Extreme Cold: Broken Rail Suspends LIRR Service On Ronkonkoma Branch

Originally published: January 25, 2013
Updated: December 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

LIRR Train (credit: purist_andrew/Flickr)

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (MorichesDaily) — The Long Island Rail Road suspended service for a few hours this morning on the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma because of a broken rail east of Brentwood.

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, all service has been restored although commuters can expect some residual delays. With any luck it shouldn’t affect the evening commute.

Buses were sent to the area to help commuters.

The freezing temperatures have caused at least seven other tracks to break this week.

A broken rail east of Mineola delayed Thursday night’s commute.

The Long Island Railroad has launched a public campaign to win support for a plan they say will eliminate commuter headaches — a second LIRR track between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale.

“Two tracks are better than one!” was the chant led by the LIRR’s president and a crowd of elected officials at the Ronkonkoma train station Wednesday.

Now, only one track covers the 18-mile stretch between the two towns, and when something goes wrong there, commuters are left stranded.

“It’s a nightmare,” said LIRR Commuter’s Council Chairman Mark Epstein. “If one train gets stuck in Ronkonkoma, the entire line out of Farmingdale is stopped cold.”

Work will begin later this year on a 4-mile stretch of track between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip. It should be completed by 2016.

“It will provide a more reliable commute,” said LIRR president Helena Williams. “We’ll be able to offer express services, which shaves off travel time and we’ll be able to go around problems.”

One problem the LIRR has yet to get around is funding the other 14 miles of track. That phase would cost roughly $300 million to complete.

“We’re going to fight to accelerate that second phase,” said State Sen. Charles Fuschillo.

The Commuter’s Council plans to lobby state lawmakers for the funding needed, and the LIRR has opened a double-track information center in Ronkonkoma to urge all commuters to get behind the plan.

For more information, visit www.mta.info.

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