A Faster, Less Disruptive Way to Do Subway Work

It's called the Line Segment Closure Program and will shorten the amount of time riders will have to navigate around construction projects. It's a new pragmatic approach to maintenance while still operating a 24/7 system.

Seeking a new way to minimize rider inconvenience, maintain worker safety and reduce the overall time it takes to complete major track and signal repair work, MTA New York City Transit has developed a limited line and track closure initiative aimed at lessening the impacts of major construction projects.

Finding adequate time to perform track and signal work remains a daunting challenge while running a system that operates 24/7. Inspecting, repairing and replacing tracks, signals, power supply and infrastructure is necessary work vital to the safety our customers and employees, often requiring a series of service suspensions or slowdowns in order to be performed.

Transit's Line Segment Closure Program would shut portions of subway lines overnight for consecutive nights so that workers could go in and perform tasks without having to periodically stop while trains pass through the work site. Not running trains allows us to shut off power to the third rail, increasing employee safety.

Performing work in this manner is expected to shorten the overall duration of projects, minimizing customer inconvenience and maximizing worker safety. Carefully planned, such closures would only be employed where alternate service is available.

"We are one of the few transit systems that operate around the clock, so it's always a challenge to find time to do work on the tracks, especially with increased ridership on weekends and overnight," said MTA New York City Transit President Tom Prendergast. "Closing segments of lines so that we can get in and get the work done quickly benefits everyone -; it's safer for workers, less disruptive for riders and gets projects done more efficiently."

Four lines running through the central business district have been identified for the line closures, which will take place over four consecutive weeknights between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The lines are the Eighth Ave, (A, C, E), Seventh Ave (1, 2, 3), Sixth Ave, (B, D, F, M) and Lexington Ave, (4, 5, 6).

The initial pilot is planned for the week of January 9th, 2012 and involves the Lexington Ave. Line. During that period, service will be suspended between Grand Central/42nd Street and Atlantic Ave, while crews work on the tracks and signals and perform a thorough cleaning of the roadbed.

Closures for track work typically takes place on nights and weekends, with trains traveling at slow speeds over the affected areas during daytime hours. Performing this type of work in this manner has caused multiple weeks of slow speed orders and nights and weekend work.

As an example under the current, conventional method for shutdowns, planned worked on the Queens Blvd Line (Manhattan-bound local track from Parsons Blvd to Forest Hills/71st Ave) would mean eight weekend and 20 weeknight shutdowns for a total of 36 days of work. The new Line Segment Closure Program would limit to shutdown to nine days and save $1.3 million.