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Limited service at 8 LIRR branches

New York City commuters wait on a platform

New York City commuters wait on a platform as a train arrives at a subway station in 2012. Credit: Getty Images

There will be limited service on eight of 11 Long Island Rail Road branches Monday -- up from four Saturday, but leaving the railroad still operating at 45 percent of its normal capacity.

Slowing the recovery is flood damage in two of the four East River tunnels the railroad shares with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. One tunnel is still being pumped clean of water, while the other needs signal repairs, said LIRR president Helena Williams.

Starting Monday morning, officials said, the railroad will offer weekend-type service on the Far Rockaway, Oyster Bay, Hempstead and West Hempstead lines. Service on the Port Washington line will be extended to Port Jefferson.

Partial service restarted on the Babylon, Huntington, Ronkonkoma and Port Washington lines last week.

Service differs on the different branches and riders are urged to check schedules.

There is no service available on the storm-ravaged Long Beach line, east of Speonk on the Montauk branch and east of Ronkonkoma.

With gas shortages and Manhattan traffic still gridlocked, the railroad is urging riders to delay commute times if possible to lessen overcrowding -- especially if they want to grab a seat.

"We do expect severe overcrowding, both on the trains and platforms," Williams said. "If riders could delay their usual travel times even a little, it will help. Travel off-peak wherever possible."

With two tunnels still down, riders will notice a difference at Penn Station: All LIRR trains will board and exit on platforms 17-21.

Williams was hopeful that a third tunnel might be operational soon -- but cautioned that it will take time to bring the system back to full capacity.

Riders will be charged off-peak fares until full service is restored. An October monthly pass will be honored Monday.

In Manhattan, commuters can look forward to added subway service after the MTA announced late Saturday that more than 80 percent of the system was back in service. There is now full service on:

Lexington Avenue No. 4, 5 and 6 subway trains between the Bronx and Brooklyn.

The No. 7-Flushing Line between Queens and Manhattan.

The J train, which runs from Jamaica Center in Queens to Essex Street in Manhattan.

The No. 2 and 3 trains were expected to resume full service late last night or early this morning, when the No. 1 train will also extend its southern terminus from 34th Street to 14th Street. Limited service also resumed on the Staten Island Railway Saturday.

The Queens midtown and Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery), both overcome by tidal surges during the storm, remain closed.

On Long Island, the Meadowbrook and Wantagh state parkways south of Merrick Road and Robert Moses Causeway south of Montauk Highway remain closed.

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