In a major sign that transportation issues from Hurricane Sandy are starting to look brighter, the MTA Long Island Rail Road will be running its normal AM & PM rush hour service throughout the system. Here is more via the official press release I received over the weekend:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the MTA Long Island Rail Road will operate full morning and evening rush hour service beginning Monday, December 10, as a result of Amtrak restoring the signal system capacity in one of its two flood-damaged East River tunnels. This will mark the first full service rush hour for the LIRR since Sandy hit six weeks ago.
In replacing the severely damaged signal system in one of the tunnels, combined with an increase in speed on a loop track connecting the East River tunnels with the Sunnyside storage yard, Amtrak restored sufficient train capacity to allow for the increased levels of service during the LIRR’s rush hour. Amtrak is continuing their work to replace the damaged signal system in the other remaining tunnel to restore full train capacity to their East River tunnels. LIRR signal workers are assisting Amtrak in that effort by rewiring one of Amtrak’s five new signal cases for the tunnels. The second tunnel signal system is expected to be restored to full capacity in time for the Christmas holiday.
The LIRR’s off-peak service continues to operate on a regular schedule throughout the LIRR system. – even while one of Amtrak’s damaged tunnels is still at reduced capacity.
“Restoring full LIRR rush hour train service will provide relief to those customers that endured crowded conditions during peak periods due to the loss of tunnel capacity from the flooding effects of Superstorm Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said. “I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak in restoring this crucial LIRR service.”
“I appreciate Amtrak’s efforts to expedite the tunnel work to restore full train capacity in the East River tunnels by the Christmas holidays. And, I would like to thank the men and woman of the LIRR who toiled round the clock to help bring back service,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota.
“We have been working closely with Amtrak to complete the work and find creative solutions to restore full LIRR service as soon as possible. I appreciate the patience of our customers during this vital restoration work after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy,” said LIRR President Helena Williams.
In bringing back one of the two damaged tunnels to full service, Amtrak replaced all the signal system cases, including the parts and all the intricate wiring within the cases that were destroyed by the flood waters. Installing the new signal cases in the tunnel also required new signal control wires to be fitted in the tunnels. Amtrak’s cutover to the new signal system this past weekend, combined with the speed adjustment to the track connecting the East River tunnels with their Sunnyside storage yard allows all LIRR rush hour train service to be restored. (Reduced capacity remains in the one of Amtrak’s East River tunnels which decreases the LIRR’s operating flexibility during rush hours, in the event of a disruption.)
Amtrak is continuing their work to make permanent repairs to the signal system in the one remaining flood-damaged tunnel. Amtrak will be installing three new signal cases for the new permanent signal system. One of the signal cases was wired by LIRR signal personnel at the LIRR’s Garden City facility. This new signal equipment is expected to be installed and tested on the weekend of December 15-16, so that full train capacity in the East River tunnels can be restored by the Christmas holiday.
This is fantastic news for the hundreds of thousands who ride the LIRR daily. Now only if Gov. Cuomo could do something about it being overpriced! Oh well, one step at a time!
xoxo Transit Blogger