Metro-North Trains Running Smoothly After Harlem Explosion

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MTA crews clear tracks in Harlem Wednesday in order to resume Metro-North train service.
MTA crews clear tracks in Harlem Wednesday in order to resume Metro-North train service. Photo Credit: MTA via Flickr

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Service on Metro-North has not suffered many residual effects Thursday as a result of the explosion in Harlem Wednesday morning.

The explosion that killed seven people occurred adjacent to tracks along Park Avenue at 116th Street, knocking debris onto the tracks and shutting down all service into and out of Grand Central Terminal. Metro-North crews were able to restore service to the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson Lines prior to the evening rush hour Wednesday.

Trains are being run through 116th Street as per usual, according to Metro-North spokesperson Aaron Donovan. While trains normally travel through the area, they are traveling at 45 mph through 116th Street instead of the normal 60 mph while work is being done at the site. This is causing some train delays of between 6 and 10 minutes.

Donovan said that the railroad was able to get train service back up quickly by coordinating with the New York City Fire Department, New York City Police and Metro-North Police.

"It was all hands on deck. We devoted as many resources as we had to," Donovan said, adding that there were at least a dozen crew members out on the tracks clearing debris.

MTA crews were not out on the tracks while the fires were still blazing. Members of the FDNY made sure that the area was safe before allowing MTA crews to work.

"Once they authorized us to go in, we were able to begin the clearance of debris," Donovan said. "Overall it went as smooth as one could hope given the tough circumstances."

Service was first returned to the New Haven and Harlem lines because they run on the two tracks furthest from where the explosion occurred. While those trains began running, crews continued to clear debris on the closest two tracks, and were able to restore service to the Hudson Line about an hour later.

Debra Oria of Danbury, Conn., traveled to the city for a work meeting, and had to take a subway from Grand Central to Woodlawn Station in the Bronx to take a Harlem Line train home. She said the trip took twice as long as it normally would, but praised Metro-North's efforts to make traveling as easy as possible.

"When we arrived at the Woodlawn station, there was a line of Metro-North workers eight across. They just kept talking to people, telling us what was going on," Oria said. She said employees worked to direct commuters and ease the crowds. "I thought it would be crowded on the platform, but they had great crowd control. It was good communication."

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