NYC subway service is disrupted for a second day after low-speed collision that injured more than 20
New York City subway service was disrupted for a second day Friday as transit workers labored in the cramped confines of a tunnel beneath Manhattan to remove two trains that collided and derailed, causing minor injuries to about two dozen passengers.
The crash happened at about 3 p.m. Thursday when a northbound 1 train carrying about 300 passengers was switching from the express track to the local track at the 96th Street station, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said. The 1 train collided with an out-of-service train with four workers on board.
“We're grateful that this low-speed collision did not injure more people,” MTA Chair Janno Lieber said at a briefing in front of the station on Friday.
Lieber said partial service would be restored once workers are able to rerail the derailed passenger train and move it out of the way. Nine of the train's 10 cars had been rerailed by Friday morning, he said.
NYC Transit President Richard Davey said getting the 10th car back on track was a complicated operation because of the subway tunnel's low ceiling.
“The final car of the passenger train that derailed, there’s no room, right?” Davey said. “This is a tunnel.”
Transit workers are “literally lifting it a few inches, shimmying it over, lifting it a few, shimmying it over,” Davey said. “So that process takes a while."
Davey said the passenger train had the green light to proceed Thursday but the disabled train did not. “As a result it bumped into the train,” he said. “Why we don’t know, that’s still under investigation.”
A team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in New York on Friday to try to investigate the cause of the collision between the passenger train and the other train, which was out of service due to vandalism.
No time has been set for an NTSB briefing on the collision, an agency spokesperson said.
Officials said the vandalized train, whose wheels were damaged by the impact of the collision, will be removed after the passenger train is rerailed.
Derailments and crashes in the 119-year-old New York City subway system are rare. The worst crash in city subway history happened on Nov. 1, 1918, when a speeding train derailed in a sharply curved tunnel in Brooklyn, killing at least 93 people.
More recently, five people died on Aug. 28, 1991, when a 4 train derailed at Manhattan ‘s 14th Street Union Square Station. That train’s motorman was found at fault for alcohol intoxication and served 10 years in prison for manslaughter.