Fire halts trains on NY's Long Island Rail Road, nation's largest commuter train system

Evening rush hour travelers on the nation's largest commuter railroad are dealing with more crowds and delays than usual following a late-morning fire in a New York City switching tower.

No injuries were reported in the minor electrical fire near a Long Island Rail Road station in Queens. The fire halted train service for four hours early Monday.

The railroad says it expects about 60 percent service for the evening commute. It says there are questions about Tuesday's commute.

Commuter Ann Christensen says she expects "a very crowded ride."

The system carries about 265,000 daily riders, including about 100,000 on a typical evening. Jamaica is a major transfer point for commuters going to or from Manhattan and Brooklyn and to various points on Long Island.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — A fire in a Long Island Rail Road switching station knocked out train service for more than four hours Monday, leaving passengers on the nation's largest commuter rail line to contend with delays into the evening commute and possibly longer.

The 11 a.m. fire happened near the Jamaica station in Queens, a major transfer point for commuters going to or from Manhattan and Brooklyn and to various locations across Long Island. Service was delayed for more than four hours. Limited service out of Penn Station in Manhattan resumed shortly after 3 p.m.

Ten of the railroad's 11 branches were affected. The lone line running without delays was between New York and Port Washington, because the branch does not go through Jamaica.

The commuter rail system carries about 265,000 daily riders.

LIRR President Helena Williams said the railroad would provide about 60 percent of its normal evening service Monday. The railroad was bypassing Jamaica, but trains were leaving Brooklyn and Penn Station.

LIRR spokesman Mike Charles said there were questions about Tuesday's commute.

"It's not an easy repair, and it may take more than overnight to fix it," he said.

Riders were offered the option of using New York City subways and buses with their LIRR tickets.