Crews work to restore full LIRR service ahead of morning commute after derailment left 13 hurt

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Friday, August 4, 2023
Crews work to restore service after LIRR derailment leaves 13 hurt
Crews are working to restore full service to the Long Island Rail Road ahead of Friday's morning commute after more than a dozen were people were injured when a train derailed in Queens on Thursday. Josh Einiger has the latest details.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Crews are working to restore full service to the Long Island Rail Road ahead of Friday's morning commute after more than a dozen were people were injured when all eight cars of a train derailed in Queens on Thursday morning.

The FDNY said train 722 departed Grand Central 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 minor injuries. 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 sustained during the incident were minor, the question remains on what caused the derailment in the first place?

The LIRR says the investigation is just getting underway, as are repairs in one of the railroad's busiest spots just east of Jamaica.

"The restoration process is not merely a matter of rerailing the train," said MTA Chairman Janno Lieber. "There is damage to infrastructure as well that has to be addressed."

Still for something relatively minor, it caused quite a scare.

The FDNY said they arrived quickly following the incident, and all passengers were calm, but some people were shaken up.

WATCH: Officials provide update after LIRR train derailment in Queens

"This is a complex and dangerous operation, but we were able to get to work quickly, able to get all the passengers off the train," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh said.

The MTA brought in a rescue train for the passengers to take them to Jamaica Station within 90 minutes of the derailment.

Work had already begun Thursday to rerail the train and remove it from the tracks, which officials said, likely will impact the Friday morning commute.

"Our top priority is ensuring all passengers and railroad workers are safe and that train service resumes as quickly as possible," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

Customers were told to expect track changes at Jamaica and possible delays through midday Friday.

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

The cause of the train derailment is under investigation.

"There is some significant infrastructure damage in terms of the rail, it buckled, which looks like a result, but again it's preliminary," said LIRR Senior Vice President of Operations Rob Free.

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

"The train was operating straight, it was going over the last couple switches within the interlocking," Free said.

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.

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