Man, 92, Falls into Gap Between LIRR Train, Station Platform

By Zachary Kussin
|  Monday, Jun 6, 2011  |  Updated 5:27 PM EDT
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Man, 92, Falls into LIRR Platform Gap

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A 92-year-old man was injured when he fell into the gap between an east-bound Long Island Rail Road train and the Great Neck station platform Sunday night.

The train was not in motion when Ben Goldman fell at around 9 p.m., according to MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena. He was exiting the train and fell into the gap up to his hip area.

He sustained minor injuries, including abrasions and bruises.

Paramedics responded and took the man to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Arena said he had no word of Goldman's current condition.

The incident recalled a similar accident in 2006, though with a tragic result, when a drunk teenager fell into the gap between a train and the platform at the Woodside station, and was killed by an oncoming train as she crawled away from the tracks.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced afterward it would commit $40 million to what they called the Gap Mitigation Project, meant to reduce similar incidents. The projet entailed extending the platforms by one inch through attachable boards. In some instances, the MTA shifted train tracks closer to station platforms, which Arena said was a major engineering undertaking.

So far, the MTA has made these repairs to 100 LIRR stations, and have 24 stations left to improve.

In addition, the MTA has also attached new base plates on the bottom of train doorways, which limit the distance between the edge of the train and the platform by one or two inches. They've been added to two models of trains that travel the Port Washington Branch, which includes Great Neck as a stop.

The MTA has spent $31 million on these improvements so far. Since the project's inception in 2007, gap-fall incidents have lowered year after year -- from 175 in 2007; to 119 in 2008; to 79 in 2009; to 62 last year, according to Arena.

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