LIRR service restored after tree falls on tracks

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A Long Island Rail Road train, seen in the distance, sits behind a fallen tree in East Williston. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

A tree fell on the Long Island Rail Road tracks in East Williston Thursday evening, putting another logjam in commutes.

The tree dropped across both tracks just north of the East Williston station on the Oyster Bay branch at 5:07 p.m., according to an LIRR alert.

Service was restored at 6:17 p.m. after workers removed the tree, another alert said.

The hiccup delayed two trains by more than 80 minutes and canceled a third. A westbound train could be seen stopped in front of the tree, while an eastbound train idled at the station.

Safety gates at the Hillside Avenue railroad crossing in Williston Park stayed down while the trains waited, backing up traffic on the thoroughfare.

The tree came down on a day when the LIRR had already canceled or diverted 24 evening rush-hour trains because of continuing problems stemming from an New Jersey Transit train derailing in Penn Station on Monday.

Train schedules are reportedly expected to return to normal on Friday.

Matt Leong of Port Washington was waiting for a ride from the station in the rain after getting off a train from New York City, along with about two dozen other commuters.

“This is nature just screwing up, so you can’t really predict that,” Leong said.

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