Train derails at Brighton Beach; Q, B train service delayed, MTA says

A Q train derailed at the Brighton Beach station in Brooklyn on July 21, 2017, the MTA said.
A Q train derailed at the Brighton Beach station in Brooklyn on July 21, 2017, the MTA said. Photo Credit: EPA / Kiko Huesca

A Q train with 135 passengers on board derailed at the Brighton Beach station, snarling subway service for about 8 hours on Friday, according to officials.

Wheels on the second car of the southbound Q train went off the rails around 8:55 a.m., MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. There were no injuries, and crews were able to evacuate riders from the train, he added.

MTA crews managed to re-rail the equipment around 1:45 p.m. and the train was removed from the station about 3 p.m., Ortiz said. Full service was restored to the B and Q lines around 5:10 p.m., the MTA said.

The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing, Ronnie Hakim, the MTA’s interim executive director, said at a news conference.

“Obviously we’re sorry that this occurred this morning,” Hakim said. “I was up there and the crews said customers were extremely cooperative. That’s what we want our customers to do. Listen to personnel.

“An investigation needs to proceed,” she added.

Borough President Eric Adams called the Q train derailment another glaring example of how bad the need for repairs and upgrades has become.

“This morning’s MTA Q train derailment at the Brighton Beach subway station should not be shrugged off as just another incident,” Adams said in an emailed statement. “Millions of New Yorkers use the subway every single day — they should not have to worry about a train derailment, track fire, or other incident that at worst puts their basic safety at risk.”

Brighton Beach resident Paul Young, 73, said he believes politics are to blame for the fluctuating condition of subway service over the years, saying it depends on “who’s in charge.”

“I think it’s all politics, from the way trains run to how much you pay,” he said.

The Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, said the MTA’s ongoing subway problems are starting to create fear among straphangers.

“The ‘summer of hell’ is turning into the ‘summer of fear,’ ” said Nick Sifuentes, deputy director of the Riders Alliance. “Our ongoing crisis is exactly what happens when the state skimps on decades of transit investment. Riders are scared and angry—and they’re not going to let up on the governor until we have the funding we need to fix our subways.”

The “summer of hell” was coined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to describe Amtrak’s planned track work at Penn Station that forced the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit to significantly reduce rush hour service for eight weeks. But the phrase has since been adopted by subway riders facing mounting delays and service disruptions due to track fires and derailments.

Last month, a southbound A train derailed in Harlem at the West 125th Street station, leaving at least 39 people injured. The incident, on June 27, caused extensive tunnel damage, delays and power outages at stations between 59th and 125th streets. Passengers were evacuated from the A train, as well as three other trains that were in the tunnel at the time, the MTA said. Two maintenance track employees were suspended after the incident, which the MTA said happened as a result of improperly stored scrap rail on the tracks.

Friday’s derailment comes one day after Cuomo and MTA chairman Joe Lhota called on de Blasio to increase funding to the city’s aging subway system.

Both Cuomo and Lhota spoke at separate events Thursday about the city’s obligation to fund the aging transit system, which has seen soaring delays recently. Cuomo, in June, declared a state of emergency for the agency, instructing Lhota to evaluate MTA operations. 

Lhota said the agency plans to ask the city for an increase in funding next week to make improvements. 

“There’s going to be need for additional resources,” Lhota said. “With that, I fully expect the owner and operator of the New York City Transit Authority will come to the table.”

Commuters on Friday said they’re fed up.

Luis Nieves, 19, of Brighton Beach, said it usually takes him 20 minutes to get to work on the Q to Coney Island, but on Friday he was forced to take the bus.

“Yea man, I’m late for work. I had no idea this happened,” he said. “It’s really annoying because I can’t call out of work and I was supposed to be there at 2:30 (p.m.). The most annoying thing is taking the bus.”

Nieves’ girlfriend, 20-year-old Yessiana Gualpa, said she has taken to leaving for school very early in order to compensate with the constant delays and service changes lately. 

“Yea it’s either the signals or the trains just keep stopping, that’s why I’m always late to school,” the Brighton Beach resident said. “I just used a swipe on my MetroCard because I didn’t know the Q wasn’t running, and now I just wasted a ride.”