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Derailment At Grand Central Snags Metro-North Trains, Leaves Riders Shaken

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Service on the Metro-North Railroad was disrupted Wednesday evening after a derailment at Grand Central Terminal.

As CBS2's Weijia Jiang reported, the train was on its way to Harlem when it flew off the tracks just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Chaos unfolded, with police officers and rail workers guiding confused customers.

Minor Derailment At Grand Central Snags Metro-North Trains

A passenger described what happened during the derailment.

"We were picking up speed and all of a sudden, we heard this tremendous rumbling. It didn't like launch off the tracks, but we felt the entire car rumbling and shaking," one passenger told WCBS 880. "When we were rumbling there were looks on people's faces, not terrified but certainly scared. It was clear something not normal was happening.

A passenger told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman the last few cars were still at the platform as the train derailed, allowing everyone to get off.

Many passengers who were not on the train were still unsettled by the incident.

"I get kind of scared; it's like, well, what if that were my train?" said Aleksa Caruso of Larchmont.

"You just wonder, again, about safety and what's being done about safety on the rails," said Steve Casey of Ossining.

Metro-North said none of the 750 to 800 passengers on board were injured. They were able to walk off the train because the rear cars were still on the platform.

MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the situation remained orderly the whole time.

"It's not chaos. It's not chaotic. It is different than a normal night, but it's not chaotic at all. They're really doing a good job of moving people home. It is inconvenient to have a combined train or have a track change but it's certainly not chaos," Anders told WCBS 880.

"Anytime a train is not on the running rails it's serious so I'm not trying to downplay that," Anders told Silverman.

Minor Derailment At Grand Central Snags Metro-North Trains

For hours following the derailment, trains on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines were delayed an estimated 15 to 25 minutes traveling into and out of the terminal due to the disabled train, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The New Haven Line was most severely affected.

On Wednesday night, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) blasted Metro-North, pointing to the bigger picture.

"This incident is more than a minor inconvenience," he said. "It recalls past very serious incidents, and has caused disruption and delay for countless travelers throughout the metropolitan area, and I want an explanation right away as to what the cause was."

Blumenthal added in an earlier statement that he will be "raising detailed questions" about the derailment.

In May, the Federal Railroad Administration mandated new safety measures after four major incidents on Metro-North trains in 2013. The most infamous was on Dec. 1 of that year, when a derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil station on the Hudson Line in the Bronx killed four people.

On Wednesday night, many passengers demanded to know what the agency was doing to protect them.

"This is not a new news story. This is an old story coming up again and again," said Alexis Cole of Peekskill. "They have to be more cautious. I mean, I know accidents happen -- everybody understands that -- but the rate at which these accidents are happening for the MTA is just unacceptable."

Service had returned to normal on the Metro-North system late Wednesday night.

The MTA declined to comment to CBS2 on Blumenthal's comments or other issues.

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