A lightning strike near the Long Island Rail Road Jamaica station Thursday evening brought virtually the entire train system to a halt, causing major delays that will likely last through Friday morning, according to a LIRR spokesperson.
The Long Island Rail Road says some trains will be canceled or delayed for the morning rush but overall it expects "near-normal'' service.
The railroad says it restored the signal system damaged by lightning strikes that caused widespread delays on all lines on Thursday.
The railroad says the following trains will be canceled on Friday:
- On the Babylon Branch: the 5:18 from Wantagh due in Penn Station at 6:08 a.m. and the 8:35 from Babylon due in Penn Station at 9:37 a.m.
- On the Port Jefferson Branch: the 5:59 from Port Jefferson due in Hunterspoint Ave. at 7:41 a.m.
- On the Oyster Bay Branch: the 7:41 from Oyster Bay due in Hunterspoint Avenue at 8:55 a.m.
The LIRR advises customers check the MTA's website for the latest advisories.
The lightning struck just before 5 p.m. Thursday, knocking out signal service on the tracks and forcing most LIRR trains to be suspended.
The signal problem appeared to be resolved hours later and service slowly resumed, until a second round of signal troubles cropped up at about 8:30 p.m.
Ticketholders who had rushed on to the restored trains ended up getting trapped, getting stuck in hot rail cars, with tempers rising.
"A lot of people were screaming, cursing," said Steven Daidone, a stranded passenger w. "Fights almost started to break out, it was getting pretty bad."
Another stranded rider tweeted from a rail car: "Entering hour 5 of #LIRR hell," Sam Kille said at about 8:30 p.m. "About 10 min ago they said 'arriving Jamaica, watch the gap'... Still not there."
"Packed like sardines on a LIRR train stuck in the middle of nowhere!," Stephanie Palermo tweeted shortly before 9 p.m. "Last update said hour till we even start up."
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