Long Island freight rail contract extended

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NEW YORK — Long Island Rail Road executives are extending their freight contract with shortline New York & Atlantic Railway to serve Long Island, N.Y., freight customers.

Newsday reports that the fabled passenger railroad connecting New York City with Long Island communities is not only required by law to serve as Long Island's common carrier, but that freight service reduces highway congestion and pollution.

The passenger railroad's contract with the New York & Atlantic includes about 30,000 annual carloads over 269 miles of track across Long Island. Community activists have opposed freight rail service generally, but also from the short line, which they say has safety problems documented in reports issued by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Newsday cites the railroads saying the safety culture at the short line has improved and meets current expectations. The New York & Atlantic paid LIRR $3 million as part of its contract in 2016.

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