Sad news from the weekend track work: For the second time in five days, a transit employee conducting track work was killed after being struck by an oncoming train. As a result of this accident, New York City Transit head Howard Roberts ordered an immediate stand-down of all track work. This temporary suspension in maintenance and construction will last until the MTA investigates these two deaths and the work crews have been sufficiently trained in safety protocols.
According to news reports, Marvin Franklin, 55, a Queens resident and 20-year transit employee, died after a northbound G train hit him and Jeff Hill as they were crossing the tracks at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street station just after 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The two, police say, were in the station as part of the extensive trackbed replacement project on the A/C tracks. While two of three trains that pass through this downtown Brooklyn station were not running this weekend, G service was not affected by the service cuts.
The New York Times has more about the accident:
Roger Toussaint, the president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, said the men were not working on the reconstruction, but were taking advantage of the service interruption to replace the metal plates that sit between the rails and the ties.
A senior official at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who spoke about the accident on the condition of anonymity, said that a preliminary investigation indicated that the men had gone to fetch a dolly and were carrying it across the G track on their way back to the A and C track when they were hit.
The official said that an alternative route would have involved taking the dolly up the platform stairs, through the station and down another set of stairs to the opposite platform.
The operator of the G train apparently saw the two workers and tried to stop, but it was too late. Based on the preliminary investigation, officials believe that the G track may not have been equipped with warning lights that would have made the driver slow down and watch out for track workers, the official said.
Roberts, just a week into his job as head of NYCT, got word of this accident as he was on the way to Brewster in upstate New York for a wake for Daniel Boggs. Boggs was killed last week as he worked on the Columbus Circle renovations. He was struck by a downtown 3 train at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday night just as the train, one of the last scheduled on the express tracks sped through the station.
Roberts and MTA CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander arrived at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop and issued the stand-down order on the spot. Workers in the subway this evening finished up projects that enable trains to run on schedule this week. No work will resume until MTA and Transit Workers Union officials are satisfied that proper safety measures have been adequately explained to TWU employees. There is no word on how this will affect ongoing maintenance projects or Capital Construction projects such as the Second Ave. Subway.
But as the MTA and the TWU reel from the second tragedy in five days, straphangers across the city are pulling for Hill, the survivor of the accident who is currently in stable condition at Bellevue.