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Morning 7 Train Delays Caused by Human Error, Not New System or Weather: MTA

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Jan. 6, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Monday morning’s hellish rush hour commute for 7 line riders was caused by human error, not the expensive new signal technology or the light snow on the tracks, the MTA said in statement.

The first Monday morning commute of the new year became a nightmare for many Queens residents after the 7 train was severely delayed by a signal problem near the Grand Central – 42nd Street station.

Shortly after 7 a.m., 7 train express service was halted and overall service along the line between Queens and Manhattan was “extremely limited.” The MTA recommended commuters avoid taking the 7 train altogether soon after.

One commuter pointed out the irony that work was being done on the 7 line all weekend and come Monday, 7 trains weren’t working.

“Only the 7 train could have work done on it all weekend to then only not work come Monday,” the commuter tweeted.

But that work turned out to be the reason for the signal issue and resulting service problems, according to the MTA.

Workers incorrectly re-installed a transponder in the wrong location over the weekend, which caused the trains to not connect properly to the transponder.

“A transponder in an area of weekend track work on the 7 line that is designed to confirm the precise locations of trains was re-installed in the wrong location after work concluded before the morning rush hour,” said Sally Librera, Senior VP of Subways, MTA NYC Transit. “That caused trains to not connect properly to the transponder, resulting in slow speed operation as a safety precaution.”

Last month, 7 train service in Queens was delayed during a Wednesday morning commute because a dusting of snow interrupted the line’s expensive new signaling system on the raised tracks.

The MTA noted that today’s issue was not a weather-related.

“This was a case of human error, not weather or equipment, and was completely unacceptable to our customers and to us,” Librera said.

An unrelated switch issue caused morning delays on the E, F, M and R Queens Boulevard line which lead to more headaches.

“Because some riders had switched from the 7 line to the E,F,M and R, their trips were impacted twice,” Librera said.

She failed to note that the MTA advised passengers to take those lines to avoid 7 train delays — as well as the LIRR which was cross-honoring MetroCards.

Regular 7 train service did not resume until about 2:30 p.m.
“Teams of track workers were assigned to diagnose and resolve the conditions involved, and to eliminate impact on the afternoon rush hour,” Librera said. “They completed their work and after a period of testing for safety, regular 7 train service resumed at approximately 2:30 p.m.”
The MTA will conduct a post-incident review to evaluate contributing causes of the error to minimize future disruptions, she said.
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