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Hundreds waiting in frigid temps as 7 train remains suspended in both directions

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NEW YORK (PIX11) - The No. 7 line remains suspended in both directions due to icy rails, causing long lines of frustrated commuters waiting for buses.

A messy, slippery commute got worse for people traveling on the 7 train between Queens and Manhattan Monday morning.

The MTA suspended 7 train service in both directions between 74 St-Broadway and 42 St-Times Square in both directions after an earlier incident.

Around 9:15 a.m. a train stalled west of Queensboro Plaza because of weather-related problems.

A track  fire near 52nd Street broke out around the same time, and ice was allowed to build up along the rails as workers dealt with the fire.  As ice accumulated on the third rail, the MTA was forced to suspend 7 service in both directions.

Passengers on the train remained stranded in packed cars along the elevated tracks for nearly two hours until the train was finally towed into the station around 11:30 a.m.

In another incident, an umbrella landed on the electrified third rail, causing delays.  During an Office of Emergency Management press conference, the umbrella was blamed for the icing, but the MTA later corrected that statement, telling PIX11 it was caused by the earlier track fire.

Transit Authority workers are still trying to clear the ice and get multiple stalled trains running.

The MTA has provided shuttle buses between Queensboro Plaza and Flushing-Main St.  The LIRR is also cross-honoring passes at Flushing, Mets-Willets Point, Woodside and Hunters Point.

Commuters are encouraged to take the E, F, R, N or Q trains instead.  Straphangers can also catch the Q60 and/or the Q32 bus service.

It's just the latest headache for 7 train commuters, after the MTA launched major weekend construction plans in January suspending service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for five straight weekends, from 2 a.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Monday.

While frustrating for straphangers, the work is necessary -- the MTA will be installing an improved train-control system, replacing aging, elevated tracks and fortifying the Steinway tubes that take the train below the East River.