New Yorkers were experiencing an ordinary subway ride on the G train Tuesday, until something unusual happened: Riders saw two women get off the train in between stops and walk into the darkness.
Nellie Killian, a Brooklyn resident, said it was around 10:30 pm when she noticed two women beelining toward the front of the train. “Then the train stopped,” she said. The subway was stalled between the Bedford-Nostrand and Myrtle-Willoughby stops. “We realized the conductor was out in the car, talking to them, which is pretty unusual,” said Killian. “He then walked to the middle of the car, unlocked a poster case and there was a red handle and other mechnical stuff … People were being pretty edgy because we all assumed something had happened. Why would the guy be opening this door to the tunnel unless there was an emergency? And he just opened the door and said ‘See you guys later’ and they walked out.”
Killian said her friend saw the two women walk into a room with frosted windows with bars over them, but the women did not look like MTA workers. “They looked like office workers,” she said. “No hard hats or reflective gear or work boots, even.”
Passenger Craig Middleton said after the two women got off the train, the tension in the car suddenly broke. “Someone yelled, ‘What stop is that?!’ and we all burst out laughing,” he said. “It was one of those great moments where no one ever talks to each other but suddenly everyone was laughing and talking to each other. But the conductor said nothing and just went back up to the front of the train and it started running again.” Both Middleton and Killian said that one passenger shouted, “This is some Harry Potter s–t!” Killian also said she heard someone ask, “Do you take requests for stops?”
Though a few people, like Killian’s friend, saw the mysterious room the two women entered, to most passengers, it looked as though the women stepped off into nothingness. Middleton said, “T hey got off and just stepped off onto this dark platform and the guy said goodnight and the door closed.”
Gothamist tipsterand transportation aficionado Jon Hanford seems to have solved the mystery:“Between Bedford-Nostrand and Myrtle Willoghby there’s a tower, basically a control room that operates the switches over a given section of track. It’s usually unmanned, but during construction when the G short-turns at Bedford-Nostrand the tower is manned to control the ‘relay procedure’ when the train turns around.
“As it happens, just such a short turn relay procedure is in effectafter 11 pm this week.
“So what the passengers saw, most likely, is simply the dispatchers going to work, getting ready to relay trains at Bedford Nostrand. This is normally unseen because it happens so infrequently, and because dispatchers often just walk to the office through the tunnel, but maybe these women asked for a favor? That part I can’t say. But it’s almost 100% dispatchers going to the tower.”
Killian and Middleton are still in awe of the secret room, though, even if it is a simple control tower. “I’m definitely going to have my nose glued to the window tonight,” said Killian of her commute. Middleton looked for the room on his commute this morning, but had no luck. ” I’m still looking out,” he said. “I’m going to sit in the front car every time.”
UPDATE: We heard from MTA spokesman, Kevin Ortiz, who said Hanford’s theory is correct.