'Unprecedented' NYC subway breakdown sparked by power surge

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says a momentary power surge disrupted half of the New York City subway system for several hours

NEW YORK -- A momentary power surge disrupted half of the New York City subway system for several hours and stranded hundreds of passengers, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.

The unprecedented breakdown affected more than 80 trains on the subway system's numbered lines plus the L train from shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday to about 1:30 a.m. Monday, Hochul said.

The restoration of service was delayed because passengers on two of the stuck trains walked out onto the tracks by themselves rather than waiting for Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers to help them, Hochul said.

“We never, ever want riders to do that,” she said. “It is dangerous and causes a delay in the restoration of power.”

Speaking outside a lower Manhattan subway system, Hochul promised a thorough investigation.

“Let me be clear,” she sid. “Last night was unacceptable.”

Hochul said Con Edison reported losing a feeder “for a short period of time” just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday “that resulted in a voltage dip across New York City.”

She said the outage was “momentary” and a backup system was activated. “But when they tried to go back to normal, there was a surge — an unprecedented surge — that resulted in the subway losing signalization and communication ability,” Hochul said. “The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge,” she said.

A manhole fire Sunday night that was initially thought to be connected to the subway breakdown appears to have been unrelated, Hochul said.

Hochul, a Democrat and former lieutenant governor who took over as New York governor on Aug. 24 following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, said subway service was back to normal for the Monday morning commute.

No injuries were reported from the subway system disruption.