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Long Island

LIRR: Expect normal p.m. rush on Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson lines

A sign notifies Long Island Rail Road customers

A sign notifies Long Island Rail Road customers at the Ronkonkoma station of the morning delays on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The LIRR said it expects a normal evening commute on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches after a car fire early Wednesday damaged one of two tracks near the Westbury station.

The fire resulted in extensive delays and cancellations during the morning rush on the two branches but repairs have been made to the damaged track and both lines are now on or close to schedule, the Long Island Rail Road said.

“The main line lost half of its capacity during rush hour this morning when a motorist arrested for driving while intoxicated damaged one of the line’s two tracks,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Shams Tarek. “This morning’s delays demonstrate how the proposed third track for the main line could help tens of thousands of commuters when a track goes out of service.”

The driver, a man and the only person in the car, was arrested by MTA police on a drunken-driving charge, LIRR spokeswoman Nancy Gamerman said. There were no injuries.

Trains on the Babylon branch, meanwhile, also were on or close to schedule early Wednesday afternoon after a man was struck by an eastbound train headed for Babylon as it stopped at the Lynbrook station at 7:20 a.m., Gamerman said.

The man, who Gamerman said jumped in front of the train as it was making a scheduled stop, was seriously injured and was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where he was in surgery.

The incident caused delays on the line as long as 35 minutes at one point. Service was on time or close shortly after 10:30 a.m., the LIRR said.

From about 2 a.m. and well after the morning commute, delays and cancellations dotted the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches.

Originally, service was suspended in both directions on the two branches between Hicksville and Mineola after the car drove over the third rail about 2 a.m. at Urban Avenue, east of the Westbury station, Gamerman said.

One track was back in service about 4:30 a.m., but a second also was damaged and remained closed to train traffic, Gamerman said. Operating on one track, service was limited and average delays ranged from 35 minutes at one point to 15 minutes after about 10:30 a.m.

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