As we know, yesterday's problems on the N, W, and R lines were caused by a "rail condition" on the N line at Lexington and 59th Street. Today, the NY Times delves into the cracked rail situation; we have cobbled together thsi timeline:

6:55AM Queens-bound N operator sees a red signal when it should have been green
7:15AM Track maintainers investigate and find a crack in the rail 1,200 feet from the "east edge of the platform"
New learning: Red signals can be caused by cracked or broken rails
7:16AM Utter chaos, as trains are diverted, suspended, etc. and not much information is given to riders
10:20AM Rail fixed

Of course, it's not clear why the rail was broken - the MTA is investigating. We suspect the C.H.U.D. have developed a taste for iron.

Many commenters yesterday noticed crappy subway service on different lines this past week. We wonder if this Daily News story about the Transit Authority's cold-weather plans had something to do with it. You see, the TA stores trains in express tunnels - instead of train yards - on cold nights because the braking systems freeze up. The trains are parked there during non-rush hours but the Daily News found that the 4 and 5 trains were switched to the local 6 track at 8:30PM on Monday night - much earlier than they should have been. Hmm! There's a killer quote from Steve Veraja, who says, "It amazes me that with the amount of money they take in and spend around here they can't run the system more efficiently. I've been to Russia many times. Nothing runs right in that country, but the subway system is better there." (Well, to be fair, the NYC subway system is 24 hours - Moscow's Metro runs from 5:30AM-1AM.)

And NY1 reminds us, real-time information boards are coming soon.

Photograph of the real time info boards during the testing period by Ryan Eugene Kelley