Impatient NYC Subway Passengers Walking Onto Tracks Delayed Service Restoration

Growing impatient with the wait for rescue services after a power surge shut down half of the New York City subway system on Monday, passengers on two of the stranded trains ventured onto the tracks themselves.

The restoration of service was delayed further because of the passengers' attempt to get themselves out. The trains were stuck for several hours, stranding hundreds of people, Governor Kathy Hochul said.

"We never, ever want riders to do that," she said. "It is dangerous and it caused a delay in the restoration of power."

The governor advised that passengers should always wait for the fire or police departments to get them to safety.

The never-before-seen service breakdown affected more than 80 trains on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's numbered lines and the L train at around 9 p.m. Sunday into 1:30 a.m. Monday, according to Hochul.

"I have directed the MTA to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of tonight's service disruptions. MTA personnel are assisting customers and NYPD is in the system supporting these efforts," Hochul said on Twitter on Sunday evening. "We are in talks with ConEd to determine root cause and rectify as soon as possible."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

MTA Shutdown
Impatient passengers on two of the stranded New York City subway trains ventured onto the tracks early Monday after a power surge shut down half of the system. Above, a G train arrives at the Smith-9th Street station in Brooklyn on August 2, 2021, in New York City. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Speaking outside a lower Manhattan subway system, Hochul promised a thorough investigation.

"Let me be very clear," Hochul said. "Last night was unacceptable. If you're one of those riders or people relying on safe transport, the system failed you."

Hochul said Con Edison reported losing a feeder "for a short period of time" just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday "that resulted in a voltage dip across New York City."

She said the outage was "momentary" and a backup system was activated. "But when they tried to go back to normal, there was a surge—an unprecedented surge—that resulted in the subway losing signalization and communication ability," Hochul said. "The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge," she said.

A manhole fire Sunday night that was initially thought to be connected to the subway breakdown appears to have been unrelated, Hochul said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing that city agencies were working with the state and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to investigate the disruption. "We've got to figure out why this happened and make sure it does not happen again," de Blasio said.

Hochul, a Democrat and former lieutenant governor who took over as New York governor on August 24 following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, said subway service was back to normal for the Monday morning commute.

No injuries were reported from the subway system disruption.