LIRR Prepares For Possible Amtrak Strike

Earlier this month, Newsday had a piece about The Long Island Rail Road preparing for a possible Amtrak strike. Unfortunately at this time the strike is still a strong possibility. Anyhow here is the article courtesy of Newsday:

The Long Island Rail Road is working on contingency plans in case of a strike by Amtrak workers at the end of the month, according to railroad officials.

If a strike does take place, the LIRR, along with the New Jersey Transit system, would be swept up in the national work stoppage – Amtrak owns the tracks at Pennsylvania Station, and the strike would effectively shut it down.

The strike cannot happen before 12:01 a.m. Jan. 30, since the two sides are in a 30-day cooling-off period mandated by federal law. Amtrak workers have been without a contract since 2000.

“The LIRR is closely monitoring the situation with Amtrak and is developing contingency plans with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the event of a strike,” LIRR president Helena Williams said in a statement. Details of the plans have not been finalized. About 85,000 LIRR riders commute to Penn Station during the morning rush hour, according to an LIRR official.

“It will be a complete and utter nightmare,” said Gerry Bringmann, president of the LIRR Commuter Council, an advocacy group. He said people who work in Midtown, for example, and now walk a short way to their offices might have to take the LIRR to Jamaica station and then the E train to the 34th Street stop. “You’re adding half an hour into the commute, easy,” he said.

Subways would continue to run during the strike.

On Dec. 1, President Bush empaneled the five-person Presidential Emergency Board to investigate the contract dispute between Amtrak and nine unions representing such craft workers as signalmen, maintenance workers, firemen and oilers. The report, released Thursday by the White House, recommends that Amtrak employees receive back wages and pay increases, and there be no substantive work rule changes.

“All the unions will be prepared to make settlements based on the recommendations, and the ball will be in Amtrak’s court,” said Joel Parker, vice president of the Transportation Communication Union. “The unions do not want to strike,” he said. “The recommendations provide the basis for a settlement.” A strike would affect Amtrak trains across the country, he said.

An Amtrak official said the railway plans to carefully review the recommendations of the PEB, but is worried about covering the increased costs. “Amtrak’s concern has always been the railroad’s ability to make pay increases retroactive and to achieve efficiencies through work rule reform, and we’ll be looking closely at the recommendations, particularly as they relate to these issues,” an Amtrak official said in a statement.

Do you want to see utter chaos up close & personal? If so, go to the Sutphin Blvd./Archer Ave. station & see the madhouse on the platforms for the E train. I wouldn’t count on the chaos to really spill over to the J & Z since most ignore the line although it is a great alternative especially if heading to Lower Manhattan! I do not want to see a strike but if one does take place, I will be checking out the scene at Jamaica & photographing it for Eye On Transit.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Some People Never Learn……

So it is time to go on a tear & catch up with all the transit news from the last few weeks. Lets start with the accident that briefly shut down service on the New Canaan Branch on New Year’s Eve. A Metro-North train clipped a van at a crossing shortly after 9 a.m. Here is a brief story of the incident courtesy of the New York Daily News:

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – A Metro-North train clipped a van at a crossing Monday morning, briefly shutting down the commuter railroad’s New Canaan branch.

Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker says the collision occurred at 9:11 a.m. at the Crescent Street crossing in New Canaan.

Brucker says the gates were down as the train approached, but the driver apparently went around the gates and the train clipped the van’s rear. Brucker says the van’s driver was taken to an area hospital, but the injuries were not reported to be serious.

One run of the train service between New Canaan and Stamford was eliminated, but normal service had resumed by mid-morning.

It never ceases to amaze me that drivers continue to think they can beat oncoming trains. The same goes for people on foot. How many accidents & deaths does one have to hear or read about before the message gets through to their thick head? The train vs. you = a win for the train either lightly or convincingly. Either way the results are not good for you so enough already with the idiocy!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Guitar Center: The Bad

3 days ago, I finally got around to writing about my trip to the Guitar Center in Queens. Now I must share the other half of the story from a completely different day. Based on the title you can just tell how it went however you may continue reading on.

6 days after I first went to Guitar Center, I decided to go back & see my buddies while picking up a few things. I was considering buying another amp for the apartment along with some other accessories that I forgot to get the first time. The planned route was the same as always, the to 59th Street where I would then catch the to 46th Street. As usual I was not looking forward to the last leg of the trip since depending on the can be hazardous to your health.

Unfortunately the reverted back to its normal self when I arrived at Lexington Ave. The trip down on the was fast & efficient as I would expect. As I & many others were heading downstairs, I heard a train leave. Judging by the sound & direction of it, I assumed it was either a Queens bound or . However when I got downstairs, I realized that it could not have been either as the Queens bound portion of the platform was filled with people waiting. Unfortunately the activity of waiting is one all of us were going to be practicing together for awhile.

I along with many others stood on the platform for approximately 15-20 minutes which I verified by looking at my Treo a few times. The was nowhere to be found & I was getting frustrated as each minute went by. However the soon to be riders were not the only ones becoming frustrated. During this time not one showed up either. So we had a dangerously crowded platform that resembled what you would see during rush hour. After looking at my Treo one last time, I finally saw a train approaching & thankfully it was the . I heard a few sighs of relief when the was pulling in. Unfortunately I heard moans from those who were still waiting for the . Let me congratulate the MTA for no announcements as well!

Eventually I leave Guitar Center with a new pedal & an extra instrument cable. I slowly walk back to the 46th Street station as I am trying to collect my thoughts. I decided to call one of my best friends Trish as I stood outside the station. After speaking for a couple of minutes, I decided I better go as I want to beat the heavy rain that was expected & it was already starting to drizzle. I get downstairs & see a good number of people waiting for the . It was painfully obvious that a train had not come in awhile. I figured one must be coming soon so my wait would be short. WRONG!!!!!!

I once again stood on a platform for almost 20 minutes waiting for the to arrive. During this time multiple Forest Hills/71st Ave bound came & went. This was deja vu from earlier when one Brooklyn bound & came & went as we waited & waited! I was beyond pissed & realized why I & so many others despise the . I don’t think a line exists that is as pathetic & inconsistent as the is! Eventually the train came & I finally got to Lexington Avenue where I could transfer to hands down the best line in the system, the & go home! I seriously wonder if I should ever move away from the as I am completely spoiled!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Guitar Center: The Good

I admit I was one of the millions who waited until the last minute to do Christmas shopping. I actually finished my shopping during the evening on Christmas Eve. However the day before Christmas Eve, I headed to Guitar Center to get a gift for my dad. I was getting him a combo amplifier that he could use around the house. I decided to go to the Guitar Center in Long Island City since I knew a couple of the guys working there.

The planned commute was a simple 2 train ride consisting of the to 59th Street & the to 46th Street. I admit that I was not looking forward to the back half of the commute since it consisted of counting on the which is always a dangerous proposition. We all know how I feel about that line & how the “R” stands for “rarely”. However I must confess, I did not get the usual showing.

When I arrived at 59th Street & walked downstairs, the came within 1-2 minutes. After hanging out in the store & picking up the amp along with a new axe for myself, I walked back to the station expecting a long wait. However the once again showed up within 1-2 minutes. I was so shocked that I almost dropped my stuff. The actually took a little longer to show up but only by 1-2 minutes more. However I never thought the day would come when my wait would be longer for the compared to the . I should have played the lotto as it was clear that luck was on my side!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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5 Train Service Alert (Updated 1:43 pm)

The MTA has a service alert posted about delays on Bowling Green bound service due to a smoke condition at the Gun Hill Road station. However there is some breaking news that is related to 5 train service but not due to the posted smoke condition.

There is no service on the between East 180th Street & Dyre Avenue due to a tree falling on the tracks approximately 1000 feet south of the Baychester Avenue station.

==========

Updated: 1:43 pm

The area has been completely cleared. A train is about to go through the area as a test & service should be restored in the next couple of minutes.

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