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Train derailment on Upper West Side causes ‘major disruption’ to subway service: officials

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) – Two northbound No. 1 trains collided and derailed in the subway on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, injuring at least 24 people and causing a “major disruption” to service Thursday, authorities said.

The collision happened in a tunnel near West 96th Street and Broadway around 3 p.m., according to New York City Transit President Richard Davey.

One of the No. 1 trains had around 300 people on it, while the other train only contained four MTA workers and was out of service after it had been vandalized, according to Davey. None of the 24 people hurt were seriously injured, according to the FDNY.

Passengers on the train told PIX11 News they felt a violent jolt and heard a loud crash when the collision happened. Some passengers flew out of their seats and others fell to the ground, according to witnesses. Another passenger said she heard people screaming.

“It was a very fast, hard impact. Everyone was unexpected for it. It was really scary. People were just in shock, scared. Others were trying to calm people down. There were some people who were asking if someone needed help,” said Evelyn Aguilar, a passenger.

The cause of the train collision is under investigation.

“Obviously, two trains should not be bumping into one another. We’re going to get to the bottom of that,” Davey said. “There’s nothing to suggest it was equipment related. We will obviously look at human factors as well. I think it’s a little too early to tell. But at this point, from what we can tell, the equipment was working as intended.”

The derailment has caused a “major disruption” to subway service on the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines, according to the MTA. Davey said it will take “a while” to fully restore service to the impacted subway lines.

“My hope is we will have service restored for [morning] rush hour, but I cannot guarantee that. I’m going to ask our customers who use the 1, 2, 3 lines to continue to watch our website, our apps, and see how we’re proceeding,” Davey said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Visit the MTA website to see further details and alternatives.

All of the passengers on the occupied train that derailed have been evacuated, officials said. Daniel Torres, one of the passengers, described part of the evacuation process.

The scene of a train collision and derailment on the Upper West Side in Manhattan on Jan 4, 2024
(Photo credit: NYC Emergency Management)

“We stepped down into the other train,” Torres said. “We stepped down into it, and then it was like ‘Tilt-A-Whirl,’ like the trains were actually going in different direction as you exited. We exited the train that we hit, walked all the way down to the 96th stop, never exiting the train until we were actually on the subway platform.”

Another nearby train containing hundreds of passengers that wasn’t involved in the collision also needed to be evacuated after power was shut off on the tracks, authorities said.

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