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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.

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