Track Work To Begin In The Bronx

Starting on July 1, 4 morning rush hour peak trains on the Metro-North will be affected due to the acceleration of track work in the Bronx. Here are more specifics via the press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced plans to accelerate track work in the Bronx including drainage improvements, tie replacements, fencing repairs and general cleanup of the wayside for nine weeks from July 1 through Labor Day.

During this time, one AM peak Harlem Line and one AM peak New Haven Line train will be cancelled and two AM peak New Haven Line trains will be combined.

“Metro-North is committed to providing its customers safe, reliable, and comfortable train service,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “We believe that accelerating long-planned track work is the right way to go and we ask the patience of our customers during this crucial effort.”

Between Melrose and Woodlawn, the tracks are below street level in a “cut” with masonry walls. When it rains, water from some surrounding streets pours onto the tracks and has nowhere to go.

This problem will be addressed as work also begins on a two-year, approximately $11 million drainage project that will be performed concurrently with the track improvements. The work will include installation of underground drains that will connect to New York City sewer lines that cross below the tracks at 12 different locations.

This is a continuation of drainage improvements successfully completed in 2011at the Mott Haven Yard to alleviate flooding.

Standing water due to poor drainage is causing mud spots in some places between Melrose and Woodlawn which is causing deterioration of some concrete ties. The concrete ties are safe and are inspected twice a week like all of the Metro-North system and if any problems are found, action is taken immediately. About 1-2 % of the concrete ties in this six-mile section of track are being replaced with traditional wooden ties and new stone ballast will be installed.

The work will be undertaken one track at a time and will require that the track being fixed will be out of service continuously in order to accomplish the replacement as quickly as possible.

As part of the project, Metro-North will repair fencing that runs along the top of the “cut” and clean up the right-of-way. Because the tracks are below street level in a trough, they are an easy target for litter including old tires, grocery carts and discarded household items.

Because this busy section of track carries both Harlem and New Haven Line trains, some minor changes to the AM peak schedule are required to facilitate the work.

• The 8:03 AM Harlem Line local train out of Mount Vernon West due Grand Central at 8:38 AM will be cancelled and these eight stops will be handled by five different trains making extra stops.

• The 8:30 AM New Haven Line from New Rochelle due Grand Central at 9:05 AM will be cancelled and customers will take the 8:08 local out of Stamford, nine minutes later.

•The 7:09 AM train from New Canaan will make additional stops at Port Chester and Rye, as it is combined with the 7:35 AM that serves only Port Chester and Rye.

• Eight other Harlem and New Haven trains will have schedule adjustments of up to five minutes. Three Hudson Line trains will have adjustments of one to two minutes due to “slotting” of trains on the Park Avenue Viaduct and Tunnel.

• No PM Peak trains will be cancelled. Ten Harlem and New Haven PM Peak trains will have schedule adjustments of one to six minutes. No Hudson Line PM peak trains are affected.

The work will begin on Track 4, the inbound local track. As work progresses, trains periodically will be routed onto different tracks, known as “opposite sides,” where for example, a New York-bound train may stop at what is customarily a New Haven- or White Plains-bound side.

When the track next to the platform is out of service, trains will stop on the inside (express) tracks and “bridgeplates,” a kind of temporary platform, will be erected to span the out-of-service track. The train engineer, guided by the conductor, must meticulously “match” the train doors to the bridgeplates. In addition, boarding and unboarding is slower as customers must use extra caution when using these metal structures.

Despite changes to the train schedule, the combination of track outages, running opposite sides and the use of bridgeplates, some delays may occur. Metro-North will be monitoring the situation and will make additional changes if need be.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 06-09-13

I apologize for not having the Service Diversions up for this weekend. Unfortunately I ran into some server issues & did not get them resolved until late Saturday. However they are up for the upcoming week & beyond in some cases.

As a reminder, FASTRACK will be back on the A Train & C Train between 168th & 207th Streets so check the diversions for all pertinent information.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @SurgeFM as well.

Have a safe & wonderful week!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Plans Better Track Maintenance

Yesterday the MTA announced it will be planning better track maintenance after the Metro-North Railroad derailment in Bridgeport last month. News 12 Connecticut has more in this brief report:

Changes are in the works as a result of last month’s train derailment in Bridgeport.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said today it is planning better track maintenance and inspections, following a finding by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that an inspection before the derailment found problems with the tracks, but nothing was done.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says the lack of action is unacceptable.

“There has to be a plan for the entire track system to make sure it is safe and reliable,” said Blumenthal. “That’s why Sen. Murphy and I will be pressing for strong measures.”

The NTSB plans to complete its investigation and release its final report on the derailment in about a year.

My initial question is why was nothing done after problems were found on the tracks prior to the derailment? Also why did it take a derailment to start planning for better track maintenance? Should heads roll for this? I can’t say for sure until a full report is released. However I am disturbed at the response as I would have assumed that such “better” plans were already in place!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA To Pay Nearly $1M For 2006 Bus Death

This past Thursday, a Bronx court ruled that the MTA must pay nearly $1 million dollars for the death of 51 year old Rachel Levy who was struck & dragged by a bus in 2006 while standing at a stop on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Rivderdale. Pedro Oliveira Jr. of the New York Post has more:

The MTA will fork over nearly $1 million to the military family of a 51-year-old Bronx woman who was mowed down by a city bus, a jury decided unanimously yesterday.

Rachel Levy, 51, was struck and dragged in 2006 while standing near a bus stop on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale.

The driver, Vincent Brady — who passed a Breathalyzer test — drove her over but never stopped, court records show.

Detectives tracked down his bus hours later while examining vehicles at a Manhattan depot.

They found Levy’s blood under Brady’s bus, but police later cleared him of the woman’s death after he told them none of the roughly 20 passengers aboard his bus realized it had struck someone.

Levy’s distraught family — daughter Miriam, an Army veteran, and the victim’s elderly mother, Hadassah Levy — sued in Bronx Supreme Court.

“This has been a long, grueling fight for the MTA to take responsibility for my sweet mother’s death,” Miriam Levy, who will receive a part of the $950,000 sum, told The Post.

“We are grateful to the jurors and our lawyers for bringing justice into our home and hearts.”

Click here for the complete report.

My condolences go out to Rachel Levy as no amount of money will bring her back. Hopefully her loved ones make good use of it to the best of their ability.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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TWU Still Wants To Bring Back Token Booths

Nearly 3 years after the MTA closed a number of token booths, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 continues to fight for the return of them. Jose Martinez of NY1 has more in this report:

They’re not giving up.

The MTA has closed almost 180 subway token booths since 2010, but the Transport Workers Union Local 100 wants them reopened and staffed with its members.

“Things go wrong, and who do you look for? The cops can’t be everywhere in the whole entire system and the public really does rely on us,” said TWU Local 100 Member Paul Flores.

On Thursday, the union and several politicians rallied to restore token booths at stations where they’ve been closed, saying the workers provide a needed service to straphangers and serve as the system’s eyes and ears.

“Machines can’t do the job that we do. They’re constantly out of service,” said TWU Local 100 Member Derick Echevarria.

The MTA says it has no plans to reopen any booths, and that at least one booth is staffed in each of the system’s 468 stations.

That didn’t stop transit workers from collecting signatures for a petition calling for the booths to be restored.

The union says station agents and token booth clerks serve a valuable purpose, and many New Yorkers seem to agree.

“It’s not the most pressing issue for me, to be honest. I think there needs to be more money invested in repairs, but I think it brings jobs,” said one straphanger.

Click here for the complete report.

To be honest, this is not a fight I see the TWU Local 100 winning as besides the financial costs involved, the time that has elapsed since their departure continues to grow. Personally I would like to see at least some of the booths return as not only would it help create some jobs, it will serve as a help to straphangers.

Personally I would love to see them back when it comes to being able to handle Metrocard issues. I have lost count on how many times I have run into having my fare taken off of my pay per ride Metrocard yet I could not go through due to the dreaded “Insufficient Fare” message. I & many others should not have to exit the station & walk up to 1-2 blocks away to an entrance with a staffed worker.

This is especially an issue at the 2nd Ave F station as the turnstiles on the 2nd Ave exit routinely eat fares which lead to many jumping the turnstiles. Honestly I do not blame them one bit for doing so especially when time is at a premium! For that reason alone (although others exist), I would like to see them come back. Also better maintenance of these turnstiles or better yet a better fare payment method that is with the times!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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