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LIRR Repairs To Damaged Track ‘Enormous Effort’

Crews work to replace nearly 3/4 mile of damaged LIRR track on March 21, 2013.(credit: CBS 2)

Crews work to replace nearly 3/4 mile of damaged LIRR track on March 21, 2013.(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It could be Monday before the Long Island Rail Road finishes repairs to a track that was damaged when a freight train derailed earlier this week.

The LIRR said crews have already replaced 1,600 concrete ties that were damaged when the train derailed Monday at Rego Park, destroying nearly a mile of track.

Next, crews will need to replace and restore 3,700 feet of the electrified third rail. LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan said those repairs may go into the weekend.

The repair work is a massive and dangerous operation as trains rush by on three other tracks that surround the work site.

“It is an enormous effort,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “Of course we wish this didn’t happen, we take every precaution so we don’t have these events but when they do happen, we have to do it in a methodical fashion.”

The LIRR posted a video Thursday afternoon showing the effort to re-rail the cars. According to the agency, it took crews until early Wednesday morning to remove the cars from the damaged track.

The chief engineer said repair work is about halfway finished.

Since the derailment, dozens of morning and evening rush hour trains have been canceled or diverted. Frustrated commuters say they deserve a refund.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 9,” said Tom Matthews of Port Jefferson. “For the money, I could rent a Lexus and drive to work every day, for that money.”

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

The MTA is hoping to have rush hour trains back up and running by the Monday morning commute.

For more information on the service changes, click here.

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