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Jamaica train accident leaves 67 injured

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An incoming westbound Long Island Rail Road train slammed into the back of another train Saturday as it pulled out of Jamaica Station, injuring 67 passengers, LIRR officials said.

Thirty people were taken to the hospital, although there were no serious injuries, said LIRR spokesman Sam Zambuto.

“They were mostly neck and back injuries,” said Zambuto. “There were no contusions or lacerations.”

The accident, which occurred at 11:57 a.m. on Track 2, is under investigation by the LIRR, Zambuto said. The westbound 10:43 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma was pulling out of the station when it was hit by the 11:23 a.m. train from Hempstead as it pulled into the station, Zambuto said.

The Ronkonkoma train was scheduled to arrive at Penn Station at 12:05 p.m., and the Hempstead train was to arrive at the Flatbush Avenue Station in Brooklyn at 12:13 p.m.

Both trains were correctly sent to Track 2, Zambuto said.

Cables connecting the cars were damaged, although the cars themselves were not.

After the collision, trains moving through Jamaica Station experienced 10- to 15-minute delays for two hours, Zambuto said.

About 650 passengers were aboard the Ronkonkoma train, while 140 were on the Hempstead train, Newsday reported.

The LIRR investigation will also determine if mechanical or human error caused the accident.

Barbara Josepher, chairwoman of the LIRR Commuter Council, a non-profit watchdog group, said her organization was anxious to learn the results of the investigation.

“Something went terribly wrong, there’s no question,” she said. “Sixty-seven people injured is nothing to dismiss.”

Josepher questioned some of the LIRR’s statements and practices. For example, she contended delays lasted throughout the day and that trains arriving in Jamaica Station were scheduled to arrive too close to one another.

“The trains in Jamaica are very tight, right on top of each other,” she said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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