At 12:16 a.m., Wednesday August 28, 1991, a IO-car subway train on the Lexington Line beneath New York City jumped the track and crashed in the subway tunnel. Damage was massive—five cars were derailed, one was cut •n half, another bent in two, possibly 150 persons injured, four dead. The train ripped out 22 steel-girder support columns used to hold up the tunnel ceiling, as well as the street above which immediately sunk a half inch. Two tracks and a third rail had been ripped out and two signal sets, two switches, and an air compressor room destroyed.
When such an emergency occurs, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) immediately appoints a project manager, called a "Wreckmaster," to oversee the handling of the disaster, coordinate rescue and repair activi-
Source: S. Nacco. "PM in Crisis Management at NYCTA: Recovering from a Major Subway Accident," PM Network, February 1992.
ties, and make sure that operations are returned to a safe condition as soon as possible. In this case, the goal was to have the subway back to normal operation by Tuesday morning rush hour, September 3 after the three-day holiday weekend. Such disasters are handled in eight phases:
Phase 1: Respond to injury—Get people out of danger, provide needed medical care, remove bodies and ensure that no victims remain in the debris.
Phase 2: Secure the area—Simultaneously with phase 1, eliminate other threats to life or property by disconnecting power, providing emergency lighting and ventilation, stopping other trains from entering the area, keeping nonrelevant pedestrian and vehicular traffic out.
Phase 3: Initiate command facilities—Concurrent with phases 1 and 2, set up and activate command and coordination structure for all emergency activities.
Phase 4: Remove debris—Collect and remove the elements and debris of the accident which would hinder rescue, clean-up, or repair.
Phase 5: Remove damaged equipment—Use cranes, cutting torches, and other equipment to remove the large, major equipment.
Phase 6: Facility repair—Repair the facilities as quickly as possible for continuing and normal use.
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.