Teen Dies After Being Hit By LIRR Train

This past Thursday, a 16 year old teenager named Phelim Lynch was hit by a westbound Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train just west of the Floral Park station. The incident took place as he & a 17 year old friend were walking along the tracks. According to some of his friends, the area in & around where the accident took place is a well known spot where youngsters hang out at.  He was taken to Mineola Hospital after the 10:45 p.m. incident but he eventually died at 6:08 a.m. on Friday.

I know this might sound harsh but I do not feel bad about this incident. I was once a teenager myself who did stupid things from time to time like others. However I knew where to draw the line in doing something stupid & doing something that can get me killed. When will people get it through their head, walking along active train tracks is NEVER a good choice. I don’t care how well you might know the schedule, one can never guarantee a train of some sorts will not come through. The worst part is you know people will continue to hang out in & around the spot where the accident happened. How many people have to die before the message sinks in?

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Couple Rescues Disabled Driver From Onrushing LIRR Train

This past Friday, a couple showed displayed amazing heroics when they saved a disabled driver from an onrushing Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train. The unidentified 63 year old driver mistook the tracks as a road. When she realized that she was on the tracks, she yelled for help saying she could not get out.

34 year old NYPD officer Randi LoCicero & her 33 year old chief of the volunteer fire department in Franklin Square, husband Anthony LoCicero ran to the car as the crossing gates closed down. When they reached the cat, they flung the doors open & got the driver out of the car just in the nick of time. Just seconds after, the train plowed into the car dragging it a short distance.

Ms. LoCicero had this to say about the incident; “She was a little mad we didn’t get her pocketbook, but you know, that’s life.” Long Island Rail Road spokeswoman Susan McGowan had this to say about the incident; “We are very grateful for the quick thinking and fast actions of these two heroes.”

Leave it to a woman to worry about her pocketbook when she almost died………

xoxo Transit Blogger

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East Side Access Plan Reaches A Milestone

Things have been hectic the last few days so I am a little bit behind on some topics I wanted to blog about. This past Friday, the MTA released a press release about a milestone being reached in regards to the “East Side Access” plan. Here is the entire press release:

The MTA’s East Side Access project – which brings Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal – reached another milestone when a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) recently began drilling under Manhattan. East Side Access is a $6.3 billion project that will provide access to Grand Central Terminal for Long Island Rail Road commuters. When complete in 2013, East Side Access will serve approximately 160,000 customers a day.

The $10 million, 200-ton TBM arrived in pieces earlier this year, which were lowered into the 63rd Street tunnel in Long Island City via a massive excavation. The pieces were then transported through the tunnel, under the East River, to a “launch box” under 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue. The TBM was assembled in the launch box and began testing earlier in the fall, and has traveled approximately 500 feet to date. It is now digging its way toward Grand Central at approximately 50 feet per day, first moving east along 63rd Street and then curving down Park Avenue to Grand Central. A second TBM arrived in September and will begin digging a second tube for the project later this month.

The bi-level 63rd Street tunnel was constructed starting in 1969, designed to carry both subway and commuter rail trains. Due to budget shortfalls, the tunnel remained unused until 1989, when F train service was routed through the tunnel’s upper level to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Until now, the lower level has terminated at 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, where the TBM began boring toward Grand Central. Connecting tunnels will be completed in Queens to link the tunnel to the LIRR’s Main Line and Port Washington branch tracks.

The project will have a number of significant regional transportation benefits, including:

* Reducing Penn Station train arrivals while increasing LIRR Manhattan arrivals by 41 percent
* Reducing pedestrian crowding in Penn Station
* Eliminating standees on the LIRR between Jamaica and Penn Station
* Improving the reliability of train service
* Reducing crowding on the subway lines that use Penn Station and the No. 7 line
* Reducing daily vehicle miles of travel in the region and improving air quality
* Allowing for Metro-North Railroad service to Penn Station, thereby providing for a more balanced transportation system
* Providing convenient access between the east side of Manhattan and AirTrain to JFK
* The Third Track project in combination with East Side Access will provide robust and reliable LIRR service opportunities to two Manhattan terminals – Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal

Readers of this blog know how I feel about this project. If you don’t, you can check out my thoughts by reading this entry.

xoxo Transit Blogger

 

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Staten Island Railway To Expand Express Service

Catching up on some other transit news from the last 48 hours, the MTA issued a press release regarding the Staten Island Railway. The press release discusses the MTA’s plan to increase express service during the morning & evening rush hour periods. Here is the entire press release courtesy of the MTA:

In response to record ridership growth on the Staten Island Railway (SIR), and as part of MTA NYC Transit’s commitment to the Mayor’s Staten Island Transportation Task Force, NYC Transit today announced the expansion of SIR’s rush hour express train service on November 14th. The expansion will provide additional service to commuters who rely on SIR express and local service to and from the Staten Island Ferry while also providing an alternative to construction-related delays on area highways.

“NYC Transit has devoted considerable time and effort into crafting schedules and in developing quality service improvements that our SIR riders would find attractive,” said MTA Executive Director & CEO Elliot G. Sander. “That hard work is paying off with ridership up considerably since 2005, reaffirming the MTA’s commitment to improving transportation services for Staten Island commuters”

EVENING SERVICE FIRST TO EXPAND

The additional rush hour service will be phased in, with evening service the first to be expanded on Wednesday, November 14th. Under the new schedule, the first evening express train will continue to connect with the boat departing Whitehall Terminal at 4:00 p.m., and now the last scheduled express will connect with the boat departing Whitehall Terminal at 7:20 p.m. Five additional express trains will connect with boats departing from the Whitehall Terminal at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 7:00 and 7:20 p.m. In all, the evening express schedule will be expanded by an hour and 20 minutes.

“This is the second substantive change to the SIR schedule since 2005 when the entire schedule was overhauled for the first time in several decades,” said MTA NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “Our railway customers have consistently told us they would ride more if we expanded express service. We did just that last year and, true to their word, our riders responded favorably. We expect they will do so again with the changes we’re making now.”

In 2006, the number of SIR riders passing through the St. George Ferry Terminal daily grew nine percent, from 12,647 to 13,781. That ridership growth has continued this year, with average weekday ridership at St. George up 7.2 percent to 14,287 through September.

MORNING SERVICE EXPANDS DECEMBER 5TH

On Wednesday, December 5th, morning rush hour express service will be expanded with the first express train to connect with the boat departing St. George Terminal at 7:00 a.m., instead of the current 7:15 a.m. boat. Express service will continue to connect with ferry boats departing St. George at 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, and 8:30 a.m., with additional express trains now connecting with the 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. ferry departing St. George Terminal. In all, the span of express service will be expanded by 45 minutes with three additional express trains added to the morning schedule.

Express service to Tottenville will also be introduced in the morning rush hour with five express trips connecting with boats departing Whitehall Terminal between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Additional local service is being added to the morning schedule as well, with five trains stopping at Huguenot, Annadale and Eltingville Stations. Those trains will connect with boats departing St. George Terminal at 7:00, 7:15, 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.

“These new service improvements, in combination with many other enhancements implemented by the railway over the last several years, provide a convenient and attractive alternative to construction-related delays on the highways,” said John G. Gaul, SIR Chief Operating Officer.

New schedules and customer information will be available to evening riders beginning Monday, November 12th and for morning riders on Monday, December 3rd.

CAPITAL INVESTMENTS PAY DIVIDENDS

The increase in SIR express service would not be possible without the new, state-of-the-art Cab Signaling System along with a 21st Century Control Center at St. George which went into operation in June 2005. The new technology installations, valued at $100 million and funded by the MTA Capital Program, enhance safety while offering operating flexibility that was not available with the old system.

Prior to the new installation, the 22-station, 14-mile railway operated with signal technology created in the early 1900’s and lacked many of the features of modern systems. The advantages of the new signal system include continuous speed enforcement, improved signal visibility, and more reliable service. Central monitoring at the new Control Center provides supervision with access to real time information so that they can react to problems more quickly, with the ability to change switch positions remotely, as all main line switches are now interlocked.

This is great news for the riders who depend on the Staten Island Railway.

 xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Issues A Statement On TWU Situation

Shortly after the decision to deny the TWU Local 100 to regain their due checkoff power was announced, the MTA issued a brief press release.

During the past months, the MTA and TWU Local 100 leadership have sought to establish a labor management climate which assures the public attentive, uninterrupted service. While we fully recognize the concerns that led to the Court’s ruling, we also understand the vital role that the Union plays in employee relations. The MTA’s commitment to productive labor/management relations remains undiminished.

Over the last few months, the MTA & Transport Workers Union Local 100 were starting to mend fences on a number of fronts. I think this decision could easily negate all the positive steps that have been taken in the last few months. This is not what the two parties need at this time. I will be curious to see if the relationship between the two will hit a new low because of this.  This will definitely be an interesting saga to keep an eye on.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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