancellations on their own. One guy pulled out his iPad and found out everything was suspended.

“Can’t get a subway, can’t get LIRR, car services won’t be available until after 10 o’clock, so we’re kind of stranded for a while,” said Jim Lolis of Manhasset Hills.

Not exactly. There was a telling scene at the taxi stand outside Penn Station as the NYPD organized a long line of weary travelers, coordinating rideshares to places like Babylon, Merrick and Central Islip.

“I’m hoping to get a share. If not I’m taking a cab direct by myself. I just need to get home,” said Sue Canale of Central Islip.

Emotions ran high to the point of tears for one woman and relief for another, who was changing her shoes anticipating a long road home.

“I put on my flats, and I’m gonna get a cocktail,” Merrick’s Melanie Temkan said with a laugh.

Full service was restored around 5 a.m. Friday. However, Port Washington branch service was suspended and for most of the morning.

VIDEO: MARK MORGAN AT JAIMACA STATION ON FRIDAY

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