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Subway Motorman’s Widow Hasn’t Been on a Train Since His Death. But Now She May the Take the Ride He Never Finished

Garrett Goble’s mother, Vicki (left), and widow, Delilah Rodriguez Goble, attend a memorial ceremony at the Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College station, Dec. 21, 2020.
Garrett Goble’s mother, Vicki (left), and widow, Delilah Rodriguez Goble, attend a memorial ceremony at the Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College station, Dec. 21, 2020.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Delilah Goble has steered clear of the subway since her husband was killed last March in a fire that torched a train inside a Harlem station.

But days after a 50-year-old man was arrested in the killing of subway motorman Garrett Goble, his widow said she is on board with a memorial Brooklyn-to-The-Bronx ride on a No. 2 train to mark the upcoming first anniversary of his death.

“Maybe that’s one way I can start riding the train again,” Delilah Goble told THE CITY Monday. “It’s a good way to honor him and I look forward to taking that ride.”

Train operator Jamar Pearson, a friend of Goble’s, said fellow transit workers want to salute their colleague with an end-to-end trip along the line on which he worked.

“We want to do the trip that he never finished,” Pearson said.

Garrett Goble with his wife Delilah and son Noah.
Garrett Goble with his wife Delilah and son Noah.
Courtesy of Goble Family

Delilah Goble and her mother-in-law, Vicki Goble, stood alongside New York City Transit and Transport Workers Union Local 100 officials Monday as they announced plans to install memorial plaques and artwork in honor of the slain motorman at the Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College stop, the Brooklyn terminal of the No. 2 and 5 lines.

Garrett Goble grew up using the station.

“You’re not going to be able to be able to walk into the Flatbush station without seeing and feeling Garrett Goble,” said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit.

The union plans to establish a scholarship in Goble’s name next year for a student from a transit worker’s family.

“This tribute here, when people go by and say, ‘Hey, what happened?’ there will always be a story to be told,” said Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100. “And he will never be forgotten.”

A Break in the Case

Goble died nearly nine months ago when the train he was operating went up in flames as it pulled into the Central Park North-110th Street station. Manhattan prosecutors last week charged Nathaniel Avinger with murder in the second degree and arson, accusing him of setting a shopping cart on fire aboard the No. 2 train Goble was operating.

“For a little bit, I did lose a little bit of hope that there would be an arrest,” Delilah Goble said Monday.

Her husband, a 36-year-old father of two sons, was found unresponsive on the tracks after authorities say he and two other transit workers helped lead riders off the train as it went up in flames.

The remains of 2 train fire that killed Garrett Goble, March 27, 2020.
The remains of 2 train fire that killed Garrett Goble, March 27, 2020.
Obtained by THE CITY

“March 27th is one of the worst and darkest days in our history, and one of the most heartbreaking days in any of our lives,” said Feinberg. “Since then, we’ve been searching for answers as to why and how something like this could happen.”

The arrest came Friday after Avinger — who had been a suspect in the arson case since March — was picked up by police two days earlier for allegedly groping a female transit worker in Brooklyn.

Days after the fatal train fire, Avinger was charged with setting a blaze outside a Harlem building, though he was released without being charged in Goble’s death.

Avinger, whom the Daily News reported has been in a “mental institution” this year, allegedly implicated himself in the arson while being questioned about the groping, according to the paper, citing unnamed police sources.

‘Be Careful’

In a June interview with THE CITY, Delilah Goble described how earlier in March, during the surge of COVID-related deaths among MTA workers, she’d urged her husband to be vigilant while on the job.

“I would say to him, ‘Be careful, be sure you clean your cab, disinfect it,” she said. “I kept stressing that, never thinking someone would think it’s OK to set a train on fire.”

Since the death, Goble said Monday, her husband’s coworkers have helped her and sons, Hunter and Noah. Pearson said there are plans to install memorial plaques in crew rooms at stations on both ends of the No. 2 line — at Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College and Wakefield-241st Street in The Bronx.

“They have been amazing,” she said. “They call, they check in on the kids. It’s like a family.”

The hoped-for March memorial ride — which Feinberg described as “a beautiful idea” — is in line, Goble said, with how transit workers have treated her family since her husband’s death.

“I know they will not ever let him be forgotten,” she said.

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