MTA Press Releases

Press Release
January 13, 2020
MTA Issues Update On Water Main Break As NYCT Works To Restore Full Service Ahead Of PM Rush

View Photos and Video of NYCT’s Ongoing, Aggressive Clean-Up Efforts

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released the following statement from New York City Transit President Andy Byford following this morning’s water main break on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“At 4:57 a.m., there were the first indications that a city-owned water main erupted between 62nd and 63rd Streets. We received the first reports from train operators at 5:00 that there was water in the system. Then at 5:02, we alerted our crews that there would be route modifications as a result.

“When this incident began, a single northbound 1 train was stuck in the tunnel for 15 minutes, just south of the 66th Street station. It was gradually moved north so that the first three cars were in the station. Customers were then safely evacuated onto the platform. At 5:45 a.m., power was cut so that transit workers could safely begin pumping out water. By the time the city shut off the water, there were approximately 500,000 gallons of water remaining in the subway system.

“The level of water rose above the third rail, making conditions dangerous to operate trains. The site of the break was adjacent to an emergency hatch for the Broadway line, which allowed water to quickly pour into the tunnel. Water also came in through several nearby vents. 

“In the hours since, the MTA responded by suspending service on the 12 and 3 lines between 96th Street and 42nd Street. Service on the 1 train is running between 42nd Street and South Ferry and from 242nd Street to 137th Street, with limited service between 137th Street and 96th Street. The 2 line was diverted to Lexington Avenue in both directions, and the 3 line is running from 148th Street to 96th Street, and then from 42nd Street to New Lots Avenue. Shuttle buses have been deployed to assist customers who use these lines.

“We have deployed extensive resources in the Infrastructure, Track and Signals Departments, as well as cleaners, to address the situation. The water in the system has now been drained and pumped and we are in the process of inspecting the impact area which stretches across four stations from 59th Street-Columbus Circle to 79th Street. Seventy two signals and 12 switches will be inspected to ensure they are functioning properly.

“Our current expectation is that service will be restored to normal levels by the evening rush, beginning at 4 p.m.”

For additional information, e-mail Tim Minton ( or call the MTA press office at 212 878 7440