Problems Linger for LIRR Commuters

Long Island Rail RoadRailway DisastersDisasters and AccidentsTransportation DisastersJamaicaNew York City Transit

NEW YORK - Whereas the average eastbound LIRR ridership on Wednesdays between noon and 4 p.m. is 15,000, that figure doubles to 30,000 on Thanksgiving eve, LIRR officials said.

Fifteen extra trains also are planned for tomorrow to carry people coming to Manhattan for the 82nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New York City Transitwill continue to honor LIRR passengers' passes for rides on subwaylines such as the E, F, J and Z that make connections in Jamaica, butthere are no plans to add additional trains because of the LIRR serviceinterruptions, said James Anyansi, a NYC Transit spokesman.

Service disruptions caused by the derailment have subsided sinceSunday. Six evening rush-hour trains were canceled yesterday, comparedwith 19 on Monday, and most service had returned to normal, LIRRofficials said.

It's been 15 years since an accident has had as significant an impacton the system, LIRR officials have said. The biggest complication - ajackknifed train car blocking three tracks at Jamaica - finally wascleared by a crane during the pre-dawn hours yesterday.

LIRR officials say a wealth of damage was left behind, including tosignal systems, wiring and hundreds of feet of track - some of whichrequired exhaustive "inch-by-inch precision" repairs.

Investigators for the LIRR and the Federal Railroad Administration continue to look for answers to the derailment's cause.

Federal railroad officials said they last performed a track inspectionat Jamaica station on Sept. 24 and an operating practices inspection onOct. 15. No exceptions to federal standards were found in eitherinspection.

LIRR president Helena Williamshas said the derailment did not appear to be caused by human error,unlike a collision of two LIRR trains in Jamaica a week ago. In thataccident an engineer was removed from service without pay forapparently passing a stop signal.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton weighed in on the recent LIRR accidents, calling them "a stark reminder of the problems facing our railroads.

"While thankfully there were no major injuries, these incidents shouldserve as a wake-up call that more must be done to monitor and managethese critical rail safety issues," Clinton said.

Staff writers Keith Herbert and Jennifer Maloney contributed to this story.

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