Long Island Rail Road Train Derails Not Long After Leaving Penn Station
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island Rail Road train headed to Hempstead derailed early Monday evening just after leaving Penn Station.
At around 6:09 p.m., the train derailed as it was entering the East River tunnel, officials said.
The train remained derailed and stationary as of 11 p.m., CBS 2 reported.
Officials told 1010 WINS that delays should be expected for the morning rush. How extensive the delays will be depends on when the train is moved off the track.
LIRR officials told CBS 2 they have to continue investigation into cause of derailment, put the train back on the track and remove it, and then evaluate the track itself. It was not clear how long that would all take.
The 5:51 p.m. train was due in Hempstead at 6:46 p.m., Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told WCBS 880.
About 1,000 people were on board at the time, transit officials said.
The passengers had air conditioning — for a while — as well as light. Bottled water was also passed out by the conductors, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
But getting off the train was an ordeal. Those in the first five cars of the train had to walk to a rescue train in front, while those in the last five cars had to walk through the tunnel and out to street level with the help of the FDNY.
Those who needed the rescue train were stuck on board for nearly three hours.
As of 9 p.m., many passengers were still waiting for an Amtrak rescue train to take them back to Penn Station, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“I’m terrified. I don’t like this at all,” one woman said.
Michael Battista was on board the train.
“It was slowing down. There was the usual jolting you get when it’s changing on a switch, but it eventually slowed down to a gradual halt,” he said.
Ilana Karliner and her fiancé, Jack Eichinger, were also on board.
“It felt like a very short stop,” Karliner said. “It wasn’t like a really hard hit or anything.”
“All of a sudden we felt a huge bump,” added Eichinger, of Kew Gardens, Queens. “All of a sudden, two and a half hours later, no AC; people screaming. It was not fun.”
A commuter shot a video as rescuers evacuated passengers off that car. The rest were stuck on board for nearly three hours until a rescue train arrived.
“I was sweating like a dog,” Eichinger said. “Thank God they were bringing out a lot of water.”
Battista said the train only traveled a few yards away from the platform when one of the cars went off the tracks. He was in one of the last of the 10 cars, but stayed on track, and was brought back to Penn Station and immediately evacuated.
But those who could not be evacuated were not happy.
“People were upset,” Battista said. “One woman I know was trying to get a 5:04 train, and ended up on that train, so she was already late.”
The delays made for a monumentally miserable commute.
“The good news is that so far, there are no reported injuries,” Anders said shortly after the delay. “The bad news is, one out of four tunnels is blocked, and we expected delays and cancellations and combinations tonight on trains going out of Penn.”
And indeed there were delays. LIRR Service from Jamaica to Penn Station was immediately suspended. It was not until shortly before midnight that service was restored in both directions.
Hourly service was in place on the LIRR from Penn Station on the Babylon, Port Jefferson, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma branches, but westbound service to Penn Station was suspended.
The MTA was cross-honoring westbound LIRR fares on the E subway train at Jamaica and the No. 7 Train at Woodside, the MTA said.
“You don’t know what to do, so now, my friends have a car service, so in going to run to 36th and try to get home,” said Elaine Mascuzzio of Atlantic Beach.
“You’ve got to worry about safety first, you know, if something going on that jeopardizes our safety, then safety has to come first,” said Adolfo Smith of Elmont.
Penn Station was a mess of confused and frustrated commuters following the derailment.
Other lines — including NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak — had delayed and canceled trains.
Amtrak trains were delayed up to 60 minutes for passengers headed to Boston as a result of the derailment.
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