Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Delays on LIRR After 3 Hurt in Train Accident by John Valenti - Newsday

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Two Long Island Rail Road trains bumped while leaving Jamaica station Wednesday, leaving three passengers injured and causing systemwide delays into the morning, a railroad spokesman said.

The subsequent accident investigation has resulted in westbound delays of 1 1/2 hours and eastbound delays of on about one hour, according to LIRR spokesman Rich Mendelson.

The accident caused a suspension of all service west of Jamaica for about a half hour.

"Why it happened, how it happened, is under investigation," Mendelson said.

The accident occurred at 7:30 a.m. as the two trains were leaving Jamaica station -- and forced the evacuation of 1,000 customers, Mendelson said. He said an earlier signal outage that affected service had no role in the accident.

The accident involved the 5:59 a.m. train from Port Jefferson, due in at Hunterspoint Avenue at 7:41 a.m., and the 6:42 a.m. train from Babylon, due in at Penn Station at 7:49 a.m.

According to Mendelson, the two trains were leaving the station and "got to a switch at the same time." Mendelson said the front of the westbound Port Jefferson "bumped" into the rear of the Babylon train.

About 770 passengers were evacuated from the Babylon train, while another 230 were evacuated from the Port Jefferson train, Mendelson said.

The injured passengers -- one man and two woman -- were on the Babylon train, officials said. The injuries are being described as minor.

One of the women reported her injuries when her train arrived at Penn Station, Mendelson said. The man had reported neck and back injuries, while it was unclear what type of injuries had been suffered by the second injured woman.

The accident caused the immediate suspension of all service west of Jamaica.

Limited service was restored at 7:55 a.m., Mendelson said, and service to Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside was not restored until 9:05 a.m. Customers were transferred to subway trains on the New York City Transit system, which honored LIRR tickets.