rspenmoll wrote:This is probably a very stupid question but I have almost no familiarity with LIRR operations. Why can't trains to and from Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma be detoured via the Babylon and Central Branches? Are there just not enough spare diesel locomotives to pull this off, even after the peak travel time, or is there another reason as well?
RS: There is not enough C3 equipment and DM30 locomotives to allow a service via the Central Branch on weekdays without running other diesel trains with short cars or even some outright cancellations. Off peak hours such as overnights this would be a more viable option.
When services ran from Ronkonkoma via the Central Branch due to Main Line trackwork west of Hicksville (Example: when the Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury was replaced) it was weekends when this equipment was available: 4 "8 sets" for through trains - two each from Port Jefferson and Speonk that had to be deadheaded to and from Friday and Sunday nights at the conclusion of a given weekend track work program.
From a recent LIRR public meeting President Phil Eng stated that the Central Branch is going to be electrified in the upcoming Capital Program - and he described that it would give flexibility that is not available right now. With the Main Line likely blocked off for the cleanup in the aftermath of this accident for a possible extended period this route would have been a reasonable alternate.
More then likely a "bus bridge" between Hicksville and Mineola will have to be organized as has been done on past trackwork programs such as again the Post Avenue Bridge outage - but on a weekday substitute buses and drivers may be harder to get to protect service.
The NICE N22 and N24 (Hicksville-Jamaica) bus is another alternate service available. Problem is that the N22 runs somewhat close to the School Street crossing on Union Avenue before the routing goes onto Maple Avenue west towards Carle Place. The N24 uses Old Country Road and would likely be the better of these two bus routes depending on how congested Westbury will be with the School Street crossing and area near Westbury Station closed off.
This cleanup and investigation is going to take some time - I noticed on an airview around 100 feet or at least one 85 foot car length of Westbury Platform A was demolished by the train and will have to be removed and replaced as part of the service restoration.
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS