Letter to the Editor: LIRR's Babylon Branch Becoming Untenable

Rockville Centre residents sounds off on the LIRR's service since Hurricane Sandy.

Passengers enter the Manhattan-bound LIRR train in Massapequa Park. Credit: Chris Boyle
Passengers enter the Manhattan-bound LIRR train in Massapequa Park. Credit: Chris Boyle
The following is from Rockville Centre resident Rena Barnett:

In the aftermath of Sandy, we have all had to deal with inconveniences and difficulties, but it appears as though the LIRR has decided that they have no intention of improving the post-Sandy status quo.

For the past three weeks, it has been standing-room-only on the morning and evening rush hour trains on the Babylon Branch. I completely understand the need to cancel and combine trains if there is an equipment shortage, but at the very least, trains that are being scheduled should be running longer not shorter.

The new LIRR trains were not designed to accommodate people standing up and there are insufficient handholds. When people are in the aisles, the trains become only something short of a death trap as there is no easy ingress or egress.

With the average commute being 40 minutes to over an hour, standing up wearing heavy winter coats, carrying laptops and tablets, as well as the morning coffee, leads to a cramped and potentially dangerous situation for both the passengers standing up and the ones seated.

The woman standing behind me this morning was pregnant, due in March. She stood for the duration of the trip until we got to Jamaica.

The train was supposed to go straight through but had to stop because of a “medical emergency” -- is it any wonder that someone would be in danger of passing out under these circumstances? -- at which point, the pregnant woman could no longer stand. Fortunately, a fellow passenger gave up his seat. This Good Samaritan appeared to an elderly man.

With train fares in the $300 range, we pay enough not to have to be subjected to this kind of daily torture. Pressure needs to be put on the LIRR to fix the situation immediately.
Ralph A. December 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM
We know that service will be suspended if conditions get worse or bad enough. But at least let the people know which train might be the last service. With Hurricane Sandy as bad as it was - and with the past snowstorms - the LIRR has a habit of letting their customers know after they suspend service. Okay problems do arise and can't not be controlled. I don't blame the LIRR for that. But at least let the people know that a specific train wil be the last train rather than leaving people stranded at staions.
Denise December 05, 2012 at 09:57 AM
I totally agree with Rena Barnett who has written this article. She's correct in saying there is standing room only. My husband and I cannot stand the duration of the train ride into Penn Station because the both of us have back issues. My husband had spine surgery two years ago, need I say more. We have opted to take an earlier train out of Bellmore 6:59 am so that we can get a seat. It has been nothing but problems with the LIRR. I believe they will never get their act together and it's a damn shame because for the amount of money they charge and want to raise the fare, the service does not go hand in hand. This is a real problem. No matter how many complaints are made, nothing will ever get done. Denise, Bellmore, NY
James Hayes December 05, 2012 at 10:19 AM
The LIRR has become so fragile with any situation it is frustrating. It rains to hard, we have 4 inches of snow, signals go out for almost anything these days. Twenty years ago the LIRR was much hardier and could handle a 4 inch snow or some rain. What happened? I think by now we could get back to a normal schedule on the LIRR? I am on the 7:53 to Brooklyn and the NYC train which is supposed to run a few minutes before I guess is cancelled but you never hear an announcement or see it posted on board. It is in the paper schedule though. The result is a standing room train till Jamaica. Maybe by 2014 we will be back to normal? What happened to LIRR that it got so fragile?
Ralph A. December 05, 2012 at 11:42 AM
We all have our individual experience with the LIRR and it all adds up. I only need to take it between here and Rockville Centre. But for those who continue to the city. The service is so unreliable and corrupted in my opinion. Since Sandy (and with the excuse in the East River Tunnels owned by Amtrak) the service is worse now than when the service was first restored after the storm. Two years ago with the snowstorms: The LIRR said they would suspend service if snow reaches 10 to 13 inches. Other people with me agree that the snow was about 6 inches and the service was stopped with no furthure information, except for the electronic signs telling us this.
FedUpRealist December 05, 2012 at 11:58 AM
The LIRR employee union are the major cause for the LIRR's woes....They hold 'evil' management hostage....Per union heads, car cleaners are only responsible for doing as little cleaning as possible so as not to set higher expectations...I know it requires someone who's highly skilled and requires someone with suoperior intellegence, but Ticket-takers on the train are paid up to $50 bucks an hour...Stop and Shop has some the most pleasant hard working adults with developmental disabilities...Honestly, couldn't they take your ticket and shout out, "Next Stop Bellmore"???
Jenny Yin December 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I felt sick on the train because it is really crowded.


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