1,600 feet of track obliterated during LIRR derailment in Queens

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Friday, August 4, 2023
6 of 8 cars rerailed after LIRR train derailment in Queens
Commuters were advised to expect delays and some cancellations on several branches of the Long Island Rail Road after Thursday's derailment in Queens. Derick Waller has the latest.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- All eight derailed Long Island Rail Road train cars were removed from the tracks early Friday afternoon, one day after it derailed in Queens.

However, the MTA is warning there is still a lot more work that needs to be done before Monday's commute.

During a press conference Friday, officials said 1,600 feet of track of been obliterated.

"Nine-hundred feet of electric traction power, the third rail, that has to be replaced," MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said. "Four-hundred concrete railroad ties that were wiped out that now need to be replaced. That's a 24/7 operation that is going to continue through the weekend so we can have the railroad back in absolute perfect working order for the Monday rush."

More than a dozen were people were hurt when all eight cars of a train jumped the tracks near Hillside Thursday morning.

The FDNY said train 722 departed Grand Central Terminal and was heading toward Hempstead when it derailed east of Jamaica Station at 175th Street and 95th Avenue after 11 a.m.

There were 13 injuries in all. Nine of those injuries were minor, two were considered moderate and two were considered more serious.

"The train started bouncing all over the place, everyone started screaming and yelling and then it stopped," a passenger named John said, describing the chaotic moments of the derailment.

While the injuries were generally minor, the question remains on what caused the derailment in the first place.

Crystal Vidal was one of the 13 injured. She is calling for a system-wide review of the rails.

"Checking the safety of the tracks and whatever initiatives they need to take to install new tracks, I think they have to do that quickly," Vidal said.

The train derailed at the hall interlocking, which is the second largest area of switches and signals in the LIRR system.

Officials said the train was traveling 54 mph, in an area with a speed limit of 60 to 80 mph. Authorities said they were confident that speed was not a factor in the derailment.

Thursday's derailment marked the third on the LIRR in less than three months. A non passenger train went off the tracks near Long Island City and May and in July, a train car holding 50 passengers derailed as it entered the Far Rockaway station. No one was hurt.

"Derailments are extremely rare so I'm confident this is not indicative of any pattern but we are looking closely," Lieber said.

The Federal Railroad Administration is taking the lead on determining exactly what caused the train to go off the tracks.

Eastbound trains are bypassing Hillside, Hollis, and Queens Village on the Hempstead Branch. There is limited bus service, and NYC Transit is cross-honoring on the Q2, Q3, Q8 and Q110 buses for service between Jamaica and Queens Village.

Check the TrainTime app for more details and to find out if your train has been canceled.

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