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Long Island News

Antenna Recall Stalls LIRR Safety Upgrades

Kathy Willens

A billion dollar project to upgrade the Long Island Rail Road with safety equipment has hit a setback. More than 4,000 antennas built to prevent crashes have been recalled.

The antennas are affixed underneath each train, and allow trains to communicate with each other. If a train’s speed is too fast for a track, the device will force it to stop.

Bombardier Transportation and Siemens Rail Automation make the recalled antennas. The machine that tests the antennas had not been calibrated in three years.

MTA officials say the contractor is understaffed, which has led to inadequate testing of safety equipment.

A federal law requires the project to be completed by the end of 2020, or the MTA will be fined.  

Meanwhile, a public hearing is slated for Friday to address the Railroad’s recent service problems.

New York State Senate Democrats say the LIRR and MTA need to be more accountable for service delays and they have pushed for reforms in Albany.

Democratic lawmakers are expected to grill transportation officials at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola.

The LIRR reported the largest number of late trains in 2018 since 1999.

The MTA held a similar public hearing in Manhattan last week.