The MTA apologized Friday for a massive subway meltdown Thursday night that stranded thousands of commuters, forced train evacuations across the system and saw one train crowded with passengers opening its doors on the wrong side of the tracks.
A manhole fire near a West 4th Street subway station damaged subway power cables and caused smoky conditions at the Greenwich Village stop at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Some commuters were stuck on trains between stations for as much as an hour following the fire at West 4th Street. Some trains were stopped in their tracks so they wouldn't pass through the smoke.
Commuters on an M train told NBC 4 New York that they were stranded near the 23rd Street station for more than an hour after the fire. The first car was eventually able to pull into the station and conductors evacuated the train.
A technical error with the computerized signal system on the numbered lines caused additional delays for commuters on those trains. And a train on the 42nd Street shuttle opened its doors on the wrong side, which took the train out of service as MTA officials investigated.
“Any of these problems would have disrupted the evening,” said Adam Lisberg, MTA chief spokesman. “All three of them together was a particularly bad confluence.”
The A, B, C, D, E, F, M and R lines had delays beginning during the tail end of the evening rush well into the early morning hours Friday. MTA officials said regular service resumed on all lines at about 3 a.m.
The widespread delays lingered into Friday morning.
A Times Square-bound 7 train experienced mechanical issues as it was sitting at the 5th Avenue stop in Manhattan just after 10 a.m. Friday. According to the FDNY, a heater inside a subway car malfunctioned, causing smoke inside the car. All passengers were safely evacuated at the 5th Avenue station and the train was taken out of service, officials said.
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, subway service on the J line was suspended between the Crescent Street and Broadway Junction stations early Friday morning while crews responded to a four-alarm fire at a nearby apartment building. It was not clear when service was scheduled to resume.