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N.Y. Subway Cars Derail, Imperiling Morning Rush

NEW YORK -- The N train derailment in midtown that forced more than 400 passengers to be evacuated yesterday could inconvenience thousands more this morning if service disruptions continue.

"We're working to have service resume by the morning rush," said transit spokesman Charles Seaton. "I expect that it will."

Two subway cars slipped off the tracks as a southbound N train approached within 100 feet of the 57th Street and Seventh Avenue station. A transit spokesman said each car only had one wheel derail.

Although several ambulances rushed to the scene, only two of the 449 passengers complained of minor injuries and were treated and released, a Fire Department spokesman said. After the accident, the conductor and the train operator walked through the cars talking to passengers and taking a head count, Seaton said.

An R train was taken out of service and pulled up behind the disabled N. Firefighters - about 100 responded to the accident - helped the passengers board the "rescue train." Passengers were able to step from one train to the other, without climbing down to the tracks, Seaton said.

The R went back to the 5th Avenue and 59th Street station, where the passengers' ordeal ended at 5:32 pm, a little more than an hour after it began.

"Most people were coming out like nothing happened," said Josie Chacon, 19, a Manhattan resident.

The last derailment was in January, when a work train slipped off the tracks on the D line. Before that accident a train had not derailed since March 2006.

David Freedlander contributed to this story.

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