Editorial: Storm exposes LIRR weaknesses

After superstorm Sandy, a LIRR train station in After superstorm Sandy, a LIRR train station in Northport appears empty. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Mario Gonzalez

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Not even in the best of times was a daily commute on the Long Island Rail Road a sure thing. Signal malfunctions, accidents, lightning strikes and other problems regularly had passengers fuming.

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Now commuter anxieties have been thrust into the red zone. Service was suspended on the Long Beach Branch after Sandy exposed switches, signals and electric substations to seawater. A crippling bottleneck near Penn Station held up full service as workers pumped out two Amtrak tunnels. And when last week's nor'easter brought the system to a temporary halt, countless riders were left with a nightmarish commute.

The worst part is, the LIRR was the post-Sandy backup plan for many. With just enough gas to get to the station and back, a Long Islander might be able to report for work in Manhattan. Our railroad is yet another part of our aging infrastructure that needs to be improved.

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