PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Rails have been rattling and shaking with idling diesel engines, and now residents in one Long Island community want it to stop.
They’re calling on the Long Island Rail Road to stop parking waiting trains in the backyards of their homes.
“The rain engine parks right there so it all comes in, all this carbon,” Susan DeLoney said.
Homes and nerves were rattled along Academy Street as trains rested on tracks just east of Patchogue Station, complained residents.
The diesel engines run and run, empty of passengers but not of fumes, noise, and odors.
“When I bought my house I understood, I am across the street from train tracks, I just never realized they were going to park them right in front of my house,” Tom Nejezchleba said.
The railroad has been here since 1869, but idling between trips — which began 20 years ago — has gotten a lot worse, especially on weekends the mayor said.
“A train will come and wait to be transferred to the main track, will sit along the fence and behind the homes and idle for 20 minutes, half hour, hour,” Patchogue mayor, Paul Pontieri said.
The railroad explained that trains aren’t like cars — the shutting down and starting up of engines can take hours.
“The LIRR always strives to minimize disturbance to local residents,” the railroad said.
The Kuhls claim they have cracks in their steps and ceiling.
“It’s very noisy, frustrating, we’ve been complaining,” Linda Kuhl said.
Bob Goodhue started a petition demanding a fix for both Penn Station and Patchogue.
“One black eye in the city, this is a second black eye for the railroad,’ he said.
Many times when trains idle gates are down, and traffic is tied up creating a potential hazard to emergency responders.
“The conductor can send an electronic message that says, ‘I’m not coming through yet, the train is stopped,” Suffolk County legislator Rob Calarco said.
Calarco is suggesting the MTA install a buffer with a wall or trees or vegetation to absorb the noise and vibrations.
Some residents also plan to reach out to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and demand a fix to their idling train headaches.