back to article NYC subway SNAFU probably caused by someone turning it off accidentally, say reports

An outage that knocked out half of New York's subway system and left hundreds of passengers stuck in tunnels was likely caused by someone in a control center pressing the wrong button and turning off part of the network, according to New York Governor Kathy Hochul. The incident occurred on the evening of August 29, when a …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Wrong button pushing...

    A good thing they don't have a "self destruct" or "warp speed" .

  2. ShadowSystems

    I sympathize with the walkers.

    I'm insulin dependant diabetic. If I'm stuck somewhere for too long without food nor water, I'll need to go get some lest I suffer a blood sugar crash. If my choices are 1) sitting still & hoping someone turns the power back on, or 2) getting out & trying to walk somewhere that might have said food/water, my body will make that choice for me & have me walking in no time. I keep a snack on me just in case, but once the snack is gone, I'm back to the aforementioned choice. If any of the walkers were likewise in need of food/water/a bathroom & unable/unwilling to wait, I can fully understand why they did what they did. Dangerous yes, but you honestly don't GAF if your blood sugar starts to fall below critical levels. It's a "Get. Food. NOW." sensation that doesn't accept doing nothing as a viable option. =-/

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I sympathize with the walkers.

      And I'm guessing that after an hour of being stuck in the train in just emergency lighting there was no announcement of what had happened and when it would be fixed.

      Was this another 9/11 ? Had the office block above them just been blown up ? Was a flood about to trap them all - given the recent people dying in basements in New York.

      Staying put requires you decide; an incompetent agency that did this to trap me here and the same incompetent agency that can't tell me what is happening is the agency that is going to rescue me if I stay put.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: I sympathize with the walkers.

        It's the same agency you're trusting *not* to suddenly start the trains trundling down the track again while you're still on it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I sympathize with the walkers.

        Call 911 on your ... oh, wait...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming to next week's "Who Me" column...

    1. veti Silver badge

      Have you ever seen one of those columns reporting something that happened less than ten years ago?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        OK then, the next "Dr Who Me" column.

  4. Sir Loin Of Beef

    It looks like someone has created a resume-writing event for themselves.

  5. rcxb1

    Blame the lowest-paid guy in the room

    > "The blame has officially been attributed to human error"

    Because of course it has... Was it human error that somebody stole the molly-guard on the button nobody is supposed to ever push? OR was that some deferred maintenance decision by management that really shouldn't have been deferred?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Blame the lowest-paid guy in the room

      Or some malglement or visitor asking "what's this do?".

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Blame the lowest-paid guy in the room

        "And why has some fool left this plastic cover over it?" Rip cover off, throw into trash.

  6. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Nearest I've been to this was being stuck in a lift packed with women when the power failed at work. My friends at work all said things along the lines of "Wahay" and "Get in!" and other stuff like that, and wondered why I hadn't got at least one phone number.

    There was a very good reason I didn't get anyone's phone number. I spent the whole time (nearly 2 hours) trying to keep one of the women, who was both claustrophobic and scared of lifts (she'd only taken this one because she was running late and her friend persuaded her) calm, or at least stop her having a panic attack. That meant getting everyone in the lift to turn on the lights on their phones (whether backlights or flashes) so we could at least see each other (even the emergency lighting failed), speaking to the woman calmly, trying to take her mind off things. This wasn't easy, as I am crap at small talk. It certainly meant not hitting on her.

    When I got out (thanks to our security staff using the winch attachment on the lift), I found out that some workman had been digging up the road, and drilled through the electricity main.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Tip for next time.

      Don't call the maintenance / building services number - call 911 / 999

      The fire service will have you out in 15mins. As opposed to the end of the shift, when they are done with all the other jobs, once the next shift gets the service call, etc

      And the fire service get to use their flashing lights and break things - which makes them very happy.

      1. Foxglove

        'Don't call the maintenance / building services number '

        Three times yes.

        Our buildings are managed by mitie.

        In an emergency I'll dial the appropriate number, then to keep the record straight I'll dial our internal 'emergency' number.

        Actually some of the people working on our building services are okay, but they all hate working for mitie and it's luck of the draw if you get a good guy/gal.

        Most of them couldn't give a fuck and would leave you stuck in the lift or whatever situation you were in and just go home at the end of their shift without even passing the problem on.

        Outsource to mitie, get a pissed off workforce.

      2. jake Silver badge

        They also use it for free training of folks who have never been involved in a real elevator rescue, which also makes them happy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I object to your dastardly characterization "the city's incomprehensible and counter-intuitive subway network". Properly, it is "evolutionary". There is progress over time towards the ideal operation. Much like the software we work on every day. Same thing, really. Hmmm...

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Over time, they're re-implementing the tracks and trains in Rust.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Pint

        Good 'un

        Have one of these, as well as an upvote.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      > "the city's incomprehensible and counter-intuitive subway network".

      At least they don't have a line called Mobius

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead...

    Instead of all of the fools they hire, why don't they cut the ageism and keep the people that know what they're doing in these positions. Age means experience. Experience means redundancy, and lot permitting someone to touch a button that can bring down an entire MTA underground transit system. Fools.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Instead...

      Because the old guys are union, and they are on the union contracts negotiated in the 70s.

      So they are making more per hour than an investment banker, they have been on long term sick leave for the last 5 years because they are overweight/smoke/drink and get to retire at 59.5 on 150% of their final salary.

  9. Yes Me Silver badge
    Joke

    Who dun it?

    Was there anybody called Molly in the control room?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Who dun it?

      It sounds more like Murphy was on the case to me...

      1. Peter Mount
        Angel

        Re: Who dun it?

        Those covers on the big red switches are called Molly Guards for a reason ;-)

        Icon because it looks like a baby/little person

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Who dun it?

          They're made out of Molybdenum?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Who dun it?

            Just in case anyone doesn't know the origin of the name ...

            http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/M/molly-guard.html

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Who dun it?

              I'm more scratching my head re the intended purpose of a Peter Mount. Does one wear it to attach equipment? Or does one affix it to a wall or desk in order to display detachable items or grisly trophies?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Who dun it?

                You misunderstand ... that's "peta-mount". It's when you attach your largest storage device.

                1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                  Re: Who dun it?

                  Ah-haaaaaa. Silly me.

  10. jake Silver badge

    "inadequate organizational structure and a lack of guidelines"

    In New York? G'wan, yer kidding me. Really? Whodathunkit!

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