LIRR president apologizes for signal problems

Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski again apologized Thursday for the signal problems that caused chaos and stranded thousands of commuters on Wednesday.



The president says he went to the site in Long Island City, Queens where he believes a 100-year-old wire failed, causing the signal issues. The wire should have had a backup, he says, but that failed as well.



Engineers are rewiring the area and expect to have a replacement system up and running by Friday morning.



Mark Epstein, the chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council, says he gives the railroad failing marks in its pledge to improve communication with its riders. "Once again, they violated that 'pledge,'" he says.



However, Nowakowski says that on Wednesday, the agency issued more than 150 customer emails, tweets, Facebook updates and announcements.



According to MTA statistics, there were about 1,000 trains delayed before the signal problems, representing a 33 percent increase over last year. Nowakowski says that of the 141 active trains during Wednesday's morning rush, only 14 of them were deemed on time.


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