Commuting in Lower Manhattan has not been easy since Hurricane Sandy pounded our region a few months ago. One of the biggest transit victims was the rebuilt South Ferry station complex which was flooded 80 feet deep making the station unusable. Since then, the train has been terminating at Rector Street. However this is about to change.
Earlier this morning, Gov. Cuomo announced that the MTA will be restoring service to South Ferry via the old loop. Here are the complete details:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 1 train service will return to one loop platform of the storm-ravaged South Ferry subway station in the first week of April, making commutes easier for more than 10,000 daily riders at the southern tip of Manhattan while a full rebuilding continues.
“The MTA has a long, tough job ahead as it tackles the immense job of virtually rebuilding the new South Ferry terminal station that was flooded 80 feet deep during Superstorm Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said. “For the extended period of time it will take for this work to be completed, we are returning the old station in the complex to service, making travel easier and more convenient for Staten Islanders and others who work and visit this area.”
Sandy’s storm surge sent a torrent of salt water into the South Ferry station on October 29. Some 15 million gallons of water filled the area from the track level to the mezzanine, destroying all electrical and mechanical systems and components and rendering the station unusable. As a result, 1 trains now terminate at Rector Street, a major inconvenience for thousands of daily commuters and sightseers.
Faced with an estimated two-year timeline for restoring the new South Ferry station, MTA New York City Transit studied the former loop station directly above it which served South Ferry until 2009. The station is on a sharp curve and requires moveable platform edge extenders to bridge gaps between the platform and the cars, and it can accommodate only five cars of a 10-car subway train.
“As MTA New York City Transit assessed the extent of damage to the new South Ferry station, it became clear that the time necessary to repair it would be too long a period to deny our customers a direct link to lower Manhattan,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “We are working to ensure that all elements and systems are fully operational, safe and reliable before restoring service to the old station, but our primary goal remains restoring the new South Ferry station as soon as possible.”
Work to reopen old South Ferry includes opening a new connection point between the new station mezzanine and the old loop station, which will allow a transfer between the 1 train and the R train’s Whitehall Street station.
Other work includes refurbishing the moveable platform edge extenders and replacing pistons and other components. Crews must install electrical feeds, closed-circuit television systems to monitor the platform, customer assistance intercoms, security cameras and radio communications in the dispatcher’s office. Additional work will be required to rehabilitate the fare control area, restore lighting in the station and adjacent tunnels, install new platform lighting, and repair and repaint station walls. The estimated cost of returning the old South Ferry loop to service is $2 million.
The Federal Transit Administration has reimbursed MTA New York City Transit for an initial $629,100 of recovery work at the new South Ferry station, which included pumping out water, removing debris, assessing damage and inspecting equipment.
This initial FTA funding reimburses the MTA for costs incurred during preparation for the storm through January 29. It is the first round of funding the MTA has received to help recover from Sandy and rebuild stronger.
The MTA is working closely with the FTA to pursue reimbursement for the costs of rebuilding the devastated station.
While I expect the South Ferry work to take quite some time, it is good to know that they will be reopening the old loop to help facilitate the commutes of thousands in that area. Hopefully this will help get things back to normal as much as possible.
The railfan in me is looking forward to going down there to see the loop in revenue action again for old times sake.
xoxo Transit Blogger