So, once again I am running ten minutes late and once again it is entirely because the policy on how to move trains to and from Ronkonkoma was written by a squashed apricot and implemented by The Clown Collective.
Just east of Farmingdale the double-track right-of-way narrows to a single track chicane, which runs through Pinelawn, then Wyandanch to become two tracks again at Deer Park. The common wisdom is that this causes congestion and an expensive two-track upgrade is being talked about as I type.
The problem is that the expense and disruption this so-called plan will produce is hardly worth the time and angst when a simple1 change to the stupid-with-a-capital-stupe policy on how to move trains through the chicane would make the whole problem go away instantly.
The policy I speak of is the one that calls for late off-peak trains to be prioritized over on-time peak trains and sent through the chicane first when there is a clash.
This in turn guarantees that between the time the off-peak eastbound train with its three passengers comes through Wyandanch, Pearl of the East, a minimum of ten minutes must elapse before the train coming the other way stops to pick up the hundred or so freezing and/or wet passengers waiting to go to work or go home from work, having paid a premium to travel on the peak trains involved.
If the "policy" were changed so that an East-bound late off-peak train got held at Farmingdale and late Westbound off-peak trains got held at Deer Park, the peak trains could be routed around them.
Big deal, right? Why do we care?
Because holding the Westbound peak train disrupts not just that train but every other train on the network west of the junction at Hicksville. It also means that transfers at Jamaica2 are lost because the Bloody Long Island Rail Road doesn't hold them3 and the next Atlantic Avenue-bound train is typically half an hour behind. Thus, holding the peak trains cause not a ten minute delay, but numerous delays and, more importantly, makes me a minimum of forty minutes late for work, time I must make up.
I can live with the unforeseen problems causing major disruption (while noting that some of these are perfectly foreseeable by anyone in possession of a plurality of brain cells), but this fbleeptardery is entirely avoidable with minimum effort.
As I type we are passing through Mineola. I should be boarding my connection, but I'm still about 10 (i.e. 40) minutes behind schedule
Another win for the Bloody Long Island Rail Road and the IQ Brigade “in charge” of it.