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Local News November 16, 2012  RSS feed

A Trains Still Out In Rockaways

Repairs To Damaged Line May Take Months
by Robert Pozarycki

Most of the city’s subway system is back to normal service more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, but there are still portions of rail lines which will remains out of service indefinitely due to extensive damage.

The A train is once again running to and from Howard Beach, but there is no service on the line south of the station due to damage on the bridges spanning Jamaica Bay. The Rockaway Park Shuttle also remains suspended until further notice.

“The damage to the A line in Jamaica Bay is absolutely unprecedented, and so is the MTA’s response,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota, noting that parts of the bridge were wiped out by the storm surge. “Restoring the entire A train will take months, but the MTA is committed to doing it and to providing alternatives to our customers in the meantime.”

As an alternate, the MTA launched on Sunday morning, Nov. 11, a free shuttle bus running between Howard Beach and Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway. From Far Rockaway, riders can take the Q22 bus which runs across the peninsula to and from Roxbury.

To reach areas of Rockaway Park and Arverne normally served by the A line and the Rockaway Park Shuttle, riders can transfer from the A train at Rockaway Boulevard to two limited-stop buses: the Q52, which runs to Beach 69th Street in Arverne; and the Q53, which runs to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street.

Another alternate route for commuters heading to and from the Rockaway peninsula is the Q113 bus, which operates between Mott Avenue and Seagirt Boulevard and the Jamaica Center subway station, which is serviced by the E, J and Z lines.

The MTA also launched ferry service from Rockaway Park to Manhattan; each ride takes about one hour and costs $2 per person.

Meanwhile, the MTA restored last Friday, Nov. 9, full service on the L line between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkby way in Brooklyn. Previously, the line had been reduced to shuttle service between Canarsie and Broadway Junction after its East River tunnel was flooded “from floor to ceiling” by the storm.

The MTAalso reinstated the rushhour Z train, which complements the J line. However, both lines operate between Jamaica Center and Chambers Street in Manhattan; service south of Chambers Street to Broad Street remains suspended due to storm-related damage in the rail tunnel.

As of press time Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 14, the only other storm related service changes which remain in effect on the subway system are as follows:

• The R train continues to run in two sections—between 71st-Continental Avenues and 34th Street-Herald Square in Manhattan and between Jay Street-MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn and 95th Street in Bay Ridge.

• The 1 train remains suspended between Rector Street and South Ferry in lower Manhattan until fur- ther notice.

For updates, visit www.mta.info.

Normal service also returned on 10 of the 11 branches of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) on Monday morning, Nov. 12, it was announced. New timetables also went into effect; visit www.mta.info/lirr for full details about the changes.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the service was restored after crews repaired damage in two Amtrak tunnels below the East River which are used by LIRR trains running to and from Penn Station.

Limited service was restored to the Long Beach branch of the LIRR on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Finally, the two East River tunnels are back in service. The Queens Midtown Tunnel, shut down for more than a week due to flooding in the tube, was fully reopened to drivers as of 6 a.m. last Friday morning.

Limited rush-hour bus service also returned at the Hugh Carey (formerly the Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel on Monday morning after being flooded extensively during Hurricane Sandy.

An additional lane for passenger vehicles was added the following day, and full service is expected to be in effect by the end of the weekend.

Cuomo and Lhota praised the efforts of MTA workers in removing millions of gallons of water and debris from both tunnels.

Editor’s note: Future reports about storm-related service changes will be featured in the Transit News and Changes column, which will return in next week’s issue.