LIRR back to normal schedule for Monday

August 30, 2010 2:51:33 AM PDT
The Long Island Railroad is running on a normal schedule for Monday's commute.

Sunday evening, the LIRR completed repairs and extensive testing of the switch and signal system in Jamaica.

Those repairs paved the way for full restoration of morning and afternoon rush hour service for Monday.

For just shy of a week, crews worked round the clock to repair the railroad's switch and signal system, for the payoff of getting commuters back on track.

"I appreciate the challenges our customers faced during the past week and I thank them for their patience during what has been a difficult time," said LIRR President, Helena E. Williams.

A fire last Monday morning damaged a key signal tower just east of Jamaica Station that controls 53 signals and 77 switch points in the area where 10 of 11 LIRR branches meet.

That created a miserable week of travel for commuters.

Morning rush service ran at 75%, and afternoon service ran at around 66%.

"I would also like to thank the hundreds of railroad employees who worked around the clock to put the damaged signal and switch system back together while keeping service going and assisting our customers throughout the week. Once again, they demonstrated their dedication and commitment to our customers," Williams said.

The nation's busiest commuter railroad operates more than 700 trains into and out of its Manhattan and Brooklyn terminals on a typical weekday.

The switching and signal system in Jamaica is due for a major upgrade and modernization in late October and early November when a $56 million computerized control center will go online.

Officials showed Eyewitness News part of that effort.

Two key switching areas, near Bellerose and in Valley Stream have already been modernized.

The Jamaica upgrade is part of a $150 million effort to replace three existing signal towers that right now control some 155 switches in the Jamaica Station area.

"While the new systems are a big improvement, more needs to be done to replace and update some of our old technology throughout the LIRR. That's why we need a fully funded, five-year capital program," Williams said.

For up-to-date travel service information, customers can also contact the LIRR's 24-hour Travel Information Center in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR, in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR or in New York City at 718-217-LIRR. The Travel Information Center's TDD telephone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022.

Customers can also text schedule request to CooCoo (266266).