October 1, 2014

Subway Accidents Persist in New York City

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Go to the main Public Transit Accidents page

Millions of New Yorkers ride the subway each day because it is an inexpensive way to travel around the City.

New York Subway Accident Statistics

In August, a panel of transportation experts issued a list of recommendations to improve safety after studying safety and maintenance practices on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s three railroad operations—New York City Transit, Metro-North Rail Road and Long Island Rail Road.


A lack of adequate security at the more than 450 subways stations is to blame for some of the attacks and robberies that subway riders experience.


According to the MTA, New York’s 10 busiest subway stations in 2013 were:

  1. Times Square-42nd St.
  2. Grand Central-42nd St.
  3. 34th St.-Herald Sq.
  4. 14th St.-Union Sq.
  5. 34th St.-Penn Station (1,2,3)
  6. 34th St.-Penn Station  (A, C, E)
  7. 59th St.-Columbus Circle
  8. Lexington Ave.
  9. 86th St.
  10. Lexington Ave-53rd St.
The NYC Transit Department of Subways is expanding employee safety programs with an emphasis on communications, audits, training and subway accident investigations.

“Lost time” injury rates for employees at NYCT Subways rose:

  • Up to 2.82 from 2.46 per 100 employees, mainly because of “falls, slips and trips” and “overexertion.”


Accidents on Long Island Rail Road

While rider injuries on NYC subways increased, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) saw a significant reduction in passenger injuries:


Officials attribute the improvement to the “Be Train Smart/Don’t Become a Statistic” campaign, which provides safety information to riders and is becoming integral to its operations in 2014.


Crashes hinder Metro-North Railroad

The review panel flagged the safety culture with Metro-North as a particular concern and found the railroad’s emphasis on on-time performance did not allow Metro-North employees enough time to perform inspection and maintenance of tracks, according to an MTA release.

Following several operating incidents in 2013, two of which caused injuries and death, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reviewed Metro-North’s operations for 60 days in regard to safety rules and practices and identified three problem areas: 1) overemphasis on being on time; 2) ineffective Safety Department and poor safety culture; and 3) ineffective training program.

Metro-North’s customer injury rate increased:

    • From 2.74 to 4.85 per million customers, mainly because of two derailments of revenue trains at Bridgeport, Conn., and Spuyten Duyvil, N.Y.


In response to the Bridgeport derailment, Metro-North hired Transportation Technology Center to help boost track maintenance and inspections. It also used high-tech equipment to increase track inspections and boosted safety by improving infrastructure and rights of way.

The Spuyten Duyvil derailment led to changes in the signal system at the Spuyten Duyvil curve that allows speed limits to be enforced automatically on board the train.

Changes also were made at four other curves, Yonkers on the Hudson Line, White Plains on the Harlem Line, Jenkins curve in Bridgeport and the Port Chester curve on the New Haven Line, in addition to Peck Bridges, one of five moveable bridges on the New Haven Line. The four other bridges are to be modified this year.


Working on the railroad

When millions of people are using New York City Transit each day, accidents, injuries and crime are likely to remain a problem.

If you or a family member are injured or fall prey to criminals while riding an MTA subway or bus, contact an experienced attorney who can help you obtain financial compensation.