New York

MTA Responds to 4 Train “Smoke Condition,” Says Cause is “Still Under Investigation”


The MTA has responded to the incident involving the 4 train being stuck, in smoke, under the East River last night, with which we were intimately familiar.

The (very) good news is that no one, including none of the five firefighters we left down there when our evacuation train pulled away, was hurt.

The bad news is that the MTA statement explains little more than their public address announcements on the train did last night. (Meaning, not much at all.)

Here’s what a spokeswoman writes us:

Last night at approximately 9:24 p.m. a smoke condition occurred on a number 4 train, just south of the Bowling Green Station.

FDNY was called. A rescue train was brought in and at 9:53 p.m. MTA and FDNY personnel began removing passengers. A total of 457 passengers were brought back to the Bowling Green Station. There were no injuries reported. S/B #4 trains were being turned at Bowling Green.

The cause is still under investigation. After FDNY concluded their investigation, the train was removed from the tunnel and normal #4 service resumed at 11:18 p.m.

We have received numerous emails from fellow passengers wanting to know exactly what happened. Rest assured, we will be keeping after the MTA on this investigation.

An interesting tidbit from a commenter who was also on the train. We had heard this comic gem on the evacuation train, too, but weren’t in the right frame of mind for the comedy to register as we wrote our original post:

For me, the most frustrating thing was once we got on the new train to return to bowling green, an MTA worker got on the PA and said “Due to a train in front of us we will be returning to bowling green.”

Indeed, the conductor of the evacuation train did say that…as if we had forgotten that the smoke filled train he was talking about was the one we’d just been rescued from.

It turns out that Gothamist’s James Thilman was also on the train.

The MTA spokeswoman also corrects us that, “The train was not technically evacuated. The passengers were transferred to a rescue train.” Although, the words “evacuation” and “evacuated” were used repeatedly by the MTA and FDNY staff as we exited the dead train.

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