Electrical service on the Long Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad was restored on Sunday, Nov. 25, with the entire system now operating on a “near normal” schedule for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit the region.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last weekend that electric trains would begin running along the storm-damaged Long Beach line at 3:53 a.m. Sunday. The service restoration came after Sandy caused substantial damage to the eight tracks and four substations on the branch, LIRR President Helena Williams said.
Three of the four substations along the Long Beach branch are now back in service, according to the MTA, including one in the Long Beach LIRR yard that also sustained damage from flooding and from the release of raw sewerage from an adjacent sewage treatment plant. Officials said repair work continues on the Oceanside substation.
Cuomo said LIRR employees have been working day and night in the aftermath of Sandy repairing the electrical substations and critical signal equipment on the Long Beach branch to make this week’s service restoration possible.
“The Long Island Rail Road’s Long Beach branch was not spared the devastation that was brought upon Long Beach and the surrounding communities by Sandy,” Cuomo said. “I commend the intensive efforts made by the LIRR to clean, repair and replace the critical components in the flood-damaged electrical substations and signal equipment to restore the vital transportation link the railroad provides as these hard-hit communities begin to rebuild.”
Although the MTA added four extra holiday trains to the first day of weekend service, four trains were canceled in both the morning and evening peak hours of operation as a result of the reduced peak capacity in two of Amtrak’s East River tunnels that were flooded during the storm. Williams said Amtrak is continuing repairs to the signal system severely damaged in their two tunnels during the hurricane. A temporary signal system now controlling train traffic in the two tunnels that were flooded allows for fewer trains per hour to operate into and out of Penn Station, officials explained.