Stranded on a train in the snow storm

December 22, 2009 2:27:12 PM PST
Tom Ianello and Derek Gumin are still having flashbacks of a train ride that was anything but smooth. "As the hours went by, more and more people began to get aggravated," Ianello said.

The two friends boarded at Penn Station in the snow storm on Sunday morning and what should have taken about an hour and a half turned into a 6 hour nightmare.

"We were losing heat. It was getting cold. It was a really bad situation for all of us. We wanted to get home. We were tired," Gumin said.

The train left at 2:54 a.m. from Penn Station. They transferred from electric to a double decker diesel in Jamaica, but at 5:05 a.m. the train became stuck just yards away from the Wyandanch platform for three hours.

Passengers waited until they were able to transfer to a new train in Farmingdale at 8:13. Riders finally arrived in Ronkonkoma after 9:00 on Sunday morning.

During this entire time, there was one bathroom and it wasn't working.

"With kids and women especially, if the bathroom is not working and you are on the train for five or six hours, they have to look for a way to get you off. It's not right," Ianello said.

The men say during that time, passengers began to panic. Some people tried to break out.

"There were people trying to break the windows, for sure. A couple of women were just pacing up and down the cars. They needed to use the bathroom," Gumin said.

Joe Calderone, spokesman for the Long Island Railroad, admits it was a tough situation. Normally they would send for a rescue train, but the train broke down a single track.

"This is in the middle of a blizzard. The safest thing to do was what we did, which was to leave them on the train until we could get them back to a station," Calderone said.

The LIRR has apologized for the incident and said it is investigating.