Sorry to ruin your fantasies about the “Harry Potter shit” that occurs in New York’s transit system twice in one week, but Amtrak’s Ice Patrol isn’t just a myth concocted by train conductors to explain delays, as some disgruntled commuters suggested on Twitter. The New York Times looked into the matter after the Ice Patrol held up trains during the morning and evening commute on Friday, and found that it’s a crew that tracks down icicles in the tunnels under the Hudson and the East River, then whacks them down with a pole. Ice on the overhead power lines can shut down trains in the tunnels, and Amtrak has yet to figure out a more high-tech way to address the problem.
An Amtrak train in Penn Station. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images