You are reading

Hundreds Evacuated From Subways After Con Ed ‘Power Surge’ Disrupts Service

L train service was shuttered Sunday night after a power surge shut down the subway’s signal system (Wikimedia Commons)

Aug. 30, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Hundreds were evacuated from subway trains late Sunday night after a power surge shuttered service on half of the subway system.

About 550 New Yorkers who were on trains stuck between stations had to leave the train cars and trudge through subway tunnels after the signaling system went down on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and L lines at around 9:10 p.m.

“Let me be very clear — last night was unacceptable,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a press conference Monday morning. “If you were one of those riders or people relying on safe transport, the system failed you.”

The system shutdown stemmed from a momentary power outage at 8:25 p.m. in which Con Edison lost a feeder and there was a voltage dip across New York City, Hochul said.

The transmission disturbance happened at the same time that a manhole fire in Long Island City bellowed smoke above the horizon. The two incidents are not believed to be related at this point, Hochul said, adding that the state is still investigating the two events.

The outage — which caused many New Yorkers’ lights to flicker for a split second, but didn’t lead to home outages — triggered the subways’ backup power system. When the subway system switched back to its normal system, there was a high surge of power that caused the subway to lose signalization and communication between command center and trains throughout the system.

The loss of communication and signals affected 83 trains — including five that were in between stations, Hochul said.

Straphangers on four of the five trains exited the subway cars and walked through tunnels to get to the next platform. The fifth train was replatformed.

“What we experienced was a lot of anxiety for the citizens of New York City who happened to be on the trains,” Hochul said. “This [was] a scary situation, something we don’t want New Yorkers to ever have to experience again.”

Service was restored on all lines by 1:30 a.m. after the FDNY checked that the tracks were clear of people who evacuated train cars.

Two of the four trains stuck in tunnels were evacuated by emergency personnel, while passengers onboard the two others decided to leave the trains and walk the tracks on their own — which Hochul warned was dangerous and advised against.

Hochul said the situation was unprecedented.

“The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge,” she said.

Hochul and the MTA are conducting an investigation to learn the root cause of the system breakdown to avoid the issue going forward.

“I’m immediately directing a review to find out the root cause of the service issues last night…,” Hochul said. “I want to find out exactly what happened to prevent it from happening again.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Porn actor Ron Jeremy, who grew up in Bayside, found unable to stand trial for rape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday, Jan. 17, declared that porn performer Ron Jeremy is mentally incompetent to stand trial on dozens of rape and sexual assault counts.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Harris said in a hearing that after reviewing reports from both prosecutors and Jeremy’s defense that he is in “incurable neurocognitive decline” from which he is unlikely to recover.