Poor, poor Long Island Rail Road commuters. Today's commute, like yesterday's, is limited as the agency continues to deal with fallout from Monday's switching tower fire. According to the MTA, "Long Island Rail Road is advising customers to expect significant schedule changes and delays during Wednesday's morning and evening rush hours as a result of damage to a major switching tower at Jamaica on Monday. Since Monday, crews have been working round-the-clock on repairs and continuing to make progress. However, it is likely to take several days to complete repairs."
One commuter told Newsday that her usual 6:35 a.m. train from Floral Park to Penn Station "never came and there was no announcement." (She got on the 6:52 a.m. train.) Another told WCBS 2, "I was over an hour late to work this morning, unexpectedly. I even budgeted more time and tried to take an earlier train. My train was canceled once I got to the station." Today's afternoon/evening service is expected to be at 66% operating capacity: "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. LIRR is offering Hempstead and Far Rockaway-bound trains only from Atlantic Terminal in downtown Brooklyn, which can be reached by subway."
And more about the fire: The Post reports, "The antiquated LIRR switch system that caught fire and caused chaos on the railroad this week has been in operation since 1925 and was supposed to be replaced more than three years ago -- but cost overruns of 167 percent made the update yet another long-delayed MTA project, The Post has learned... The original completion date was supposed to be June 2007, at a cost of $16 million, budget documents show. That price is now up to $42 million." A LIRR spokesman admitted that the project was "stalled."