Returning LIRR commuters in Babylon: Day 1 not so hellish

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Click or tap here for complete News 12 Long Island 'Summer of Hell' coverage.

BABYLON - Commuter after commuter came down from the Babylon Long Island Rail Road station platform Monday, telling News 12 that everything was on time on Day 1 of the "Summer of Hell," which turned out to be not quite as hellish as initially thought.

"The real kind of congestion was at Penn Station itself, but other than that everything was a lot smoother than I anticipated," said Youssef Bouzaiei, of Babylon.

With four canceled trains, the LIRR's Babylon line has the highest amount of cancellations caused by Amtrak's summer track work at Penn Station. But additional cars have been added to other trains to carry extra passengers.

While some are leaving early or taking alternative ways into the city during the repair work, others say they haven't changed a thing and they're taking a wait-and-see approach to the summer commute.

"I guess I'll deal with it when it comes up," said North Babylon's Greg Rutha.

Despite some scattered delays, most LIRR trains and branches were on or close to schedule for the Monday evening rush.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said many commuters avoided Penn Station altogether by going into Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal or the Hunterspoint Avenue station in Long Island City, Queens. Buses, ferries and park and ride options are also available.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that while he agrees Monday went well, he still does not believe work will end on time on Sept. 1, as is planned.

"Call my a cynic, but I'm afraid it goes on longer," he said. "I don't think Amtrak is in the best position to do this and I think we need federal help."

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE SUMMER OF HELL COVERAGE

For an extended interview with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the "Summer of Hell," click here.

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