Last Night’s Metro-North Outage Caused by ‘Human Error,’ Stray Wire

Commuters arrive to Grand Central station from a Metro North train on January 22, 2014 in New York City. Snow and single digit temperatures made the morning difficult for New Yorkers and commuters alike.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Metro-North and its parent agency, MTA, are in full forehead-slap mode as they admit that last night’s system-wide Metro-North outage was caused by “human error.” What kind of error? explains: “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.” Some kind of oversight, for sure, made worse by the timing of this risky repair job in the first place. “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,” MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said. Thanks for the insight.

Metro-North Outage Caused by ‘Human Error’