An eastbound LIRR train enters the Freeport station. (March 1,...

An eastbound LIRR train enters the Freeport station. (March 1, 2010) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Long Island Rail Road Thursday apologized to its customers, who were affected by major delays during the Wednesday evening rush hour after a train fatally struck a man.

MTA police are investigating the accident, in which the man, whose identity police have not released, trespassed onto the tracks at Kew Gardens station and was hit by a train around 3:30 p.m.

Westbound service between Jamaica and Penn Station was "severely limited during the police investigation," the LIRR said, and several trains were canceled or delayed. Some customers reported being delayed up to two hours while others said they rode on extremely crowded trains.

LIRR service was further complicated when a passenger on a Port Jefferson train needed medical attention at Jamaica and a Hicksville train experienced equipment problems, delaying other trains. In all, more than 100 trains throughout all of the LIRR's 13 branches were affected, LIRR officials aid.

"The LIRR did our best to keep customers informed throughout the multiple incidents that impacted service," the LIRR said in its statement sent by e-mail to customers and posted on its Web site.

LIRR Commuter Council chairwoman Maureen Michaels said that while she sympathized with the complexities of dealing with a train accident, the LIRR could have done more to communicate with customers and get service up and running quicker. She said it took seven hours after the accident until service was back to normal.

"The delivery of information about the length of delays was confusing and inconsistent," Michaels said.

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