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LIRR's Montauk Branch on or close after lightning-related delays, railroad says

Trains traveling in both directions on the Montauk Branch had been delayed up to two hours into Saturday afternoon.

Crews were working to fix signal trouble near

Crews were working to fix signal trouble near Speonk Saturday morning, the LIRR said. Above, an LIRR passenger at Penn Station on July 23. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

In the second instance of lightning-related LIRR problems this month, overnight strikes caused signal trouble near the Speonk station on Saturday, leading to cancellations and delays of two hours or more.

Trains traveling in both directions on the Montauk Branch were delayed throughout Saturday morning and into the afternoon, railroad officials said.

Crews worked to resolve the issue, a Long Island Rail Road spokeswoman said, and trains were back to on or close to schedule shortly after 3 p.m.

The first train to be affected was the 1:04 a.m. train from Jamaica to Montauk, which ended up operating an hour and 32 minutes late. Subsequent trains were similarly delayed. Multiple trains were canceled, with riders accommodated by buses or other trains.

One train, the 7:04 a.m. from Montauk to Jamaica, ended up operating two hours and 36 minutes late. 

The LIRR had first warned of 90-minute delays about 10 a.m. before the delays grew to two hours about 11 a.m. The delays were shortened to 45 minutes to an hour about 12:15 p.m.

MTA officials said the signal trouble was related to lightning strikes from Friday night's storm in the area.

Earlier this month, trains on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branches were delayed more than an hour and a half or canceled after a suspected lightning strike caused widespread signal system problems.

The railroad said power surges from lightning storms on Aug. 7 eliminated the LIRR’s ability to control its track switches from New Hyde Park to east of Merillon Avenue, affecting the commute of tens of thousands. A lightning strike in the same storms also caused a fire at an electrical substation in New Hyde Park.  

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