LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Limited Long Island Rail Road service has resumed to hard-hit Long Beach.

A diesel train began making hourly runs from Long Beach to Lynbrook Wednesday morning. LIRR president Helena Williams said the partial service restoration is one step towards normalcy.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

“The diesel equipment was the idea of getting people back on trains as quickly possible, it’s an interim solution,” she told reporters including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “We have a reduced capacity and we are working as diligently as we can with Amtrak to make sure we get full capacity on all four tunnels,” Williams said, though she cautioned that will not happen before the end of the year.

The resumption of service on the Long Beach Branch means all 10 LIRR branches are back in operation following superstorm Sandy.

Sandy did significant damage to LIRR tracks and substations in addition to damage caused by the overflow from a nearby sewage treatment plant.

“We’ve gone through an environmental clean-up,” Williams said.

Long Branch service to Lynbrook will run only on weekdays, with trains once an hour during peak times and every two hours during off-peak periods.

Long Beach City Council president Len Torres said LIRR service is vital to all Long Islanders.

“We lost all our cars. We got a ride to Rockville Centre and rode into Brooklyn and I said, ‘my God, it’s so wonderful to have this train to make it into Park Slope,'” Torres told Diamond.

The LIRR warned of delays and big crowds on Long Beach Branch trains.

The commuter rail service hopes to have limited electric service restored to the Long Beach Branch by Christmas.

In addition, the Long Beach Station waiting room has reopened as a comfort station for use by the community.

The comfort station provides heat, water and restrooms to residents who need it, in addition to charging stations. It is open daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, speaking at the Long Beach station, said New York City subway service is now operating at 98 percent.

Click here for more details on LIRR service.

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