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Front Page November 9, 2012  RSS feed

Subway System Rolling Again

Flooding Keeps L Train Off Track
by Robert Pozarycki


This work train is shown pumping out the 14th Street tunnel on the L subway line. According to the MTA, flooding from Hurricane Sandy left water in the tube “from floor to ceiling.” 
(photo courtesy MTA) This work train is shown pumping out the 14th Street tunnel on the L subway line. According to the MTA, flooding from Hurricane Sandy left water in the tube “from floor to ceiling.” (photo courtesy MTA) There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the transportation crisis that hit New York City following Hurricane Sandy last week, as additional subway lines have been reactivated— but a chunk of the L line remains out of commission.

More than 90 percent of the entire subway system has been brought back online, according to the MTA. However, many trains were operating on modified schedules, leading to delays and greater congestion on board and at platforms.

By the end of Sunday, Nov. 4, the 7 and M lines were once again capable of running between Manhattan and Queens. Service on the 7 line— which was partially restored last Friday, Nov. 2, to run between 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue and Flushing Main Street—was fully restored to its normal route between Times Square-42nd Street and Main Street for the Monday morning commute.

Additionally, the M line operated in place of the E train this past weekend between Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and Jamaica Center, passing through Brooklyn, Manhattan and northwestern Queens along the way.

Service was restored by Monday morning on the E line between Jamaica Center and the World Trade Center and on the R line between 71st-Continental Avenues in Forest Hills and 34th Street-Herald Square; however, there are no R trains running between 34th Street-Herald Square and Jay Street-MetroTech.

With the E and R lines back in service in midtown Manhattan and western Queens, M trains once again run between their normal terminating points: Metropolitan Avenue and 71st-Continental Avenues.

The Q train was also restored in time for Monday’s commute, with the line operating between Astoria- Ditmars Boulevard and Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

After being out of service for more than a week, the entire length of the G line was reactivated in time for the morning commute on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Following the storm, the Greenpoint tube under the Newtown Creek was flooded almost entirely, and MTA crews had to drain it and repair damaged equipment.

Trains on many of the restored lines were operating with delays as the Times Newsweekly went to press on Wednesday afternoon. Service was brought back on these lines after flooding was removed from the tunnels and power was restored to areas of Manhattan south of 34th Street.

Flooding problems continue to keep the majority of the L line (between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Broadway Junction in Brooklyn) out of service. As of press time, the MTA has yet to announce when the full line will be made fully operational.

Aaron Donovan of the MTA told the Times Newsweekly on Monday that the route, like many other sub- way lines which run under waterways, was significantly flooded during the onset of Hurricane Sandy last Monday night, Oct. 29. The main trouble point was the 14th Street Tunnel on the L below the East River, which were flooded “from floor to ceiling.”

Crews have been working around the clock to pump out the seawater from both tunnels. Once that task has been completed, Donovan said, MTA workers will inspect all track and equipment for damage.

Both lines will be reopened once the MTA repairs any broken equipment and deems the tunnels safe to operate, he added.

Extensive damage in the Rockaways continues to impede the MTA’s efforts to restore subway service to and from the peninsula. Sections of the A line in Far Rockaway were reportedly destroyed by Sandy’s storm surge.

All A trains operate between Lefferts Boulevard in Ozone Park and 168th Street in Manhattan; there is no A service between Rockaway Boulevard and Rockaway Park or Far Rockaway; the Rockaway Park Shuttle has also been suspended indefinitely. As of press time, no timetable has been announced for the restoration of service to and from the area.

The status of other train lines in the Times Newsweekly’s coverage area as of Wednesday afternoon are as follows:

• The J line continues to operate local service between Jamaica Center and Essex Street; there is no Z train service.

• The L line runs between Broadway Junction and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway.

• The F line continues to operate between Jamaica-179th Street and Avenue X in Brooklyn.

• The N line again operates between Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard and 59th Street in Brooklyn.

The Long Island Rail Road has also resumed “modified service” on its branches, though there is still no service on the Ronkonkoma branch east of Ronkonkoma and the Montauk branch east of Speonk.

For up-to-date information on transit changes, visit www.mta.info.

As for the roads, carpooling restrictions on all East River crossings imposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week were lifted late last Friday afternoon as additional subway service was restored.

On Tuesday, one tube of the Queens Midtown Tunnel—which had been shutdown after being flooded—was reopened to bus traffic only. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday that the MTA hopes to have the entire tunnel operational by week’s end.

The Hugh Carey-Brooklyn Battery Tunnel remains closed until further notice as a result of flooding.

Cuomo also suspended toll collection on the two Rockaway crossings— the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge— until further notice.