ENTERTAINMENT

Full service restored on 1/2/3 subway lines following Upper West Side derailment

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Full subway service has been restored on the 1, 2, and 3 lines after two trains collided and derailed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the MTA announced.

Restoration comes two days after Thursday’s derailment near the 96th Street station, when an uptown 1 train with hundreds of riders aboard knocked into another train that had been taken out of service because its brakes were vandalized. Twenty-four passengers sustained injuries, though none were seriously hurt.

MTA crews have spent the weekend removing the two trains from the scene, repairing the tracks and third rail, and conducting safety inspections, the agency reported.

Local trains had been rerouted to the express tracks on Thursday afternoon after the vandalism incident at 79th Street. The train with passengers was proceeding to the local track on a green signal, while the vandalized train car was moving against a red signal for unknown reasons, officials said.

Hundreds of passengers had to be evacuated from the 1 train involved in the crash, plus hundreds more on a 2 train stuck behind it.

First responders outside Manhattan station where subway derailed
First responders outside the 96th Street station on the 1/2/3 line after a subway train derailed on Jan. 4, 2023.Photo by Dean Moses

The incident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Transit officials hope to dissuade New Yorkers from feeling uneasy about taking the subway after the incident. In an op-ed for amNewYork Metro, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber noted that incidents occur just once for every 10 million trips on the subway, a far cry from automobile travel where crashes occur once for every 70,000 trips.

“Traveling via transit is much safer,” Lieber noted.

Derailments are very rare in the subway system. The last such incident, in 2020, was also caused by vandalism, when a scofflaw tossed debris onto subway tracks near 8th Avenue and 14th Street, which caused an uptown A train to derail.

The worst derailment in the history of the subway took place over 100 years ago, in 1918, when a train operator made a sharp curve at high speed near the Prospect Park stop on the modern-day Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Brooklyn.

The incident occurred during a strike against the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, in which the company brought in untrained scabs to operate the subways. Approximately 93 people died, and the incident became so notorious that the street where it occurred was renamed, from Malbone Street to Empire Boulevard.

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