Timeline: The worst subway commutes over the past year

Another day, another delay -- that's the sentiment among many subway riders of late.

As politicians squabble over how to fund repairs to the subway system's failing infrastructure, it's no secret that commuters have become increasingly frustrated with what seems to be endless delays and service disruptions wreaking havoc on their daily schedules.

From derailments and track fires to stalled trains and power outages, New Yorkers have seen it all.

Here are the worst subway service disruptions dating to December 2016.

Jan. 9, 2018: Signal problems, rail conditions, FDNY activity, ice on the tracks and sick passengers – all of these (and more) were reasons for delays and service changes throughout a number of subway lines that began during the morning commute and bled into the afternoon. The MTA responded to the outraged public with a statement that promised a continued commitment to "delivering better results for riders" through its Subway Action Plan. 

Oct. 16, 2017: Eight subway lines were delayed, suspended or rerouted due to signal problems at two midtown stations in the middle of the morning commute. The delays lasted about an hour and a half before the problems were resolved. "Crews repaired a circuit breaker and signal issue," the MTA said in a statement.

Sept. 14, 2017: Commuters faced unbearably crowded trains and platforms after debris on subway tracks near the 50th Street station in Manhattan caused service changes and extensive delays on five lines during the morning commute. One subway rider posted photos on Twitter of a subway platform so crowded that people were backed up onto the stairs.

Aug. 23, 2017: Garbage that fell off a refuse train near 14th Street in Manhattan caused a southbound Q train to get stuck, leading to chain reaction delays across the entire subway system. An MTA spokesman said the garbage fell off due to "operator error." Subway riders posted photos of packed platforms during the morning commute as the incident resulted in delays and service changes on nine lines.

July 21, 2017: A Q train derailed at the Brighton Beach station in Brooklyn. No injuries were reported, but service on the B and Q lines was disrupted for about eight hours. An MTA official later said the derailment was caused by “a failure to follow proper maintenance procedures,” which led to an “abnormal condition” with the subway car’s wheel and axle.

July 17, 2017: A track fire near the 145th Street station in Harlem injured nine people, and caused service disruptions on the A, B, C and D lines; and station overcrowding that was described by one commuter as “insanity.” The fire was caused by trash on the southbound A train tracks, officials said.

June 27, 2017: A train derailment at the 125th Street station in Harlem injured at least 39 people, officials said. Immediately following the derailment, stations between 59th and 125th streets lost power, leaving many commuters stranded in dark trains. Many of those passengers risked their lives by abandoning the trains instead of waiting to be rescued, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The cause of the derailment was later determined to be human error after a piece of scrap rail was improperly stored on the track, officials said.

June 5, 2017: An F train that lost power and stalled near Broadway-Lafayette Street left commuters in the dark with no air conditioning – or answers – for about 45 minutes. Some of the stuck commuters tried to pry open the door with an umbrella, while another one wrote “I will survive” in the condensation that had built up on the window due to a lack of air conditioning. 

June 2, 2017: A power outage along the Second Avenue subway line shut down train service on the Upper East Side for more than two hours. 

May 7 and 9, 2017: Two Con Edison power outages at the DeKalb Avenue station caused service disruptions across several lines on May 7 and again just two days later on May 9, according to the governor’s office and the MTA. The outage on May 9, which happened during rush hour, knocked out B train service and caused service changes along the D, N, Q and R lines. Although the utility took responsibility for the outage on May 7, representatives had said crews could not find any issue with Con Ed’s equipment that would have caused the outage on May 9. 

April 21, 2017: A power outage at Seventh Avenue-53rd Street resulted in widespread delays and service changes during the morning rush hour. The MTA brought in generators to restore service to most lines, but extensive delays continued for hours. Frustrated commuters posted photos of overcrowded subway cars and stations to Twitter. One Twitter user dubbed it the “commute from hell.”

March 2, 2017: A water main break near the Court Street subway stop sent water rushing into the station, disrupting Q and R service for several hours during the evening commute. Photos from inside the station showed FDNY firefighters standing in several inches of murky brown water. MTA crews were forced to test the track and equipment before trains were cleared to run through the station again. 

Jan. 9, 2017: A “water condition” at the West 4th Street station created a nightmare for commuters due to an ice-covered drain. MTA crews had to turn off power to the station in order to clear debris from the drain and resolve the water condition, an MTA spokesman said. The outage spurred major delays on A, B, C, D, E, F, M and R trains. The delays snowballed even further when the agency reported signal delays on several lines.

Dec. 25 and 26, 2016: About 1,000 commuters spent Christmas night being evacuated from three subway trains after a manhole explosion set fire to an MTA substation in Manhattan. The fire caused a loss of power to the third rail at Seventh Avenue and extensive delays on a number of lines rolled into the following day.   


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