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MTA: Wall collapse caused G train derailment

Back on track: Crews work on getting the G train car back on its rails after its front two wheels came off the tracks shortly after passing the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop on Sept. 10.
Metropolitan Transit Authority

A Downtown subway tunnel wall collapsed last Thursday, sending a G train skidding off the rails and injuring two straphangers, according to transit officials.

The barricade buckled into the path of the Kensington-bound Brooklyn Local near the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station at around 10:35 pm on Sept. 10, according to a Metropolitan Transit Authority report.

The driver caught sight of the slumping structure and hit the emergency brakes, but it was too late — the locomotive rammed into the rubble, sending concrete and steel scattering across the track, which subsequently knocked the train’s front two wheels off the rails as it screeched to a stop, the report said.

The 80-something passengers on board were stuck inside for around 30 minutes until fire department rescuers came to pry them from their sardine-can-like prison, and the commuters then had to schlep back through the tunnel back to the platform, fire officials said.

Emergency responders took two riders to hospital — one suffering from the heat, and the other for neck and back pain, the report said.

The transit body claims its initial inspection found that water exposure had already degraded the 75-foot length of wall — which was not load-bearing — and brackets it had inserted to keep the structure standing then broke. It would not explain how it failed to notice that a wall the length of a tennis court was on the verge of caving in.

The transit body stopped G train service at a handful of stations on Friday while it cleaned up the mess and did repairs, and the train was running on its regular timetable by 4:30 pm.

But transit officials say riders can expect more delays in the future, when workers perform permanent repairs in the tunnel, though they have not released dates yet.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.

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