Rail damage to blame for sluggish LIRR commute

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Thousands of Long Island commuters had an extended stay on freezing Long Island Rail Road platforms Wednesday after rail damage turned the morning commute into a crawl. 

The LIRR says a broken rail inside of one of Amtrak's East River tunnels was to blame for many of the delays and cancellations. Later in the morning, another broken rail near Nostrand Avenue forced a temporary suspension of service between Jamaica station and Atlantic Terminal.

More Information: News 12 Traffic and Weather 

MTA board member Mitch Pally says there are multiple issues at play.

"It's an example of the combination of the cold and the lack of maintenance together that causes these issues," says Pally. 

Next week, Amtrak will begin new unrelated work at Penn Station. That construction will start on Monday – forcing five morning peak trains and three evening peak trains, to and from Penn Station, to be rerouted. Two other evening peak trains from Penn Station will be canceled and combined.

News 12 Long Island requested an interview with LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski for this story, but a spokesperson declined the request. They did not comment about Wednesday's disruptions.

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