NYC Vacuum Trains Called “Time Bombs” At Risk Of Sparking “Catastrophic Subway Fires”

NYC Vacuum Trains Called “Time Bombs” At Risk Of Sparking “Catastrophic Subway Fires”

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/13/2020 – 15:15

Trains that have been designed to literally vacuum New York’s 665 miles of subway tracks could actually be doing more harm than good. We know, you’re surprised that the MTA could be doing anything that winds up being counter-intuitive, right?

Even better, they are (of course), doing it with taxpayer money, according to The Daily News.  

The “VakTraks”, as the trains are called, were bought using $23 million worth of taxpayer money in 2017 as part of Governor Cuomo’s “Subway Action Plan”. And what did this $23 million buy the city? Trains that the MTA are literally referring to as “time bombs” due to safety and reliability concerns.

One MTA worker noted that its only a matter of time before they spark a catastrophic subway fire. The French built trains have filters that can easily handle European subway tracks, but that can be “overwhelmed by New York’s filth” sometimes. 

When filters tear, the trains can spew out clouds of dust and dirt that, when combined with diesel engines, can “make the air so bad it burns your eyes,” according to one MTA worker. 

Another worker said: “These filters are humongous, made out of a Gore-Tex-like material, and after a year they were already ripping and failing.”

And the failsafes on the trains for fires – 12 vent doors that are supposed to shut in the case of fire – “do not fit into their designed slots”, crews said. Crews at Coney Island have been complaining about the potential for catastrophe for “months”. 

One MTA worker said: “You ever see a semi truck down the road engulfed in flames? That’s what it’d be like if one of these caught fire.”

MTA spokesman Ken Lovett pointed to the fact that track fires are down 44% between 2017 and 2019 and that the arrival of the VakTraks allowed the MTA to cut 30 jobs and save $3 million annually. “Any claims that the vacuum trains are not working effectively are categorically false,” he said.

Mike Carube, president of the Subway Surface Supervisors Association, called it a “cover up” by the MTA. And some Coney Island workers said they were even disciplined for speaking out. One supervisor said:

“I try to explain to my manager that my job is to put out safe equipment into the public. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we know about all the issues, our main prerogative is to keep the trains rolling.’ They want to show the trains are out there even if they’re unsafe because it’s the governor’s pet project.”

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Author: Tyler Durden

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