Dozens of people were injured during an A train derailment in Harlem on Tuesday morning, with passengers reportedly experiencing a “huge bang” followed by several minutes of darkness and smoke.
According to the FDNY, the “possible derailment” occurred at West 123rd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue around 9:45 a.m. Firefighters responded to a smoke condition and as of 10:45 a.m. were still on the scene. A spokesperson told the Voice that the three injured passengers were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. As for everyone else:
Train derailment near 125 A train. Huge bang, sparks and smoke. We were stuck underground for a while but it seems nobody was hurt. pic.twitter.com/aXdUFJhlNS
— Gabriela C. Martinez (@gcmarts) June 27, 2017
People busted windows and are walking the tracks along A/D line. We can't move until they clear out. "Worst I've ever seen" – #mta operator
— Stacy Lambe (@sllambe) June 27, 2017
— Dr. Kirk A James (@kirkajames) June 27, 2017
I was in The MTA train that derailed at 125th. I wrote my experience 10 minutes after evacuating. There was a lot of confusion. pic.twitter.com/3Aeok9BJ6A
— Tolly Wright (@TollyW) June 27, 2017
One passenger, Carrie Courogen, told DNAinfo that “we were going fast and all of a sudden I felt this big bump, like it went up in the air and rocked side to side in the air, off the tracks. I flew up onto my seat and onto the ground. It came to a screeching halt. We saw sparks. It smelled so bad, like burnt rubber.” She added that several people tried to pry open windows or doors to escape.
This incident is the latest in an increasingly galling series of catastrophes for the MTA. Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the man primarily responsible for allowing New York City’s public transit to crumble, proposed legislation to add more seats to the MTA board in order for the state to better control the MTA — which it already does. Cuomo’s absurd contortions struck most observers as ineffectual politicking amid a very real, very drastic problem. As John Raskin, the executive director of the Riders Alliance, said in a statement:
“Governor Cuomo’s MTA board proposal obscures the very real fact that the governor already controls the MTA.”
“The governor appoints the MTA chair, the governor appoints the most board members, the governor dictates MTA spending priorities, and the governor dominates the state budget and legislative negotiations that determine how the MTA does its job. In practice, can the governor point to any situation in which other MTA board members have teamed up to block his initiatives?”
As of 11:34 a.m., the governor has not issued a statement on the derailment.
Meanwhile, the MTA’s Joe Lhota is on the scene, probably already regretting his decision to rejoin the agency.
MTA chair Joe Lhota and Executive Director Veronique Hakim have arrived on the scene at 125th Street.
— MTA (@MTA) June 27, 2017
Update, 1:12: p.m.: According to Lhota, the train’s emergency brake was activated, which caused the train to sail off the tracks. He did not give a reason for why the brake was pulled.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said 34 people were being treated for minor injuries, and 17 were taken to nearby hospitals.
Image at top via Dr. Kirk A. James/Twitter