MTA Working To Stop Debris From Falling From Elevated Subway Tracks

Marla Diamond
November 08, 2019 - 2:00 pm
Subway debris basket

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA is tackling the danger of debris falling from elevated subway tracks.

On Friday, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond and other reporters were invited to an ironworks shop in the Bronx where the agency is engineering several solutions to a years-old problem.

Reporters were allowed up on a test track at the MTA's Tiffany Iron Shop where the new Chief Infrastructure Officer Terri Rumph showed off a prototype basket that's being used to catch falling bolts.

"This basket's new. We have higher sizes. We can see through, that's why we're using a basket instead of tape," Rumph said, adding that the baskets will make it easier for track inspectors to see lose bolts.

Meanwhile, Transit President Andy Byford says all 60 miles of elevated track in the five boroughs was inspected in just eight days. 

"In some cases we did find some baskets were missing," Byford said.

The baskets are a barrier but Byford says with over two million pieces of equipment on the elevated tracks he can't make any guarantees. 

"We're basically fighting gravity, but this team, my management team and I are taking very proactive measures to put a stop to this and to design this problem out once and for all," Byford said.

The issue of falling debris has been a persistent problem for the MTA in 2019, with at least a dozen similar incidents reported throughout the year.

Last month, a piece of metal weighing about 20 pounds fell from the elevated A train line, smashing into the back window of a livery cab at 100th Street and Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park.

A week prior to that, a woman said she was driving in Bedford Stuyvesant when something fell from the tracks and shattered her vehicle's sunroof just days after a rusted metal bolt fell from the elevated N/W subway tracks in Queens, crashing through the sunroof of a car under the Queensboro Plaza station.

In March, there were also three incidents of debris from the 7 train tracks falling onto cars.