In an incident that transpired on Thursday, a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train veered off its tracks, leading to the derailment of eight cars.
According to reports, the incident, which occurred in Queens, prompted intensive efforts from emergency crews, which continued throughout the night to reposition six of the derailed cars.
“By the following day, diligent work was underway to effectively realign the remaining two cars,” the reports unveiled.
As a direct consequence of the derailment, commuters were subjected to disruptions, with several branches of the LIRR experiencing delays and a few cancellations during the subsequent Friday morning.
The branches specifically affected by these disruptions encompassed Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, and Hempstead, where dedicated teams toiled to mend the damages caused.
The incident in question took place as train 722, departing from Grand Central Terminal and en route to Hempstead, encountered a derailment just east of Jamaica Station.
The precise location of the incident was identified as 175th Street and 95th Avenue. The mishap transpired shortly after 11 a.m., resulting in a total of 13 reported injuries. Among the recorded injuries, nine were deemed minor, while two were categorized as moderate and an additional two were classified as more severe in nature.
One passenger, named John, recounted the harrowing moments of the derailment, describing how the train commenced a tumultuous swaying motion, evoking chaos among passengers.
The situation eventually stabilized, but it left an indelible impression on those on board.
While the injuries sustained were generally not severe, the pivotal question of the root cause behind the derailment lingers.
The LIRR has initiated an investigation into the incident, in tandem with the crucial task of restoring the damaged infrastructure situated in one of the LIRR’s most bustling locales, just east of Jamaica.
Janno Lieber, Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), elucidated that “the process of restoration surpasses the mere repositioning of the train cars.”
He emphasized that “the infrastructure itself had suffered damage and required meticulous attention.”
Rob Free, Senior Vice President of Operations at LIRR, noted the significant damage inflicted on the rail infrastructure.
He disclosed that “preliminary findings pointed to the rail buckling as a potential contributing factor.”
Swift and efficient action was taken by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) in response to the derailment, ensuring the prompt evacuation of passengers. Laura Kavanaugh, FDNY Commissioner, commended the coordinated efforts of responders and passengers during the complex and risky operation.
To facilitate the passengers’ transition to safety, the MTA deployed a rescue train that reached Jamaica Station within 90 minutes of the derailment. The derailment itself occurred at the hall interlocking, a crucial juncture in the LIRR system housing a multitude of switches and signals.
Despite the incident occurring as the train navigated the interlocking, officials stated that the train was proceeding on a straight trajectory, traversing the last few switches within the interlocking. Contrary to initial speculation, authorities expressed confidence that speed was not a contributing factor in the derailment.
The Federal Railroad Administration has assumed the mantle of leading the comprehensive investigation aimed at determining the precise sequence of events that culminated in the train’s derailment.