I don't know what a Ping is, but I started commuting out of East Northport by 1993 on the old rust buckets, some with engine/generators hanging under the cars, some lit and heated by the 'power packs'. The former sort of worked when someone remembered to fill up their tanks, but the heat was horrible down by the floor (and I think the window bottoms). You could easily melt a shoe if it touched those heaters, but with no insulation in the car wall you'd broil your feet and freeze your torso and head. And they were not fun in summer, either. When the experimental BITANIC (Japanese double decker with a beautifully built FL9AC on each end) went into service (with senior Conductor Peter Walsh usually in charge), they could be far more comfortable when everything was working. Between horrible maintenance including failure to replace the worn out emergency batteries (until I made a huge fit about it to LIRR Manglement), doors constantly broke, lights failed, AC units had clogged drains that would leave the vestibules flooded at times, along with the experimental magnetic inter car wiring connectors (eventually replaced with conventional wiring), plus the tendency of the inverters to fry, it was often out of service. It didn't help that only 2 of the 3 engines were usable, so if one of the 2 died, the train got pulled.
One Friday, on a M3 into Huntington, we were told that the line to PJ was closed for no known reason, that we would have 2 or 3 school buses to carry all E/B passengers the rest of the way, I just waited on the platform to see what would happen, figuring that I'd eventually call my wife for pickup. Then I heard a loud train horn blast from the East, and I suddenly realized the Bitanic was speeding westbound (for weekend repairs), when it was apparently put into emergency, stopping about half way past the station. Peter Walsh had figured out that a lot of passengers had been stranded by the mystery outage. He got the train all the way into the station, opened up every car that had workable doors and AC, loaded up and went back East all the way to PJ, eventually taking the train back West for the needed repairs.
Finally the new C3 plus DE or DM fleet sharted showing up (after focus groups worked on the coach interior but then had most of their recommendations reversed on them), roomy but painful seats and all, and the Bitanic was sold off and / or scrapped. Why they scrapped the historic locos I've got no clue.