|For your consideration, from The Journal News:
Commute goes down the toilet
By CAREN HALBFINGER
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: October 31, 2003)
The 6:19 p.m. train to Mount Vernon West had barely left Grand Central Terminal when the ride home went down the toilet, along with a commuter's cellular phone.
After the phone landed in the commode Wednesday night, the hapless rider reached in to get it, but instead got his arm stuck up to the elbow.
"Another customer was made aware and reported to the conductor that someone in the toilet was in distress,'' Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker said. "The evening's commute followed that cell phone right down the toilet.''
The conductor was unable to free the Bronx man's arm, so he radioed a trainmaster for help. The trainmaster boarded at 125th Street, but he, too, was unsuccessful. What should have been a 34-minute ride to Mount Vernon West became a 76-minute, only-in-New York odyssey and a doozy of a reason to be late for supper.
The train and its passengers waited at the Fordham station in the Bronx for police, fire and emergency crews to arrive.
While they figured out what to do, six trains were forced to bypass five stations from Fordham to Wakefield. Bronx-bound customers had to exit at Mount Vernon West, where they caught southbound trains home.
But there weren't enough southbound trains, so the railroad had to bring out extra trains and crews. Two New Haven Line and six Harlem Line trains also were delayed.
All told, 1,000 customers arrived late at their final destination. ".... All because a man had his arm stuck in a toilet," Brucker said.
Eventually, another train was brought up alongside the train with the stuck rider, so everyone else on board could get on a different train and go home.
After tearing off the bathroom door and walls, rescue crews used an acetylene torch to cut through the stainless-steel commode and free the stuck passenger at 7:35 p.m.
He had minor cuts and was treated in the Bronx. The train car is at Metro-North's railroad yard in North White Plains, where repairs are expected to take more than two days.
The phone was not recovered.
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