Commuters probably think they’ve experienced just about everything when going to and from work on public transit in and around New York, but the incident that stopped a Queens-bound F-train last week was pretty exceptional.
The train’s roof was drilled almost right through by a drill being used on the road above and could have led to a serious accident. Fortunately, no passengers or rail staff were injured, although it’s likely that many people’s nerves were as dented as much as their train’s roof.The MTA are investigating the incident to determine if negligence was involved.
The drilling above ground is part of the major East Side Access project, which when completed is expected to allow Long Island Railroad trains into Grand Central Station in Central Manhattan.
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It may seem incredible that a drill being used by a worker on the pavement above the tunnel could have actually penetrated right through the roof of the tunnel and almost into the top of the train but that is exactly what appears to have happened. The accidental drilling of the F-train was undoubtedly a mistake, but the MTA investigators and possibly federal workplace safety officials will be trying to determine what went wrong.
When the drill tip grazed the top of the train, a window broke and the train stopped. Then another train stopped behind it. The passengers on the affected train were then evacuated through the carriages of the second train so they could safely get out on to the 21st Street station platform.
No doubt the MTA have emergency procedures in place in case of breakdowns or accidents which result in a train being stopped inside a tunnel, but there is no record of a drill bit causing a train to stop before.
The drill that reached the train was reported to be 10 inches in diameter and was being used at the time to help expand an existing construction well as part of the wider construction project.
It’s not too difficult to imagine the possible injuries that could result from this sort of mistake. It’s not so much that the drill was likely to directly hurt any of the passengers, but could have brought the train to a shuddering halt much more quickly.
The accident happened at around 11:45 a.m. so it was quite crowded, with many passengers standing up in the train corridors. When any sort of train or bus stops suddenly, it’s easy for passengers to be knocked off their feet and sustain injuries.
Although no injuries are thankfully evident in this particular accident, it represents just one of the possible dramas which passengers can experience when they use public transit every day when they commute to and from work. Many people leave their cars at home not just because of the difficulties in parking or the agonizing delays in congested traffic, but because they believe they are safer on the whole in a train or a bus than driving themselves around the city in their own vehicle.
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If you are involved in a public transit accident of any kind and do find that you are injured, then you do not always have long to file a compensation claim in the event that an investigation is able to determine who or what was to blame. An experienced personal injury attorney like Richard S. Jaffe Esq. is able to help file an effective lawsuit if and when negligence is determined.
You can contact him for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.