Approximately 100 commuters were onboard the 10:43 a.m. train headed to Hempstead when eight cars derailed at 175th Street and Douglas Avenue in Jamaica at 11:12 a.m., according to MTA officials. Newsday transportation writer Alfonso Castillo reports.  Credit: Newsday/John Conrad Williams Jr., Howard Schnapp

The LIRR train derailment that injured 13 passengers Thursday continued to complicate Long Islanders' commutes Friday morning with trains skipping some stations and others being cancelled. 

The MTA said crews worked overnight to re-rail six of the eight train cars that derailed east of Jamaica and work was continuing Friday to re-rail the other two cars.

Eastbound Hempstead trains continued to bypass Hollis and Queens Village, and LIRR fares were being cross-honored on some Queens bus routes. The MTA advised customers to check the TrainTime app and www.mta.info for the latest service updates.

There were scattered 10- to 15-minute delays Friday morning on the Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay and Ronkonkoma branches, and some westbound trains were cancelled related to the derailment.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • All eight cars of a Hempstead-bound Long Island Rail Road derailed shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday about a half-mile east of Jamaica station, injuring 13 passengers, but none seriously, officials said. 

  • LIRR officials said it was too early Thursday to determine the cause of the accident, but ruled out speed as a factor.

  • The derailment impacted LIRR service throughout Thursday, and was expected to do so through midday Friday, as crews work to clear the derailed train and repair extensive damage to the tracks.

All eight cars of a Hempstead-bound train came off the tracks about a half-mile east of Jamaica shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, while traveling at 54 miles per hour with about 100 passengers on board, Long Island Rail Road officials said.

Thirteen passengers were injured, according to LIRR and FDNY officials. Nine had minor injuries while two were moderate and two others suffered more serious injuries, fire officials said at news conference near the site Thursday morning. All were taken to local hospitals. None had broken bones.

“All of them are stable at this time and all of them are going to be OK,” said Laura Kavanagh, fire commissioner of the New York City Fire Department.

Janno Lieber, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, visited the site of the accident and walked through the derailed train before the passengers were evacuated onto another train, about 90 minutes after the accident.

“They were all calm. They were very gracious. There was a woman with a baby on there … A lot of folks were very inconvenienced, but they were in good spirits,” Lieber said. “Obviously, everybody got shaken up. You’re talking about a train that goes from being on the rails to bumping along on the ties for a distance.”

With crews having to tackle the difficult task of getting the train back on the rails, clearing it out and then repairing extensive damage to the tracks, MTA officials in a statement Thursday said LIRR riders “should expect track changes at Jamaica and possible delays through midday” Friday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, in a statement, said she directed the MTA and state workers to “do whatever possible to support impacted passengers and quickly return to full service.” 

“I’m grateful to the MTA crew workers and first responders who quickly sprung into action following this incident,” Hochul added.

MTA officials and workers at the derailed Long Island Raid...

MTA officials and workers at the derailed Long Island Raid Road train on Thursday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation, including by the Federal Railroad Administration, which deployed several inspectors to the scene. LIRR vice president of operations Robert Free said the railroad has already been able to determine “that speed was not a factor in this,” as the train was traveling within the speed limit.

“It’s still too early to say if there was any type of malfunction,” Free said. “We’ll have to do downloads of all the train equipment, the signal systems. All those pieces of the infrastructure, we’ll have to analyze and determine what exactly happened.”

The commotion rattled the industrial and residential Queens community near the accident scene at 175th Street and Douglas Avenue. Andy Quito, 23, who lives near the scene, said he was walking home from doing laundry when he “heard a bang sound.”

“It was pretty loud,” said Quito, who, moments later, noticed a helicopter overhead, and looked up to the elevated tracks. “I saw the train leaning.”

MTA chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, with FDNY Commissioner Laura...

MTA chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, with FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, near the site of the derailed LIRR train east of Jamaica Station. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The train, which left Grand Central Madison at 10:43 a.m., derailed in a complex switching location known as Hall Interlocking. The train continued moving straight after derailing, and remained upright, although some cars were leaning and ended up “several feet” from the rails, Free said.

According to Federal Railroad Administration records, from Jan. 1, 2022, through May 31 of this year, there were nine derailments on LIRR tracks — most of them involving trains operating at slow speeds in yards.

The last derailment of an LIRR train with multiple passenger injuries was on Feb. 26, 2019, when a train came off the tracks near Westbury after striking a car at a grade crossing. Seven passengers on the train were injured, and three occupants in the car were killed.

On Oct. 8, 2016, 30 passengers were injured when a train derailed after crashing into a work train stopped on the tracks.

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