Continuing with the I’m months behind on blog posts adventure, next up is a sad entry. Unfortunately during the month of April, we lost two transit workers in a span of 5 days! Both deaths involved track workers who in my opinion get overlooked as far as being vital to this city.
The first death occurred near the end of April 24th. 42 year old Daniel Boggs was struck by a downtown 3 express train roared through the 59th St – Columbus Circle station. Here is a more detailed article about the incident courtesy of the Daily News:
A track worker putting up a stoplight was struck and killed by an express train that roared through the Columbus Circle station in Manhattan last night, officials and witnesses said.
Just before the accident, transit veteran Daniel Boggs had hung safety lights on the No. 1 local track to warn train crews that workers would be on the adjacent express tracks, co-workers said.
He and a partner had moved over to put up the red stoplight on the express track when he was hit by a southbound No. 3 train about 11:30 p.m., the colleagues said. The partner was unhurt.
Workers said they believed that the last express train had already cleared the station and that the train that hit Boggs may have been late.
“There’s a curve at the mouth of the tunnel, but it’s not so bad that you can’t see,” said one shaken member of the 20-man crew.
Another described Boggs as “a really good guy, a good worker, a family man” in his mid-40s who lived in Brewster, Putnam County, with his wife and three young children and had been a transit worker for 14 years.
“The man helped out whatever had to be done. He never walked away from work,” said another. “This is a sin, a crime. It’s the danger of the job.”
All repair work was halted and service in both directions on the express lines was suspended while investigators pieced together exactly how the accident happened.
Transit worker Ron Hall, 37, said Boggs “was a big guy. He was the type of guy who didn’t need any help with anything. He was like a lumberjack, but he was a softy. He was a great chess player. You wouldn’t expect it.”
“He was a strong union man, a real decent guy,” said longtime Transport Workers Union activist John Samuelsen.
Before yesterday, the last transit worker killed on duty was Lewis Moore, 35, who was fatally injured Dec. 1, 2005, while heading to the rear of a work train as it passed through a Bronx subway tunnel.
And before that, Harold Dozier, 54, of Brooklyn, was fatally struck by a B train Dec. 14, 2004, while working on the tracks at the Newkirk Ave., Brooklyn, station.
On Jan. 18, 2003, A-train conductor Janell Bennerson, 30, apparently leaned out the window as the Manhattan-bound train left the Aqueduct/North Conduit Ave. station in Queens and inadvertently slammed into a metal fence.
After the death of two transit workers in two days in 2002, NYC Transit boosted safety measures at the prompting of the TWU.
I wish the tragedy ended there but days later a second track worker died, this time in Brooklyn. 2 track workers were hit by a G train entering the Hoyt – Schermerhorn station. Here is a detailed article about the incident courtesy of the New York Post:
April 30, 2007 — A track worker was killed by a subway train loaded with passengers yesterday, in the second such tragedy in less than a week.
The dead man, Marvin Franklin, 55, and a co-worker, Jeffrey Hill, 41, were hit by a G train in the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station in Downtown Brooklyn just after 4 p.m., after a supervisor ordered them to retrieve a tool on the unprotected track, transit sources said. Franklin was wedged under the train.
“The operator saw them on the track and attempted to brake,” said NYC Transit President Howard Roberts Jr., who promised a full investigation.
“Any death is unacceptable,” he said. “To have two people killed in the system within less than a single week is intolerable.”
Hill was pulled out alive and rushed to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
“He’s doing fine. It’s a miracle,” said MTA Executive Director Lee Sander, who visited him.
The victims were on a crew replacing concrete under the A and C line tracks when they were struck by the Queens-bound G on an adjacent track as horrified onlookers watched from the platform.
The track work was meant to be finished last night, a week ahead of schedule.
Roberts said the transit agency was “instituting an immediate stand-down” for workers lasting at least 24 hours. All crews will be pulled from the tracks, except in emergency situations, while safety procedures are reviewed.
Transport Workers Union leader Roger Toussaint said, “We have to find out why, despite the set of various rules, these accidents have been reoccurring.”
Last Tuesday, 41-year-old worker Daniel Boggs was killed on the tracks under Columbus Circle when he was hit by a downtown No. 3 train as he set up flagging lanterns.
Toussaint and Roberts both were on their way to Boggs’ wake last night when they heard of the latest tragedy.
Franklin, who lived in Queens, had worked in the subways for 22 years. He was planning to retire next year, and hoped to teach art in public schools, according to his neighbor, Sandy Almonds.
“He’s a very hardworking guy, dedicated to his wife,” he said.
He was very popular in his St. Albans neighborhood, as president of the his block association and among kids who nicknamed him “Champ,” said Dale Prentice, 42, another neighbor.
“It’s a heartbreaking. He was the kind of guy you’d want in your neighborhood,” he said.
Toussaint also went to the hospital to visit Hill, a track worker for two years.
“He had just heard about the passing of his co-worker and he was completely distraught,” the union leader said.
Even before Franklin’s body was pulled out from under the first car of the train, workers were calling for safety changes.
“Transit workers are not cannon fodder,” said track worker John Samuelsen.
“Transit workers’ lives have value. Twice this week, this has happened. This is one of the more dangerous jobs in the world.”
I was saddened by the loss of these two workers who were just doing their job, one that is severely overlooked by the masses. Just imagine what NYC & the world for that matter would be like if track workers were not out there daily keeping our subway system rolling! Just sit down for a minute & think how this one job in a way controls so much of our world. Hopefully after you are finished thinking, you will realize just how important track workers are!
R.I.P. Daniel & Jeffery & may only good things happen to the loved ones you left behind.