In the new nerve center of the Long Island Rail Road's Jamaica station switching system, a giant black screen displays a dense web of tracks and signals.
For now, the image is still. But come November, when a long-awaited new computerized system comes online, the matrix will blink with passing trains and changing signals. And the station's switching control technology will have jumped forward nearly a century.
As repair crews scrambled Wednesday to finish replacing charred cables and equipment in one of the station's antiquated switching machines, railroad officials offered reporters a peak inside the electronic "brains" that will soon replace it.