Massive damage to the LIRR train communications system was uncovered Tuesday when crews finished cutting up and removing a freight car that had derailed Sunday, the railroad said, resulting in anticipated problems with the morning commute.
Delays of up to 25 minutes on the Ronkonkoma line are expected east of Hicksville during Wednesday morning's rush hour because some parts of the signal system will have to be made "from scratch," said Salvatore Arena, spokesman for the Long Island Rail Road.
"Unfortunately, the extent of the damage only became crystal clear after the derailed car was removed and we peeled away the crush of wires and machinery," he said. "The infrastructure loss -- you can't buy that stuff off the shelf. It has to be rebuilt from scratch, wire by wire, installed and tested.
"We are working around the clock to get this cleared up," he said. Similar delays marred Tuesday night's commute as well, the railroad said.
The freight car carrying lumber for New York and Atlantic Railway derailed around midnight Sunday just west of the Wyandanch station.
Based in Queens, the freight carrier leases LIRR tracks that run parallel and near the commuter tracks, prompting the passenger trains to slow between Farmingdale and Wyandanch, Arena said.
When it derailed, the car knocked down a utility pole carrying system wires affecting three grade crossings, LIRR officials said. Rail workers and police supervised traffic there until repairs were done Tuesday, Arena said.
The freight railway's president could not be immediately reached.
Both railways' employees have been "working around the clock" to clear the area, the LIRR said.