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LIRR watchdog group: Amtrak board lacks commuter rep

Eastbound and westbound service has been restored.

Eastbound and westbound service has been restored.

A Long Island Rail Road watchdog group Thursday called for Amtrak to add a commuter representative on its board — one day after a broken Amtrak rail caused major service disruptions for the LIRR.

Mark Epstein, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council, said Thursday that a vacancy on Amtrak’s seven-member board should be filled by a New York commuter.

“New York rail commuters who rely on Penn Station are at the mercy of Amtrak, and their interests, perspective, and voice need to be heard and reflected in Amtrak’s governance,” Epstein said. “Having a commuter rail user on its board can only enhance communication between Amtrak and the riders.”

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Appointments to the board, formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp. board of directors, must be made by President Barack Obama.

LIRR riders on Monday endured widespread delays and cancellations because of a broken rail inside one of the East River tunnels, which are maintained by Amtrak. Full service was restored in time for Thursday’s morning rush.

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