The No. 7 subway line was restored with limited service after being suspended for nearly the entire day Monday when an electrified third rail lost power and then froze near Queensboro Plaza in the morning, trapping passengers for hours in subway cars and snarling rush hour commutes along the Queens-Manhattan line on a brutally cold and snowy day.
The MTA said limited service resumed in both directions with residual delays just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. No. 7 trains were running local between Main Street and Times Square in both directions. Alternate service is available on the E, F, M or R lines.
The problems began when someone dropped an umbrella on the third rail near Queensboro Plaza around 9 a.m. Monday, causing the line to lose power. As trains stopped running, the rails froze, forcing a complete stoppage on the line, city officials said.
One No. 7 train was stranded without power and heat for hours and four others were stuck between stations for a time before they were able to reverse and let passengers off at another stop, according to the MTA. A rescue train had to tow the train without power to a station.
Commuters who use the No. 7 train were advised to use MTA buses or other subway lines; shuttles were running between the Queensboro Plaza and Flushing stations and the LIRR was cross-honoring MetroCards at stations from Flushing-Main Street to Hunters Point.
But the alternatives were complicated and frustrating for tired and cold commuters, especially those who waited in the bitter cold for the shuttle buses, too few and far between.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," said Nasia Maimos of Flushing, one of the thousands of people forced to take the shuttle to a station with train service Monday evening. "We were waiting on the line for 45 minutes to an hour just to get the bus."
"Everybody's screaming and yelling, yelling at the bus driver," said Maimos. "I just want to go home."
Parts of the tri-state saw as much as a foot of heavy, wet snow Monday while others saw a slushy wintry mix, setting up the potential for what Storm Team 4 calls a "flash freeze" that could make for dangerous driving and walking conditions into Tuesday.
-- Ida Siegal contributed to this report.