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Long IslandTransportation

LIRR president says morning rush hour trains expected to operate normally 

Commuters prepare to board a train toward Penn

Commuters prepare to board a train toward Penn Station at the nearly empty Ronkonkoma LIRR train station during typical rush hour in March. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

The Long Island Rail Road said expected systemwide morning rush delays were averted Monday when Amtrak crews finished switch work at the last minute.

"After working through the night, Amtrak completed their switch work just east of Penn Station around 6:00 a.m. As a result, LIRR morning rush hour service is expected to operate normally," LIRR President Phil Eng said in a statement Monday. "It will no longer be necessary to cancel or divert LIRR morning rush hour trains. We thank our customers for their patience."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had announced Sunday that LIRR commuters should expect systemwide cancellations and delays averaging between 10 and 15 minutes during Monday’s rush-hour commute due to the switch work. The MTA urged riders to check the LIRR app for train car crowding before boarding.

There are no disruptions expected for the evening commute, an MTA news release said.

Ten of the 129 westbound trains Monday morning were to be canceled, four to be rerouted to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal, and six to terminate at Jamaica station, according to the MTA, which runs the LIRR. The MTA said the cancellations and delays are necessary for construction work being done by Amtrak "to renew a complex of switches east of Penn Station."

The release added: "Customers should anticipate that Long Island Rail Road trains may arrive at platforms toward the southern end of Penn Station that are infrequently used by the LIRR."

Updates are available via mymtaalerts.com and the MYmta and Long Island Rail Road Train Time apps.

MTA New York City Transit, the mass transit system, will cross-honor LIRR tickets at Jamaica and Atlantic, the release said.

Penn Station's tracks, platforms and tunnels are owned and maintained by Amtrak. The construction began in 2017.

Amtrak — the national passenger railroad service providing medium and long-distance service in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces — did not immediately respond to an email Sunday evening for comment.

Weekday ridership, which has plummeted beginning when the coronavirus pandemic began in March, is now at 28% of normal, the MTA release said.

With John Valenti

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