By Sabina Mollot
As if the smells in the subway weren’t already oppressive enough, L train service was suspended on Tuesday afternoon at around 1 p.m. when a gas odor began wafting through the Graham Avenue station in Brooklyn earlier in the day.
By 3:30 p.m., L train service had resumed in both directions with delays, despite the fact that “lingering gas smells may be present at the stations in the area,” the MTA said in an announcement. Still, according to the MTA, the stations were determined to be safe.
MTA spokesman Maxwell Young told Town & Village that after hearing customers complain about the odor that morning, the agency initially thought this was due to leftover fumes from diesel work trains passing through the stations. The MTA expected to fumes to dissipate, explaining this is what usually happens, but when the smell lingered, the agency launched an investigation.
While noting service had fully been restored, Young said, “Service was suspended while FDNY and DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) thoroughly examined what appeared to be an oil or gas leak at the Graham Av station, at track level. Both Departments have confirmed that non-flammable heating oil from an external source had leaked onto the track and the incident is completely unrelated to the L train project or any other MTA construction. Air quality at all stations has been tested and determined to be safe. We apologize to our customers for the delay in service – their safety is always our number one priority and we would never compromise it.”
While service was interrupted, the agency recommended that straphangers in Manhattan hop on an M14A or D, while suggesting that riders in Brooklyn switch to the J train or B39 bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge or the A/C to G train at Hoyt Schermerhorn, or to Broadway Junction or the E /M to G train service at Court Square.
Following the restoration of service, State Senator Brad Hoylman said the agency isn’t doing much to boost customer confidence on its L train shutdown alternative plan.
“The MTA’s two most basic responsibilities are to provide reliable service and to protect riders’ health,” said Hoylman. “It is infuriating and disturbing that they are failing on both counts. If riders can’t trust the MTA to take care of the basics, then how can we take them at their word on the new L Train plan or anything else?”