LIRR May Experience Service Disruptions Through Wednesday Following Amtrak Derailment

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long Island Rail Road riders will experience cancellations, diversions and early terminations until Wednesday as crews work around the clock to fix damage caused by a derailed Amtrak train beneath the East River.

WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack With LIRR Spokesperson Joe Calderone

Officials said the damage was extensive and crews face challenging work conditions to clear the derailed train, which broke a rail inside the tunnel Sunday. There’s barely enough clearance to fit a crane required to lift the derailed cars and put them back on track. Then there’s the matter of fixing the track itself.

“It’s very labor intensive,” said LIRR spokesman Joe Calderon told CBS 2’s Emily Smith.

The investigation to determine what caused the accident is still ongoing.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: LIRR Says The Damage Is Extensive, Disruptions To Last Through Thursday Morning

About a quarter of the Monday morning rush hour trains destined for Penn Station were disrupted. Six trains bound for Penn Station terminated at Jamaica Station. Three were diverted to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. Another was re-routed to Long Island City, Queens.

For a detailed list of service changes, click here.

Service disruptions will extend into the afternoon rush Monday and are expected last for the majority of the week.

“We’re looking at modified service today, Tuesday, Wednesday; the goal is for restoration of service on Thursday,” LIRR President Helena Williams said.

Some Commuters Are Fed Up, While Others Are Taking the Disruptions In Stride. 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney Reports.

She added that it will take more than 40 hours to right the cars and repair some 225 damaged rails.

Of the 126 trains normally operating during the PM rush, a total of 20 eastbound trains from Penn Station will be canceled and combined with other trains.  As a result, some trains will be more crowded.

“We all rely on this. I live on Long Island. There’s no other way,” one commuter told CBS 2’s Smith.

“Who isn’t fed up with it? What are you gonna do? What’s your alternative?” another commuter mused.

The partnership between the LIRR and Amtrak played a role in the morning mess. Amtrak owns the section of the broken rail, so a problem for Amtrak can cripple LIRR’s operations.

LIRR is also struggling with old infrastructure. It’s the latest in a string of incidents that have resulted in frustrating delays for the railroads customers.

New York City subways are cross-honoring tickets.

What should be done to improve rail service? Would you be willing to pay higher fares for better service? Leave a comment below…

More from Mike Xirinachs
  • Jim Mundy

    Rail travel nationally is in trouble. How about that HUGE loss experienced by Amtrak. Sounds like we’re past time for the legislatures to get going with both and investigation of Amtrak AND AND AND a SOLUTION!. Amtrak owning the tracks and collecting rent from NJT and the LIRR would pre-suppose integrity of rails. Seems like there is an increasing number of derailments and Amtrak owns them

    It kind of blows your mind that you could check with any airport in the world, give them the flight number and airline and you will be told which gate is scheduled for that flight at lease thirty or more days in advance. However, go to the LIRR concourse level 30 minutes before a trains is due to depart and there is no track posting. In fact often the track number is posted less than 10 minutes before departure. I traveled by air on at least 8 flights per week for 20 years and almost invariably could locate the scheduled departure gate hours in advance. Not here, however. And it’s not just the LIRR Posting – the Amtrak departures upstairs are just as bad. When does the guy in charge make the decision? At the very last minute or so it would seem.

    It’s time for a serious study and recommendations for the decrepit operation of Amtrak. The LIRR is more times than not the victim of this inefficiency and, although sometimes culpable, has been trying to improve its operation. At least the communication has somehow improved but still has a long way to go. In this case let’s place the blame at the right doorstep – AMTRAK and congressional indifference.

  • BT

    Worst RailRoad in the world!
    I have to catch the 7 train in Queens to Woodside every morning so I can catch my LIRR Hicksville bound train. If my train is late, my connecting bus in Hicksville only comes hourly which mean I have a mile walk in order to get to work. Now they’re telling me that this latest derailment may affect my getting to work until Wed. All that for $254.00 dollars amonth, plus my $104.00 Metro Card! I guess that’s considered a deal for riding the Worst RR in the US!

    • Dale Auburn

      Believe it or not, this was an AMTRAK train that derailed. By the way…

      – AMTRAK owns Penn Station and the river tunnels (LIRR and NJT pay rent).

      – AMTRAK controls all dispatching into and out of Penn Station.

      – AMTRAK gets priority use of the tracks in Penn Station and the river tunnels.

      – AMTRAK has the final say on how many trains get to run.

      If you want to complain about this one, call AMTRAK at 1-800-USA-RAIL or use the contact link at

      • Terry Ballard

        Whenever there is a derailment in the LIRR tunnel, it is almost always AMTRAK. The fact that they have to meander through Queens to get to Boston tells me that somebody tried to cut corners at some point. Doesn’t alter my basic perception that these people are idiots.

      • Dale Auburn

        Reply to Terry Ballard:

        You are aware, of course, that Amtrak’s route through Queens was laid out by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad in 1917. It couldn’t be routed through Grand Central because that was part of a competing railroad (the New York Central) with incompatible electrification (bottom-contact third rail instead of overhead wires or top-contact third rail). The NYNH&H was merged into the Penn Central in 1968 and turned over to the then 5-year-old Amtrak in 1976.

    • jnocook

      From where I sit, you need to quit your sniveling!

  • Terry Ballard

    As a commuter from Merrick, I am being systematically ripped off by the LIRR. In the morning rush, there is only one train, the 7:43, that begins in Merrick (except this morning, of course). The other trains are locals, meaning you scramble to find any kind of seat, or express trains with Merrick as their last stop, meaning you scramble to find any kind of seat. In the evening there is an express, the 5:19, with Merrick as the first stop. However, it was explained to me by someone in the LIRR that no matter what the problem (derailments in New Jersey, downed trees, sunpots) their solution of choice is to cancel the 5:19 and create chaos by dumping all of those passengers on to the 5:24 local. People who live in Wantagh pay the same price I do and get a lot more.

  • Mr.G

    It makes no different if you double the fair. The money goes to the top of the SOB’S and there still want more with less service. It’s a Monopoly.

  • J

    DOUBLE THE FARES if that is what it takes.

  • Rugbyball

    The question this site is asking is: “What should be done to improve rail service? ” How about consistent and thorough maintenance.. Cutting back on maintenance will always cause failures.
    Upgrade where and when you can, but ALWAYS do preventative maintenance.

    • Glad IMovedAnd Don't CommuteAnymore

      You can’t double the fares. They are struggling with a large amount of the workforce in early retirement and the mismanaged pensions funding the next 45yrs of their lives (not to mention the inflated desk job salaries for the last few years to inflate the annual number). More money would only perpetuate this issue. LIRR/MTA has been able to function with no competition and very little oversight in the presence of vast subsidies. Nobody should expect an efficient and well-managed organization to evolve in that situation because there is no incentive.

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