Subway Trains Collide in Manhattan, Causing Derailment, M.T.A. Says

Service on three subway lines remained disrupted on the West Side of Manhattan on Friday after a train carrying about 300 people collided with an out-of-service train near West 96th Street a day earlier, causing the trains to derail, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said.

Twenty-four people were injured when a northbound No. 1 train, traveling at slow speed, collided with the second train, which contained four transit workers, around 3 p.m., according to M.T.A. officials. None of the injuries were considered serious.

Work to restore service on the 1, 2 and 3 lines continued Friday morning, with the M.T.A. saying on its website that disruptions remained.

Service would be partially suspended, the agency said, through at least the morning rush hours with no trains running on those lines on the Upper West Side.

M.T.A. officials said at a news conference on Thursday that the crash did not appear to be related to an equipment malfunction.

The incident began when a No. 1 train stalled at 79th St. because vandals activated its brakes, M.T.A. officials said. The train went out of service and was slowly making its way uptown, and it was passing 96th Street when the train carrying 300 passengers was switching back to a local track in front of it. The passenger train had been given the all-clear to proceed, officials said.

At a news conference on Thursday at the station, Richard Davey, the president of New York City Transit, the M.T.A. division that operates the subway, said that the train that had been vandalized had many of its emergency brake cords pulled. The M.T.A. has opened an investigation into the cause of the accident, according to a spokesman for the authority.

“Thankfully, there were no serious injuries,” Mr. Davey said. “Obviously, two trains should not be bumping into one another. We’re going to get to the bottom of that.”

Mr. Davey said in addition to the 300 people on the passenger train, firefighters and M.T.A. workers also evacuated another 300 to 400 passengers from a train behind it, after cutting off power in the station.

Mr. Davey said he expected crews to be working at the station throughout the night. “It’s a little messy down there,” he said. “It’s going take us a while to get this service back and running.”

Lucas Mann, 17, a student at the Special Music School near Lincoln Center, was in the first car on the No. 1 train when he and other passengers “felt a big jolt.”

“I was scared,” he added.

Purvi Thacker, 41, said that she was on a northbound 2 train that suddenly braked at 86th Street after the collision between the trains further north. She said other passengers became impatient and opened a window once the power went out. Some left the stalled train and walked on the tracks, she said.

“It was just frustrating,” said Ms. Thacker, who lives in Manhattan. “It was really hot.”

Subway derailments have been rare since a spate of service meltdowns in 2017. At the time, the incidents revealed how much maintenance had been neglected, and after an overhaul, the system’s performance drastically improved.

The last train derailment involving passengers occurred on Sept. 20, 2020, when an A train came off the tracks around 14th Street. More than 100 people were on board, and three of them suffered minor injuries.

New York City’s transit system has been enjoying a period of stability as it rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic. Ridership is up, and an infusion of funding from the state has balanced its finances through at least 2027. It is also about to begin collecting billions of dollars through a congestion pricing program that is intended to generate revenue for improvements to the city’s subway and bus networks.

Mariame Diallo, 15, said she was on a No. 3 train, behind the No. 1, when the derailments occurred.

As she and other passengers waited for about an hour to get off the train, some people aboard opened the subway doors to get out onto the tracks.

Ms. Diallo, who was on her way home from school, said she had almost boarded the No. 1 train that crashed. Instead, she waited for the next train so that she could ride with three of her classmates.

“I guess it pays to stick with your friends,” she said.

Erin Nolan and Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.

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