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NJ Transit train derails at Penn Station, LIRR says service unaffected

One car of a New Jersey Transit train derailed at New York’s Penn Station Thursday evening, but the LIRR is not expected to be affected, officials said.

There are no reports of injuries.

Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the LIRR, which is owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the derailment is not expected to have any impact on the Long Island Rail Road’s lines Thursday night.

Media reports said the FDNY responded to Penn after the derailment.

New Jersey Transit tweeted: “Train service is suspended in/out of PSNY due to minor NJ Transit train derailment. All mid-town direct trains will be diverted to Hoboken.”

In an email, a NJ Transit spokesman wrote: “At approximately 9:10 pm Thursday July 7, North Jersey Coast Line train #3276, which left Long Branch at 7:20 pm and was scheduled to arrive at PSNY at 8:53 pm, experienced a minor derailment near PSNY. There are approximately 180 customers and crew on board the nine car train with no reports of injuries. Customers will be transferred to another train to take them into Penn Station NY. Currently rail service is suspended in and out of NY and Midtown Direct trains are being diverted to Hoboken. Rail passes and tickets are being cross honored with PATH, NJT bus and private bus carriers.”

On April 3, a NJ Transit derailment in Penn Station took eight of its 21 tracks out of service, causing massive delays that ground on for the better part of a week.

A train derailment’s effect on the system as a whole “depends on what time of day it takes place and where,” said Donovan, explaining that fewer trains in the tunnels and on tracks reduce the likelihood of the problem spreading, such as to the LIRR’s lines, which share the Penn Station hub along with Amtrak and NJ Transit.

The derailment in April of a NJ Transit train occurred during the morning rush hour, blocking travel on several tracks and significantly disturbing service on the LIRR, officials said.

“With railroad infrastructure, if something takes place at an important switch point, it could affect a lot of tracks,” he said. “The time of day is very important.”

Amtrak said in an email: “Due to a slow speed derailment involving a commuter train at New York Penn Station, customers between New York and New Jersey should expect extensive delays. Amtrak is working with our commuter train partners to safely evacuate passengers from the disabled train and will provide more service information when available. Passengers are encouraged to call 1-800-USA-RAIL for additional information.”

The busy Northeast Corridor around Penn Station has been beset by problems in the past few months. Two derailments, a power failure, signal problems and other issues at Penn Station have pushed Amtrak to begin replacing aging tracks and other equipment, and have caused numerous delays for commuters.

Next week, LIRR riders will be displaced by the infrastructure repairs, starting what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has dubbed the “summer of hell.”

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