PM in crisis management at NYCTA
recovering from a major subway accident
On August 28, 1991, a 10-car train derailed in the subway at the New York City Union Square station, leaving four dead, over 150 injured, and occasioning a prompt and massive response by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), in coordination with the National Transportation Safety Board and the New York City Police and Fire departments. This response occurred in seven phases: 1) providing help to those injured and in danger; 2) securing the area to minimize further risk; 3) setting up a command and coordination center; 4) removing accident debris that impeded further rescue, clean-up and repair; 5) removing damaged equipment; 6) repairing facilities in such a way as to accelerate the return of train service; and 7) testing the operation of all elements. This article describes the rescue, the clean-up and rebuilding phases, and how all these operations were coordinated and managed by 'Wreckmasters,' or project managers who are appointed following incidents of this sort.