After a Long Island Rail Road train flew off the tracks and injured 13 people in Queens on Thursday morning, transit officials said service will be running on a normal schedule by Monday morning.
Janno Lieber, the head of the MTA, said at a Friday afternoon press conference that MTA personnel have been working around the clock in an effort to repair the damage and to get all eight derailed train cars back on the tracks.
“Tremendous progress has been made in recovering from this major accident,” Lieber said. “This is a milestone, but there is more work to be done to get ready to restore the railroad for Monday.”
Lieber did not state the cause of the derailment and said the investigation into the matter remains ongoing. He did specify, however, that the train was traveling at 54 mph — well within the legal speed limit.
Getting service back in order by Monday marks a significant turnaround from the immediate aftermath of the derailment, which occurred near Jamaica Station at around 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 3 and left a quarter-mile of track in shambles.
“Nine-hundred feet of electric traction power—the third rail—that has to be replaced [and] 400 concrete railroad ties that were wiped out that now need to be replaced,” Lieber said.
“It is a 24-7 operation that’ll continue through the weekend so we can have the railroad back in absolute perfect working order for the Monday rush,” he added.
The incident occurred just a half hour after the train had left Grand Central Station and caused widespread panic among straphangers.
No passengers were critically hurt as a result of the derailment, though 13 people sustained minor injuries.