This weekend, a Long Island Railroad (LIRR) work train and a passenger train collided causing a number of injuries to passengers and workers, some serious. Specifically, the work train sideswiped the passenger train.
At least 33 workers and passengers were injured and some suffered broken bones and concussions. According to The New York Post, approximately 29 people had to be brought to the hospital with a variety of injuries. Another 50 to 100 passengers needed care at the scene.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that a LIRR work train “sideswiped” Long Island Railroad carriages and that at least four people were seriously injured, according to The Associated Press (AP). The governor noted that the 12-car LIRR passenger train was carrying 600 people and that it appeared as if a work train conducting maintenance work may have violated the clearance space of an LIRR passenger train. Both LIRR trains were travelling east when they collided.
Thomas Prendergast, the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) chairman said that at least 33 employees and passengers were injured, the AP reported. Governor Cuomo reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would review what caused the collision.
The passenger train departed from Penn Station in Manhattan at 8:22 p.m. and was traveling east to Huntington, Long Island. The crash took place a little after 9:00 p.m. between the New Hyde Park and Merillon Avenue stations in Nassau County, Long Island; the crash occurred near a switch. It remains unclear if a switch malfunction caused the crash; however, officials have no other explanation. Meanwhile, The New York Post noted that the first three cars derailed, which is where most of the injuries occurred, according to officials.
One passenger reported hearing a loud noise and described the train as shaking and that people were screaming and crawling out of the train car. The passenger told The New York Post that the train car in front of his tilted. He was then thrown from his seat.
Another passenger said that the train was shaking and came to a grinding halt. Passengers were trapped in the train for 40 minutes with the air condition turned off. “It was hard to breathe,” one passenger told The New York Post, which reported that the LIRR work train caught fire and emergency workers had to help some passengers escape by ladder.
Train service was suspended in both directions between Jamaica and Hicksville, the LIRR reported and area neighbors were advised that track work would be taking place during the weekend, leading to closure of an overpass, The Post reported.
The LIRR line is one of the busiest commuter routes into and out of Manhattan, the largest city in the United States.