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Staten Island Railway Damage Creates Longer Commutes For Riders

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TWC News: Staten Island Railway Damage Creates Longer Commutes For Riders
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Staten Island Railway users are suffering with much longer commutes since Hurricane Sandy devastated their rail road, and the MTA says it will be months before service is back to normal. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.

Staten Islanders who work in Manhattan and use the Staten Island Railway to get to the ferry say their commute has been hellish since Hurricane Sandy.

"I'm always late for work, I'm always late for anything I have to do now," said one commuter.

They say they now have to add an hour round trip to their already long commute because they have to wait for a connecting train, and the MTA says things won't be back to normal until March.

Staten Island's one and only rail line was devastated when Sandy flooded the tracks at St. George Terminal, where riders catch the ferry. Everything looks normal, but the MTA says salt water corroded nearly all the electrical components used to run the train.

"When we started opening the machines and looking, we saw that we had more damage then we ever imagined," said one worker.

Crews used all the parts they had in reserve to get two of the 12 tracks running. They're still waiting for hundreds of new parts from manufacturers.

"There are hundreds of thousand of wires running underground this terminal that all have to be tested, and some have to be replaced," said one worker. "For people's safety, you have to do things step by step. It's a slow, gradual process."

The MTA says the storm surge flooded the one and only maintenance shop for the Staten Island Railway, destroying nearly all the electrical equipment used to test and repair the trains.

The MTA is only offering a few express trains in the evening rush and no express service in the morning. Straphangers' main complaint is that the trains don't follow the schedule and aren't timed to meet up with the ferry. Others say they aren't surprised.

"We are the forgotten borough, and it's still not fixed here," said one commuter. "It's obvious."

The MTA says it hired contractors and is doing all it can to get the system up as quickly as it can.

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