By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Commuters facing a summer of disruption on New York City-area railway lines took to social media Monday to ask for prayers, gripe about delays and bemoan sluggish service.
Travelers on the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit face schedule changes, delays and service reductions into Pennsylvania Station due to weeks of track repair work that some are referring to as a "summer of hell" for New York commuters.
"I'm not a religious person but please say a prayer for me as the summer of hell on the LIRR has officially begun," wrote Erin Havard (@AirHavard15) on Twitter on Monday morning.
"#LIRR #SummerOfHell Survival Kit: water, oatmeal pack, phone charger & Xanax," tweeted Arielle K. (@NYCMermaid1121) on Sunday, adding the hashtag "#longislandfailroad."
The hashtag #SummerOfHell was trending on Twitter as social media users posted pictures of packed train cars and described chaotic scenes at train stations.
"Ah, so THIS is what that 'Summer of Hell' thing on the @LIRR is all about," write Larry Petrone (@lpetrone9). "Late trains & barely even standing room. Sweet."
The Long Island Rail Road commiserated with commuters and offered riders an online trip planner and tips for avoiding overcrowded trains.
"We know that canceled or diverted trains and revised stopping patterns are never fun for anyone," the LIRR said.
Even so, some straphangers reported smooth, on-time service, confounding expectations.
"Normal Monday: 60-minute delays, cancellations, people passing out on trains," tweeted Pete Pirone (@PetePirone). "'Summer of hell': on time. #lirr is upside down."
The track repairs come on the heels of a series of derailments at Penn Station. The partial shutdown is expected to end Sept. 1.
Still, some were skeptical that the repair work would end on time.
"The 'summer of hell,' probably to be followed by the 'autumn of purgatory,'" tweeted J.H. Swanson (@jh_swanson).
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)