New York

Power Problem Wreaks Havoc on Subway Service for 2nd Time in Three Days

A power problem affecting signals at DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn wrought havoc on subway service for the second time in three days Tuesday, forcing authorities to suspend service on the B line at the height of the morning rush.

Straphangers tweeted photos of overcrowded platforms as throngs of commuters stood stranded around 9 a.m. Some said they couldn't move.

The MTA suspended B service in both directions between Brighton Beach and Bedford Park Boulevard for about an hour and rerouted other trains to accommodate, causing crippling delays on a half-dozen lines.

Service resumed shortly before 9:45 a.m. with extensive delays. A train with mechanical problems at Atlantic Avenue didn't help matters.

The MTA says it is investigating the power issue. Con Edison sent crews to the scene.

"There's too many incidents," commuter Julie Tam complained in downtown Brooklyn. "What kind of service is this?" 

"This is just ridiculous," said Eric Feliz of Flatbush. "It's something the MTA should have fixed a long time ago."

A power loss in the same area Sunday also caused major problems, leaving riders stuck on trains for up to 25 minutes. Train service resumed after about two and a half hours. Authorities said that issue was a Con Edison power "dip," not a complete outage.

Con Edison says a transformer explosion at Farragut Substation in Brooklyn caused that voltage dip. It also spewed thousands of gallons of insulating, non-toxic oil into the East River, which the utility says it's cleaning up with a skimming device. It's unclear how much oil spilled, but tank could hold up to 37,000 gallons. 

Con Edison equipment also caused a Friday commute nightmare less than three weeks ago, on April 21. In that case, an hours-long power outage at a midtown subway station led to tortuous delays across the city. One NBC 4 New York reporter was stuck on a train for an hour

Commuter advocacy group The Riders Alliance said pointedly in a statement Tuesday, "Gov. Cuomo shows up to open the Second Avenue Subway, but he's missing in action for the day-to-day disaster that transit riders are experiencing." 

A spokesman for the governor said, "These problems were not created overnight but there is no more dedicated to fixing them than Gov. Cuomo." 

His office added two hours later, in response to The Riders Alliance, "Blasting out press releases devoid of facts is cheap and unconstructive, and we should expect more from so-called transportation experts."

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