It’s been a tumultuous summer for the New York City rail-riders. First things first, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC would like to extend our sympathies to all those affected by the Penn Station power outage that caused hours of delays for inbound and outbound LIRR, Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains yesterday. These delays added hours on top of thousands of commutes, and added to the overall frustration of ever-burgeoning crowds. However we’d also like to shine light on a happier tale, of a New York City transit cop who rescued a young boy after he fainted on a subway platform. With any luck, the good-natured sentiment of this second story will help commuters keep their collective chins up about what occurred yesterday. It’s important to keep in mind, when the going gets rough and you’re experiencing the brutality of commuter traffic, that some good news may be waiting right around the corner.
The Great Train Meltdown
Somewhere between Long Island City and Manhattan, deep in the East River Tunnel, power was severed to an integral train signal and the trains that it serviced ground to a halt. Evidently, one of the compressors necessary for the proper function of track switch signals blew, and the system went down.
Both Amtrak and the LIRR rely on the usage of this tunnel, and these signal malfunctions caused immediate delays. Both services reported 60-90 minute delays on mostly all of their trains. While authorities scrambled to get power back on line, the widespread effects of the slowdown were felt throughout the city. You see, strong localized congestion can have radiative consequences. Commuters who were able to seek other travel options spilled outwards, into taxi cabs and onto the subway. The MTA, in fact, was temporarily cross-honoring LIRR tickets. This caused subway cars, which generally operate near-capacity during mid-morning hours anyway, to glut and overstuff with new travelers desperate for a way to get home. Those who were forced to wait for the railroad caused back-loaded traffic that lasted throughout the day. The aftereffects were felt long after the signals were repaired, as delays only slowly eased as time wore on. The unluckiest of all were those stuck on the stalled trains themselves; those trains that were held between stations as a precautionary measure. Also experiencing high levels of discomfort were those caught in the standstill human morass of overcrowded city stations. Some hubs were even shut down and evacuated altogether because the various crowds were reaching near-dangerous critical mass. Unbelievably, the entirety of Penn Station was shut down at one point.
Professionals were eventually able to activate an alternate energy source in order to restore power to the compressors and track signals. In the interim, shuttle buses were running from Penn Station to some nearby eastern towns, such as Jamaica, Woodside, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens.
Hero Cop Saves Boy
In much lighter train-related news, stories have recently been circulating about a transit cop who came heroically to the aid of a local boy on a Sheepshead Bay subway platform last month. Officer Qiang Shi was on his daily beat when a panicked woman approached him. She told him that a her teenaged son was in trouble, and Officer Shi’s instincts engaged. He rushed up the stairs at the Stillwell Avenue station and ran directly to the boy’s aid. The teen, 19-year old Rio Ferrer, had collapsed and gone into cardiac arrest. During the fall, he’d split open his chin and was masked in blood by the time Officer Shi arrived by his side. Unfazed by the blood and unworried about his own safety, Officer Qiang Shi answered the call of duty and began his attempt in saving a life. The boy had collapsed very near the platform’s ledge, and the threat of incoming trains loomed heavily. But Officer Shi’s bravery and quick reactions shone- he not only performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but coached the boy vocally, urging him to hang on. For a while, it was touch-and-go. Rio phased in between bouts of breathing and not-breathing, while Qiang Shi doggedly performed CPR.
The Ferrer family was enormously grateful: Rio’s younger brother constructed a badge of Legos and presented it to Officer Shi, while Rio’s mother wrote a heartfelt letter to Shi’s superiors, lauding him for his efforts and hailing him as her “guardian angel.”
The entire sequence was filmed on the camera phones of bystanders, and can be found online.