1. Home
  2. Press Releases
  3. TRANSCRIPT: MTA Chair and CEO Lieber Provides Update on LIRR Train Derailment

TRANSCRIPT: MTA Chair and CEO Lieber Provides Update on LIRR Train Derailment

Long Island Rail Road
Updated Aug 3, 2023 5:15 p.m.
Janno At LIRR Derailment

Eastbound Hempstead Branch Trains Bypassing Hollis and Queens Village  

Customers Advised to Check TrainTime App and MTA.info For Latest Service Information  

New York City Transit Cross-Honoring on the Q2, Q3, Q8 and Q110 buses for Service Between Jamaica and Queens Village 

View Video of Media Availability 

View Photos of Scene 


This afternoon, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber provided an update to Governor Hochul and held a news conference on the Authority’s response following the derailment of a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train east of Jamaica at approximately 11:10 a.m., which was the 10:43 a.m. departure from Grand Central, due into Hempstead at 11:37 a.m. Crews responded to the scene with approximately 100 customers on board the train being transferred to an alternate train. There were no reports of serious injuries. 

Customers should expect track changes at Jamaica and delays during the evening rush hour and tomorrow morning's rush hour. Eastbound Hempstead Branch trains are bypassing Hollis and Queens Village. New York City Transit is cross-honoring on the Q2, Q3, Q8 and Q110 buses for service between Jamaica and Queens Village. Customers are advised to check the TrainTime app and mta.info for the latest service updates. 

A transcript of MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber appearing at an on-scene media availability to provide details on the incident and upcoming service impacts is below: 

Janno Lieber: I’m Janno Lieber, Chair and CEO of the MTA. I'm joined by Fire Commissioner Kavanagh, thank you for being here. Also joined by Rob Free, who is the Chief of Operations for the Long Island Rail Road. Anthony Simon, who is the general chairman of SMART, the union representing track workers, the wreck crew, and conductors, among others. Thank you for being here. Pat Warren, who is the MTA’s Chief Safety Officer and the team at the FDNY who responded so effectively today.  

Train 722 departing Grand Central, headed to Hempstead derailed at approximately 11:12 a.m. today. We had MTA Long Island Rail Road personnel on the scene. First of all, I note it’s an eight-car derailment, appears to be all eight cars of the train derailed. Long Island Rail Road personnel were on the scene within minutes coming from both Hillside Maintenance Facility and Jamaica. So, from both ends, you had Long Island Rail Road personnel on the scene, and they assisted the train crew in dealing with passengers. The commissioner will speak to the injuries. But there were some injuries, some folks who were shaken up and they were quickly attended to. We had water on the train and the conditions, obviously the temperature is moderate, and the conditions were maintained pretty good for the passengers while they waited for the rescue train. 

Approximately 90 minutes later, the rescue train was able to, with the assistance of the FDNY, to take them back to Jamaica, where there were folks on hand from the FDNY team to deal with their conditions. Going forward right now we have the wreck crew, which is responsible for dealing with these types of incidents, is on scene and work has begun. They're both personnel and equipment from the wreck crew responsible for the re-railing process who have begun work. The locomotive that is going to be used in the re-railing process is on scene.  

There are going to be impacts to this evening's p.m. rush hour and in all likelihood to tomorrow morning's a.m. morning rush hour as well. Within the hour, the MTA through the TrainTime app, and all of the website and social media channels that we use is going to issue an update on the schedule that reflects what we are able to run this evening and in part for tomorrow morning as well. The restoration process is not merely a matter of re-railing the train. There is damage to the ties and other railroad infrastructure as well. That has to be addressed. So, we'll have to come back to the public about how long it's going to be until that track and our ability to provide full Long Island Rail Road service is back in action, but I just want to close by thanking the FDNY for their tremendous response. The NYPD was on hand as well. The MTAPD is on hand both to support the dealing with the passengers and also to begin the investigation. The Federal Railroad administrator who is the safety regulator was immediately notified. They have personnel on hand as well. And it's been a tremendous team effort to deal with this and to avoid a more serious condition.