NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City subway train derailed in upper Manhattan on Tuesday, causing minor injuries to 34 people and forcing the evacuation of passengers from dark, smoke-filled carriages, officials and witnesses said.
Authorities said the southbound train struck a tunnel wall just before 10 a.m., causing two cars to derail near the 125th-street station in Harlem. The crash was being investigated, the city’s Office of Emergency Management said.
Witnesses on the train posted photos on social media that showed damage to the floor and a door of the train.
“One lady began having a panic attack, and most people had to use their shirts to not breathe in the smoke (from the accident). Some people are crying,” one passenger, Benjamin Williams, wrote on Twitter before being evacuated.
New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro gave reporters details on the injuries at the scene.
Following the accident, service was suspended or rerouted on several subway lines between upper Manhattan and northern Brooklyn, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. Free shuttle buses ran between Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan and points north to 145th street.
The city’s subway system, which carries 5.7 million riders on a typical weekday, has come under increasing criticism in recent months for extensive delays and infrastructure in poor condition.
The Riders Alliance, an organization of subway and bus riders in New York, blamed the derailment on the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.
“Scared subway riders have one question: where is Governor Cuomo?” the alliance’s executive director, John Raskin, said in a statement. “As the subway crumbles from decades of neglect, Governor Cuomo continues to point fingers instead of coming up with a credible plan to fix the MTA.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
During an interview last month on CNBC, the Democratic governor said the federal government was to blame for not responding to the state’s requests for transportation funding, leaving New York “way behind” on infrastructure.
“We haven’t built in an airport in over 25 years. We’re not building bridges, roads, tunnels,” Cuomo told CNBC. “ ... We’re now paying the price of ignoring the maintenance.”
Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Taylor Harris and Jonathan Oatis