Without question, the biggest transit story over the last few days as been the chaos being felt by riders of the Long Island Rail Road. The fire at a tower near the LIRR’s Jamaica Station was extremely detrimental to the system due to 11 of the 12 lines it operates running through there.
Due to this unfortunate event taking place at a major bottleneck, the agency has had to cancel numerous AM & PM rush hour trains.
The nightmare of this scenario has made some recall the major fire a few years ago near the Chambers Street station on the A & C. The fire, which was caused by a homeless person trying to stay warm, caused damaged that affected service for days.
The type of disruption this fire has caused has shined a light on how outdated a lot of the region’s transit infrastructure is & how other important transit hubs are vulnerable to LIRR type delays & cancellations. Chris Glorioso of Pix11 takes a look at this angle:
A small electrical fire, like the one that crippled the Long Island Rail Road, could easily hobble Metro North or even the NYC Subway system if flames damaged the right station. Bloggers who focus on public transportation issues have been imagining scenarios in which seemingly minor fires could strand riders for days.
The common theme in each scenario is that the flames would have to target a train station that serves as a hub or bottleneck for large numbers of service lines.
The electrical fire that brought the LIRR to its knees charred the Hall signal tower, a control center that directs trains into and out of the Jamaica Station. Because the Jamaica Station is a bottleneck that 10 of 11 LIRR lines run through, the fire was particularly devastating.
Click here for the complete report.
The chaos caused by this fire should resonate with our elected officials across the region. Our region’s transit infrastructure is old & is nowhere close to matching the 21st century standards one would expect from a system of such importance.
I understand that these are trying economic times for everyone. However it is clear that mass transit is an important cog of our region’s economy. One could make the case it is the most important & it should be treated as such when it comes to dedicated revenue streams for it.
Will our elected officials heed this warning & do what needs to be done to help the MTA with dedicated funding streams? Or will it be more of the same fleecing as our system falls apart while when it does, they will be the first to pass out the blame? One can only hope it will not take more commuting nightmares to get their eye on the prize.
xoxo Transit Blogger