7 train riders trapped under East River as Monday rush hour service suspended

By Bill Parry

Straphangers aboard a packed Manhattan-bound No. 7 train were stranded for over an hour during Monday’s morning rush, the MTA said. More than 540 riders needed to be transferred to a rescue train and brought to Grand Central Station.

No one was injured, but one woman felt faint and requested medical attention, according to the MTA, which blamed mechanical failure for the incident. A contact shoe on one of the cars came in contact with the third rail at 8:33 a.m., creating a smoke condition, an agency spokeswoman said.

Service was suspended in both directions until it resumed at 10:18 a.m. By then the damage was done to the morning commutes for thousands along the No. 7 line in both directions between the Vernon-Jackson station in Long Island City and Grand Central.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who railed against the MTA during a Sunnyside rally last month, resumed the attack Monday.

“Today’s catastrophic delays with the delays on the 7 line is just one more incident in a long line of horrific experiences Queens riders face almost every single day during rush hour,” he said. “Time and again my constituents do not get the reliable service they pay for. These incidents are continuing to pile up and onto hardworking New Yorkers who rely heavily on the MTA to provide quality service. The MTA must be held accountable and it is time for our city to gain authority over the MTA so that they can be held accountable.”

There was no comment on the incident from the bistate agency. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), another vocal critic of the service on the No. 7 line that has seen delays and disruptions in addition to regular weekend service outages for construction, was livid.

“The 7 train nightmare for Queens residents continues,” Gianaris said. “We have been dealing with this for months already and today’s chapter is especially troubling, with riders trapped under the river for an extended period. The status quo on the 7 line is simply unacceptable and I will continue to push the MTA to drastically improve the 7 train’s performance on a day-to-day basis.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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