Two New York City transit workers have been suspended following Tuesday’s subway derailment that injured 34 people, officials said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the employee’s suspension while they investigate the incident.
“The two supervisors who were responsible for the oversight of the work have been suspended without pay pending a formal review process,” Beth DeFalco, an MTA spokesperson, said.
Transit officials said late Tuesday that the reason the “A” train derailed in Harlem earlier that day because it appears that an improperly secured piece of replacement rail was stored on the track.
“They’re fast to point the finger at employees,” Mike Carrube, a union boss, told the Daily News. “To blame them right away, when the investigation is not even complete and point the finger at two employees is ridiculous.”
The derailment sent travelers tumbling to the floor and forced hundreds of passengers to evacuate through darkened tunnels. Sparks from the train briefly ignited garbage on the track, but there was no serious fire.
Service on the A, B, C and D lines were suspended for a portion of the day on Tuesday while transit officials investigated the derailment.
The derailment caused numerous delays on New York City’s massive transit line on Tuesday.
MTA suspends 2 supervisors who oversaw work on track where A train derailed. (Photo credit: Enrique Garcia) pic.twitter.com/R4KCWiBNEL— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) June 28, 2017
The MTA reported service changes for Wednesday and said they are repairing the Harlem station where the derailment occurred.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., called the derailment an “unacceptable manifestation of the system’s current state.”
“It is my expectation that with new leadership brought by Joe Lhota, the MTA will address the fundamental issues plaguing the transit system and overhaul the organizational structure of the MTA,” Cuomo continued.
The MTA has come under fire from riders over a growing number of major delays. In April, a power outage backed up trains around New York City and closed a key Manhattan station for 12 hours. The MTA reported that there were more than 60,000 delayed trains and nearly 25,000 late trains in January alone, The New York Times reported.
The MTA’s Long Island Railroad is also having trouble. A report released earlier this month found that rush-hour cancellations and delays on the railroad are at the highest level in ten years. The derailment comes less than two weeks before Amtrak's infrastructure project to update Penn Station is set to start which will likely result in delays and cancellations on the Long Island Railroad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.