NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Major power outages caused chaos on mass transit systems in both New York and San Francisco Friday, with parts of both cities’ systems still suffering ongoing outages or delays into the pre-weekend afternoon commute.

The outages occurred on the heels of an Infrastructure Report Card that gave poor grades to both mass transit and power systems across the country.

In New York, platforms were packed and riders were stuck underground in the dark when an outage in Midtown Manhattan backed up trains all over the city Friday morning. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a Con Edison equipment failure knocked out signals, escalators, communications and lights at the station.

Hundreds of riders were packed inside a D train when it got stuck in a tunnel just short of the subway stop at Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street after the signals lost power around 7:30 a.m. An E train had one car already in at the station platform when the outage happened. Riders were able to get out through that car.

The outage backed up trains all over the city.

Con Edison brought in temporary generators as crews made repairs. Hours later as the evening rush began, people were greeted by yellow caution tape at 53rd and Seventh.

A Con Edison spokesman said one of his electrical lines triggered the outage. CBS2 asked the spokesman why it happened.

“We know that there is some equipment on our side of the street that needs to be repaired. Why it failed, you know, we don’t know yet, but we’ll find out. We have to get to the bottom of what would cause the equipment failure,” spokesman Michael Clendenin told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco. “Equipment does fail from time to time, and what you have is service lines and fuses and other equipment that serves the city’s subway system – specifically in this case the signals – and it goes through that train station.”

A continent away in San Francisco, a power outage forced the closure of the busy Montgomery BART Station, and also knocked out traffic lights and cable car lines. The Montgomery station is a key stop all BART lines coming into the city.

People were stranded in elevators and operating rooms were shut down, CBS San Francisco reported.


The outage was blamed on a fire at a power substation in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman Barry Anderson said the power outage began with the failure of a circuit breaker at the large substation.

“We had equipment failure, the catastrophic failure of a circuit breaker,” said Anderson. “When it failed, it created a fire in the insulation surrounding the breaker…. Something went wrong with the breaker to cause it to explode.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said of the 88,000 customers who lost power, 58,000 has been restored by 2 p.m. Pacific Time. The remainder would be restored by 5 p.m. Pacific Time

Numerous tweets Friday noted that New York and San Francisco were experiencing major power outages in the same day – some with snide remarks, others with fear.

Earlier this year, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the nation’s energy system with a D+, and the mass transit system with a D-.

The organization’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card noted that much of the U.S. energy system dates back before the turn of the 20th century, and most electric transmission and distribution lines were constructed in the 1950s and ’60s with a now-exceeded life expectancy of 50 years.

“Without greater attention to aging equipment, capacity bottlenecks, and increased demand, as well as increasing storm and climate impacts, Americans will likely experience longer and more frequent power interruptions,” the report warned.

Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Report Card also said chronically underfunded mass transit systems have resulted in aging infrastructure and a $90 billion rehabilitation backlog.

The report noted that American transit systems carried 10.5 billion passenger trips in 2015 – up 33 percent from 1995. But the report said 10 percent of the nation’s city bus fleet and 3 percent of the nation’s rail fleet are not in a “state of good repair.”

The report specified that older heavy rail systems in several cities – including New York and San Francisco – are “confronting the challenges and consequences of rider demand, years of deferred maintenance, and chronic funding problems.”

On energy, the report called for a federal policy that acknowledges future demands, and for policies that allow for the construction of new transmission lines.

On transportation, the report called for more investment at all levels of government to fix the deferred maintenance crisis, and also called for reliable federal funding through a higher motor fuels tax.

Comments (34)
  1. Whew! Luckily we still have enough money to start and fight wars all over the world though! Imagine if that ran out and the ‘patriots’ would be forced to concentrate on internal issues?

  2. Not a dime for Sodom’s infrastructure until they repent of their sanctuary city ways.

  3. NYC & San Fran will be fine. “We don’t need no stinking Federal money”. We can walk with our heads held high because we are sanctuary cities.

  4. You vote for socialist and you will always end up just like Venezuela.Soon you stupid turds in San Fran and New York will be out rioting for food. You socialist idiots are getting what you deserve.

  5. rytwinger says:

    This will become more common once the idiots of Frisco run out of “rich” people….

  6. I thought Obama fixed everything with those shovel-ready jobs! No? The stimulus money went to pay off the unions? Never mind. It must all Trump’s fault.

  7. Wow! Whodathunkit! California has been touted as a leftist “paradise”… Leftists constantly preach about “building infrastructure”… and San Francisco is “leftist central”. Hmmmmm…. so apparently, leftists lie.

  8. White males’ infrastructure is breaking down… So much socialism…

  9. David Grimes says:

    How can the infrastructure be “failing?” California and the geniuses in San Francisco keep telling us how well off they are, how brilliant they are, how they don’t need the commoners any more.

    This makes no sense.

    I’m confused.

  10. dogsrock2 says:

    No money for infrastructure. So sorry but you have become a sanctuary city. Have to have priorities

  11. Spend your money on infrastructure or illegals.

  12. biglouie15 says:

    Guess these liberal utopias need to raise taxes some more to pay for all these failures. Wanna bet how much of a drain all these illegal aliens are on the tax payers. Keep bringing them in and these cities run by liberals will continue to degrade. Not to worry though, the dems will continue to be in power as all the people on the dole will be voting for them.

  13. Get this.. NY Gov Coomois gonna run for president in 2020..heh heh

  14. Sanctuary City ..Sanctuary State ?…no infrastructure for you.”Get on your bikes and ride”

  15. Gordon Corey says:

    No doubt just a delay in obamma’s investment in infrastructure

  16. Matt Simmons says:

    In reference to the outage in NYC, Operation Gotham Shield is underway. Coincidence?

    1. OOOOOH YEA!!!! Crap….I forgot about that. Yep….makes sense Matt….good looking out!!

    2. CG Rain says:

      Wonder if they are testing the same out west here, as well. Wouldn’t doubt it, they don’t tell the public anything..3 major cities is too coincidental.

  17. After I separated out of the Army I bought a home in Florida 12 years ago. I prepared for hurricanes by installing 12mil film on all my windows, reinforced my garage and doors, and bought a quality generator and many Jerry cans of ethanol free fuel, and enough battery power to run my kitchen.

    ….Damned if a hurricane has hit Florida in over a decade, and even my battery back up hasn’t been put to the test. When your prepared, nothing ever happens. That works for me.

  18. Dee Merk says:

    As far as California goes, Governor Jerry Brown has diverted money away from normal maintenance and upgrades of California’s infrastructure to build his BULLET TRAIN BONANZA.
    He is on the take from major construction companies and the builder of the Bullet Train.
    End of Discussion.

  19. John Smith says:

    Ehhh.. who cares. Only sheep live in the cities. Out in the country we are self sufficient … maybe if you city folks are nice we will keep sending you food …. maybe.

    1. ….umm…John, you ever hear of the Golden Horde? When the SHTF all those city folks will be heading your way pal.

  20. Adam North says:

    One striking similarity. Both cities are run by Demofascists.

  21. stevebowl says:

    Waited for the punchline. It’s near the end. Need more of YOUR money to fix these problems. Last time I looked nobody was starving in and around Washington DC. They seems pretty rich time. Screw em. I’ll walk.

  22. Bah. There isn’t a utility in the nation that hasn’t suffered under a rogue legislature than PG&E. Energy is not welcome in California. And if the grid is in shambles, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  23. Frank Kubin says:

    After 8 years of Obama doing NOTHING. But men can use the ladies room now.

  24. Jose Ortega says:

    The outages reek from SABOTAGE!

  25. These bluest of progressive cites spend more on government unions and illegal Mexican than they spend on solving the infrastructure problems that they tax payers paid them to do.

  26. Or is this a practice run to darken the whole country?

    1. Adam North says:

      Probably.. How many Demofascists does it take to change a light bulb? None.They prefer to live in the dark.

    2. That’d be my first guess. Remember several years ago they found evidence in California of damage done to some of the power stations? Terrorist plans don’t happen overnight, this could be a plan years in the making finally coming close to being put into action. What happened today gives them a good idea of what to expect and may help them iron out some more of the details.

  27. Ken Kaufman says:

    Easy fix, just double the taxes on the people in SF, and use the money to fix the issues. No problem. And to make it fair, charge every person there $1000 minimum. We don’t want some people being parasites and living off others.

  28. This will always be the end result of ctrl-left government policy, always. This is what American “Regressives” will never grasp. They are now indoctrinated to a level that would make a National Socialist in 1933 Germany blush.

    The Fascists will eventually call themselves anti-fascists. W. Churchill.

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