NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was a moving train, open to the elements. Metro-North has launched an investigation into why a door on a crowded commuter train didn’t close when it pulled out of the station.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reports, the dangerous ride was caught on camera.
The open-door ride began Monday morning at the 125th Street Metro-North station in Harlem — along that long straight run up Park Avenue to Grand Central.
A door didn’t close on the lead car of an inbound Stamford local. The train was packed, with passengers riding in the vestibule feeling the cold wind from trains speeding by in the opposite direction.
It was a shocking sight for rail commuters.
“Oh, that’s crazy!” rider Marianne Flores said.
“Are you serious? That ain’t good,” rider Glen Delgado added.
No, it’s not. The moment the video was posted online, railroad officials began a search for the car in question and pulled it out of service. They also ordered an immediate door safety check of the entire fleet of aging rail cars — some that have been in service since 1971.
“Is that part of the capital maintenance program?” wondered rider Richard Feldman.
The truth is the long overdue replacement of the old cars is barely beginning. Tests on new replacements are still underway. Meanwhile, the railroad is advising commuters to ride clear of the doors, but veteran travelers know that’s not always possible.
“A lot of times it’s too crowded so you have no choice but to stand by the doo. That’s a death waiting to happen,” rider Dorian Fuller said.
“What can you do, squeeze your fingers in there and try to close it? I mean, that’s when you pull the red rope, right?” Campbell Hines added.
Actually, Metro-North has other advice.
“If a passenger notices an open door,” a spokesman said Tuesday night, “they should immediately move away from the door and notify a conductor who can manually close and lock the door shut.”
The man who took this video said the conductor was notified but hadn’t arrived yet when the door finally slid closed with the help of the nearest passenger.
The first of a new generation of rail cars are expected to hit the New Haven line later this year.