The LIRR apologized for the service disruption Monday night caused by emergency track repairs on the critical East River Amtrak tunnel it uses for eastbound evening rush hour train service.
The Amtrak track problem caused on all branches including the Babylon line, which stops in Lindenhurst, and hampered its holiday schedule that was to start Monday to coincide with the first night of Passover.
In a statement issued on the MTA website Tuesday, the LIRR explained that during a routine inspection on Monday, an Amtrak crew discovered defects in two "insulated joints," or points where sections of rail meet.
“Initially, Amtrak provided a repair estimate that would not have impacted LIRR’s holiday and evening rush hour service. However, the repairs took longer than Amtrak originally anticipated,” the statement read.
The LIRR said repairs weren’t completed until about 7:30 p.m., and full service wasn’t restored until about 9 p.m.
“We apologize for the delays caused by this emergency repair. We appreciate your patience during last evening's disruption to service,” said the LIRR.
Tuesday morning it requested a full review and report on the incident from Amtrak.
It also requested that tunnel inspections be scheduled to avoid disrupting LIRR’s rush hour service and that Amtrak staff be readily available to complete emergency repairs when defects are discovered.
Monday evening’s service disruption hindered LIRR’s holiday schedule – which was supposed to include nine additional trains between 2:08 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. to accommodate those leaving early in observance of Passover.
Those extra trains ran Tuesday, and will run again April 22 for Good Friday. They include : 2:24 p.m., 3 p.m. and 3:31 p.m.
The LIRR said it urged customers attending Passover services to consider leaving the city as early as possible.
Customers heading home Monday evening were told they should anticipate delays, as well as canceled and combined trains, as the LIRR initiated a contingency plan that involved canceling and combining 21 eastbound peak rush hour trains.
The LIRR also suspended westbound service between Jamaica and Penn to create more opportunities for eastbound customers to depart Penn.
Customers experienced 20-30-minute eastbound delays out of Penn Station.
In addition, the MTA police intermittently restricted access to Penn Station to control customer crowding. Full access was restored by 7 p.m.