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Part of gap fix will cost $2,280 per door

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Part of gap fix will cost $2,280 per door

BY STEVE RITEA

NEWSDAY

Thursday December 27, 2007

 

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Metro North has a metal plate that creates a very small gap and LIRR is prosing to install

 

Long Island Rail Road officials say they expect to spend up to $2,280 per passenger-car door installing metal threshold plates that will reduce gaps between trains and platforms by up to 2 inches.

 

Railroad officials were largely mum on other details about the plates, announced earlier this month as a primary solution to the dangerous gaps into which people have fallen.

 

The LIRR has yet to go out for bid on the parts and does not want to give any vendor an advantage, they said.

 

But with $10.4 million budgeted to attach "threshold plates" to all four doors on each of the system's 1,140 passenger cars, the LIRR acknowledges an estimated per-door cost of up to $2,280. Another $900,000 would be spent shaving down some train platforms at Penn Station, to avoid the plates striking the platforms.

 

"It sounds a little pricey, to be perfectly honest," said Gerard Bringmann, president of the LIRR Commuters Council. "It's not a matter of just taking plates off the shelf and screwing them onto doors, but it's hard for the average person to understand that."

 

The plates the LIRR hopes to use would have an internal heating mechanism, to avoid icing in winter, and would have to sustain the weight of hundreds of passengers who step on them each day.

 

Most cars would use four-inch metal plates that extend outward two inches from the base of each car door. On the railroad's 170 older and slightly wider M3 electric trains, the plate would extend outward only one inch, officials said.

 

LIRR officials have been testing the plates in recent months to make sure they can safely clear platforms.

 

The entire plan is not a done deal and remains subject to approval from Amtrak, because it requires shaving down some platforms at Penn Station so the metal plates do not strike the platforms. LIRR uses Penn under an agreement with Amtrak.

 

An Amtrak spokesman said last week that officials there have not seen a proposal from the LIRR and could not comment.

 

Metro-North has such plates on its passenger cars. A spokeswoman there said those plates were built onto the cars before they were purchased.

 

Part of the LIRR's gap-reducing plan calls for revising the standard measurement it uses to assure that trains safely clear platforms. The railroad will reduce by one inch its minimum 5-foot, 8-inch distance from the center of tracks to a platform's edge and attach one-inch boards to most platforms.

 

Platform edge boards have been widely used to shrink the gap at dozens of stations. More boards could be added to further shrink the gap, even at stations where that work already was done.

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At least its something towards the direction of fixing the gap problems.

 

And for stations that the gap is so wide, will need platforms to be worked on.

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At least its something towards the direction of fixing the gap problems.

 

And for stations that the gap is so wide, will need platforms to be worked on.

 

Exactly.

 

Question would these 2 inch plates interfere with normal train travel (like making a turn)?

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Exactly.

 

Question would these 2 inch plates interfere with normal train travel (like making a turn)?

I doubt that. But they should take measurements at every station and check the tunnels just to make sure.

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