Watch CBS News

LIRR Back On Track Following Frustrating Morning Commute

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island Rail Road riders had a rough commute during Wednesday morning's rush hour.

Limited service into and out of Penn Station was restored around 9:30 a.m. following an earlier suspension.

Congestion from the suspension caused delays of up to 90 minutes systemwide for hours after service returned.

By late afternoon, the LIRR managed to restore service to on or close to schedule for all branches, but warned of possible delays through the evening rush hour, CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported.

Signal Problem Snarls Morning LIRR Commute

Service had been suspended at the height of the Wednesday morning rush due to signal trouble east of the East River tunnels caused by a power outage.

"The signal problems were caused by a lack of power to the signal system," LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan told 1010 WINS. "The Long Island Rail Road at this point is closely monitoring the power to the signal system to be able to detect the potential for it to happen again."

The LIRR said crews were able to make temporary repairs to restore power to the signal system and that it anticipates providing normal evening rush hour service.

But earlier, Jamaica and Woodside were the end of the line for many weary Long Island commuters, CBS2's Steve Langford reported.

"It stinks," one frustrated commuter said.

Even the MTA sounded miserable about the power outage.

"Obviously, this is not the way you want to run a railroad," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said.

Lisberg called this summer a wake-up call for funding rail travel in the United States. Power problems have also taken their toll on NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak in recent weeks.

"This illustrates why investing in our railroad infrastructure is so vital for New York, for everyone," he said.

Commuters posted pictures to Twitter and Instagram of massive crowds trying to squeeze onto the subway system at Jamaica.

Another rider wrote that she had been stuck on a train for more than two hours.

Annalise Hoffman said she finally made it into Penn Station after a two-hour trip from Bellmore.

"They told us to get off the train, it's being canceled because train traffic ahead of us and to switch trains," she told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. "And we got on a new train going to Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn -- they canceled that one and then we had to get off again."

Some passengers said they would have appreciated a head's-up before sitting on the tracks into Manhattan for what felt like ages.

"They didn't give us the opportunity to get off at Jamaica. That was the most frustrating part," said Michael Duignan, of Wantagh.

And professor Robert Paaswell, with City College of New York, said commuters should get used to it so long as transit systems don't get the funds to modernize, CBS2's Steve Langford reported.

"The fact that we're not maintaining our systems as aggressively as we should and putting money into our systems is of great concern to people who are reliant on transportation. And who's reliant on transportation in the New York region? Everyone," Paaswell said.

For more information, click here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.