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LIRR restores service after tunnel fire, evening commuters delayed

This image -- shot as a panorama --

This image -- shot as a panorama -- from the LIRR tracks at Penn Station was shot on Jan. 29, 2014. Credit: Evan Hoffman

Service is being restored on the Long Island Rail Road after the railroad canceled 14 eastbound trains from Penn Station during the Wednesday evening rush because of a fire and stranded train in an East River tunnel, a spokesman said.

"LIRR westbound service between Jamaica and Penn is restored, with the 5:11 p.m. train from Huntington due in Penn at 6:20 p.m. being the first to run through," said LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena by email. "We wound up canceling 14 eastbound trains out of the normal p.m. peak service of 131 eastbound trains."

The LIRR said there would still be scattered residual delays throughout the system.

The Eighth Avenue entrance to Penn Station has also been reopened. Access had been restricted because of overcrowding in the station, the LIRR said.

A cable fire in a tunnel shortly after 1 p.m. had trapped a train, suspending all westbound service into Penn Station and causing several eastbound delays.

No injuries were reported after the fire stopped a westbound train -- the 12:09 p.m. from Babylon -- in the tunnel, said LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena. He said about 100 people onboard had to wait for more than two hours before the stranded train could be towed safely out of the tunnel.

The train was stuck in the tube of one of the four tunnels when power was cut, allowing New York City firefighters to extinguish the fire, he said.

Westbound LIRR service had been suspended from Jamaica to Penn and from Woodside to Penn on the Port Washington branch, the LIRR said.

New York subways and buses continue to cross-honor LIRR fares at Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside and Atlantic Terminal.

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