transit

Subway Car Graffiti Memorial Commemorates MTA Train Operator Killed in Suspected Arson

A No. 4 train was taken out of service in The Bronx early Thursday morning, after being found with a graffiti memorial to train operator Garrett Goble.
A No. 4 train was taken out of service in The Bronx early Thursday, after being found emblazoned with a graffiti memorial to train operator Garrett Goble. Photo: Obtained by THE CITY

A No. 4 train briefly turned into a rolling “Rest In Peace” memorial for the motorman killed in a suspicious subway fire last week.

The last name of train operator Garrett Goble and the words “Rest In Peace!” and “Protect The Workers!” were spray-painted onto a train that was pulled out of service shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday in The Bronx, according to an internal MTA incident report obtained by THE CITY.

Goble, 36, died after a fire erupted onboard the No. 2 train he was operating as it pulled into the Central Park North–110th Street station at 3:14 a.m. on March 27. The train blaze broke out around the same time as three other small fires in and around the subway system, officials said. Police have said they consider the train fire to be arson.

Gable, a father of two and a six-year veteran of the MTA, was found unresponsive on the tracks after authorities said he and other transit employees helped evacuate passengers from a train that was quickly consumed by flames.

Nathaniel Avinger, 49, has been identified by police as a “person of interest” in the fatal subway fire. He was questioned by police this week, though no charges have been filed. He is already facing arson charges connected to a March 11 fire outside a Columbia University building on West 125th Street.

Memorial Friday

A memorial service for Goble is being held Friday at a Brooklyn funeral home where, because of COVID-19 restrictions, no more than 10 people will be allowed in at one time.

“He is missed dearly,” said Eric Loegel, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 representative for train operators, conductors and tower operators. “He will never be forgotten.”

Shams Tarek, an MTA spokesperson, said the transit agency has issued a $50,000 reward for any information that “helps bring justice to (Goble’s) family and to New York for this immense loss.”

The graffitied train was taken out of service at the 149th Street-Grand Concourse station before being sent to the Mosholu Train Yard in The Bronx, according to the incident report.

Goble was memorialized with a 3-foot-by-18-foot graffiti hit that a motorman discovered on a southbound No. 4 train at the Burnside Avenue stop.

Graffitied trains are typically taken out of service and wiped clean.

MTA figures show there 17 “major graffiti incidents” in the subway last month, as of March 30 — a 67% decrease from the previous March. Major graffiti incidents had gone up in January and February from the same period in 2019.

As of Monday, the MTA said, there had been 67 major graffiti incidents in the subway so far this year, 20 fewer than at that point last year.

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