Greenpoint Tubes Restortation Complete

MTA crews working on repairs in the Greenpoint Tubes on August 22, 2014.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

G Train line riders finally rejoiced earlier this morning when service was fully restored in the Greepoint Tubes after being closed for months due to Hurricane Sandy related repairs. Here is more courtesy of a MTA press release:

Regular weekday G service resumed between Court Sq and Nassau Av this morning, following a full-phased closure of the Greenpoint Tubes that began on July 25th to allow crews to make Fix&Fortify resiliency repairs to the damaged tubes, which were flooded during Superstorm Sandy nearly two years ago.

“Superstorm Sandy’s devastating impact on our Subway network posed a challenge never before faced by our organization, however we rose to this challenge and are rebuilding our system better and stronger than before,” said NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “The dedication of Transit personnel in rebuilding the Greenpoint Tubes and ensuring safe, reliable G train service for our customers is part of our continuing efforts to reinforce the system’s infrastructure and safeguard the most vulnerable areas of our subway system for decades to come.”

While Shuttle Buses ferried customers between Long Island City and Greenpoint, crews from every major division of the Department of Subways performed necessary repairs that included installing communication lines, laying down new track and third rail, repositioning signals, rebuilding tunnel infrastructure and performing station rehabilitation work.

“The timely restoration of G service and the infrastructure improvements completed during the shutdown is a testament to our team’s hard work,” said Joe Leader, Senior Vice President Department of Subways. “I thank each and every one of the hundreds of employees who worked so hard over the past five weeks to get the job done.”

The tubes suffered extensive damage during Superstorm Sandy when three million gallons of salt water flooded the tunnel at the height of the storm. Tracks and equipment were totally submerged, and the tunnel’s pump controls, electrical, communications, fan control and signal equipment all incurred serious damage.

Power cables immersed in salt water corroded from the inside, while corrosion on rails and fasteners increased the potential for delay-causing failures. The controls for ventilation, lighting and communication systems were all destroyed and have yet to be restored to their level of pre-Sandy reliability. 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.

Fix&Fortify work to return these and other components to pre-Sandy condition, while providing for improved resiliency and reliability, touched every aspect of the tunnel and its operations. Among the work completed prior to this morning’s restoration of service:


• Installed over 14,000 feet of continuous welded rails (CWRs)

• Cleaned 9,000 feet of track

Third Rail Operations:

• Replaced 1,125 insulators

• Cleaned 9,000 feet of third rail


• Installed about 128,000 feet of cable and wire

• Removed about 27,000 feet of cables and wire

• Supported relocation of five signal locations in the flood zone and eight signal heads

Electronic Maintenance Division:

• Installed 17 new emergency alarms and telephones with diverse routing for improved reliability and survivability

• Installed 44 new telephone jacks

• Replaced integrated fiber optic cable


• Installed all new tunnel lighting and power receptacles between Greenpoint Av and 21 St – Van Alst Stations

• Completed over 2,500 feet of structural repairs

• Demolished and rebuilt 970 feet of duct bank


• Scraped and painted 43,580 square feet at 21 St – Van Alst

• Completed total rehabilitation of 14 stairways at 21 St – Van Alst

• Scraped and painted 52,700 square feet at Greenpoint Av

• Completed total rehabilitation of 14 stairways at Greenpoint Av

Rapid Transit Operations:

• Provided over 4,000 hours of construction flagging support

• Provided over 28,100 hours of work train operation support

• 602 work trains deployed

During the work, resiliency program management had the herculean challenge of scheduling and coordinating all the various work crews to ensure that not only did the work plan get completed, but that it was done so in as safe a manner as possible.

Sandy’s damage to the subway system was historic. The Fix&Fortify project is designed to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure and the delicate equipment that was submerged, 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 repair, resiliency, and disaster relief work. In addition to the work inside the Greenpoint Tubes, the MTA’s Fix&Fortify campaign will also address issues in other under river tubes to make the system more resilient. Planning and design work is also underway for flood mitigation at NYC Transit facilities in low-lying areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as well as similar flood prevention and mitigation work at the entrances to several stations in Lower Manhattan.

Hopefully this work will stand up when the next major storm hits us as loss of service is a blow NYC can’t really handle for long periods of time.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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