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Union chief vows to keep negotiating as New York commuter rail strike looms

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A conductor checks the platform from his train at the Jamaica station of the Long Island Rail Road, in the Queens borough of New York, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Negotiations aimed at avoiding a walkout at the nation's largest commuter railroad resumed Wednesday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo prodded both sides to find an agreement that would keep 300,000 daily riders from being forced to find alternate ways of getting in and out of New York City. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

The chief negotiator for unions at the nation's largest commuter railroad is vowing to keep working toward a deal that would avoid a strike.

Anthony Simon says the unions will do everything in their power to prevent New York's Long Island Rail Road from grinding to a halt at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

The unions and the LIRR are set for a second day of renewed negotiations Thursday. They held a session Wednesday at the urging of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) after two days of increased tension and bleak prospects for resolution.

Cuomo says everything must be done to prevent 300,000 daily riders "from being held hostage by a strike."

The railroad's 5,400 unionized workers haven't had a contract since 2010.

The state comptroller says a strike could cost the economy $50 million a day.

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Blidner reported from New York.