The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) announced that it has begun an aggressive three-phase inspection and repair program to prevent the recurrence of wires from its transmission system falling on Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks and causing service disruptions for the Railroad.
The program, developed in consultation with the LIRR, will use both aerial and ground-level inspection procedures to complete detailed inspections of some 130 miles of LIPA’s transmission system that runs along LIRR rights of way in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York. Also included in the inspection program, will be 17 rectifier stations that belong to the LIRR that LIPA’s transmission system interconnects with, and 12 LIPA-owned substations that interconnect with the Railroad’s electric supply system on Long Island.
Weather permitting it will take about 3 weeks to complete the inspection of 30 miles of “high priority” electric transmission system sections that run along the Railroad’s rights of way from the Queens/Nassau border to Seaford. This segment of the LIRR includes the sections near the Valley Stream and Seaford railroad stations where LIPA transmission system static wires fell last month and the Far Rockaway and Long Beach branches of the Railroad as well.
Aerial inspection will be done with a helicopter fitted with high-technology equipment designed to take detailed photographs of all of the wires and other transmission system components that run along the 30 miles of high priority rights of way. This will include the connections with over 600 towers that carry LIPA’s transmission system along the rights of way. It will take about 3 weeks to complete this inspection phase. Haverfield Helicopters of Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania will perform the aerial inspections. Haverfield conducts electric transmission and distribution inspections for electric utilities around the country. They began the aerial inspections on Saturday, March 3, and will hover directly over LIPA’s transmission system to capture the detailed inspection photos that will pinpoint needed repairs.
As the inspections progress, LIPA will work in cooperation with the LIRR to schedule track access to make all electric transmission system repairs that may be needed with as little disruption as possible to the Railroad’s commuter operation.
“We have given this inspection and repair program our highest priority,” said LIPA CEO and President Richard M. Kessel. “While we have had only two non-storm-related incidents where non-electrified static wires from our transmission system have come down across LIRR tracks disrupting service, it’s imperative that we do everything possible to identify any potential problems and make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
“At the same time, we look forward to continuing our joint efforts with the Railroad in the weeks ahead so we can complete all of the projected inspections and make any necessary repairs in a way that minimizes the possibility of disrupting commuter service operations,” said Mr. Kessel.
“Additionally, we have been working with the Railroad to develop and implement a new response procedure to downed wire incidents that will help coordinate and expedite the joint efforts of both organizations to minimize the duration of service disruptions while quickly restoring commuter service,” said Mr. Kessel
“I am pleased that LIPA is moving forward with a plan to inspect their infrastructure and make repairs where needed,” said Raymond P. Kenny, LIRR Acting President. “We will work cooperatively with LIPA to ensure that these inspections and repairs can take place expeditiously, to minimize the chances of any further wire-related service disruptions for Railroad customers. In the event of a recurrence, we will count on LIPA's improved response protocol to provide a realistic time-frame for the restoration of service. This will allow the LIRR to make informed operating decisions and keep customers updated on what to expect."