What caused 7 train to stall on tracks causing hundreds to be evacuated?

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(PIX11) – Again? That was the reaction from riders on the 7 train and elected officials along the line after Monday morning's mechanical problems.

At least one person was hurt and thousands more had their morning commute stymied because of a stalled train that forced a portion of the 7 line to be suspended between Queens and Manhattan Monday, authorities said.

The MTA reported a part of the train, called the shoe, came in contact with the 3rd rail about halfway through the Steinway Tunnel leading from Vernon Boulevard into Grand Central Station.

State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) say they are tracking trouble along the line in their districts.

7 trains were not running in either direction between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street for some two hours, transit authorities said. Service resumed with delays as of 10:45 a.m., MTA said.

"There was smoke in our train and then there was damage on the track," said a passenger named Judy, who didn't give her last name.  "I saw a white flash, right before the emergency brakes."

Judy said she was stranded for more than an hour, "Actually, someone on the train got a panic attack, (but) people were in good spirits."

Most commuters said the same, that, despite the unexpected delay, people took it in stride -- perhaps the inspiration for this video shot in the train and set to music by straphanger Raul Rojas:

The call came in about 8:30 a.m. about a train that came to a halt on the tracks. When the conductor hopped out to see what was the matter, he spotted smoke coming off the third-rail protection board, according to an MTA spokesperson.

The train was carrying nearly 550 passengers, the spokesperson said.

"The back of the train, smoke filled the train," said Edwin Lugo, who works at the Daily News Building on 42nd Street.  "We could breathe, but some other people got really scared, best two hours of my life," he joked.

We could breathe, but some other people got really scared, best two hours of my life.

A rescue train was deployed to the stalled train, MTA said. Those hundreds of passengers were evacuated and taken on the rescue train to Grand Central Station.

Commuters should give themselves additional time to get to their destinations, the MTA said. Delays are to be expected on the N, Q and R lines.

Commuters reported "massive" crowds and delays at Queensboro Plaza and Grand Central, with hundreds -- if not thousands -- of straphangers forced to use the E, M and other lines to accommodate the service stoppage.