Home LIRR LIRR anticipating ‘several days’ of reduced service

LIRR anticipating ‘several days’ of reduced service

by Benjamin Kabak

A Newsday video story highlights the way commuters have adjusted to the reduced LIRR service this week.

As the Long Island Rail Road prepares for another day without full service, the latest word from the agency is that it will take several days to restore full service. “Over two-hundred wires need to be checked for possible damage from the fire,” the LIRR said in a press release.” Once the repairs are completed, intricate and thorough testing must be performed on the switches and signals. From the preliminary LIRR investigation into the incident, it appears that the cause of the cable fire was weather-related; it is still under investigation.”

Still, the majority of service is moving through Jamaica now albeit at slower speeds. For the morning rush, the authority offers up these words of advice:

While the Wednesday AM Rush service plan includes cancellation of 33 westbound AM rush hour trains, the LIRR will be running 75 percent of the 144 trains that normally operate. However, there will be residual delays from added station stops. Customers will be able to exit or board trains at Jamaica Station, however trains stopping at Jamaica will not be held for scheduled connections to/from Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, Hunterspoint Avenue, and Long Island City. LIRR station personnel will be available at Jamaica to assist customers with service information.

The service on the Port Washington Branch will operate normally while there is still no train service between West Hepstead and Valley Stream or westbound service from St. Albans. The full list of canceled trains is available here.

PM rush service is as follows with canceled trains at the above link. The MTA estimates that 66 percent of evening trains will run as scheduled.

Aside from the regular Port Washington service, the evening rush hour service from Penn Station will consist of dedicated trains making local stops to Huntington/Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma/Greenport, Long Beach, Babylon and Montauk. Customers are advised to board trains that do not require a change at Jamaica.

LIRR is offering Hempstead and Far Rockaway-bound trains only from Atlantic Terminal in downtown Brooklyn, which can be reached by subway. There will be no Hempstead and Far Rockaway service from Penn Station.

The following changes will also be in effect:

  • Oyster Bay: Travel to Mineola for connections to all Oyster Bay branch stops.
  • West Hempstead: Travel to Valley Stream where buses will be available to take them onto to their home stations.
  • Patchogue, Speonk and Montauk: Customers can connect to those trains at Babylon.
  • There is no train service between Valley Stream and West Hempstead – bus service will be provided for train service at Valley Stream.
  • There will be no eastbound train service from St. Albans – bus service will be provided between St. Albans and Jamaica.

I’ll continue to offer updates as more information becomes available.

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Andrew D. Smith August 25, 2010 - 1:14 pm

This is a good test of whether Walder is serious about changing the MTA. If so, he needs to fire the person or people who were in charge of making sure the switching station was properly maintained. There are no “mechanical failures.” There are people who fail to keep equipment properly maintained. Yes, problems may be caused by weather when the weather in question is an epic tornado, but to blame a light rain for this is also absurd. If the switching station could not withstand some rain, then the guy in charge of maintaining it needs to be fired because rain is something you need to be prepared for.

Walder also needs to fire whatever person or people have the job of planning how to quickly fix unexpected problems.

At any functional organization, failure has consequences. Every employee must know that when things go wrong, authorities will investigate who screwed up and fire the culprits. It’s a powerful incentive not to screw up. It’s also a powerful indicator to your customers that you care about them, that you don’t take their anger or their suffering for granted. Does anyone who reads this blog think that anyone at LIRR is seriously upset about this amazing inconvenience, but the millions upon millions of manhours lost around the city? Does anyone think that anyone at LIRR is terrified about the consequences of this screw up?

No, they’re just licking their chops for the OT. This failure was a good thing for the workers of the LIRR. Lots of people will get paid for not working, while others will get paid extra for some juicy OT.

If Walder is serious about changing the MTA, that has to stop. A disaster like this has to be seen as a terrible, terrible thing by every single person in the organization. I’d love to see dramatic action here because each crisis is an opportunity for transforming an organization, but I don’t expect it. I haven’t heard a word about anyone suffering any consequences. To the contrary, I’ve only heard the MTA spin machine excusing very human failure by arguing that no person could have possibly predicted rain in the greater New York area.


Andrew D. Smith August 26, 2010 - 9:14 am

I really hate spending time on what I consider an important point and getting no response whatever. 🙁

Benjamin Kabak August 26, 2010 - 10:24 am

My short answer is that I think you’re overreacting to a short circuit caused by weather delays. This was really a freak accident, and the LIRR was three months away from doing away with the Hall signal tower and replacing it with a modernized system. Does it make sense for heads to roll for it?

Alon Levy August 26, 2010 - 6:51 pm

I don’t think any of us knows whether it makes sense for heads to roll. It’s possible that it really was a freak accident. It’s also possible that it came from gross mismanagement. Walder should know this, but blog commenters don’t.

Andrew D. Smith August 27, 2010 - 3:55 pm

How does rain constitute a freak accident? Properly maintained equipment can withstand rain, and it’s someone’s job to maintain equipment. Absolutely nothing the MTA has said about this has indicated that anything truly unpredictable happened.

Besides, I think both of you miss the larger point (which is why I’m writing the same reply to both). No one at the MTA ever suffers consequences for failure — and that explains a lot of the MTA’s failures.

The iPhone 4 had a minor glitch that affected phone reception for some group of people when, but only when, they held the phone in a certain way. And this problem could easily be fixed with a 3 cent piece of rubber (as compared to a $600 phone; $200 from consumers and $400 or so from AT&T for every iPhone 4). Not a big screwup, by any objective standard.

But Apple fired the guy in charge of the iPhone’s reception, and if you read tech blogs, they’ve apparently fired a fair number of his underlings as well. And that’s why Apple is a golden company.

Both you guys spend a lot of time reading and thinking about the MTA. Can either of you ever remember anything like that happening? Ever? Has either of you ever heard even a rumor that someone in the MTA fired an employee on the spot when the boss walked into a station and saw the employee loafing off? Can either of you honestly say that any MTA worker ever fears consequences when he screws up so long as that screwup isn’t criminal (i.e. driving a bus blind drunk and hitting someone)?

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