LIRR's full rush-hour service returns Monday
Full rush-hour LIRR service returns Monday, with the morning commute to be the first on a regular schedule since Superstorm Sandy struck six weeks ago, state officials said.
Amtrak replaced a damaged signal system in one of its two flood-ravaged East River tunnels. The restoration, combined with an increase in speed permitted on a loop track that connects those tunnels to the Sunnyside storage yard, made full service possible for the morning and evening rush hours, officials said.
"This was the last hurdle," said LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan, who predicted "smooth sailing" in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Amtrak, which owns and operates the tunnels, will continue working on restoring the signal system in the second flood-damaged tunnel, installing and testing the new equipment next weekend. The tunnels are expected to return to full train capacity by Christmas.
LIRR president Helena Williams last month urged Amtrak to fix the tunnel signal systems before the year's end.
Amtrak, beating its own estimates by more than a month, promised the work would be complete by mid-January.
The LIRR has "been working closely with Amtrak to complete the work and find creative solutions to restore LIRR service as soon as possible," Williams said in a statement.