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Long IslandTransportation

A look at past LIRR accidents

In January, a Long Island Rail Road train crashed into the end of the tracks at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal. The crash, which injured more than 100 people, was the second accident for the LIRR in less than three months and raised new concerns about the railroad's safety practices.

The railroad has embarked on several safety initiatives, including the installation of cameras in engineer cabs and facing outward on all trains; testing engineers for sleep disorders; and installing state-of-the-art positive train control technology throughout the LIRR system. But none of those measures are in place yet, and could take years to be complete.

Despite the recent accidents, the LIRR’s customer accident rate has steadily declined in recent years.

Here's a look at some past LIRR accidents.

On Aug. 3, 1946, an LIRR passenger train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Herbert McCory

On Aug. 3, 1946, an LIRR passenger train collided head-on with a freight train in the yard area just west of the Port Washington station, killing two crewmen and injuring 27 passengers. The accident occurred shortly after the westbound passenger train left the station bound for Great Neck. Here, an LIRR employee views the east side of the wreck showing part of the passenger train.

On Oct. 14, 1947, an LIRR train jumped
Photo Credit: Newsday / Howard Edwards

On Oct. 14, 1947, an LIRR train jumped the track after failing to come to a stop at the wooden guard bumper in Port Washington. The train grazed a woman standing on the platform, causing serious injuries.

On Feb. 17, 1950, 32 people were killed
Photo Credit: AP

On Feb. 17, 1950, 32 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in a head-on collision of two LIRR trains in Rockville Centre. As part of a grade crossing elimination program, a gauntlet track had been set up to route one train at a time over 2,000 feet of temporary tracks. As the eastbound train left the Rockville Centre station and headed into the gauntlet, a westbound train originating in Babylon slammed into it, mangling both trains. The conductor of the eastbound train claimed in court that he had blacked out before the crash, and was later acquitted of manslaughter. Here, spectators gather close to the scene as salvage crews begin removing wreckage on Feb. 18, 1950.

On Feb. 17, 1950, two Long Island Rail
Photo Credit: Newsday / Howard Edwards

On Feb. 17, 1950, two Long Island Rail Road trains collided head-on 200 yards west of the Banks Avenue crossing in Rockville Centre, killing about 30 people and injuring about 100. Here, a crushed car of one of the trains lies along the tracks the day after it was moved by a crane.

On Nov. 22, 1950, a Hempstead-bound LIRR train
Photo Credit: AP

On Nov. 22, 1950, a Hempstead-bound LIRR train became stalled a half-mile west of the Jamaica station, near Richmond Hill. Minutes later, a Babylon-bound train traveling at 65 miles per hour barreled into the rear of the halted train, which sat in the darkness. The crash killed at least 78 people and injured 400.

On Jan. 2, 1953, an eastbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Harvey Weber

On Jan. 2, 1953, an eastbound LIRR train collided with an oil tanker at the Covert Avenue crossing in New Hyde Park. The truck had become stuck on the tracks at the crossing, and the driver alerted fire officials immediately. Firefighters were en route to the scene when the collision occurred, but there were no injuries, partly due to the relatively light load of oil in the tanker. The truck's capacity was 3,300 gallons, but it was carrying only 100 gallons of oil at the time of the crash.

On Feb. 4, 1954, a freight train derailed
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff DeBear

On Feb. 4, 1954, a freight train derailed in New Hyde Park, but disaster was averted when the engineer of an eastbound LIRR passenger train slammed on the emergency brakes to avoid making contact with the freight train. None of the 98 passengers or crew were injured in the incident. Here, an aerial view of the derailed freight train.

On Aug. 13, 1962, one person was killed
Photo Credit: AP

On Aug. 13, 1962, one person was killed and 17 were injured when a westbound LIRR passenger train collided with a 120-ton construction crane on the tracks near Woodside. The impact sliced away the side of the lead car of the train.

On Dec. 3, 1963, a westbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff DeBear

On Dec. 3, 1963, a westbound LIRR train derailed in Brookhaven, injuring 20 passengers. The derailment was blamed on a flawed portion of track that had fallen off.

The next-to-last car of an LIRR trains lays
Photo Credit: Newsday / Max Heine

The next-to-last car of an LIRR trains lays on its side at Old Stump Road in Brookhaven after it derailed on Dec. 3, 1963. The last car can be seen in the background, completely on its side.

On Dec. 12, 1966, a truck driver was
Photo Credit: UPI

On Dec. 12, 1966, a truck driver was killed when his vehicle was struck by a diesel engine at a grade crossing in Maspeth. The engineer testified that it appeared the driver had stopped at the crossing and then surged forward, causing the collision.

On July 13, 1973, a mail truck was
Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles

On July 13, 1973, a mail truck was struck by an LIRR passenger train in New Hyde Park. There were conflicting reports as to how and why the truck driver drove through the safety gate, causing the collision with the Huntington-bound train. Five passengers sustained minor injuries, and the truck driver, who was charged with driving while intoxicated, was hospitalized with leg and hip fractures. Here, firefighters inspect the scene of the crash.

On March 14, 1982, nine teenagers were killed
Photo Credit: UPI

On March 14, 1982, nine teenagers were killed an another was critically injured when a van that went around a closed crossing gate was struck by an eastbound LIRR passenger train in Mineola. Here, police and firefighters inspect the wreckage of the van.

On Aug. 24, 1984, a westbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Cummins

On Aug. 24, 1984, a westbound LIRR train derailed as it switched tracks at the Babylon station, causing minor injuries to passengers aboard. One of the cars jumped the platform and struck a concrete pillar.

A derailed westbound LIRR train sits in the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Cummins

A derailed westbound LIRR train sits in the Babylon station on Aug. 24, 1984.

On Nov. 24, 1987, a freight train derailed
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

On Nov. 24, 1987, a freight train derailed west of the LIRR station in Deer Park when four freight cars left the track and crashed 25 feet down the embankment. No injuries were reported. Here, Patty Koliner of Copiague, the owner of a pet motel on Long Island Avenue in Deer Park, looks at the aftermath of the derailment, which occurred right in front of her business.

On Aug. 26, 1988, a westbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

On Aug. 26, 1988, a westbound LIRR train derailed after it struck a flatbed trailer at the Park Avenue crossing in Huntington, injuring 18 people aboard. LIRR officials blamed the crash on the driver of the flatbed, which got stuck straddling the tracks.

Here, an aerial view of a derailed westbound
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff DeBear

Here, an aerial view of a derailed westbound LIRR train after it struck a flatbed trailer at the Park Avenue crossing in Huntington on Aug. 26, 1988. The derailment, which left 18 people injured, caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage to cars, engines, track, signals and a lumberyard adjacent to the tracks where one of the cars came to rest.

On May 2, 1989, an eastbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dan Neville

On May 2, 1989, an eastbound LIRR train collided with a car near the Wyandanch station at Straight Path and Long Island Avenue. A 24-year-old passenger in the vehicle was taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises.

On Sept. 15, 1996, an eastbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

On Sept. 15, 1996, an eastbound LIRR train derailed after it collided with a vehicle at the Wellwood Avenue crossing in North Lindenhurst. The driver of the vehicle was killed. Here, emergency personnel at the scene hours after the fatal crash.

On Nov. 8, 1996, a westbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

On Nov. 8, 1996, a westbound LIRR train derailed near the Great Neck station. The incident was deemed weather-related.

On Jan. 24, 2001, an LIRR train with
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

On Jan. 24, 2001, an LIRR train with about 110 people aboard derailed just east of the Stony Hollow Road overpass in Greenlawn. Here, firefighters help passengers get off of the train.

On Aug. 6, 2001, an eastbound LIRR train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Joe Turner

On Aug. 6, 2001, an eastbound LIRR train on the Babylon line derailed on the County Line Road bridge near the Amityville station after a train car struck an object and an electrical fire erupted on the third rail.

On Aug. 13, 2001, an LIRR passenger train
Photo Credit: Newsday / Michael E. Ach

On Aug. 13, 2001, an LIRR passenger train derailed just east of South Woods Road near the Syosset station.

After an LIRR passenger train derailed near the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ghazalle Badiozamani

After an LIRR passenger train derailed near the Syosset station on Aug. 13, 2001, commuters had travel to the Hicksville station and wait there for buses to take them to their final destinations.

On Feb. 17, 2003, an LIRR employee looks
Photo Credit: Newsday / Michael E. Ach

On Feb. 17, 2003, an LIRR employee looks at a train that derailed at the Port Washington station.

On April 12, 2004, workers and investigators at
Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow

On April 12, 2004, workers and investigators at the scene after an LIRR train derailed near the Long Island City Passenger Yard in Queens.

On July 6, 2006, an empty LIRR car
Photo Credit: AP / Aaron Jackson

On July 6, 2006, an empty LIRR car derailed outside a tunnel leading to Penn Station. The car, with no passengers, came off the tracks around 2:30 a.m. and caused delays of up to 30 minutes on parts of the LIRR system.

On Jan. 8, 2008, a freight train derailed
Photo Credit: James Carbone

On Jan. 8, 2008, a freight train derailed on the westbound tracks at Pine Aire Drive in Edgewood, dumping construction material out of the train. No injuries were reported.

On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees look at
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees look at an eastbound passenger train that derailed at the Jamaica station a day earlier. The rear three cars derailed, with one car jackknifing over three separate tracks, the railroad said. No passengers were injured.

On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees work to
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees work to remove a jackknifed car at the Jamaica station. The rear three cars of an eastbound train derailed a day earlier, with one car jackknifing over three separate tracks, the railroad said. No passengers were injured.

On Nov. 24, 2008, an LIRR employee looks
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

On Nov. 24, 2008, an LIRR employee looks at an eastbound passenger train that derailed at the Jamaica station a day earlier. The rear three cars derailed, with one car jackknifing over three separate tracks, the railroad said. No passengers were injured.

Officials stand on the platform at the Great
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Officials stand on the platform at the Great Neck LIRR station where two eastbound trains collided and derailed on August 8, 2011. A slow-moving eastbound train with no passengers "bumped" a stationary train also with no passengers at Great Neck about 7 a.m. No one was hurt.

On Aug. 15, 2012, passengers crowd Penn Station
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

On Aug. 15, 2012, passengers crowd Penn Station as they look up at the main train announcement board after a train derailment forced the closure of service from Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn to Jamaica station in Queens.

On Oct. 10, 2012, police stand near a
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

On Oct. 10, 2012, police stand near a disabled LIRR passenger sitting on the tracks after it derailed in Long Island City.

On June 4, 2013, two LIRR work trains
Photo Credit: Joseph C. Sperber

On June 4, 2013, two LIRR work trains collided in Westbury, injuring five employees and causing one of the trains to derail. Here, rescue workers use a stretcher to remove one of the injured workers from the crash scene.

A 10-car Hempstead-bound train derailed just after leaving
Photo Credit: Newsday / Craig Ruttle

A 10-car Hempstead-bound train derailed just after leaving the Penn Station platform on track 14 on June 17, 2013. The accident caused massive rush hour delays, and forced the evacuation of about 800 people from the train. There were no injuries.

On July 17, 2015, two passenger trains going
Photo Credit: C.S. Muncy

On July 17, 2015, two passenger trains going in opposite directions sideswiped each other just west of Jamaica station during the evening rush. The LIRR later said that one engineer failed to obey a stop signal. No injuries were reported.

On Sept. 15, 2015, repair crews work on
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

On Sept. 15, 2015, repair crews work on clearing a derailed freight car from the LIRR tracks in Westbury.

On Oct. 8, 2016, an eastbound Huntington train
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

On Oct. 8, 2016, an eastbound Huntington train derailed just east of New Hyde Park after it struck a work train that errantly veered onto the same track. Officials said the accident, which injured 33 people, was caused by a track switch left in the wrong position.

On Jan. 4, 2017, more than 100 people
Photo Credit: AP / Aaron D. Neufeld

On Jan. 4, 2017, more than 100 people were injured when a Brooklyn-bound LIRR train crashed through a bumping block at the end of the tracks at Atlantic Terminal.

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