An alert Long Island Rail Road crew managed to avert a potentially serious accident Wednesday night by spotting an abandoned car on the tracks west of the Stewart Manor station and stopping their train with 80 customers aboard before it hit the vehicle.
Railroad officials said Train 780, the 9:42 p.m. from Penn Station to Hempstead, was brought to a halt at about 10:34 p.m. and "did not come into contact with the automobile." However, customers had to be evacuated and transferred to a bus for the completion of their travel to the Rosa Parks Hempstead Transit Center.
The railroad said it remained unclear Thursday how the vehicle came to be abandoned on the tracks, but said the incident caused what was described as "extensive track damage" and damage to the third rail power supply in the area.
That damage caused a suspension of all service on the Hempstead Branch between Hempstead and Jamaica until about 5:20 a.m. Thursday, officials said.
The incident is under investigation by Nassau County police, who declined to release any information Thursday afternoon.