Aug
31

1 train service to 181st St. resumes today

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At 5 a.m. this morning, the 1 train will roll into 181st St. and open its doors at the platform for the first time since the ceiling at this 103-year-old station collapsed on August 16. Work, however, is far from over on this station and the one at 168th St.

According to a release sent out by New York City Transit late on Sunday night, Transit maintenance crews and an outside contractor were working over the weekend to open the station. The work this weekend was both cosmetic and structural. Generally, the crews worked to stabilize more areas of loose brick at both stations, but cosmetically, the stations are now a jumble of scaffolding mazes with work to continue indefinitely.

As part of a succinct statement on the reality of the situation, Transit had this to say: “However, even with the shifting of the scaffolding, customers should be mindful that room will be limited on the platforms of both stations. MTA New York City Transit regrets any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

Upon further review, that might just be an understatement. The 181st St. station — visible here in an NYC Transit picture — is under extensive cover right now. A platform is protecting the tracks from the ceiling, and some support were removed so that passengers would have somewhere to stand in the morning. At 168th St. — seen here — a scaffolding dominates the downtown platform.

For now, the MTA will continue to work on these stations while trains rumble through and straphangers ride the rails. It will not, however, make for the most pleasant of commutes for Washington Heights residents, and right now, the MTA does not have a timetable for repairs.

The agency should be lauded, though, for getting these stations up and running in relatively short order. A 20-to-30 foot chunk of ceiling collapsed at 181st St., and seven days later, the trains were running through the station. Seven more days elapsed before passengers could use the station again, and while those two weeks may have seemed interminable to people who are used to daily access at that station, it is a short turnaround in the scheme of things.

But there is work yet to be done. These two damaged stations could just be the tip of the ice berg. While the MTA inspects stations regularly, a cursory glance at the subways reveal stations that are falling apart. The lower level downtown-bound platform at West 4th St., for instances, has chunks of tile missing from the wall. What, I wonder, will be the next station to literally fall?

When the bridge on I-35 in Minnesota collapsed a few years ago, the country used it as a wake-up call to demand more investment in our nation’s infrastructure. This accident — luckily a casualty-free one — should serve the same purpose in New York. The MTA needs the money to maintain is system in a state of good repair, and we should not be waiting on pins and needles until a truly calamitous accident happens to get funding. It’s that simple.



2 Responses to “1 train service to 181st St. resumes today”

  1. Jerrold says:

    The relatively rapid resumption of service to the station in question only shows that when the public agencies in this town WANT to get something done quickly, they CAN.
    It reminds me of a much larger project: The removal of the rubble from the World Trade Center site.
    Remember how that job was completed in much less time then had been originally predicted?

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  1. […] After Two Weeks Without Service, 181st Street Station Back in Business (NY1, 2nd Ave Sagas) […]

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