Grand Central Terminal — April 17, 2010 1:00 — 0 Comments
Metro-North says computer crash caused false alarm | NYC Subway …
Copy and paste below into your page: (close this pane) NORWALK
Metro-North blamed an untimely computer crash at Grand Central Station on the emergency evacuation announcement that aired twice Tuesday morning at nearly all new Haven line stations.
“Due to police activity, all train service has been suspended indefinitely,” the announcement said. “The police department has asked that everyone immediately leave the train station and maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from railroad property.”
Metro-North aired the wrong message shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday at almost every train station on the new Haven line, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.
The correct message, which played flawlessly on the Harlem and Hudson lines, urges new York Yankee fans to “take the train to the game,” she said.
Metro-North recorded the ballgame announcement Monday in anticipation of opening day at the stadium, and then stored the message electronically in three computer consoles located in the operations control center at Grand Central Station, spokesman Daniel Brucker said.
The consoles store the public announcements that play at all new Haven, Hudson and Harlem line stations, Brucker said.
Ordinarily, the system would cancel out the previously recorded message in favor of the new PA announcement, which is what happened on the Harlem and Hudson lines.
But the third console malfunctioned, causing the previously recorded emergency evacuation message to sound at stations on the new Haven line, Brucker said.
“We believe the system crashed at the very same moment that this new recorded message was entered, hence it could not read the correct code,” he said. “It was not a human error, rather a failure on the part of the computer.”
The Metro-North Customer Service Department is responsible for the public service announcements, and handled the investigation, Brucker said.
While the consoles are housed inside the Grand Central control center, Brucker said they are completely detached from the Automatic Train Control system, which ensures the safe and smooth operation of Metro-North railways.
Several stations along the new Haven line were evacuated Tuesday after the alarm sounded, and security continued to stop commuters at the door from entering.
Brucker said, a live announcement was made within five minutes of the original telling all commuters and railroad employees to disregard the previous message.
But numerous commuters complained Tuesday that the delay lasted longer, and said the confusion caused them to miss their morning train.
Metro-North apologized Tuesday for the mistake, and Brucker said the railroad has taken steps to prevent such errors from occurring in the future.
Archived messages that are not in constant use have been deleted from the console, he said, and emergency announcements will now be stored on a compact disc and played when needed.