Pre-rush hour commuters "stampeded" out of a 7 train at Hunters Point Ave in Queens on Tuesday, shortly after 4:00 p.m. A spokesman for the MTA confirmed that a train with a mechanical problem stalled at the station, suspending 7 train service between Queensboro Plaza and Hudson Yards. One straphanger on board told us that smoke filled her car, and that she heard a loud "boom."
The train had been moved out of the station by 5:00, but there is still no service on the 7 line between Manhattan and Queens [see below for update]. The cause of the stalled train is under investigation. Despite commuters' reports of an explosion and smoke, MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg says, "No smoke and no fire."
Just had an explosion on the Queensbound 7-train at Vernon-Jackson. Smoke coming out of the train and people scrambling for the stairs @MTA
— Christopher (@CLandry82) February 16, 2016
— Kimberly Chen (@gothamgirl87) February 16, 2016
Stay tuned for updates.
[UPDATE 5:20]: Local 7 train service has resumed between Manhattan and Queens, but express service is still suspended.
Christopher Landry, 33, was riding the 7 train home from his investment firm job in Manhattan when he heard the "boom."
Landry told us that his train was stopped at Hunters Point Avenue, with the doors open. "I was near the front of the train, and there was a bang," he said. "I stepped out to see what it was, and I saw people running at me. In order to avoid being trampled, I ran."
"Honestly, I think everybody's first reaction was that it was a bomb," he added. "It was that loud. But I figured it was probably the brake system."
Landry said that commuters rushed the staircase up to street level, causing a bottleneck that lasted about 30 seconds. "There was a bit of a stampede on the stairs and a couple of older people were really struggling," he said. "Two or three of us were screaming at the top of our lungs for people to calm down. Once we got up that first flight of stairs people started to relax."