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TIMELINE: A History of Recent NYC Train Derailments

By Katie Honan | June 28, 2017 2:52pm | Updated on August 23, 2017 2:06pm
 Firefighters help a passenger climb down from the derailed F train in Queens, May 2, 2014.
Firefighters help a passenger climb down from the derailed F train in Queens, May 2, 2014.
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Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

NEW YORK CITY — There have been nearly a dozen train and subway derailments in recent years in the New York City area that injured multiple people and snarled commutes, frustrating riders who say they have had enough of increasing breakdowns of infrastructure overseen by the MTA, Amtrak, and NJ Transit.

The causes of each case range from human error to mechanical issues, but the consistent message has been a lack of funding and proper oversight, sparking turnover of CEOs, the return of Joe Lhota as MTA chairman, and prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a "Summer of Hell" as a quarter of train service into Penn Station is slashed to allow for desperately needed repairs.

Here are the derailments NYC has seen in recent years:

June 17, 2013: LIRR Train Derails Between Manhattan and Queens

A Long Island Rail Road train headed to Hempstead, Long Island derailed during a Monday evening rush and stranded hundreds of riders in a tunnel under the East River, officials said.

It went off the rails minutes after leaving Penn Station. There were no injuries. 

The MTA did not respond to a request for comment on the cause of the derailment.

May 2, 2014: 19 Injured After F Train Derails in Woodside

A Manhattan-bound F train derailed while riding on the express track near the 65th Street M and R train station in Woodside, sending four passengers to the hospital and injuring 19 others.

Straphangers were rescued from a tunnel near the station, emerging from evacuation hatches on 37th Avenue.

The MTA said the derailment was caused by a newly-installed rail that malfunctioned.

Aug. 7, 2014: Staten Island Rail Train Derails at Ferry Terminal

The last car of the four-car train derailed shortly before entering the ferry terminal at St. George in 2014. No one was injured.

It was the second derailment on Staten Island's only subway in three months, officials said.

The MTA did not respond to a request for comment on the cause of the derailment.

Sept. 11, 2015: 3 Injured After G Train Derails and Crashes Into Deteriorating Subway Wall

Three people were hospitalized after a G train crashed into a deteriorated subway wall at the Hoyt-Schmerhorn station, causing it to go off the track, officials said. 

At least 84 passengers were evacuated from the train.

The MTA did not respond to a request for comment on the cause of the derailment.

Jan. 4, 2017: LIRR Train Crashes Into Wall at Atlantic Terminal, Injuring Dozens

A Long Island Rail Road train crashed into a wall in the Atlantic Terminal during the morning rush hour in January, injuring 104 people, officials said.

The commuter train was carrying more than 600 passengers and was under conductor control when it failed to stop and slammed into the safety stop before tearing through an office wall, officials said. One of the tracks then pierced the bottom of the lead car, according to the FDNY and transit officials.

Officials said "human error" was to blame. 

March 24, 2017: Amtrak Derails and Sideswipes NJ Transit Train at Penn Station

Two people were injured when a D.C-bound Amtrak train derailed leaving Penn Station and scraped an incoming NJ Transit car in March, officials said. Amtrak's then-CEO Wick Moorman, who is set to be replaced by Delta Airlines exec Richard Anderson in July, took responsibility for the crash — blaming a 1/4-inch "mismatch" between tracks that was caused by a "frog" component that linked them.

That piece had been replaced six weeks before the derailment but had to be "grinded" down to make it fit. The wear and tear on the piece over time loosened the tracks and let them slip out of place, Moorman testified.

April 3, 2017: NJ Transit Train Derails at Penn Station

Five people were hurt after an NJ Transit train derailed in Penn Station, setting up massive delays on trains throughout the day and setting the stage for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Summer of Hell" in which multiple tracks at Penn Station will be taken out of service to make way for repairs, officials said.

Moorman — who oversaw maintenance on the Amtrak rails that the NJ Transit train was using at the time — blamed "defective ties" on the rails that "spread out" under the weight of an oncoming train and let the 5th, 6th and 7th train cars to derail. He blamed weakening timbers beneath the tracks and, during a press conference at the scene, added that Amtrak knew those timbers needed to be replaced, but did not realize how urgently until the crash.

Officials said it took nearly two hours to get people off the train — which fire officials blamed on cars and doors being misaligned after the trains "pinched" up on one another — officials said.

"It took approximately two hours to bring this under control, a little more tedious than the incident we had two weeks ago," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala.


July 6, 2017: NJ Transit Train Derails at Penn Station

One car derailed at Track 11 as it arrived in Penn Station from New Jersey, just days before planned track work at the station will take multiple lines out of service.

There were no reported injuries and NJ Transit was still investigating the cause of the derailment. 

July 21, 2017: Q Train Derails at Brighton Beach Station

A Q train with 300 passengers on board derailed in Brighton Beach during the Friday morning commute, officials said. A rear set of wheels on the second car of a southbound Q train came off the rails.

There were no injuries reported. 

A transit source said a Q train derailed at the same location a week before.

Aug. 23, 2017: NJ Transit Train Derails in Penn Station

A non-passenger NJ Transit train derailed at around 3:25 a.m. in Penn Station, blocking tracks for about three hours into the early-morning commute, officials said. Delays were up to 20 minutes, but the tracks were cleared by about 6:30 a.m.

NJ Transit officials didn't immediately know what caused the derailment but said they were investigating.