NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA says service has been fully restored on the G line following a minor derailment that snarled Friday morning’s commute and threatened to upend weekend service.
But for many, the return to normal service couldn’t come fast enough.
“I’m tired, I’m hot and sweating,” Jannele Griggs, of Brooklyn, told CBS2’s Alice Gainer. “(Gainer: How much time has this added onto your commute? A little bit, about an hour or two.”
“(Gainer: Has this been confusing to try and re-route?) Yea, especially because we’re not from around here, so we’re just like wait, now what do we do?” said Brandon Young, of California.
The derailment happened around 10:30 p.m. Thursday near the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station.
According to transit officials, the front two wheels on the first car of a Church Avenue-bound G train derailed about 700 feet from the station.
Transit officials said the train came into contact with a deteriorated section of a bench wall next to the track, causing debris to fall onto the track and come into contact with the first axle of the train.
“It was going pretty fast and it felt like a Coney Island roller coaster going down,” said passenger Luke Wu. “Everything started shaking really hard and the car started tilting to the side.”The MTA said about 80 passengers on the train at the time were evacuated as FDNY and MTA crews led through the tunnel with flashlights to the station
Wu recorded video of the evacuation.
“Everyone was just in shock for the first couple seconds,” he said. “One lady started freaking out because she had a newborn baby.”
On the platform, crews were standing by to assist. The FDNY said one customer complained of dizziness and two others were evaluated at an area hospital for minor injuries.
“Could have been much worse though, I’m sure,” Wu said.
The MTA said service was fully restored around 4:30 p.m. Friday after crews worked through the night and afternoon.
Thorough inspections revealed no damage to the track or third rail, which led to a faster resumption of service than had been initially anticipated, the MTA said.
The investigation into the cause of the derailment is ongoing.
“MTA New York City Transit’s Office of System Safety is investigating the root cause of why the wall reached into the path of the train and any contributing factors, and will publicly release those findings once it reaches a conclusion,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said in a statement.
Prendergast called the incident “unacceptable” and drew attention to the MTA’s budget plan and what he suggested is a lack of funding from New York City.
“Unfortunately, the regional consensus that has rebuilt the MTA is fraying. The MTA’s proposed 2015-19 Capital Program would invest $26.8 billion to renew, enhance and expand the transit network…” Prendergast said. “…When we asked the City of New York to invest $3.2 billion, they offered only $657 million. The City’s contribution has fallen far short of the rate of inflation, much less real support for the $800 billion worth of MTA assets within the five boroughs.”
Prendergast said part of that budget is allocated for repairing and rebuilding subway structures, including bench walls like the one involved in the G line derailment.
“But the MTA is barred by law from spending a single dollar on new capital projects until the state Capital Program Review Board approves our program – which can only happen when the City agrees to pay its fair share,” the MTA chairman said. “I am tired of writing letters to City officials that result only in vague calls for more conversations. The sooner we can end these games and get to work on rebuilding our transit network, the better we can serve the 8.5 million customers who rely on the MTA every day.”
A city spokesperson, however, told CBS2 that this past spring, the city fully met the MTA’s funding request and that it is the state’s responsibility to run the state-run MTA, Gainer reported.
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