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LIRR: Ronkonkoma line service to be suspended

A crane works on the freight train derailment

A crane works on the freight train derailment just west of the Brentwood LIRR station in Brentwood on Jan. 10, 2014. A freight train derailment suspended Long Island Rail Road service for several hours in both directions between the Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale stations, the railroad said. Credit: Ed Betz

Train service on the Ronkonkoma line of the Long Island Rail Road between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma will be suspended in both directions after 9 p.m. Friday so workers can continue repairs after an earlier derailment, officials said.

Bus service will replace trains between those stops, said LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena. He warned that travelers should expect some delays after the derailment of one car of a freight train early Friday, which happened on a side track west of Brentwood.

Throughout the evening, the LIRR used its Twitter feed to update travelers on resulting delays, which hovered around 10 minutes.

Work on "re-railing" the freight car was curtailed to free up one track for the evening rush, Arena said. He said he did not know how long the re-railing would take, but that train service would resume between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma after the work was completed.

Westbound train service remained suspended, with four rush-hour trains canceled and buses replacing trains between Ronkonkoma and Hicksville.

Service in both directions on the Ronkonkoma branch had been suspended, restored and suspended again in a span of eight hours early Friday because of the derailment, the commuter service said.

Arena said the second suspension was to allow crews to remove the derailed car from the tracks. Arena had earlier said the LIRR anticipated removal would be completed before the afternoon commute.

Service was restored before the morning rush hour after crews moved -- but could not completely remove -- the derailed car that is owned and operated by New York & Atlantic, which has a contract with the LIRR to use the rails, he said.

The derailment west of Brentwood happened about 2 a.m. when the train, which was carrying a heavy load of stone, was moving onto a side track, Arena said. No injuries were reported and an investigation into the cause was ongoing, he said.

At least two trains between 1 and 5:30 a.m. were canceled, the LIRR said. A westbound train from Ronkonkoma, due at Penn Station at 3:04 a.m., was canceled, as was the 5:11 a.m. from Penn Station due in Ronkonkoma at 6:37 a.m.

The LIRR notified customers that service was restored in both directions shortly before 5 a.m.

With Gary Dymski and Candice Ruud

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