Sheets of Water Gush Into L Train Tunnel After Main Breaks, Wreaking Havoc on Service

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What to Know

  • A major water main break sent water gushing into an L train tunnel Wednesday
  • Service was shut down for hours, then partial service resumed with extensive delays; the MTA hopes to have it fully back for PM rush
  • The MTA said many of its switches, motors and signals were submerged

A major water main break crippled service on the L line Wednesday morning, first halting service completely between Brooklyn and Manhattan and then causing extensive delays as the MTA was forced to reroute trains. 

The break at street level between Sixth and Eighth avenues sent water spewing into the tunnel around 5:15 a.m. The MTA shared a 5-second clip that shows what looks like a waterfall cascading from the ceiling and rapidly covering the tracks. After about three hours, partial service was back with extensive delays.  

The MTA shared a 5-second clip of water gushing into the tunnel.

The MTA said water had stopped spewing into the tunnel by that time, but many of its switches, motors and signals were submerged. The extent of the damage wasn't immediately clear. The MTA said crews were working to clear water and debris and install a replacement switch and signal equipment as necessary. 

L-train service had resumed in both directions by around 1 p.m., an MTA spokeswoman said.

Water service in the area was disrupted, the Department of Environmental Protection said. Authorities say it is expected to be restored by Wednesday night.

Around 300 customers in buildings on the east side of Seventh Avenue, between 14th and 15th streets, and 15th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, were without water as of around 9:30 a.m., DEP said. 

Steam heat was also temporarily shut off in those buildings, according to DEP.

Chopper 4 was first over the scene and showed water puddling up on the road as FDNY crews surrounded the area. 

Gov. Cuomo recently scrapped a plan that would have shuttered the L train for 15 months while crews worked to repair tunnel damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. He revealed a last-minute plan in December that would let crews work on the tunnel during nights and weekends. That plan will allow the trains to keep running amid the tunnel repairs.

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