MTA

Nightmare Morning Commute on 7 Train Result of Human Error, MTA Says

The MTA said it was human error stemming from weekend work that fouled the 7 line, and switch problems delayed all the alternatives in Queens

NBCUniversal, Inc.

If you were trying to get somewhere in New York City on the 7 train Monday morning, or any other Queens-Manhattan line for that matter ... well, you had to try something else.

The 7 train was largely unavailable for much of Monday morning's rush hour due to complications that stemmed from work that had been done on the line over the course of the weekend.

The MTA advised riders to take the LIRR or the E/F/M/R lines -- except the F and the M lines were re-routed because of a switch problem, and the E and R lines were delayed for the same reason.

Riders erupted in frustration on social media.

At an afternoon press conference, the MTA said the long delays on the line were a result of a train transponder being removed during the weekend work near Grand Central, then being reinstalled by a crew 100 feet from where it should have been. According to Senior Vice President of Subways Sally Librera, it was "an isolated case of human error."

Because of the different position of the transponder, trains were being slowed down much sooner than normal, creating a line of backups as a result — and halting express service around 7 a.m.

"We're disappointed with this morning's service as well," said Librera. "We will work to make sure we fully understand how this error happened."

The MTA said an investigation is underway to determine what led to the transponders being placed in the wrong spots.

Last month the MTA acknowledged the new signaling system on the 7 line was vulnerable to disruptions from moisture.

It was also not immediately clear what caused the switch problem at 36th Street in Queens that interrupted the other lines, though Librera said those issues were not related to what happened on the 7 line.

New technology that had been helping the 7 line trains run more efficiently has an Achilles heel it seems: moisture. The weakness was on full display with recent snowfall, and the MTA wants it fixed before weather gets worse. NBC New York’s Andrew Siff reports.

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