LIRR trains collide in Queens

March 27, 2008 3:56:02 PM PDT
About two dozen people were evaluated for minor injuries following a Long Island Rail Road train derailment at Jamaica Station in Queens. Police say the rear two cars of a Hempstead-bound train derailed and hit the last two cars of a Huntington-bound train.

The trains involved were the 9:35 a.m. from Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, to Hempstead and the 9:34 a.m. from Penn Station to Huntington.

The LIRR says there were about 150 people on each train and about two dozen or so in the two derailed cars.

LIRR officials tell us the Huntington train was already in the station and the Hempstead train was just pulling in when the derailment occurred.

The MTA Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, carrying an average of 288,000 customers each weekday on 728 daily trains. The LIRR system is comprised of over 700 miles of track on 11 different branches, stretching from Montauk -- on the eastern tip of Long Island -- to the refurbished Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, approximately 120 miles away. Along the way, the LIRR serves 124 stations in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Nearly 500 of the railroad's daily trains originate or terminate at Penn Station in Manhattan. Most of the remainder originate or terminate at Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, with a number of others originating or terminating at Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City in Queens. All of these terminals provide convenient connections to MTA New York City Transit subway service. All but one of the 11 branches pass through the important Jamaica hub, where customers may change trains to connect for other branches or terminals.

The cars involved in today's derailment are Bombardier's M-7 series the newest in the LIRR fleet.The first of these cars entered into LIRR service in 2002. The LIRR has 836 M7 cars in service now. All totaled, the value of the new rolling stock will come to more than $1.5 billion.