A subway train derailed near a station in Harlem on Tuesday, frightening passengers, causing minor injuries to seven people and leading to massive systemwide delays. Joe Lhota, the chairman of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said officials were investigating why the train’s emergency brakes went on before a minor Harlem derailment that frightened passengers and resulted in systemwide delays. ”This does not look like a failure on the part of the equipment. This does not look like a failure of the track itself,” said Lhota, wearing a shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a tie while appearing at the scene. Lhota said most of those injured suffered from smoke inhalation. Joe Lhota (LOH’-tuh) said Tuesday there were no initial indications of equipment or track failure before two cars derailed and scraped a wall on Tuesday morning. He says seven people suffered minor injuries, mostly smoke inhalation. Service on the A, B, C and D lines has been suspended until the investigation is completed.
The Fire Department of New York said a handful of people were treated for minor injuries at around 10 a.m. It said there was smoke but no fire. Delays were reported throughout the subway system. Passengers interviewed by local TV stations described the train vibrating wildly and bucking as it went off the rails. ”When it first started derailing, there were some screams and shouts,” a passenger, Steve Epstein, told NY1 television. He said there was white smoke and ”there was a lot of banging around in that car – it was really bad.” ”But when it came to a stop and we looked around and everyone was all right, everyone was pretty calm,” Epstein said. ”It was quite a ride.” Other trains approaching the station halted in their tracks. Pictures and video posted on social media showed passengers evacuating through darkened subway tunnels. Emergency crews shut off track power after derailments to prevent evacuees from being electrocuted.
Julian Robinson said he was stuck on one stopped train for 45 minutes to an hour before rescuers arrived to escort passengers along the tracks into the station. ”People didn’t panic,” he said. He said the station wasn’t smoky but there was a strong, acrid smell. The number of subway delays have tripled in the past five years, to 70,000 per month. In recent months, several high-profile incidents have occurred, including subway trains stuck in tunnels for an hour or more. In April, a power outage backed up trains around the city and closed a key Manhattan station for 12 hours. Commuter railroads have fared no better. A report earlier this month found rush-hour cancellations and delays on New York’s Long Island Rail Road are at the highest level in 10 years.