Power Outage Creates Nightmare Commute for LIRR Riders

Rail riders lamented another morning of frustrating travel woes Wednesday as a power outage in the East River tunnels forced the Long Island Railroad to suspend service to and from Penn Station for hours, crippling the commute and drawing backlash on social media.

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Trains began chugging slowly in and out of Penn Station by mid-morning, but residuals delays into and out of the busy travel hub lingered through the afternoon. Shuttle trains were running between Jamaica and Penn stations every 15 minutes and at 30-minute intervals between Penn Station and Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Woodside. 

The railroad said it anticipates operating on a normal schedule for the evening rush, but riders were cautioned to expect delays and cancellations if temporary repairs did not hold. 

Signal problems west of Jamaica stalled trains at the start of the commute, forcing passengers onto packed subway platforms even before the power outage in the tunnel forced the suspension.

The railroad slowly brought service back on track over the course of the day. By mid-afternoon, scattered delays due to lingering congestion had dropped to about 15 minutes, on average, and NYC Transit stopped cross-honoring LIRR tickets. 

Thousands of riders took to social media to voice their frustrations with the commute, and the hashtag #LIRR was trending on Twitter Wednesday morning.

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Some users complained about being stuck at stops for more than an hour or fighting to move through jam-packed train and subway platforms. 

Craig Morell, of Deer Park, said his usual one-hour commute took three hours. 


What happens when Penn Station loses power... #nyc #lirr #manhattan #subway #detour #newyorkcity

A video posted by Shawn Tobin (@tobe__tobin) on Sep 2, 2015 at 5:40am PDT

The headaches come a day after hundreds of riders on a Metro-North train were marooned on an un-airconditioned train near Grand Central Terminal for about an hour and a half.

"If we don't do the kind of maintenance we need to do and repair we need to do you're going to see continued issues," Gov. Cuomo said. "There's no doubt about that." 

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