A southbound train on the 1 line derailed near 125th Street during the evening rush hour Wednesday, causing service suspensions but no injuries to passengers, the MTA said.
A set of wheels on the lead car of the southbound train derailed just south of 125th Street at about 5:50 p.m., according to officials. There were 424 people on board the train at the time, the FDNY said.
Many of the passengers aboard the train said it felt like someone had pulled the emergency brake.
"The train just stopped, all of a sudden," said Wesley Jones.
"We were sitting down, and we heard this bump and the train just jolted," said Sonia Proctor. "And I said, 'Uh-oh.'"
A rescue train responded to remove the stranded riders, but it initially stopped too far to give people a safe place to exit. The FDNY sent firefighters onto the roof to start getting people out.
"Everybody was getting anxious. It was hot as hell in there," said Genaro Cruz, noting the power and air conditioning were knocked out when the train derailed.
"The problem was the power had been knocked out, so we couldn't get the first train close enough to the derailed train," said FDNY Chief Dan Donoghue.
A second rescue train arrived to push the first one closer, and the firefighters helped escort passengers from car to car to reach the rear of the derailed train, and then board the rescue train. They were taken to 125th Street.
Service has been suspended on the 1 in both directions between 96th and 168th streets due to the problem. Officials said they were "hopeful" service will be restored in time for the morning rush but cautioned "it's too early to say for sure it will be back."
The MTA said derailments are "not a very common occurrence," and estimated one occurs each year.
The last one was about seven months ago, at 81st Street and Central Park West.
Proctor, one of the passengers on board the stranded train, knew she'd be hours late getting home. But her friend soon spread the word it was her birthday, and she got serenaded by passengers in a classic New York moment.
"To have so many people sing happy birthday was really nice," said Proctor.
She added, "But my vertigo acted up when I was coming off that train. That was not a good thing."