Subway brake pullers roil NYC’s morning commute

Passengers pulled the emergency brakes at two Lower Manhattan subway stations during the rush hour commute this morning, according to a tweet from the New York City Transit Authority, which is investigating the disruption.

Straphangers “pulled the brake cords” on trains at the Whitehall Street-South Ferry station and at Canal Street, according to transit officials. Train service, which has since resumed with delays, was seriously disrupted early Wednesday morning, causing northbound R trains to be temporarily rerouted and prompting a momentary suspension of W train service.

“There are multiple people being disruptive on this train who are pulling the [R] train’s emergency brakes,” tweeted NYC Transit, just before 8 a.m. “We’ve requested NYPD assistance, and they will respond as soon as possible.”

R and W trains were still running with delays as of 11 a.m., the MTA said.

Transit officials also noted a mechanical problem that arose near the Whitehall St.-South Ferry station after the brakes were pulled. Officials “pulled an out-of-service train up behind the train that had its brakes activated to allow passengers to exit the train,” the tweet reads.

In another brake-related development, two other lines, the southbound A and D trains, have also resumed with delays. Another train had to be moved due to the activation of its brakes on the express track at the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History station, according to the MTA.

Weekday ridership on the subway, including the Staten Island Railway, has over the past week hovered at about half of 2019’s levels while occasionally hitting 60%, according to the MTA’s latest numbers.

MTA spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment or more information on the R and W train disruptions, including what prompted the passengers to pull the brakes in the first place.

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