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Penn Station Derailment, Subway Delays Snarl Commute For Rail Riders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A subway train with mechanical problems continues to cause delays Wednesday after an earlier separate train derailment at Penn Station snarled the morning commute for NJ TRANSIT riders.

The B, D, N, Q and R trains faced service changes and delays because of the troubled train at DeKalb Avenue. The MTA also said there was no W service between Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard and Whitehall Street.

At one point, service on the E, F and M lines was also affected.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed crowded platforms and people trying to cram into trains.

"I actually got off the train and started walking to another line, this happened around 14th street," Michael Stevens said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to push for his proposed millionaire's tax to help fund subway repairs.

"The people of this city work too hard," de Blasio wrote. "They deserve a transit system they can rely on. They deserve a fair fix."

In a statement, the MTA said preliminary information indicates that "operator error caused garbage to not be properly secured on a southbound refuse train at 14th Street, causing garbage to fall on the tracks and impact following southbound service."

The garbage caused a southbound Q train to get stuck twice, once at Canal Street and then 45 minutes later at DeKalb Avenue, WCBS 880's Mike Smeltz reported.

"New York City Transit and the MTA have zero tolerance for worker errors that cause service problems," the statement said. "Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken as necessary pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation."

Some riders seemed to think the MTA's answer was a load of garbage.

"I don't believe it, but okay, I'll take it," April Fielder said.

The workers union said they are investigating the incident.

"If you don't have the resources to train these people properly, and that could be the responsibility of either people in Albany or in New York City, then you are going to have delays that are coming about not just because of infrastructure problems," Ridge Montes said.

Earlier Wednesday, an empty train derailed inside Penn Station.

The train was being moved out of the rail yard at Penn by Amtrak crews when the engine derailed on Track 4 around 4:30 a.m., CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

The train had a conductor, but no passengers on board. No one was injured and crews were able to re-rail the train just after 6 a.m. but as a result, tracks 1 through 5 were taken out of service.

NJ TRANSIT's Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Montclair-Boonton and Midtown Direct trains were facing 20-minute delays for a time, but service on those lines has since been restored.

Cheryl McFarland was 20 minutes late and wishes higher-ups on the railroad could enjoy her reality.

"Honestly, it would be helpful if some of these executives could really ride the rails, commute with one of us for a month or two and see if you can handle it," she told WCBS 880's Paul Murnane. "You don't know what it's really like till you do it."

The Long Island Rail Road said its trains were not affected.

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