Electric trains are running again on the Long Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road beginning Sunday, four weeks after Superstorm Sandy seriously damaged equipment on the line leading to the hard-hit barrier beach.
Buses and diesel trains had been replacing electric trains on the branch for the past month while crews made repairs to the third rail. The line will run on a “near-normal” schedule along wit the rest of the LIRR, which is operating at 92 percent capacity on all 11 branches.
“Restoring electric train service to Long Beach has been at the top of the LIRR’s priority list,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “Our crews have worked tirelessly to restore power, clean and rehabilitate switches and signals so that we can resume service.”
Four morning and evening rush hour trains will be cancelled on the Long Beach line but four extra trains are being added to the branch’s weekend schedule through the New Year.
Amtrak continues repairs in two East River Tunnels damaged by the storm surge. Service disruptions are expected across the LIRR while that work continues through the end of the year.
On the Long Beach Branch, three of the four substations powering the third rail are back in service, including one in the Long Beach LIRR yard that was flooded by both seawater and raw sewerage from the failed Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which has been spewing 65 million gallons of barely treated sewage daily into Reynolds Channel since the storm.
Repair work continues on the Oceanside substation. About 1,000 electrical signal components were replaced, repaired or cleaned by LIRR crews on the Long Beach Branch. The LIRR is also examining ways to protect power, signal and switch equipment from future flooding.
Riders should continue to anticipate crowding and expect 10-15 minute delays. For more information, riders should visit www.mta.info, or call LIRR’s Travel Information Center at 511.