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LIRR Train Derails in Queens; 13 Injuries Reported


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NEW YORK — A Long Island Rail Road train derailed in Jamaica, Queens Thursday morning, injuring 13 passengers.

It happened at around 11:12 a.m. just east of Jamaica Station at 175th Street and 93rd Avenue, MTA officials said.

The FDNY said the injuries were not considered life threatening, and everyone is expected to recover.

MTA officials gave an update on the derailment, which we brought to you live on CBS News New York and WCBS-TV.

“Train 722 departing Grand Central, heading to Hempstead, derailed at approximately 11:12 a.m. today,” MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said. “It’s an eight-car derailment. It appears to be all eight cars of the train derailed. Long Island Rail Road personnel were on the scene within minutes, coming from both Hillside Maintenance Facility and Jamaica, so from both ends you had Long Island Rail Road personnel on the scene. And they assisted the passengers. There were some injuries. Some folks were shaken up.”

It’s not yet clear what caused the derailment, although an MTA official said the agency could “positively determine that speed was not a factor in this.” The train was traveling at 54 mph, which is below the maximum allowable speed in the area, the official said. 

Firefighters could be seen transferring passengers from the derailed train to the rescue train, using a small platform to connect the two. 

“This is a complex and dangerous operation, but they were able to get to work quickly,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. “They were able to get all the passengers off the train and to another location to be assessed by EMS.” 

The rescue train took the passengers back to Jamaica approximately 90 minutes after the derailment. 

Of the 13 people treated, two had serious injuries. 

“All of them are stable at this time, and all of them are going to be OK,” Kavanagh said. 

Lieber said, according to the train crew, the passengers remained calm through it all.

“Everybody was pretty calm. Obviously, everybody got pretty shaken up. You’re talking about a train that goes from being on the rails to bumping along on the ties,” Lieber said. 

The cleanup poses challenges, according to officials. 

“We have the wreck crew, which is responsible for dealing with these types of incidents, is on scene. Work has begun,” Lieber said. “There are going to be impacts to this evening’s P.M. rush hour and, most likely to tomorrow’s A.M. rush hour as well.” 

Lieber said it’s not as simple as just re-railing and removing the train. 

“There’s damage to the ties and other railroad infrastructure as well that has to be addressed,” Lieber said. 

LIRR trains are still running, but bypassing Hillside, Hollis and Queens Village, officials said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’s been briefed on the derailment and state personnel are assisting with the emergency response.

“It looks like it was going through switches. So if I was there, and I’m not, one of the first things I would look at is what were the positions of the switches, and did some of the wheels miss where the switches go from one track to another,” City College of New York train expert and engineer Robert Paaswell said

Source : CBS News


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