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LIRR: Thursday train delays possibly caused by cold weather

Third-rail issues on three branches of the Long Island Rail Road caused several delays and canceled at least two trains during Thursday morning's commute, the rail service said.

Spokesman Aaron Donovan of the LIRR said third-rail issues on the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches west of the Hicksville station and on the Babylon branch west of the Freeport station were responsible for morning congestion.

Donovan said the rail issues were "potentially weather related" but was not specific.

The National Weather Service warned of "dangerously" cold temperatures Thursday. Shortly before 9 a.m., the temperature at Long Island MacArthur Airport was 12 degrees, the service's Upton office said. A morning west wind blowing at nearly 12 mph made the windchill value minus 2.

For about a three-hour period, starting at about 6:30 a.m., the longest individual train delays were between 20 and 30 minutes, according to the service.

There also were some delays on the Port Washington, Long Beach and Far Rockaway branches because of a track condition in one of the East River tunnels.

During cold weather and in snowstorms, icing on the third rail can affect the power supply to electric trains, according to the LIRR.


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