With R Line Subway Service Changes Come the (New) Signs of the Times

Beginning a week prior to the closure of the R Subway Line’s Montague Tube, an eight-car subway train made station stops along the line but it carried no customers.  Instead, it delivered a cargo of station signs detailing changes that will be in place for more than a year.

The under river link between Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan is being rebuilt as part of the MTA’s Fix&Fortify campaign in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.  With work ongoing for a period of 14 months, R Subway trains will either operate in two sections (weekday Queens/Manhattan and Brooklyn) and (weekends across the Manhattan Bridge).

“This is the biggest job we have had since the system changes in 2010,” said John Montemarano, Director of Station Signage.  “Every night we load the cars with signs and then off we go, installing along a route.”

The signs, which are being secured over the permanent signs, are fabricated in the sign shop before being trucked to Coney Island Yard.  Once inside the yard, the signs are strategically located along the length of the train, so that the signs will be either at or close to the sign locations at stations where they will be installed.

“By pre-determining the locations of where the signs will be installed and then storing them at corresponding locations on the train we can minimize our dwell time in the station,” Montemarano explained.  “Working this way, we can do 30 to 40 platform edges a night and by using the train, we eliminate the need to set up flagging.”

Back in 2010 about 4,500 signs were changed in 157 stations, a monumental informational effort that took about three weeks to complete.  Sign changes for Montague Tube closures will take about a week with all work scheduled to be wrapped up by Friday night.  For this project, there will be a total of 528 entry, way-finding and platform edge signs adjusted at 60 stations. Through Tuesday night, 158 platform-edge signs had been adjusted at 45 stations.

Platform signage is just part of an ambitious informational campaign ranging from brochures, posters, maps, as well as station and onboard train announcements.  Customers may also access information about the project’s progress and travel directions by clicking here.