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LIRR: 29 trains from Penn canceled due to Amtrak derailment

Views of the evening commute at Penn Station

Views of the evening commute at Penn Station in NYC, on March 24, 2017. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Full service was restored to the Long Island Rail Road around 8 p.m. Friday, transit officials said, capping a day where thousands of commuters were delayed getting home after cancellations because of a morning derailment at Penn Station.

Saturday trains are expected to be operating on schedule, the LIRR said.

Nearly 30 evening peak trains from Penn Station were canceled because of the Amtrak derailment around 9 a.m.

Westbound service, which had been suspended because of the derailment, was restored around 6 p.m. from Jamaica to Penn and Woodside to Penn.

An Amtrak Acela Express train bound for Washington partially derailed as it pulled out of Penn Station. It scraped the side of an arriving New Jersey Transit train. No serious injuries were reported.

Normally, 87 trains depart from Penn during the evening rush, but the cancellations were necessary to allow NJTransit and Amtrak the exclusive use of Tracks 13-16, which are shared with the LIRR, transit officials said.

Commuter Matt Palczewski, 19, of Oyster Bay said he left his student work study job at Mercy College near Herald Square 90 minutes early to avoid the delays.

“Going through Penn Station would have been a mess with the large crowds,” Palczewski said. “I didn’t want to spend an extra three hours in the city.”

Usually, he catches the 5:33 p.m. train from Penn to Hicksville to get home. Instead, he got on the 4:18 p.m. train from the Hunterspoint Avenue station in Queens to Oyster Bay.

Lori Parker, 43, of Rockville Centre was still at work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, the last person in her midtown office.

Normally, she catches the 5:47 p.m. Freeport train from Penn to Rockville Center.

“I want to be home but none of it sounds good,” Parker said of her commute.

Meanwhile, the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council asked Amtrak and NJ Transit to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

“The derailment of an Amtrak Acela train and its collision with an NJ Transit commuter train in Penn Station this morning will have substantial impacts on hundreds of thousands of commuters,” the council said in a Friday statement.

“Managing operational problems resulting from this accident will result in severe dislocations for Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) riders, in addition to NJ Transit commuters and Amtrak passengers,” the statement said.

Earlier the LIRR had advised commuters to leave Manhattan before 4 p.m. or hold off until after 8 p.m., as well as consider departing from the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.

The disruption during the evening rush was “caused by a reduction in the number of tracks that are available” for use by LIRR trains, said Aaron Donovan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The LIRR said it normally had access to nine departure tracks from Penn but because of the derailment the railroad would be limited to four tracks, which means a reduction of more than 50 percent of its track space.

With AP


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