At first it was relatively smooth sailing for commuters in NYC, but this week, the "Summer of Hell"--the phrase Andrew Cuomo used to describe the impact of disruptive track closures at Penn Station, but could just as easily be applied to the trials and tribulations of everyone who relies on city transit--was well underway for both subway and commuter rail passengers.
At Penn, Amtrak has closed several of its tracks for maintenance, which has meant reduced service through September 1 for those who depend on the Long Island Rail Road or New Jersey transit. After a quiet first week, trouble began on Saturday, according to Gothamist, when an Amtrak train from Miami lost power and got stuck upon entering Penn—and then the locomotive sent to rescue that train also got stuck. Later that evening, a New Jersey Transit train experienced a similar issue in the same spot.
But the New York City transit system has its own woes, too, of course. Subway passengers had a particularly rough Monday, when a track fire led to the total suspension of B and C trains, and partial suspension of the A and D above 125th Street, according to ABC. Nearby subway stations were dangerously overcrowded as a result:
Tuesday morning, meanwhile, two empty LIRR trains derailed in Long Beach, the New York Post reports, causing service to be suspended, then delayed, along the entire line. On New Jersey Transit, meanwhile, Patch writes that 58 trains had to be canceled within the Summer of Hell's first nine days, due to staffing shortages.
And just to cap things off on an already-rough week, during this morning's rush hour, a Q train derailed north of the Brighton Beach station, Gothamist reports. So far, there have been no reported injuries, but the accident has caused delays along the line, and certainly plenty of frustration for New Yorkers trying to find alternative transit.
All this during a heat wave that has sent temperatures into the 90s, making train stations particularly stifling. If there's any bright spot to all the travel misery, it's that New Yorkers are exercising their frustration on Twitter, to often-hilarious effect.
Some New Yorkers found colorful comparisons to the experience of trying to get around in the brutal heat:
Eating 30 Popeyes biscuits covered in hot sauce without a drink > waiting on a MTA subway platform in the summer.— Stokely Hathaway (@StokelyHathaway) July 18, 2017
Others imagined that there had to be some kind of explanation for the seeming randomness of transit troubles:
This Tweeter took her grievances directly to the governor:
And this one had a piece of useful advice for preparing for a subway journey:
I made sure to use the bathroom twice just in case I get marooned on a B train over the bridge for 45 minutes again. #summerofhell— Brendan Jay Sullivan (@MrBrendanJay) July 20, 2017
On that last note, we'd add that it would probably be a smart idea to bring a snack and plenty of water with you, should you get stuck in a steamy station, subway, or train (and as long as eating is still allowed!). Stay safe out there, everyone—and if it's feasible, might we suggest just working from home?