Thursday, August 6, 2020

Major Switch Replacement Work Comes To The IRT Lexington Avenue Line To Improve Service Reliability

By N Miller (Creator Of The Transportation Hub)

NEW YORK, NY - If you are a regular passenger on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line during the overnight and weekends, your trip has been HALTED! New York City Transit (NYCT) will be replacing switches, tracks and conduct tunnel repairs on weeknights (9:30 pm to 5am the following morning) and weekends (9:30pm Friday to 5am Monday) for 35 days to reduce and improve reliability along the east side line. Please take note that switch and track replacement are taking place near 14th St-Union Square and Canal St/Lafayette St during rush hours, which has southbound (4) and (5) trains travel at slower speeds, running every 2.5 to 3 minutes instead of every 2 to 2.5 minutes. Also. some southbound (5) trains are running on the (2) line from 149th Street-Grand Concourse to Nevins Street. This project will start on August 10th and conclude at 5am on Monday, September 14th. Note that subway service is still suspended nightly from 1am to 5am.

The agency recently announced that crews will replace track switches and perform an array of other improvement projects on the (4), (5), and (6) lines beginning on August 10, which will lead to improved reliability and better service throughout the lines in Brooklyn, The Bronx and Manhattan. The work will require overnight and weekend suspension of the (4), (5), and (6) trains in Manhattan south of 42 St-Grand Central, and (4) & (5) trains in Brooklyn. August traditionally sees some of the lowest subway ridership of the year, minimizing the disruption of the work and impacting as few riders as possible. This gives a reminder of the same switch track replacement work that happened on the IRT West Side that impacted (1), (2), and (3) service in Manhattan last year August.

Replacing track switches at Union Square will allow the (4), (5), and (6) lines to move safely between the local and express tracks at that location while providing operational flexibility, reducing delays and improving reliability. The switches were last replaced more than 20 years ago, in 1989 and 1999. While this switch replacement work is happening, MTA Construction & Development and other departments from across NYC Transit will use the track access created by this work to also perform a multitude of other reliability improvement projects, including to replace track at Canal St and Borough Hall, perform rail grinding at multiple locations and repair structural components in the tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. In order to maximize the efficiency of track access, MTA Construction & Development is also bundling an array of other capital improvement work on the Eastern Parkway section of the (4) and (5) lines, including water damage repair and prevention, concrete and rebar restoration and the relocation of light fixtures for better resiliency.

Since there's no IRT Lex Av service south of Grand Central-42nd St and all of Brooklyn, alternate service will be available. There's the (N)/(R) and (4)/(6) at Lexington Avenue-59th Street; (E) and (4)/(6) at Lexington Avenue-51st/53rd Streets; and lastly the (7)/42nd Street Shuttle and (4)/(6) trains at Grand Central. More service changes and alternates will be posted here:

·         The 42 St Shuttle and 7 train will provide connections between 4 5 6 trains terminating at Grand Central-42 St and continuing service to Brooklyn on 2 and 3 trains at 42 St-Times Square. The 42 St shuttle, which was temporarily suspended at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and kept suspended in order to accelerate progress on the 42nd St Connection Project, will be restored in order to help provide the alternate service for this project.
  • ·         4 trains will make local stops in Manhattan and 5 trains will not operate in Manhattan, with specific service varying each weekend. 4 service will operate between Woodlawn and Grand Central-42nd St, making local stops. 5 service will run solely in the Bronx between Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street. 6 service will only run between Pelham Bay Park and Grand Central-42nd St.
  • ·         2 and 3 trains will serve all 4 and 5 stations in Brooklyn. Customers traveling between the Bronx and Brooklyn should transfer to a 2 train at 149 St-Grand Concourse.
  • ·         You can take the N and/or R trains to Times Square in Manhattan or Atlantic Av-Barclays Center in Brooklyn to reconnect with the 2 and 3 trains for service to 4 and/or 5 train stations in Brooklyn.
  • ·         N trains will run via Lower Manhattan to provide additional service at stations near 4, 5, and 6 subway stations without service.
In other news, full LIRR, Metro-North, Bridges and Tunnels have been restored to full service after the passing of Tropical Storm Isaias. A new commuter coach bus, a 2020 Prevost Commuter Coach X3-45, operating on the Yonkers bus depot express routes and is currently in testing. If all goes well, 307 of these newbies will be on property (257 for MTA Bus; 50 for NYCT Bus). Two new overnight routes have made their debut the M99 (42nd St Pier to East NY-New Lots Ave) and the Bx99 (West Village to Woodlawn-Jerome Ave) to provide stranded overnight workers in areas where subways are mostly frequent during those times. A scoundrel is going around smashing subway car windows with a sledgehammer. I hope and pray that he gets caught and gets slapped with a hefty bill to get all the glass fixed. Please stay tuned for a special weekend post.

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