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LIRR Continues to Experience Delays

Ronkonkoma commuters voiced frustration at the way service was handled during and after the snowstorm.

The weekend's blizzard continued to cause commuters serious inconveniences during the week. Monday morning six trains were cancelled, 92 trains were delayed, and morning service was entirely suspended between Ronkonkoma and Greenport. 

The Ronkonkoma line continued to experience delays of over an hour through Tuesday night.  All lateness was attributed to complications from the inclement weather, including equipment malfunctions.

The railroad experienced 184 delays and/or cancellations on Sunday.  The worst of which involved the train that remained snowbound near Wyandanch for over three hours; as a result an estimated 150 passengers were stranded for hours without heat.  The trapped train was the 2:54 a.m. to Ronkonkoma.

On Tuesday evening several commuters and those who had been waiting for friends and family to return were interviewed at the Ronkonkoma Train Station to find out how they felt about the LIRR's handling of the recent blizzard conditions.

On Tuesday afternoon, Epiphany Kearney, 17, spent three hours on the train traveling from Queens to Ronkonkoma.  She felt the LIRR was not straightforward about divulging the extent of the holdup. 

"They said it was delayed; they didn't say how severe, or else I wouldn't have come," she said.

By the time Kearney arrived at 6:30 p.m., her friend, who was expecting her hours earlier, couldn't be reached.  She ended up just hanging out at the station for a few more hours until the train pulled in to take her back home.  The despondent teen said, "I spent $21 to come sit in the Ronkonkoma Train Station."

Richard Fischetti from Middle Island was waiting for the train his wife was on for her daily commute from Manhattan on the 6:25 p.m. train.  An hour later it still hadn't shown up.  Fischetti was floored by the perceived unprofessionalism of the rail system which serves over 100,000 commuters between New York City and Long Island on weekdays, and is the busiest commuter railroad in North America. 

"A big company like this, how could they suspend service?  I mean they knew about the storm for days before it came," said Fischetti. 

He was disappointed that there weren't more workers clearing ice and snow from the tracks.

Sam Lamprecht, 17, echoed these same sentiments. 

"Everyone knew the blizzard was going to happen; they should have been more prepared," she said.

An announcement was periodically broadcasted over the loudspeaker that evening informing of limited service due to snow and ice being cleared from the tracks. 

Meaghan Keeler had come to Long Island to visit her family for the holiday, and was desperately trying to get back home to Brooklyn.

"It's been a disaster with the snow," she said. "We had to stay longer because of the delay. We missed work."

A Patchogue man who commutes to the city regularly for work and asked to remain anonymous said, "The train was supposed to be here at six-thirty, it's eight o'clock; it's an hour- and- a- half late.  There's a lot of misinformation.  It was busses coming now the train is coming — there's definitely something wrong." 

He felt misled and lied to by LIRR authorities, and expressed his indignation at what he believes is a monopoly situation that's being taken advantage of by the LIRR. 

"This should've been straightened out; it's been two days," he added. "The sun was shining today, but what are you going to do?  You get over it, because you have to go to work tomorrow, and there's no other way to get there."

It took Ronkonkoma resident Paul Bernstein two hours to get from Hicksville to the Ronkonkoma station, because the train got detained between Brentwood and Central Islip. 

"People are still stuck at Brentwood:  There are no cabs, no busses.  This was handled very poorly," he said.

Maggie Bauer managed to remain upbeat, and resigned herself to her fate while waiting at the station with friends.

"I have roommates from Buffalo, and they say, 'You people on Long Island have no idea what you're doing when it snows," she said. "There's five inches and everything stops.' We might just have to spend the night on Long Island."

Check out the video clips to hear firsthand accounts from local commuters whose lives were impacted by delays.

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