The Terrible E and F Train Delays Were the Fault of an Overnight Repair Crew That Stayed on Too Long

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New York And New Jersey Continue To Recover From Superstorm Sandy
Is the F train ever on time?Photo: Allison Joyce/2012 Getty Images

When the MTA messes up, there’s no backup plan. A single mechanical failure can lead to hours of delays, turning a subway platform (even more than usual) into a nightmarish holding pen of sweat and hostility. That’s roughly what happened Monday morning when tens of thousands of passengers spent hours on sluggish E and F trains. But for once, the delays weren’t caused by sick passengers or gruesome subway deaths or signal failures or any of the usual suspects — they were the fault of MTA track workers who kept working for just a little too long at the end of their day.

A transit spokesperson told DNAinfo that this morning’s rash of delays occurred because weekend-repair crews, scheduled to work till 5 a.m. Monday, stayed on the job for an extra hour. Because they didn’t clear off the tracks just north of the Kew GardensUnion Turnpike station in time, trains backed up, and up, and up. Let us take a moment to consider a system running so close to its limits that a modest hiccup like this snarls up a quarter of the city for a whole morning.

Luckily the MTA, well-oiled machine that it is, has the perfect fix for such a calamity: handing out tardy slips. Works every time.