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New Yorkers' Imaginations Run Wild Over ‘Soiled Train' Announcement, MTA Says You Don't Wanna Know

"A soiled train. The mind boggles," one straphanger tweeted. "Be afraid. Be very afraid," tweeted another

What to Know

  • NYCT announced Monday that a train was being taken from service at 14th Street because it was "soiled"
  • Commuters took to Twitter to express their curiosity about the soiled train, with many wondering just how bad the situation was
  • A number of commuters noted that they had been on very soiled trains before, but had never seen the MTA stop service because of it

The curiosity of New York commuters was piqued Monday by an unusual subway service update -- but the MTA is assuring people they don't want to know the details.

The New York City Transit Subway Twitter account tweeted about 9:30 a.m. that northbound F and M trains were running express from W 4 St to 34 St "while we remove a soiled train from service at 14 St."

The announcement had many New Yorkers wondering what had happened to the train, and just how bad the problem was. "A soiled train. The mind boggles," Robin Wigglesworth tweeted.

New York photographer Matthew Narvin summarized many commuters sentiments, tweeting that he had been on some "really soiled" trains in the last eight years, and was very curious as to how bad it had to get before the MTA pulled a train from service.

NYCT initially gave no other clues as to the nature of the soiled train. It tweeted that trains were running normally on the F and M lines again within 10 minutes. But commuters were still left wondering, and just before 1 p.m., MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein issued a statement on the matter.

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“Suffice it to say when we say something like that, it's generally unpleasant. We are big believers in descriptive, transparent announcements, but some things are best left unsaid in our opinion," he said. NYCT spokeswoman Sarah Meyer added that the car needed a thorough cleaning, which it will get.

That may do nothing to stoke the curiosity of some Twitter users, however, who were graphic in their descriptions of previous train "soilings."

"I've been on subway cars with actual fecal matter on one of the seats. I've been on subway cars with pools of vomit across the floor. I cannot imagine how 'soiled' this train has to be to be taken out of commission," Alex Ullman tweeted. "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

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This is the second time in two days the NYCT has announced changes due to a "soiled car" needing to be removed from service. On Sunday, NYCT Subway cited this as the reason for delays on the F line. 

On October 29, NYCT reported that a "soiled train" had to be taken out of service at 125th Street. When probed by commuters, a representative spilled some of the details.

"Yes, there was a soiled car (someone couldn't hold it in) and we had to clear that train," they said.

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