LIRR: Snow on third rail prompts cancellations on Huntington/Port Jefferson branch
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Snow and ice accumulation over the electrified third rail has prompted cancellations for the Thursday evening rush on the Huntington/Port Jefferson branch, the LIRR said.
The Long Island Rail Road will run diesel service only on the branch during the rush, with all electric train service on the branch ending at Hicksville, the railroad said.
"Six electric eastbound trains will be canceled, and seven will be terminated at Hicksville," the LIRR said. "The nine regularly scheduled diesel trains will make local stops from Hicksville through Port Jefferson."
In addition, westbound train service between Port Jefferson and Hicksville will be suspended during the peak hours of rush hour.
After rush hour Thursday night, crews will work to clear the snow and ice from the third rail between Huntington and Hicksville and clear the right of way to Port Jefferson.
This is being done in the hopes of providing normal service during the morning rush, the LIRR said.
"We are monitoring overnight snowfalls and conditions closely across the LIRR system," the LIRR said.
The railroad said "greater than anticipated accumulations" on the branch led to suspension of service on the branch most of the day.
Earlier in the day, a woman whose car was struck by a LIRR train in Greenlawn mistakenly drove onto the tracks during the snowstorm because she thought it was a road, a railroad official said.
Phyllis Morrow of Oakdale was driving a 2003 Saab south on Lake Road when, thinking she was making a right onto Pulaski Road, she turned onto the tracks at about 8:20 a.m., the LIRR said. The visibility was poor at the time due to the heavy falling snow, the railroad said.
Seeing the stranded vehicle, a passerby urged Morrow to move to a safe area moments before the car was hit by the westbound 7:36 a.m. train from Port Jefferson, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police said.
A railroad spokesman said there were about 500 passengers aboard the train, but none were injured. Morrow also was not hurt in the crash.
The accident forced the suspension of service on the single-track Port Jefferson branch between Port Jefferson and Huntington for about one hour and 20 minutes.
With John Valenti