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LIRR service suspended on Port Washington branch

The Long Island Rail Road said it would resume "normal service" in time for the Monday morning rush after a week of disruptions and delays caused by a derailment in Queens. However, just minutes into the rush-hour Monday, the railroad announced it had suspended all service on the Port Washington branch -- due to a broken rail west of the station.

The railroad also announced that the 6:50 a.m. train from Huntington to Hunterspoint Avenue would operate as a diesel Monday morning.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the broken rail condition that closed down the Port Washington branch.

The railroad sent the announcement at 5:55 a.m., alerting customers that service on the branch had been suspended in both directions between Port Washington and Great Neck due to "a broken rail west of Port Washington Station."

It was not clear how long the situation would take to fix.

Railroad officials were urging commuters to use alternate branches and said bus service would be provided, but said it was not clear when buses would be on the scene.

The latest problems come after a week of inconveniences for commuters, who saw 11 morning rush-hour trains canceled, another five diverted to Atlantic Terminal and four more terminated at Jamaica from Tuesday through Friday after a derailment last Monday evening west of Forest Hills. The railroad also canceled seven evening trains.

On Sunday, the railroad issued a statement on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority website announcing: "LIRR Resumes Normal Service Monday." In that statement, officials said that the railroad would operate "regular" a.m. and p.m. service starting Monday -- and said all repair work had been completed on Main Line track damaged during the derailment last week.

Officials said crew had worked "around the clock" to repair and replace three-quarters of a mile of track damaged when four cars of the non-passenger train derailed, adding that 1,540 damaged concrete rail ties also had been replaced -- as well as 3,700 feet of third rail, which supplies power to its electric trains. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation, officials said.

Workers used special equipment to install concrete rail ties, laying new rails and spreading and leveling track bedding. The railroad has spent much of the past few days doing final testing.

In addition to the suspended service on the Port Washington branch and the issues with the substitute service to that 6:50 a.m. train out of Huntington, the railroad also announced that the 5:11 a.m. train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma was operating 12 minutes late after being held in Hicksville due to police activity.

The nature of that incident was not immediately clear.

The railroad also said it will add trains Monday afternoon due to the observance of Passover, which begins at sunset.

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