Written by Denise Nash Friday, 05 February 2010 00:00
On Tuesday, at approximately 1 p.m., a passenger was exiting the third car from the front of a westbound train that had originated in Huntington when he fell into the gap between the train and the platform and down to the track at Syosset’s Long Island Rail Road station, a LIRR spokesperson said.
While the train remained stopped at the station, LIRR officials cut off the electricity to the third rail until the man was safely brought up onto the platform, according to Sam Zambuto, spokesperson for the LIRR.
The man, whose identity had not been released as of press time, suffered a cut to his head and complained of back pain. He was taken by NCPD ambulance to Syosset Hospital, where he was being treated. As of press time, he remained hospitalized. The LIRR said that they are doing a full review of the incident.
The gaps that exist at Syosset’s train station are the largest on Long Island and the station has a long history of trouble.
The curve at the Syosset station presents unique safety challenges, according to the Long Island Rail Road. The westbound track produces platform gaps close to 10 inches at door locations on cars located in the center of the train.
Major renovations have been made to Syosset’s station with the LIRR spending over $1.5 million to make improvements including shifting the station platform, putting up more signage alerting passengers of the gap and installing bridge plates on the trains to help close the gap.
“Gap incidents across the LIRR have declined during the last three years,” said Zambuto. “As part of our ‘Be TrainSmart’ education campaign, we urge customers, with signs and repeated customer announcements, to be mindful of the gap when exiting and boarding LIRR trains, including not talking on cell phones or looking at other electronic devices. Also, we ask customers to walk, not run, when boarding or exiting LIRR trains. Customers must act in a safe manner when getting on or off a train.”
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs has been at the forefront of the push to have the gap situation at the Syosset train station resolved.
“Fortunately, this man was not killed, however the accident could have been avoidable and I call on the MTA to take action to use new technology to close these situations where they exist,” she said.
Jacobs also sent a letter to Helena Williams, president of the Long Island Rail Road expressing her concerns and also suggesting a possible solution.
“I would suggest that passengers be informed that the car which lines up with the curve will not have the doors opening at the Syosset station. (I know that passengers are warned not to ride certain cars at other stations). In this way, those who are embarking will have to use other doors and those who are disembarking will, most likely, not even be in that car. I would appreciate your thoughts on this,” Jacobs wrote.
In response to Jacobs’ letter, the LIRR issued the following statement. “We have previously studied many suggestions. Because of the curve, it is not practical to zone off selected car doors throughout a train at Syosset.”