Over 1,000 people were rescued after a Brooklyn-bound F train derailed in Woodside, Queens yesterday morning. Nineteen people were injured, four with serious injuries, after the eight-car train derailed near the 65th Street station around 10:30 a.m. Friday. While the MTA was hard at work repairing the line last night (you can see photos of that above, along with some more shots from the scene yesterday), the Daily News reports that the area where the incident occurred has been the location of 205 broken rails between 2005 and 2012, the second highest in the city during that span.
This area, along the Queens Blvd. line between 50th Street and 71st Street/Continental Avenue in Forest Hills, has been designated as one of five "critical rail break" corridors in the city by the MTA. The other critical areas include the 8th Avenue line between 207th Street and Hoyt Avenue (233 breaks in this time span); the 6th Avenue line between 59th Street and Jay Street (107 breaks); the Broadway/7th Avenue line between Dyckman and Chambers Street (97 breaks); and the Astoria line between 57th Street and 11th Street (47 breaks).
Those five zones have all been designated to get upgrades as part of a multimillion-dollar project to replace rails and weld them together for greater strength—but the News reports the project won’t begin until 2015, at the earliest. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said at a press conference yesterday that there would be a "complete and thorough investigation" of the incident to determine what caused this particular derailment, which officials said was the worst in NYC since 1991.
"You have got to ask about this near rush-hour derailment on one of the busiest lines in the subways: Are transit officials replacing track fast enough and in the right places?" said Gene Russianoff, executive director of advocacy group the Straphangers Campaign. "We look to the national and state safety monitors to get us independent answers."
The MTA has reconstructed and replaced 372 miles of "mainline" track since 1984, which makes for an average of 18 miles a year. There have been far fewer train derailments since that time, but the rate of repairs for these tracks has also slowed down over the last decade (with the MTA averaging 10 miles a year).