NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s the question every Long Island commuter who rides the rails wants answered: will the trains be on time?
After a weekend of delays and cancelled trains, it appears the Long Island Rail Road will be back on track to start the work week – but this won’t be the end to the ambitious upgrade work, reports CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
“Bad is not the word. It’s horrible,” Wyandanch resident Tiyanah Rivera said.
Rivera and fellow Long Islander Medina Thorne said a usually simple trip to the city and back from Wyandanch became an odyssey of delays and detours this weekend.
“We had to take two trains, a train to another train to another train, to get here, to wait to get on another train,” Thorne said.
Riders were repeatedly warned about this weekend’s massive service cuts and shuttle bus runarounds.
The LIRR spent 48 hours testing its new $56 million switching and signal system, replacing an antiquated on that’s 100 years old.
“It gives us better redundancy, better back-up ability, and if we have a problem like the fire we had here in Jamaica in August, it gives us a way to work around that problem,” LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said.
This weekend’s work was just phase one; there will be a phase two.
Another weekend of extremely limited service is coming up on November 6 and 7, and riders predict it will be even worse the second time around because of a big event in the city.
The New York City Marathon is November 7. On that day, riders are urged to take the Port Washington, Long Beach or Babylon branches directly to Penn Station.
“A lot of people who come out to see the marathon need the train that day,” Seaford resident Louis Maffei said. “I just don’t understand why they couldn’t pick a different weekend.”
“Everybody’s upset because everything’s changed around,” said Babylon resident Charles James.
Railroad officials say the way is almost paved, and with one more weekend of pain and frustration, riders will be rewarded with a modernized – and more reliable – LIRR.