Thunderstorm knocks out LIRR’s signal system

Last week the Long Island Rail Road (NY) learned that its state-of-the-art signal system was no match for a thunderstorm, as a lightning strike caused the system and its back-up to fail. LIRR had high hopes for the $56 million system which was installed a year ago to replace a vintage system dating from the early twentieth century. Among its features, the new system was supposed to protect LIRR against power surges and lighting strikes. “I have great concerns over the fact that we’ve made this tremendous investment in microprocessors and a software program that then failed,” LIRR president Helena Williams told The New York Times. “I certainly understand our customer frustration over this matter, and I’m very sympathetic to the experience they’ve been going through on the railroad.” The railroad has asked signal system manufacturer Ansaldo to participate in the investigation; an independent contrator will also look into the matter. Link to full story in The New York Times.

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