FASTRACK Returns To The E

Riders of the E Train in Queens should take note that beginning tonight & for 4 consecutive nights, FASTRACK will be returning. Here are more details via the official press release I received:

MTA New York City Transit’s FASTRACK program returns to the E line along a portion of Queens Boulevard. For four consecutive weeknights, beginning Monday, November 2, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., to early Friday morning, November 6, E service will be suspended in both directions between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Briarwood. E trains will operate on its normal route between World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and Briarwood, at that point, trains will be rerouted via the F line to/from Jamaica-179 St.
As a travel alternative, customers are advised to use free shuttle buses operating between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke, making station stops at Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av, Jamaica-Van Wyck, and Briarwood. Transfer between E trains and free shuttle buses at Kew Gardens-Union Tpke or Briarwood. For additional connections between Manhattan and Jamaica Center, consider using the A and J via free transfer at Broadway Junction. The A also connects with the JFK AirTrain at Howard Beach.

Joseph Leader, Senior Vice President for the Department of Subways, said, “All subway stakeholders win with FASTRACK. Workers have a better and safer work environment, customers benefit from better train service, improved aesthetics and increased reliability, and more work is performed in a shorter amount of time.”

During our previous FASTRACK in September 2015, train service was suspended for four consecutive nights between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Briarwood, as NYC Transit workers took full advantage of the seven hours of train-free access each night to perform a range of cleaning and maintenance tasks of station and tunnel infrastructure, signal equipment, and track and third rail components. Track workers scraped and cleaned 7,765 feet of track, cleaned 815 feet of track under and around the third rail, installed 306 track plates, and 15 rails. Infrastructure workers repaired 42 leaks, while signal crews performed maintenance work on signal equipment. At stations, workers replaced 612 light bulbs, washed 315 fixtures and replaced 19 platform signs. This represents only a portion of the work completed during this FASTRACK diversion.

FASTRACK has been designed around the careful determination that there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods. Alternative transportation options will be detailed in announcements and posters on trains, in stations and on selected buses; brochures will be available in both English and Spanish. Information on this FASTRACK is available on the web at http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/fastrack_E.htm#serviceChanges

FASTRACK was introduced in January 2012, devoting four straight weeknights to perform maintenance work in tunnels, stations and on tracks, completely suspending service within a given line segment for a seven-hour period between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., allowing an army of maintenance workers to perform dozens of tasks.

Our next FASTRACK overnight closure is scheduled to begin Monday night November 9, and ending early Friday morning, November 13, on the A line between 59 St and 168 St, and on the D line between 59 St and 161 St-Yankee Stadium.

The changes have been noted on the service diversions page which can be viewed by clicking here.

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Service Diversions 10-30-15

Get a start on your Halloween weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

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Former MTA Chairman E. Virgil Conway Dies

Some sad news to report as former MTA Chairman E. Virgil Conway has died at the age of 85. Here is more via press release:

E. Virgil Conway, who served as both Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chairman and as a member of the MTA Board, died Wednesday in Southampton, New York. He was 85.

After finding success as both an attorney and a banker, Virgil began his tenure with the MTA Board as our Westchester representative. In 1995, he was asked by then-Governor George E. Pataki to take on the responsibility of chairman. He continued in that role until March 2001, serving as the seventh chairman of the MTA.

“Virgil was a hugely influential and effective chairman, and many of the successes and accomplishments the MTA celebrates today are the result of his hard work and his heartfelt service to the region,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “He remains a beloved member of the MTA family, and he will be sorely missed.”

Virgil spearheaded the preparation and funding for the 2000-2004 Capital Program, which at the time was the most ambitious and far-reaching program in MTA history. That effort launched several extraordinary projects to expand the system and change the shape of the region’s public transit to fuel our economy and better serve our customers.

These megaprojects include the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access—bringing the Long Island Rail Road directly into Grand Central Terminal—and our recently-completed 7 Train extension to Manhattan’s Far West Side. Virgil’s efforts helped ensure these projects will transform our region, while at the same time improving service reliability by giving customers new ways to get where they’re going—to, from, and within New York City.

Virgil also oversaw the rollout of the MTA’s iconic MetroCard. He implemented fare discounts and eliminated “two-fare zones”—dramatically reducing the average cost of a ride. He brought to fruition the restoration of Grand Central Terminal, which began under his predecessor, Peter E. Stangl. And he was instrumental in bringing essential components of our system to a state of good repair, continuing the MTA’s decades-long work to rebuild from the graffiti, grime, and overall disrepair of the 1970s and ‘80s.

My condolences go out to the family & friends of Mr. Conway.

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Service Diversions 10-23-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

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SI Railway Sandy Repairs

Staten Island was one of the worst hit spots from Superstorm Sandy. The wrath left behind is still being felt throughout the community & transit infrastructure. One of the worst hit spots on the island was around the St. George interlockiing which is currently undergoing a $105M project fix.

Due to this work, service will be suspended on multiple weekends between St. George & Tompkinsville. Here is more via press release:

A major MTA New York City Transit Fix&Fortify Sandy Recovery project underway on the Staten Island Railway (SIR) since September 26 will require five planned weekend closures between October 24 and the weekend of November 27.

During these weekend closures, train service will be suspended between St. George Ferry Terminal and Tompkinsville from 1:00 a.m. Saturdays through 4:00 a.m. Mondays. Shuttle buses will provide alternate transportation between these two stations. Staten Railway trains will run normally between Tompkinsville and Tottenville. The following closures are not consecutive and subject to change:

1. October 24-26

2. November 7-9

3. November 14-16

4. November 21-23

5. November 27-30

Three years ago, Superstorm Sandy drove a six-foot storm surge onto the shores of Staten Island. Portions of the Railway suffered extensive damage when tracks and equipment were totally submerged. In September 2014, a contract was awarded to LK Comstock for the rehabilitation of the St. George Terminal interlocking which serves the main passenger connection to the Staten Island Ferry. This $105 million project will modernize and replace the St. George Interlocking track and signal systems as well as rehabilitate the tower that controls train movement in and out of the terminal. The electrical distribution equipment housed in the tower was also damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

Resiliency measures that will be integrated into the project include the raising of all signals from 24 to 72 inches above the roadbed and using a raised platform for battery and generator enclosures. The project also includes the placement of new track ballast, the replacement of 12,000 feet of tracks and 13 turnouts, and a new third rail system.

While the MTA worked tirelessly to restore service as quickly as possible after the storm, it was immediately clear that future, more extensive work would be necessary to repair and rebuild these vital systems in order to ensure safe and reliable service. The project is designed to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure while reducing the system’s vulnerability in the event of future severe weather. Overall, the MTA has been allocated nearly $3.8 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for Sandy related repair, resiliency, and disaster relief work system wide.

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