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Long Island Rail Road escalator fixes cost upward of $5M

Commuters ride the escalator at the LIRR station

Commuters ride the escalator at the LIRR station in Freeport. Credit: Howard Schnapp

It’s costing the Long Island Rail Road more than $5 million to make repairs and improvements on several station escalators, including one in Lindenhurst where an 88-year-old woman died in March.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s railroad committee Monday approved $3.8 million in new spending for its ongoing effort to modernize 11 of its 19 escalators. The new expenditure is in addition to about $1.5 million previously allotted for the effort.

LIRR officials have said the repairs and improvements have been far more expensive than they expected when they began the project in March, after the death of Irene Bernatzky, 88.

Bernatzky fell while riding an escalator up to the station platform at Lindenhurst. She was asphyxiated when her clothes became entangled on the moving stairs, LIRR officials have said.

“It’s really very old equipment,” LIRR president Helena Williams said of the escalators, the oldest of which was installed in the early 1980s. “You find a lot of hidden mechanical failures in escalator equipment.”

The project has entailed repairing or replacing most of the major components on the escalators, and installing new safety technology on them. Five escalators remain out of service.

The $5.3 million total expenditure includes costs for the LIRR’s escalator maintenance vendor, Nouveau Elevator, and for consultants that looked at the condition of the aging escalators.

Above: Commuters ride the escalator at the LIRR station in Freeport. 

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