Long Island Rail Road trains will operate on the Long Beach line this morning for the first time since superstorm Sandy devastated the branch late last month, officials said Tuesday.
Using diesel equipment, the LIRR will run hourly shuttle trains out of Long Beach beginning at 4:58 a.m. The four-car trains will make all stops between Long Beach and Lynbrook, where customers will make direct connections to westbound trains to Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal.
During off-peak hours, the trains will run every two hours. The trip between Long Beach and Lynbrook will take about 20 minutes.
"Step by step, New York's transit system is recovering from the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Sandy," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "This limited service on the LIRR Long Beach line will be a help to commuters and those who depend on this service."
The trains will not run during weekends or holidays, including Thanksgiving. On those days, buses will shuttle customers between Long Beach and Lynbrook, as they have been since last week.
"I want my . . . train back," said Eddie Collins, 51, a steamfitter, said as he rushed off his train at Lynbrook and onto an awaiting bus back to Long Beach Tuesday afternoon. "I get up at the same time, but it's just that I've got to move faster."
Officials said they expect the diesel shuttle service to stay in place for at least three weeks as repairs continue to be made on the Long Beach line. Peak and off-peak fares will be in effect, but no onboard purchase fees will be charged to customers boarding anywhere from Long Beach to Centre Avenue.
Nowhere did the LIRR's system get hit harder by Sandy than on the Long Beach line, where tracks and delicate electrical components were submerged under four feet of corrosive salt water and sewage, three electrical substations were damaged, and nearly two dozen boats and personal watercraft washed up on tracks.