LIRR back to normal after days of cancellations, disruptions

The days of disruptions began after an NJ Transit train derailed on Monday, damaging a track inside Penn Station.

The days of disruptions began after an NJ Transit train derailed on Monday, damaging a track inside Penn Station. (4/7/17)

HICKSVILLE - Long Island Rail Road service was back to normal Friday after a week of cancellations and disruptions caused by a NJ Transit derailment Monday.

Amtrak says the tracks damaged Monday are now fixed. The issues began Monday when a track problem caused a NJ Transit train to derail. Amtrak admitted it knew some of the wooden railroad track ties were slowly separating. A similar problem caused an Acela train to derail last month.

Commuters endured five days of delays, cancellations and diverted trains. An additional 10 trains were canceled Friday morning when Amtrak failed to complete repair work.

State Sen. Elaine Phillips says Amtrak did nothing until it was too late.

"No one got seriously hurt, but what about the next one? When is that next one going to happen, and what's going to happen then?” she asks.

State Sen. Carl Marcellino blames the MTA for not monitoring Amtrak more closely. 

“The maintenance is terrible,” says Marcellino. “This is an MTA problem, and they should be taking care of it. Shame on them. And whatever has to be done has to be done. If we have to go in there and start kicking butt, then we gotta kick butt.”

Amtrak supplied pictures of the repair work but refused access to news crews. 

"Amtrak crews have restored service to all tracks,” the agency said in a short statement. “We apologize for the delays as we worked to make these repairs." 

Marcellino says Amtrak and the MTA should equally share maintenance and safety inspections in the future.

"This is not rocket science,” says Marcellino. “Fix the tracks, maintain the tracks."

The Federal Railroad Administration says it has been asked by Amtrak to begin an investigation into the track infrastructure problems at Penn Station.

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