Subway Suspension

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

Evening Commute Snarled By Extensive Delays On Multiple Subway Lines

July 19, 2019 - 10:02 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Multiple subways lines were suspended in New York City during the Friday evening commute as a heat dome descended on the area.

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Beginning at around 6 p.m., the MTA said nearly all number trains – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 – and all Grand Central-42 Street shuttle trains were suspended in both directions due to a “network communications issue.” 

Passengers were told to see station managers to obtain a courtesy pass for alternate bus or train service and Metro-North began cross-honoring MetroCard holders at all impacted stations along the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines.

"We did not know where exactly our trains were so for safety reasons, we had to ask all trains, instruct all trains to stop where they were,” explained Transit President Andy Byford.

Trains that had been stuck in tunnels, some for upwards of an hour, were slowly moved into stations and the servers got rebooted. However, the MTA still doesn’t have a reason for the abrupt interruption in service.

"At the moment, I cannot tell you what the root cause was. But we will get to the bottom of that,” Byford said.

It's the second time the train lines were suspended in just two weeks. Byford says he's not sure if that first incident, on July 6, is related.

Meanwhile, local politicians took to social media, fuming about the sudden outage, especially as heat indexes continued to climb towards triple digits. 

“This kind of meltdown during a heat wave is UNACCEPTABLE. The MTA owes every single New Yorker an explanation for this,” Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “We've known about this dangerous weather for DAYS. There’s no excuse for why they aren't prepared.”

“This is completely unacceptable @MTA. Service is suspended and platforms are boiling. New York cannot function like this,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer wrote on Twitter.

Commuters were left stranded on sweltering hot platforms for nearly an hour before service began to resume with residual delays.

According the WCBS 880's Steve Burns, stranded riders had begun yelling out "no trains" to anyone coming up the ramp at the 96th Street station to save them a trip down.

One straphanger told WCBS 880 crews were forced to use a megaphone to make announcements at the Grand Central-42 Street station to be heard over the crowd.

Grand Central - Subway Suspensions
Leanne Vaccaro

It remains unclear exactly what caused the communication problems on the subway lines.