Track Repairs Expected To Take Several Days; Commuters Express Frustrations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Long Island Rail Road warned customers to expect more delays to continue for the Wednesday morning rush — and at least until Friday — after a non-passenger train derailed Monday night, damaging one of the four main tracks between Penn Station and Jamaica.

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Crews have re-railed two of the four cars that derailed, but all must be re-railed and removed before track work can fully commence. Repairs could last through the end of the week, 1010 WINS reported, and similar delays will persist through Friday.

@LIRRScoop tweeted the following message Tuesday: “Repair to almost 3/4-mile of track expected to take at least til Friday. AM/PM Peak canceled/diverted trains also expected through Friday.”

Numerous trains from Penn Station were canceled during Tuesday’s evening commute. And as CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, the railroad said the delays will persist Wednesday morning.

“The delays, to the extent that there were delays, will be the same tomorrow morning,” said Sal Arena of the LIRR.

In other other words, during the morning rush, 11 trains will again be cancelled and others diverted. The LIRR said if your train doesn’t show, just wait for the next regularly scheduled one.

“They are going to be ripping out just about every bit of the trackwork,” Arena said, “the tracks, the ties and the third rail along that route.”

Despite the assurance, LIRR commuters still expressed frustrations about the cancellations, delays and overall afternoon mess.

At Penn Station on Tuesday evening, commuters were standing, staring and waiting for their train to come in. But in many cases, all they got was delayed. And many said they could feel the frustration growing.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 9,” said Tom Matthews of Port Jefferson. “Because I live in Port Jefferson and I come all the way in.”

“Now I’m just hanging around wasting time,” added Freddy Ponilla of East Islip. “The commute is usually bad, but it’s horrible.”

“It stinks there is nothing else I can do; no other way to get into the city,” added Jason Rahimi of Great Neck.

Some passengers fed up with longer delays and higher fares said they deserve a refund.

“It’s going up to $400 a month – nothing but delays,” said Brian Flaherty of West Babylon.

“For the money, I could rent a Lexus and drive to work every day, for that money,” added Matthews.

Out of its usual 144 normal morning rush hour trains, the LIRR canceled 11 Tuesday morning, diverted five to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal and four trains were canceled at Jamaica. Commuters were accommodated by other trains.

Crowds are expected to be heavier during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The cause of the derailment, which happened west of Forest Hills Station in Queens, is under investigation.

LIRR crews work to re-rail a derailed train in Rego Park, Queens, on March 19, 2013. (Photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin/Flickr.)

LIRR crews work to re-rail a derailed train in Rego Park, Queens, on March 19, 2013. (Photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin/Flickr.)

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