Service Diversions 01-19-17

I have just updated the Service Diversions for the upcoming weekend through the end of next week.

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MTA Testing New Vacuum Systems

Photo courtesy of the MTA

The MTA is continuing its never ending battle to keep subway tracks clean by testing out prototypes on new vacuum systems. Here is more about that bia the official press release I received from them:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it is testing two prototypes of powerful – but portable – track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next. The new units are part of the MTA’s ongoing Track Sweep initiative, which is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, in the process improving the station environment, and reducing track fires and train delays.

“Testing these new technologies is a key part in our plan to get the tracks cleaner, and keep them cleaner over the long haul,” said MTA New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim. “Once we’re sure that these units are effective we’ll be ordering additional units to deploy across the system.”

The first unit is currently being tested, while the second will be deployed within the next two weeks. The prototype units are both powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries with a battery management system that protects the batteries and load from over current, and both can be moved from station to station on a conventional revenue train. The tests are scheduled to last approximately 30 to 45 days. Assuming the successful completion of the tests, the MTA will move aggressively to acquire and deploy additional units.

The test of the two portable vacuums is focusing on two corridors of track:

• In Manhattan from Lexington Av/53 St E, M on the Queens Boulevard E, F line to W4 St-Wash Sq A, B, C, D, E, F, M on the Sixth Avenue B, D, F, N and Eighth Avenue A, C, E lines, which is a chain of 15 stations.

• In Queens along the Queens Boulevard corridor from Jamaica-179 St F to Queens Plaza E, M, R, which is a chain of 20 stations.

Operation Track Sweep (view video here: https://youtu.be/CGIODTxfD_w) is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, and, in the process, improve the station environment, and reduce track fires and train delays. Phase 1 of the effort, which focused on establishing a more aggressive schedule for cleaning tracks at stations, launched in June 2016. Phase 2 followed in September, and involved 500 workers removing trash and debris from the tracks at all of the system’s stations.

Operation Track Sweep’s four complementary phases are:

Phase 1

In June 2016, the MTA implemented a new cleaning schedule that reprioritizes stations based on the amount of trash usually removed, and increases the frequency of track cleaning. The MTA now cleans the tracks at 94 stations every two weeks, up from cleaning tracks at 34 stations every two weeks.

Phase 2

In September 2016, the MTA launched an intensive two-week, system-wide cleaning during which more than 500 workers removed trash and debris from the tracks at all of the system’s 469 stations – more than 10 miles of subway station track.

Phase 3

The MTA has begun testing two powerful – but portable – track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next.

Phase 4

In addition, the MTA has ordered a trio of powerful new track vacuum trains, with the first train arriving in 2017, followed by the second and third, which will arrive in 2018.

The MTA is also purchasing 27 new refuse cars to move debris out of the system more quickly and support the new expanded cleaning effort. The cars are equipped with special railings to secure and transport wheeled garbage containers that are collected at subway stations.

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MTA Reaches Deal With TWU Local 100

Thankfully for the sake of riders throughout the region, the MTA has reached a deal (pending MTA Board approval) with Transport Workers Union Local 100.

Based on the initial terms of the deal, I feel it is safe to say that the union won this round of the never ending battle between the heavyweights as they see decent pay increases while not having to dish out more for health care or deal with work concessions.

Here is more on the deal via a report by Dan Rivoli of the New York Daily News:

The city’s transit workers union reached a tentative deal on a new contract with “solid” raises, the labor group’s chief said Monday.

The deal for the 28-month contract — arriving hours after the current contract expired Sunday night — includes two raises of 2.5% over the first 26 months, plus a $500 bonus for the final two months for 38,000 subway and bus workers, according to two sources.

“We won a tentative contract with solid raises and other strong economic gains, moving transit workers well ahead of inflation and greatly improving their quality of life,” John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, said in a statement.

The TWU had been fighting the MTA on the size of the raises. The union wanted a raise higher than the 2% hikes the authority brass had sought to keep wages in line with the rate of inflation, citing the improved economy.

TWU, MTA fail to reach agreement on raises as contract expires

Ultimately, there were no concessions, changes to work rules or higher benefit co-pays, according to a TWU spokesman.

Click here for the complete report.

As is to be expected, some are already voicing doom & gloom on the deal echoing sentiments that the TWU got too good of a deal & riders will be the eventual victims who have to fit the bill. These feelings are coming from the Citizens Budget Commission. Danielle Furfaro of the New York Post has more on this angle of the story:

The new contract between the MTA and its workers costs too much money and will lead to higher than expected fare increases, a government watchdog group claimed on Tuesday.

Citizens Budget Commission officials say they believe the workers got too good of a deal and that riders are going to have to pay for it.

“New Yorkers should welcome the news of 28 months of labor peace on the subways and buses, but it comes at a price,” said CBC president Carol Kellermann. “The settlement is more generous than the MTA’s financial plan provides and may require higher fare increases than planned or more borrowing to support the capital program.”

The newly-inked contract with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 will give the workers two separate raises of 2.5 percent over 26 months and then a $500 bonus for the last two months, said sources. The new contract runs until May of 2019.

The new contact will also leave in place other perks, including higher pay for nighttime shifts, overtime after an eight-hour day instead of a 40-hour week, and a cap on part-time employees.

“The MTA doesn’t have the flexblity to work around these things, so they are paying more for workers hours than they have to,” said CBC researcher Jamison Dague.

Click here for the complete report.

As I opined earlier, the TWU definitely won the battle with this contract as they got pretty much every main sticking point they wanted. However to solely blame them for the costs of it is unfair considering they just want a fair living wage in what is one of the most expensive cities/regions to reside in throughout the entire world.

The real culprits are the bodies of government both city & state who continuously shortchange the MTA in terms of the funding it needs for the strongest level of operations from infrastructure down to being able to properly pay employees. So instead of looking down on the working class, how about looking up at the people behind the curtain running the show!

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LIRR PM Rush Service Advisory 1/11/16

Due to the broken rail outside one of Amtrak’s East River tunnels, the MTA Long Island Rail Road has issued a service advisory for the PM rush commute home. Here are the complete details:

MTA Long Island Rail Road is advising customers to expect train cancelations and delays during today’s afternoon rush hour while Amtrak crews work to repair a broken rail found outside one of Amtrak’s East River Tunnels. Personnel are on the site of the broken rail but do not expect to have repairs completed by the start of the afternoon rush hour.

New York City Transit is cross-honoring LIRR tickets at on the E  subway line at Jamaica (Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av), Kew Gardens (Union Tpke) and Forest Hills (71st Av) stops. At Woodside, NYC Transit is cross-honoring LIRR tickets on the 7  line (Woodside-61st St).

Eastbound Service from Penn Station

Between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., 13 trains will be canceled. For each of these trains, customers will be able to take another train leaving within 5 to 10 minutes of the departure times of the canceled train that will have the added stops of the canceled train. A list of the affected trains is below, by branch:

Babylon Branch

  • The 4:34 p.m. train from Penn due Babylon at 5:39 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 4:37 p.m. train from Penn due Wantagh at 5:27 p.m., stopping at Rockville Centre and all local stops to Babylon.
  • The 4:57 p.m. train from Penn due Wantagh at 5:42 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:03 p.m. train from Penn due Freeport at 5:46 p.m., stopping at Rockville Centre, Baldwin, Freeport, Merrick, Bellmore and Wantagh.
  • The 5:19 p.m. train from Penn due Wantagh at 6:06 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:24 p.m. train from Penn due Freeport at 6:10 p.m., stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Rockville Centre and all local stops to Wantagh.
  • The 5:40 p.m. train from Penn due Seaford at 6:30 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:47 p.m. train from Penn due Freeport at 6:31 p.m., stopping at Rockville Centre and all local stops to Seaford.
  • The 6:05 p.m. train from Penn due Wantagh at 6:51 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:10 p.m. train from Penn due Freeport at 6:54 p.m., stopping at Rockville Centre and all local stops to Wantagh.

Long Beach Branch

  • The 4:40 p.m. train from Penn due Long Beach at 5:37 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:00 p.m. train from Penn due Long Beach 5:55 p.m., stopping at Jamaica, Locust Manor and all local stops to Long Beach.

Port Jefferson Branch

  • The 6:30 p.m. train from Penn due Huntington at 7:32 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:35 p.m. train from Penn due Hicksville at 7:22 p.m., stopping at Jamaica, New Hyde Park and all local stops to Huntington.

Port Washington Branch

  • The 4:22 p.m. train from Penn due Port Washington at 4:58 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 4:25 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 5:02 p.m., stopping at Woodside and all local stops to Port Washington except Mets-Willets Point.
  • The 4:43 p.m. train from Penn due Port Washington at 5:21 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 4:46 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 5:23 p.m., stopping at Woodside and all local stops to Port Washington except Mets-Willets Point.
  • The 5:11 p.m. train from Penn due Port Washington at 5:47 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:14 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 5:45 p.m., stopping at Bayside and all local stops to Port Washington except Mets-Willets Point.
  • The 5:26 p.m. train from Penn due Port Washington at 6:04 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:29 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 6:05 p.m., stopping at Woodside and all local stops to Port Washington except Mets-Willets Point.
  • The 5:50 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 6:19 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:56 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 6:31 p.m., stopping at Woodside and all local stops to Great Neck except Mets-Willets Point.
  • The 6:11 p.m. train from Penn due Port Washington at 6:48 p.m. is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:14 p.m. train from Penn due Great Neck at 6:49 p.m., stopping at Woodside and all local stops to Port Washington except Mets-Willets Point.

Westbound Service to Penn Station

Starting at 4:30 p.m., Penn Station-bound trains will be terminated at Jamaica, where LIRR customers can transfer to the New York City Subway’s E train for continuing service to Penn Station. New York City Transit will cross-honor LIRR tickets at Jamaica. As an alternative for service to Penn Station, customers can ride the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, to connect with the Manhattan-bound 2/3 lines. New York City Transit will also cross-honor LIRR tickets this evening at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.

Port Washington Branch trains will terminate at Woodside, where customers can continue to Manhattan by transferring to the New York City Subway’s 7 train. New York City Transit will cross-honor LIRR tickets this evening at 61st Street-Woodside.

East River Tunnels

Amtrak’s East River Tunnels connect between Penn Station and the Sunnyside Yards area in Long Island City, Queens. They are used by all Long Island Rail Road trains to and from Penn Station, as well as Amtrak trains to and from New England, and out-of-service NJ Transit trains headed to or from Sunnyside Yard.

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Gun Allegedly Drawn On MTA Cleaner

In what is a terrifying story, a male allegedly drew a gun on a MTA subway cleaner at the Lafayette Ave station over the service disruptions that occurred on Monday. Dan Rivoli & Thomas Tracy of the New York Daily News have more:

A commuter outraged by delays on his Brooklyn train line took his aggression out on an MTA cleaner — by threatening the man with a gun, cops said Tuesday.

The cleaner had just left a Brooklyn-bound A train at the Lafayette Ave. station around 11:50 a.m. Monday when the stranger started cursing at him.

The uniformed MTA employee took the criticisms in stride — until the stranger flashed what appeared to be a gun.

“I should shoot you!” the man screamed.

“I took off running,” said the rattled worker, who wished not to be named. “He said a lot of things . . . but I didn’t take any notice to anything that he was saying until he said the one thing about how he should shoot me.”

Click here for the complete story.

I am glad to see that the unnamed worked got away without being harmed. However it shows how dangerous even the simplest jobs can be for transit workers in NYC. Hopefully this lunatic gets caught & arrested as it would be nice to have one less crazy person riding the subway.

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