After superstorm Sandy, a LIRR train station in Northport appears...

After superstorm Sandy, a LIRR train station in Northport appears empty. (Oct. 31, 2012) Credit: Mario Gonzalez

Not even in the best of times was a daily commute on the Long Island Rail Road a sure thing. Signal malfunctions, accidents, lightning strikes and other problems regularly had passengers fuming.

Now commuter anxieties have been thrust into the red zone. Service was suspended on the Long Beach Branch after Sandy exposed switches, signals and electric substations to seawater. A crippling bottleneck near Penn Station held up full service as workers pumped out two Amtrak tunnels. And when last week's nor'easter brought the system to a temporary halt, countless riders were left with a nightmarish commute.

The worst part is, the LIRR was the post-Sandy backup plan for many. With just enough gas to get to the station and back, a Long Islander might be able to report for work in Manhattan. Our railroad is yet another part of our aging infrastructure that needs to be improved.

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