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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    LIRR Derailment

    Samantha Raimondi, a freshman at Stony Brook University can still remember the first time she rode the Long Island Rail Road. “I’ve been riding the LIRR since I was little.” Raimondi said. “The first time I ever took the train was to go to a Broadway show with my mom.”

    In high school Raimondi use to take the train to see Broadway Shows and meet friends, but now this means of transportation has become a necessity to campus life.

    “I rely on the LIRR a lot.” Raimondi said. Without a car on campus, the accessible train station has become a necessity for students like Raimondi to make it home for weekend trips.

    Some students do not always have a positive experience.

    Sophomore Harminder Singh, a commuter who relies on the LIRR, can also recall a recent trip. “Two weeks ago I was on the train coming home, there was a two hour delay because of the derailment” Singh said. “That was the first time I ever heard of a derailment on the LIRR.”

    Recent ABC news reports revealed that 60 percent of the 16 derailments involving the LIRR over the past eight years where caused by human error. The reports also said that “four times this year state investigators were called in to figure out why they derailed.”

    According to Jerry Shook, Director of the Rail Safety Bureau, the amount of derailments in the past eight years and the overall accident rates have decreased. The 2000 Annual Report by the Public Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) revealed 21 accidents occurred on the Long Island Railroad for every 100 million miles. From that time to 2006 the number of accidents decreased by 3.34. The 2007 Annual Report is not yet available according to PTSB.

    According to Shook, recent news reports did not give credit to the development of the LIRR. “The newspapers did not give credit for their efforts in making the LIRR a safe place to ride as opposed to it being a disaster waiting to happen.” Shook said.

    “The news report bothers me,” said Dan Mullaly, a LIRR worker for the signal department. “If they would come into the field with us they would see that everybody is safety efficient,” said Mullaly who has been working for the LIRR for about two years now, and considers the LIRR to be safe. “Once you have three derailments, which we have had recently, all your safety statistics go down.” Mullaly said.

    The decrease in safety statistics that Mullaly explains is demonstrated in the 2006 annual report by the PTSB. The LIRR had a large number of rail accidents since 2000 and — though the numbers have decreased — in 2006 the amount of injuries were more than Metro-North, Staten Island Railway and the New Jersey Transit combined.

    With many students depending on the LIRR, sophomore Rohit Navlani sees the important need for safety. “So many students rely on the train,” Navlani said. “If it’s not safe, a lot of students would be at risk.”

    The Port Jefferson branch is a reliable means of transportation for students. “I’ve seen a lot of people from Stony Brook take the LIRR,” Singh said. If the source of conveyance became highly unsafe, many students like Singh would need to find another way to get home. “I think the LIRR is safe. They’re always telling you to watch the gap,” Singh said. “Basically people just need to be careful.”

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