Long Island Rail Road trains will begin rolling again on the Long Beach Branch starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday, 18 days after service was suspended in advance of Superstorm Sandy.
The Long Beach line is the last of the LIRR’s 11 branches to restore limited service. It was also the hardest hit after the storm surge damaged signals, switches and knocked out third-rail power to the entire branch. Diesel trains will replace electric trains between Long Beach and Lynbrook until the third rail is repowered.
“We know people have to get to work and recovery workers need to be able to reach Long Beach to help in the restoration effort,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “Diesel service will allow us to provide transportation along the branch.”
LIRR service is running at 83 percent system-wide due to temporary repairs made to two of the four East River tunnels that were flooded, limiting the number of trains that can pass through to Penn Station.
Trains to and from Long Beach will run hourly during rush hour and every two hours during off-peak times. Buses will continue to replace trains on the branch on weekends and holidays, including Thanksgiving.
Regular service restoration on the branch is estimated to be at least three weeks away. LIRR crews are working to repair seawater damage to switches at the Long Beach yard and three of the four electrical substations that power the third rail on the branch.
One substation in the Long Beach yard was damaged by a combination of sea water and sewage that overflowed from the nearby Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which has been pumping 65-million gallons of partially treated sewage into Reynolds Channel daily since it failed during the storm.
For more information on the LIRR service, visit www.mta.info/lirr or call 511.