A two-hour power outage that sidelined the Metro-North railroad on Thursday was caused by human error, according to the MTA.
The power supply was cut during an electrical repair project that brought 50 trains across the railroad’s lines to a stop and left thousands of commuters stranded at Grand Central Terminal and other stations, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said.
“Last night’s failure was unacceptable, pure and simple,” Prendergast said in a statement. “The project should have been analyzed for risks and redundancy before it began, and it should not have been performed when thousands of customers were trying to get home in cold weather.”
The MTA, Metro-North’s parent agency, said in the press release that the computers that run the railroad’s signal system lost reliable power at 7:45 p.m. when one of two main power supply units was taken out of service for replacement. The technicians didn’t realize that a wire was disconnected on the other main power supply unit. It took more than hour before a backup unit could be connected to power up the system.
“Metro-North customers deserve better, and I extend my sincere apology to all of them,” Prendergast said. “I have directed Metro-North to bring in an independent consultant to examine how and why these mistakes were made, and to recommend any necessary changes to operating procedures to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
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(Photo by Rick Flores/The Journal News)