Buses Replace Port Washington Trains

Riders of the LIRR’s Port Washington line this weekend will see buses replace trains for part of the trip & have service reduced from every half hour to every hour due to construction. Here are the complete details:

Some 18,000 MTA Long Island Rail Road customers who travel on the Port Washington Branch during the weekend of June 20-21 will face service reductions while contractors demolish the 115 year-old Colonial Road Bridge in the Village of Thomaston near Great Neck Station.

Bus service will replace trains between Port Washington Station and Great Neck Station from 12:04 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 continuing through Sunday, June 21 until train service is restored at 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 22. At the same time, service on the entire Port Washington Branch will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly during that time period.

The weekend work is part of the LIRR’s $45 million Colonial Road Improvement Project which kicked off in March when the bridge, which spans the tracks in the Village of Thomaston near Great Neck Station, was closed to vehicular traffic. Colonial Road will be closed for one year while the LIRR builds a new bridge, makes significant improvements to drainage problems at track level by building a new retaining wall, and extends an existing pocket track to improve operational flexibility.

LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski said: “Approximately 18,000 customers travel the Port Washington Branch every weekend, so we wanted to get the word out early about the shuttle buses between Port Washington and Great Neck as well as the reduced service branch-wide. We urge customers to allow extra time for travel on the Port Washington Branch the weekend of June 20-21 or use the LIRR’s Oyster Bay Branch or the Main Line as an alternative. The LIRR is making a major infrastructure investment in the Port Washington Branch, one that customers will greatly appreciate in the form of more reliable rush hour service.”

Eastbound to Port Washington:

Port Washington Branch service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly. Passengers traveling to stations Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will get off the train at Great Neck and board buses or vans to their final destinations. Passengers will arrive up to 25 minutes later usual depending upon destination.

Westbound to New York:

Port Washington Branch service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly. Passengers boarding at Port Washington, Plandome or Manhasset will board buses or vans up to 25 minutes earlier than normal for Great Neck where normal train service will resume.

Many Port Washington Branch trains will operate on alternate tracks and platforms – so customer should also play close attention to platform signage when departing.

The entire project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. The LIRR’s construction plan was developed in close consultation with Village of Thomaston and local residents as well as neighboring villages in the Great Neck area, the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County, as well as the New York State Department of Transportation. While most of the Colonial Road Improvement Project is being carried on weekdays during off-peak hours, the demolition work will run continuously, day and night, from the start early Saturday morning until train service is restored after 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 22 in time for normal Monday morning rush hour service.

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NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco To Retire

Just a short time ago, MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco announced that he will be retiring later this year. Here is more via the press release I just received:

Carmen Bianco, President of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit, announced today he plans to retire later this year from his position running the largest mass transit system in North America. In his time as President, Bianco transformed the agency’s organizational culture to align management strategies, enhance safety and improve customer service to advance the subways, buses, paratransit and Staten Island Railway in New York City.

Bianco and his team guided the agency through significant snowstorms, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, which took a critical toll on significant areas of the 110-year-old infrastructure. Despite more than $4 billion in Sandy-related damage, 80 percent of subway service was restored within five days.

As New York City Transit works to deliver consistent service to daily ridership that has steadily expanded to more than 8.2 million people, Bianco’s leadership team is planning service for the future by evaluating ways to deliver higher-capacity, more environmentally friendly and technologically advanced trains and buses and improved levels of customer service.

“There is no more challenging job in the American transportation industry than keeping New York City moving every day and positioning it well to serve our customers for decades to come,” Bianco said. “It has been a privilege to lead our 48,000 employees who work so hard around the clock. I owe each of them a debt of gratitude, and it’s been an honor to have served New York City Transit.”

Bianco, 63, became Acting President of New York City Transit in April 2013 and was permanently appointed to the position in September 2013 following a nationwide search. He had previously served since March 2010 as Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways.

“Carmen Bianco is a one-of-a-kind leader as well as a trusted friend, and while I understand why he is ready to retire now, we will all miss his detailed experience, his thoughtful perspective and his constant drive to make transit better for both our customers and our employees,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Through initiatives like establishing the FASTRACK program for subway maintenance and aggressively bringing new technology into the system, Carmen made the organizational culture of New York City Transit reflect the priorities that our customers expect. He will be missed.”

Bianco was the seventh person to serve as New York City Transit President since the position was created in 1980. He previously served as head of New York City Transit’s Department of System Safety from 1991 to 1995. Bianco has also held senior safety positions at Amtrak and NJ Transit.

Bianco has submitted a retirement letter effective in August 2015, to allow the MTA to conduct a nationwide search for his replacement and ensure a seamless transition.

Mr. Biano had a pretty good run at the helm as he & his team faced major issues including Hurricane Irene & Superstorm Sandy which saw them come through in the clutch.

Hopefully his successor will continue the streamlining & cost effectiveness measures that have been put in place to help the long term future of the agency.

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Man Falls Down Subway Grate

Some people just never learn that anything involving the NYC Subway can be dangerous. Hopefully this is a lesson now understood by an unidentified man who fell down a subway grate this morning in Queens. Samantha Tata & Greg Mocker of Pix11 have more:

A man fell at least 20 feet into a subway grate in Queens Tuesday after opening the grate in an attempt to grab his keys which had fallen through the slats , emergency officials said.

The call came in about 10:50 a.m. about a person who tumbled down the opening at 24-20 Jackson Ave., EMS said.

The unidentified man has been rescued and taken to a hospital. The extent of his injuries was not immediately know.

Fire officials at the scene said the man dropped his keys into the grate and opened it himself to try to grab them. But when he did, he plummeted down the chute.

I understand that your keys are important. The same can be said for things like a cell phone, wallet, etc… However instead of trying to play the hero & retrieve it yourself, call in for help so it can be properly & safely retrieved. Hopefully the injuries suffered will be minor at best.

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MTA Begins Training On New 7 Line Extension

With the debut of the 7 line extension to 34 Street-Hudson Yards nearing, the MTA has started to train staff on the new extension. Here is more on that training:

MTA New York City Transit has started training tower operators, train dispatchers and train operators how to safely route and operate trains to and from the new 34 St-Hudson Yards station, one of the last steps as the MTA prepares to open the newly constructed 7 Line Extension later this summer. Video of an early training run is available for download at https://youtu.be/gZ6L4RcHzQU.

Two-day training courses for tower operators and dispatchers began May 26 and will continue through June 4. Tower operators are responsible manipulating signals and switches to safely route trains, and dispatchers oversee train crews as well as the movement and even spacing of trains along a route.

MTA New York City Transit began training train operators May 28 and will continue during the morning and afternoon shifts for several weeks to come. In all, 12 tower operators, 8 dispatchers, and as many as 672 train operators will be trained on the 7 Line Extension by the end of June.
“Providing this training for our subway personnel is one of the last steps toward opening the 7 Line Extension for revenue service,” said MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “The 7 Line Extension will open up the far West Side to mass transit for the first time, and the new station and additional tail tracks for train storage will also improve service for customers using the line in Queens and Manhattan.”
“We are in the final 50-yard sprint of this project,” said MTA Capital Construction Company President Michael Horodniceanu. “We expect to announce an opening date in the next several weeks.

Work to open the 7 Line Extension for revenue service continues to progress well. Integrated testing of communications systems and the mobile radio system has been completed, and testing of other communications systems and the fire alarm system is progressing according to schedule.
Work is also continuing at the station’s secondary entrance on Eleventh Avenue between 34th and 35th streets, which is approximately 45% complete. Waterproofing and preparation for caisson work is ongoing at the shaft area. This entrance is not required for the 7 Line Extension to begin revenue service, but will serve thousands of projected customers in coming years as the Hudson Yards area continues to develop.

Here is a cool video that shows some of the training.

Video credit: MTA/J.P. Chan, Jon Maus & Will McCord

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Service Diversions 05-29-15

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

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 @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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