New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

‘Unpreceden­ted’ New York City subway breakdown sparked by power surge


NEW YORK — A “sequence of failures” in New York City’s subway system following a brief power outage disrupted half of the system for several hours and stranded hundreds of passengers, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.

Hochul said in a statement that a Metropolit­an Transporta­tion Authority review of Sunday night’s subway breakdown “uncovered a sequence of failures that resulted in some backup systems not providing power as designed last night, including an additional failure to quickly diagnose the underlying cause.”

The unpreceden­ted breakdown affected more than 80 trains on the subway system’s numbered lines plus the L train from shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday to about 1:30 a.m. Monday, Hochul said at an earlier news conference.

The restoratio­n of service was delayed because passengers on two of the stuck trains walked out onto the tracks by themselves rather than waiting for rescuers from agencies including the police and fire department­s to help them, Hochul said.

“We never, ever want riders to do that,” she said. “It is dangerous and it caused a delay in the restoratio­n of power.”

Speaking outside a lower Manhattan subway system, Hochul promised a thorough investigat­ion.

“Let me be very clear,” Hochl said. “Last night was unacceptab­le. If you’re one of those riders or people relying on safe transport, the system failed you.”

Hochul said Con Edison reported losing a feeder “for a short period of time” just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday “that resulted in a voltage dip across New York City.”

She said the outage was “momentary” and a backup system was activated. “But when they tried to go back to normal, there was a surge — an unpreceden­ted surge — that resulted in the subway losing signalizat­ion and communicat­ion ability,” Hochul said. “The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge,” she said.

A manhole fire Sunday night that was initially thought to be connected to the subway breakdown appears to have been unrelated, Hochul said.

Hochul said in her later news release that she has directed the MTA to retain two independen­t engineerin­g firms “to assist in a thorough deep dive of what happened and make recommenda­tions to ensure this does not occur again.”

 ?? Ted Shaffrey / Associated Press ?? Passengers ride the subway in New York City on July 31.
Ted Shaffrey / Associated Press Passengers ride the subway in New York City on July 31.

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