Icy weather can be a challenge for the decades-old commuter trains that run along Metro-North’s New Haven Line. Brakes freeze; motors struggle. Cancellations and delays are common.
On Monday morning, however, the cold had a more dangerous effect: a malfunctioning door remained open on a car even as the train hurtled toward Grand Central Terminal.
A video of the episode, posted to YouTube by a passenger, depicts a bizarre scene. As the train rattles along upper Park Avenue, a group of nonchalant commuters smile, point at and laugh about the wide-open doorway, inches away from where they stand.
The door apparently did not close after the train left the 125th Street station in Harlem. No one in the video appears visibly concerned by the malfunction, which occurred on the 8:03 a.m. train from New Canaan.
The door, which remained open for about two and a half minutes, finally slid shut on its own after the train entered the Park Avenue tunnel, although one passenger used his hand to close it completely.
The man who took the video, Jeremy Grimes, a daily commuter from Connecticut, wrote in an e-mail that he saw no warning light after the door jammed. “The train started to move and everyone just kind of acknowledged it, eyeballed it for a second and then shrugged it off,” Mr. Grimes wrote.
Usually, a red light goes on when a door does not close properly, and the train is held in place until a crew member can fix the problem. In this case, conductors apparently did not realize there was a problem until after the train arrived at Grand Central.
A railroad spokeswoman said on Tuesday that “a door opening en route is an extremely unusual occurrence.”
“The footage in this video is very disturbing to us, and Metro-North is investigating,” the spokeswoman, Marjorie Anders, wrote in a statement. Metro-North officials said they planned to re-inspect the doors on every train in their fleet before the railroad began the Wednesday morning rush.
Single-digit temperatures throughout the New York region this week have led to problems with motors and brakes on many Metro-North trains, particularly the 1970s-era cars still operating along the New Haven line. About a quarter of those cars are currently in railyards awaiting repairs, Ms. Anders said.
Officials expressed chagrin on Tuesday that the passengers in the video did not move away from the open doorway. Riders who find themselves in a similar situation should immediately notify a conductor, Ms. Anders said.