MTA subway lines 1,2, 3 running on partial service only after derailment

Subway service on the No. 1, 2 and 3 lines remained suspended across a large portion of Manhattan Friday morning as MTA crews worked to clear a pair of trains involved in Thursday’s derailment that injured more than two dozen straphangers.

A partial service restoration is expected sometime Friday afternoon, according to MTA chair Janno Lieber, as an investigation into the collision continues.

“There is an army of people that have been down there overnight, they haven’t slept,” Lieber told reporters outside the 96th Street No. 1 train station, where an uptown local train collided with an out-of-service train while switching tracks Thursday afternoon.

“Nine out of the 10 cars of the passenger train that was involved in the collision have been re-railed and moved out of the area,” he added.

Emergency workers respond to scene on the 1/2/3 subway line near W. 96th St. Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024 in Manhattan. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

“Once [the remaining] car is re-railed, we will be able to begin the process of a partial restoration of service … sometime [Friday],” Lieber said.

All 10 cars of the out-of-service train involved in the incident remain on the local track, and need to be cleared before full service can be restored to the Broadway line, MTA officials said.

Service on the No. 1 was suspended between the 137th St. – City College station and Times Square Friday morning, while service on the No. 3 was down between 135th St. in Harlem and Times Square.

No. 2 train service was running on the East Side along the No. 4 and 5 train tracks Friday.

The front car of the out-of-service train — which had been headed to a yard after being pulled out of service when vandals allegedly tripped its emergency brakes — required extensive repairs before it could be removed from the tunnel, NYC Transit president Richard Davey said.

“The train is currently sitting on ties, railroad ties, literally wooden blocks,” Davey said, explaining that the front truck — the portion of the train that contains the wheels and electric motors — had been mangled in the crash.

“The last piece of this would be to bring [a] new truck, put the car on top of it, and then roll it out,” he said. “With only inches to spare in this tunnel, it’s an incredibly delicate process.”

The crash took place shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, after No. 1 trains were routed to the express track to get around a disabled train at W. 79th Street.

That vandalized train had been taken out of service and was on its way to a Bronx train yard via the local tracks when it collided with a No. 1 train switching back to the local tracks from the express tracks, officials said.

The No. 1 train had a green signal to switch tracks at the time of the incident, Davey told reporters, while the out-of-service train had a red signal and no permission to proceed on the local track.

“The train that was out of service because of vandalism was proceeding, and it didn’t have the [green] signal,” the Transit boss said Friday.

“As a result it bumped into the [No. 1] train. Why? We don’t know, that’s still under investigation.”

The out-of service train was being operated from the conductor’s cab at the middle of the train, not — as is typical — the operator’s cab at the train’s front, officials said.

Davey said the train was inoperable from the typical position, so a crew member, known as a “flagger,” was positioned there to communicate with the operator mid-train.

“That flagger, when you’re operating the train from the middle of the train, is the eyes of the train,” he said.

The vandalized train collided with the No. 1 train roughly at its midpoint, at the fourth or fifth car, a transit source told the Daily News.

Asked how the collision could have happened, Davey said it was still under investigation.

“Keep in mind, this was a disabled train,” he said of the vandalized train.

“This was not a train that was functioning appropriately, which is why you had a several-man crew there,” he said. “In any other scenario, these are two trains working — one wouldn’t have been able to proceed.”

MTA officials would not say whether the brakes on the out-of-service train were functioning, citing the ongoing investigation.

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