Can you believe it??!! On Thursday, September 29th at the height of rush hour, once again lightning struck LIRR equipment near Jamaica station and once again the signal system went out. Trains then had to be manually routed resulting in extreme delays. Penn Station was closed down for a while to avoid overcrowding. Only the Port Washington Branch operated normally (as it does not pass through Jamaica) but was filled to capacity with passengers trying to get east.
AND, once again, communication was woefully inadequate. Passengers in trains were stranded for some time between Jamaica Station and Penn Station. The situation was dire enough to spur two riders to self evacuate and as a result all power had to be turned off in the area.
LIRRCC Chair Mark Epstein is calling for a full investigation on why both the newly installed system and its back-up failed. For his interview with CBS New York click here.
Ironically, Senior Vice President of LIRR operations, Ray Kenny, visited the LIRRCC at its August meeting to explain what happened with the lightning strikes that occurred on August 1st (see LIRRCC News Archives on the PCAC homepage). At that meeting there were strong complaints about the lack of communication with passengers. As usual, LIRR promised to do better, but as we can see the riders are still waiting.