NEW YORK, N.Y. – Commuters into and out of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal faced crippling delays Wednesday, one day after a raging fire broke out beneath elevated train tracks in the city, officials said.
The blaze Tuesday night at a garden centre underneath Metro-North tracks north of the station in Manhattan’s East Harlem section, halted train service and left thousands of commuters stranded on their way home.
Metro-North said two of the four tracks in the area of the fire are operational for Wednesday’s morning rush. Trains will be slowed from their normal 60 mph to 30 mph as repairs continued.
“Crews inspected all elements, including the supports, track, power and signal, and ran test trains to ensure safety” before reopening the tracks, according to a statement released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority early Wednesday.
The commuter line is running on a Saturday schedule and is at 60 per cent capacity, MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said.
More than 150 firefighters responded to the blaze, which officials said also involved construction debris and several trailers and vehicles and may have blown off bolts from the tracks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the scene and detailed the damage, WCBS-TV reported.
“The fire was so hot that they could hear the rivets, the bolts popping,” Cuomo said.
Buildings on both sides of the street were evacuated.
“I opened my window to climb down on my fire escape, and the smoke started getting more heavier,” Antone Rosas told the television station.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury when he slipped, but no civilians were hurt.
Fire officials said crews worked hard to control the fire, which remained under investigation.
“They got in there, they contained the fire to this one area,” said James Leonard, chief of department for the Fire Department of New York. “Hopefully, we contained the damage, and we can get the people back on the railroad.”