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Via Garibaldi 8

Workers claim MTA risked another derailment from loose rails left on tracks

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Workers claim MTA risked another derailment from loose rails left on tracks

By DAN RIVOLI | TRANSIT REPORTER |OCT 15, 2018 | 5:00 AM

http://www.nydailynews.com/c7678a42-b59e-45f1-b6ad-738f4ea2c6f2

Two rail workers spotted rails in the middle of the track, a spare rail like this caused a derailment in 2017.

The MTA apparently hasn't learned its lesson after a 2017 subway derailment in Harlem injured more than 30 people and turned morning rush hour into hell on wheels.

Two track workers with 15 years' work experience between them told the Daily News history could have repeated itself because loose rails strewn in the middle of A and C line tracks between Manhattan and Brooklyn were not secured in any way.

A piece of unsecured scrap rail was the culprit for the morning-rush-hour A train derailment near 125th St. on June 27, 2017.

MTA officials told The News the rails left on the A and C line tracks posed no safety risk because they were on shallower track beds with different layouts than in the Harlem crash, preventing the possibility of them angling upward obtrusively. A loose rail was secured after a News inquiry.

"Out of an abundance of caution we had crews immediately inspect the area, further secure the rails in question, and confirm there is no safety risk," MTA spokesman Shams Tarek told The News in a statement.

Startled workers first spotted new loose rails while working a repair job during their overnight shift that began Oct. 3. They saw long pieces of welded rail and shorter scrap rails resting on joint bars in the middle of the tracks without anything holding them down between Fulton Center in lower Manhattan and High St. in Brooklyn Heights.

"The rails were all over the place, on the trough, on the side," said one of the workers, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive work issues. "Some of them were pretty precarious."

The unsecured rails were still there Friday when a Daily News reporter riding a C train chugging through the underwater tunnel into Brooklyn spotted them near the High St. station.

There were more loose rails clearly visible Friday from a platform on the A and C line tracks at the Fulton Center station.

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Loose rails were spotted on the track bed of the Manhattan-bound side of the A/C lines at Fulton Center. (Dan Rivoli / New York Daily News)

 

"You have that train coming through there at quite a good clip, and if one of those joint bars should vibrate and (the rail) falls, that's going to create a nightmare situation," said the second track worker, who also asked not to be named. "You could have the exact same situation as 125th St."

The 13-foot rail that caused the Harlem derailment had been cut from a larger section needed for a track replacement job the night before. It was left loose next to an improperly secured 39-foot piece of rail from the same job. The smaller rail struck the train, throwing it off the tracks and into a wall.

Hundreds of riders were forced to flee smoke-filled subway cars into the subway tunnel to reach safety, and 34 people suffered injuries. The MTA spent $312,000 for parts and labor for repairs after the crash, and two totaled train cars manufactured for $3.1 million had to be scrapped.

The pieces spotted Friday included continuous welded rail, which is longer and sturdier than regular rails, along with shorter pieces that have a greater risk of moving from a passing train's vibrations.

The MTA inspection determined that the larger pieces of rail were too heavy to be at risk of moving. A smaller piece of rail was secured as a precaution, but was already lying in a position where it was not a risk to trains, Tarek said.

All other rail storage areas in the subway are being checked to ensure no further problems, according to the MTA. Track supervisors are being reinstructed on proper procedures and reminded that failure to comply will be treated as a serious offense.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-mta-rail-track-20181012-story.html

 

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2 minutes ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

That might explain the heavy delays and the "urgent track maintenance" during the height of the rush last Friday. 

This "phenomenon" doesn't seem all that new though. If they cause such issues why have them there in the first place... That said, I know that the (MTA) was sued for the last incident. I'm shocked that they'd risk it again.  They are usually very diligent about trying to avoid lawsuits.  

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Couldn’t they dig the center portions between the tracks a little deeper since the MTA always seems to be short on storage space?

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On 10/15/2018 at 8:22 PM, CenSin said:

Couldn’t they dig the center portions between the tracks a little deeper since the MTA always seems to be short on storage space?

No, to do that would mean cutting through the floor of the tunnel. It’s not worth the cost.

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So they slow the trains down and put timers on tracks in the interest of safety, but leaving rails unsecured so they could potentially derail trains (again) is no big deal?

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1 hour ago, Deucey said:

So they slow the trains down and put timers on tracks in the interest of safety, but leaving rails unsecured so they could potentially derail trains (again) is no big deal?

Sometimes, the things done can puzzling.

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That’s a slow area, not like 125th S/B. There is little to no risk of the same situation occurring here. Also, for a section or ribbon rail to start bouncing, you’d need an Acela to pass through the station at speed.

Edited by INDman
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