The MTA is investigating an allegation that a young boy, approximately 8 or 9 years old, was allowed into the train operator's compartment for a little driving tutorial. On Sunday, Jules Cattie, a 41-year-old lawyer, was in the first car of an uptown Lexington Avenue express train when he witnessed "the craziest thing I've ever seen." First he heard the female train operator talking to someone, saying "It's green, speed up...Yellow, slow down." He assumed she was teaching a new MTA worker, but then he saw a child emerge from the compartment.

Cattie tells the Daily News the kid appeared to announce, "We're being held because of train traffic," then he returned inside the compartment. When Cattie peered through the glass, he observed the li'l subway prodigy standing with the MTA operator behind him. (The News has his photo.) NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges promises "a vigorous and thorough investigation" and explained that "the rule is quite clear: train operators are not allowed to have anyone else with them. It's a hard-and-fast rule." But this isn't the first time amateurs have been behind the MTA controls: Earlier this month a Long Island Rail Road passenger was allegedly allowed to drive the 6:45 a.m. westbound train from Port Jefferson between Hicksville.