LIRR: Repairs should prevent Friday afternoon delays

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Repairs to a rail connection in Queens that caused train delays and cancellations Friday morning are expected to be completed in time for the evening rush hour, a Long Island Rail Road spokesman said.

Vandals stripped copper wire from the rail connection west of the Woodside station and east of the entrance to the East River tunnels, causing 31 morning trains to be delayed 10 minutes or more and eight to be canceled, the LIRR said.

The damaged rail connection was discovered about 5:30 a.m.

"At this point, it looks like the evening rush hour will be normal," spokesman Aaron Donovan said. "We expect repairs to be completed by the then."

Also playing a part in the morning delays was police activity at the Woodside station. Two men -- a father and son -- were interviewed by Metropolitan Transportation Authority police in connection with the report of a suspicious package in a restroom on a train, according to LIRR spokesman Sal Arena.

But that incident, reported at 7:45 a.m., turned out to be a false alarm, Arena said.

The simultaneous incidents had a negative effect on service, Donovan said.

Most of the service glitches were between 8 and 10:30 a.m., when the service sent an email that said it was "operating on or close to schedule systemwide."

But as crews worked to make repairs, there were delays into the afternoon. As late as 2:30 p.m., the service reported delays on eastbound trains on the Ronkonkoma, Babylon and Huntington lines because of "trackwork related to [Friday's] earlier disruption."

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