Two primary candidates blast 7 line woes in Jackson Heights as MTA refutes report about worn-down wheels

Photo courtesy of Jessica Ramos

The never-ending woes on the 7 line were again raised on July 19 at a Jackson Heights press conference — but the MTA said that some claims about the train line’s condition are untrue.

State Senate candidate Jessica Ramos held the press conference at the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street with gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in response to reports that “reveal the desperate and dangerous state of our subways.”

“The 7 train is a staple of life in Queens. Tens of thousands of us take it every day — to go to work, to school, to the doctor, to visit family,” Ramos said. “Meanwhile, our elected officials continue to ignore the fact that the wheels are worn down on half of all 7 trains. We are in danger — simply because our representatives refuse to prioritize our safety. This kind of neglect is a disgrace.”

Ramos referred to a Daily News report which indicated that the wheels on “half of all 7 trains” are worn down. The report also stated that half of the 7 train fleet failed inspections in 2017, which were conducted only after two derailments occurred on the train line.

But Jon Weinstein, MTA director of communications and senior adviser to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, denied these claims on Twitter.

“This is flat out false. Completely untrue and at no point ever was a 7 train that failed an inspection in passenger service,” wrote Weinstein in a Tweet.

Weinstein explained that train wheels are measured every 75 days, and when required, they are trimmed or “trued” so the four wheels on every “truck” are the same size. He adds that wheels that fail inspection are taken out of service, trimmed, then put back into service.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Ramos
Photo courtesy of Jessica Ramos

At the press conference, Nixon blasted Governor Andrew Cuomo for the current state of the MTA.

“Governor Cuomo has not only ignored the MTA, but raided its budget to pay for his own pet projects. He uses the MTA like an ATM,” Nixon said. “Not only are there serious safety concerns, but delayed service is also devastating to low-income New Yorkers’ financial concerns. Once and for all, it is the governor who controls the MTA and is responsible for its funding — and he has blatantly failed New Yorkers.”

Van Bramer echoed the sentiments of Ramos and Nixon, and also took the opportunity to plug his endorsements of the candidates.

“Every single rider of the 7 train deserves to be safe,” said Van Bramer. “The fact that we need to come out and demand better service time and time and time again is part of the reason why I’ve endorsed Cynthia Nixon and Jessica Ramos. Simply put — it is time to change the MTA so that it works for all straphangers.”

On Twitter, Van Bramer wrote that he took the train to Woodside with both Ramos and Nixon. The three stopped at the Stop Inn diner, followed by distributing fliers and talking to train riders on the Woodside-61st Street station platform.