Transit Workers Recall 911 -- In Their Own Words

TWU Local 100 produced this video of the recollections of transit workers who served at Ground Zero during the rescue and recovery effort on 9/11 and the days thereafter. As the towers fell, TWU Train Operators and Bus Operators evacuated citizens from lower Manhattan. Then, once the scope of the disaster became evident, Transit assigned over 2,200 workers to the operation. Hundreds more volunteered. For the first three days, the only heavy rigs at the site were New York City Transit’s. Our Track Workers and Structure Maintainers removed damaged and destroyed debris and vehicles using our heavy equipment, so that rescue crews could access the site. Other MOW personnel went in to repair crucial radio and communications links which were severed when the towers went down. NYCT Telephone Maintainers extended the Transit Authority’s underground phone lines to create phone banks for first responders at Ground Zero since cellphone communications had become disabled after the towers fell. Lighting Maintainers set up dozens of generators and lighting towers that turned night into day for the first wave of rescue personnel. Our Bus Operators, some of whom evacuated citizens as the towers fell, later brought first responders to the site using our fleet of buses. Trades titles assisted in the rescue and recovery effort by cutting iron and lifting wreckage. Station Cleaners then performed the massive clean-up required to begin to rebuild the damaged subway stations and tracks at the site.