2006-07-21 / Community

A-Train Riders Stranded On Sunday, Monday During Heat Wave

By Patricia Hannan

Caption: Beachgoers are seen leaving the train station at Noel Road and Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel on Sunday.Caption: Beachgoers are seen leaving the train station at Noel Road and Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel on Sunday.

The A-train left lots of people stranded and sweaty last Sunday and Monday, when equipment problems flared up during the summer's first heat wave.

Service was halted for two and a half hours on Sunday, after the Beach Channel Railroad Bridge got stuck in the open position. The breakdown happened mid-afternoon, when there was still a lot of beach traffic riding the rails.

Masses of people were seen walking along Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel in the sweltering heat. Groups of beachgoers were seen marching down Noel Road carrying their coolers, tote bags and towels. Many of them decided to keep on going because shuttle buses were delayed by more than an hour. Some of those who stayed behind eventually got fired up by the unexpected delay and tried to stop other buses passing them by.

The MTA said nobody was trapped in train cars on Sunday but passengers did get stuck between stops when the intense summer heat caused an equipment failure Monday and the second service stoppage in as many days. Seventy people were stuck inside train cars from about 12:45 p.m. to about 3 p.m., when a Manhattan-bound A-train stopped suddenly between the Beach 67 Street and the Broad Channel stations. The train came to rest just short of the railroad bridge, which spans Jamaica Bay and caused the trouble on Sunday.

Once again, people were seen marching towards Rockaway. The Wave spotted one determined surfer who was walking over the Cross Bay Bridge with his board under his arm.

An MTA representative told The Wave that a section of the third rail buckled due to extreme temperatures caused by the heat wave. Passengers were escorted to the front of the train, onto the tracks, and down a set of service stairs at the Beach 81 Street station that are normally used by Transit Authority workers. The NYPD's Emergency Service Unit assisted with the evacuation.

Chikeyta Pickens of Rosedale was stranded twice in Monday's intense heat.

"It had to be at least 99 degrees," said Pickens, who was traveling from Brooklyn to Rockaway on a Lefferts Boulevard A-train. She realized her commute was going off the rails when she had an extra-long wait at the Rockaway Boulevard station. She finally caught a Far Rockaway A-train and then joined over 60 people who were waiting on the platform in Broad Channel for the Shuttle to Rockaway.

Pickens said it didn't help that service was still running in the opposite direction, as "three trains passed us on the opposite side of the tracks." But it wasn't a total loss; Pickens relayed a warning to a relative who avoided the mess by taking a cab and two buses out of Rockaway. As for Pickens herself, she said, "I'm prepared for anything."

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