NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Service on several subway lines has been shut down along Queens Boulevard so that crews can re-rail and move the subway train that derailed Friday morning, forcing the evacuation of 1,000 passengers.
The Manhattan-bound F train derailed on the express tracks around 10:40 a.m. in a tunnel about 1,200 feet south of the 65th Street station in Woodside.
According to officials, the E, F, R, and M lines will remain out of service along Queens Boulevard through 9 a.m. Saturday, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
Limited bus shuttle service will be provided at the affected stations, and the MTA urged customers to use the 7 train or Long Island Rail Road as an alternate.
The Long Island Rail Road is cross-honoring valid MetroCards in both directions between Penn Station and Jamaica Station, including Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside, as well as stops between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica
Nineteen people were injured in the incident and the derailment snarled subway service for much of the day.
Local E and F train service resumed just before 5 p.m. Friday.
There is no timetable for restoration of express service on the Queens Boulevard line. Weekend construction work on the M, 7 and J lines has been canceled.
As a result, the MTA said there are several service changes in effect:
-E train service runs local between Queens Plaza and Parsons/Archer in both directions.
-F train service runs local between 21st Street-Queensbridge and Jamaica-179th Street in both directions.
-There is no M train service between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Essex Street in both directions.
-There is no R train service between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and 57th Street-7th Avenue in both directions.
As an alternate, customers traveling between Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Manhattan are advised to take the 7 train. Customers traveling between Manhattan and Jamaica are advised to take the J train. At Jamaica Parsons/Archer, customers can connect to local bus service.
-Shuttle buses are operating in two sections:
Shuttle buses for the E line operate between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Queens Plaza and 74th Street-Broadway.
Shuttle buses for the F line operate between 21st Street-Queensbridge and Forest Hills-71st Avenue
It’s still not clear exactly what caused the train to derail, but six of the train’s eight cars jumped the tracks, officials said.
“The first car of the train made it through without derailing. The following cars then, about six cars, derailed and the final car stayed on the track,” NYPD Chief of Patrol James Hall said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Some of the passengers said it felt like the train sped up and then came to a jolting stop, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“We kind of accelerated a little bit and then the lights flickered and then we didn’t move,” one woman said. “It was a regular New York City day, I guess.”
“The train just jerked so fast. Then we saw smoke. It was literally like a scene out of a movie,” passenger Gabrielle Heslob told Brown.
“It’s like I was about to die,” Taisha Jean-Philippe said.
“It just bumped up on something and the train just got out of the track and it was hitting the walls and sparks were coming,” another woman told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
“It was very scary, we didn’t know what was going on,” said another passenger. “It happened in seconds.”
Dust stirred up by the accident filled the tunnel and some rail cars.
“There were a couple people who were having some asthma attacks and a couple of people who were having panic attacks,” passenger Danielle Ashe said.
More than 100 firefighters and paramedics converged on the area of 60th Street and Broadway where the FDNY has an access point to get into the tunnel to get all the passengers to safety.
“About 5 to 10 minutes in, we were getting help. About 20 minutes in, FDNY was in the cars and evacuating everyone safely,” a passenger told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Firefighters tried to keep passengers calm as rescue workers led them carefully out of the train – one by one – down a ladder, across the tracks and then up another ladder through an emergency hatch to the street above.
About an hour after the derailment, hundreds of people – including a baby – could be seen exiting from the access point where there are stairs leading from the tunnel to the street, CBS 2’s Jim Smith reported. A few were seen being treated on stretchers.
In all, officials said there were about 1,000 passengers on the train. Nineteen people were hurt, including four who were potentially seriously injured, authorities said. They have all been taken to area hospitals.
Some of the passengers said they felt lucky to be alive.
“I thought I’m not going to be standing here, I thought I’m going to be dead,” one woman said.
“Everyone was screaming loud, everyone was scared,” another said.
“You’re looking around trying to calculate what happens if a fire breaks out and how the hell do we get off this train,” another man said.
“Whoever was in charge and all the different organizations were really right on top if it, and they kept everybody calm,” evacuated passenger Jackie Soreff said.
FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard said overall, riders stayed calm during the rescue operation.
“Of course we give the passengers credit that they maintained calm,” he said. “They’re New Yorkers.”
Authorities said it took about two hours to evacuate all of the passengers.
In addition to the derailed F train, there was also an E train that was in the tunnel when the power was shut off, Smith reported.
The derailment and ensuing service disruptions forced large crowds of commuters to take the bus instead, leading to long lines in places like Jackson Heights.
Passengers complained the disruption delayed their usual commute.
“I lost my day over here,” frustrated commuter Maria Martinez told CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon.
“It usually is a short 30-minute trip but now it’s turned into a good hour, hour and a half,” passenger Jackie Ezeani said.
“I really wish MTA had more workers on the street itself to give directions and to let everybody know what’s going on,” commuter Archie Bonhomme added.
The MTA said commuters should plan for additional travel times.
The investigation into the derailment is ongoing.
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