Maintenance workers conduct a track and signal inspection during this week’s FASTRACK shut down. (Photo via MTA)
After four nights of work along the West Side IRT line, Transit has called the latest FASTRACK treatment “a success.” In a statement released this afternoon, the authority said that, after two lines have been fastracked, “it remains clear that the FASTRACK program is both a safer and more efficient way to maintain and clean a 24/7 subway system.”
“Looking at what we have accomplished during our first two rounds of FASTRACK,” New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast said, “makes me even more enthusiastic about this new way of conducting business. Workers can now perform tasks without being interrupted by passing trains and we are able to get to areas that would not be possible under normal train traffic. One of the more visible things we are able to accomplish is the scraping and painting of station ceilings, something that cannot be done when trains are running.”
During this week’s shutdown, 800 workers completed more than 400 tasks. Had trains been running, this work would have taken months, Transit said. The following is a glimpse of the work completed:
- 15,000 bags of rubbish removed;
- 17,000 pounds of scrap material removed;
- Muck and mud scraped from 19,000 feet of concrete roadbed;
- 2,500 light bulbs changed in subway tunnels and station platforms;
- Several stations received spot painting and the ceilings of others, including Nevins Street, were scraped and painted;
- Station drains cleaned;
- Maintenance and inspection of eight elevators and three escalators performed at Chambers Street, Clark Street and Borough Hall;
- Serviced and inspected smoke detectors and alarms;
- Serviced 17 track switches, 53 signals;
- Repaired 315 feet of platform edge and;
- Cleaned and tested 34 CCTV cameras and 20 monitors.
“Prior to FASTRACK,” Carmen Bianco, Transit’s senior vice president for subways, said, “workers would have to pick up their tools make certain the area was safe and then move out of the way every time a train moved through. Now, workers can continue performing their tasks in an uninterrupted manner.”
Despite the praise and the recognition that decades of deferred maintenance has ultimately left the MTA with few viable alternatives for performing this work, I still have a nagging feeling that this is a service cut wrapped in an efficiency program. While FASTRACK impacts only sections of lines with nearby alternatives, it still represents less overnight service. As Transit prepares to continue this program through at least the end of 2012, riders will have to get used to these types of outages.
The next FASTRACK closure will impact the Sixth Ave. lines from Feb. 27-March 2. The Eighth Ave. lines were get their own treatment from March 12-16.