LIRR platform gap fix causes new issues with train doors

SYOSSET, Long Island (WABC) -- There's a costly reason why some doors on LIRR trains won't close properly - and riders have had enough.

Over the past several months, the railroad has been quietly installing aluminum plates, which are intended to help shrink the gap between the platforms and the railcars.

But train crews noticed the doors were getting stuck. It's a result of a problem between the steel trains and the aluminum plates that nobody bothered to consider.

This problem is called galvanic corrosion, an electrochemical process triggered by a bimetallic reaction.

In other words, the two metals don't like each other. The plates swell up, and the doors can't close properly.

All of this is worsened by ice and cold, said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski.

"Doors go out of alignment. Doors don't work the way they're supposed to work," he said.

Among the reasons for the long delays over the last several weeks was the need to replace more than 3,000 aluminum plates. These repairs are ongoing.

Railroad officials have refused to disclose the cost of the repairs. Replacing the plates will not be complete for another two years.

Riders say there's no excuse: No excuse for the delays, no excuse for the wasted money.

"It makes me annoyed," said Rachel Federbush, an LIRR rider. "It should have been thought out more before they actually put them on. You would think. Or one would hope."

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