Stepping over the gap is still a risky move at the Long Island Rail Road's Syosset station.

While the LIRR explores long-term solutions for Syosset's yawning gaps, it already has taken several measures to improve safety at the station.

But a Newsday review conducted this week found that even those interim measures have had mixed success:

The station's $1.3-million closed-circuit television system is not fully functional, and conductors on some trains do not consult the video display screens before pulling out of the station.

Though the LIRR said it narrowed gaps on Track 2 to less than 10 inches, Newsday found gaps on that platform as wide as 11 inches.

On Track 1, the railroad shifted platform slabs and bolted boards to the platform's edge, but gaps there still stretch as wide as 15 inches -- some of the widest in the system.

The LIRR began fixing gaps after the death last August of a Minnesota teenager who slipped through a gap at the Woodside station and crawled in front of an oncoming train.

Since then, the railroad has addressed about 70 percent of its worst gaps by shifting platforms, moving tracks, attaching wooden boards to platform edges and keeping some train doors closed.

But railroad officials say they cannot narrow gaps on Syosset's Track 1 without a costly solution such as installing mechanical gap fillers or, perhaps, changing the geometry of the station's sharp curve.

In March, the railroad unveiled the surveillance system, which includes 12 cameras and three display screens on each of two platforms, allowing train crews to see the entire length of the sharply curved platforms.

Newsday found several problems with the system: Two screens are missing, and others are hard to read because of glare. Train conductors often did not have a direct view of the screens because of their train's location on the platform. And some conductors with a clear view of the screens still did not look at them, Newsday observed.

McGowan said the two missing screens are being repaired and will be replaced by the end of June.

An anti-glare glaze will be applied to all of the screens, she said.

Anthony Simon, general chairman of the United Transportation Union, said some conductors are not yet in the habit of looking up at the screens.

"It's a new system," he said. "The conductors are so used to looking for their platform conductor. That's there first source of information."

Newsday found that platform conductors, equipped with air horns and radios, consistently communicated with train crews to signal that it was safe to pull out of the station.

Simon noted that when two trains pull into the station, the platform conductor only assists the train traveling in the rush-hour direction. He argued, however, that the $1.3 million for the camera surveillance system could have been better spent to assign more platform conductors.

The LIRR expects to spend about $587,000 on platform conductors this year.

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