Sandy Update: Service returns between Brooklyn and Manhattan


The IND’s Cranberry St. tunnel looked more like a canal. (Photo by MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins)

In what Governor Andrew Cuomo has termed an “unprecedented engineering feat,” the MTA plans to restore nearly 80 percent of subway service by the end of the day today. Currently, 4 and 5 trains are running between Brooklyn and Manhattan with the 5 making express stops in Manhattan. The 6 is running to Brooklyn Bridge as well, and the F, D, J and M trains will return to full service later today. The 7 is now operating between 42nd St./Times Square and Flushing-Main St.

Furthermore, service within Brooklyn should be restored as well. The Q train is expected back later today, and the 2 and 3 trains should be back in service by tonight or tomorrow. The Staten Island Rail Road has returned with limited hourly service as well. The MTA tells me that the Brooklyn Bus Bridge will run “just until people know subways are working again.”

By Monday morning, A train service between Lefferts Boulevard and 168th St. will resume. Additionally, the 1 will run to Rector St., and the E will be in service as well. The N will run to 59th St. in Brooklyn as the Sea Beach line remains flooded.

Not all the news was good however for subway riders as the L train, in particular, is still out of service. According to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota the tunnel was flooded “wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling,” and there is no timeline for this key train’s return. The G train is not expected back until later in the week either, andthe M is likely to be more crowded in the coming days.

The MTA has updated the recovery map (pdf) and will continue to do so as more train lines come back online.

Categories : Service Advisories

67 Responses to “Sandy Update: Service returns between Brooklyn and Manhattan”

  1. Nyland8 says:

    Well … I think we’ve discovered the problem then. That tunnel has two ceilings, so the water doesn’t know which way to go. If they designed a tunnel with only one ceiling, and a floor on the other side, then the water would drain down by the floor and everything would be OK.

    Tell Joe Lhota to get a floor in that tunnel quick!

  2. MH says:

    So does this means that the shuttle buses will be cancelled?

  3. Bolwerk says:

    Ha, it would be nice if we could have “unprecedented” engineering feats before bad weather. We’d have new subway tunnels, LRT, BRT, and all kinds of other wonderful things.

    I gotta say, there is such a big disconnect between what NYC is capable of when it imminently needs to do something – truly remarkable, sometimes – what how utterly politically incapacitated it is when it has plan ahead.

  4. IanM says:

    When you say the Q train is expected to return today, it sounds like that means just within Brooklyn?

    What complications are preventing restoration of the trains that run across the Manhattan bridge? I would have though that would have happened more easily than draining the tunnels under the river, but what do I know.

  5. Johnny says:

    The Q train is expected to resume full service between Astoria and Brighton Beach via the Manhattan Bridge and the N will extend to the Manhattan Bridge route and run via 4 Avenue to 59 St, but will probably go via the west end line to bay parkway after 36 st. The R train will probably be rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge to Canal Street from Dekalb Avenue.

  6. mike d. says:

    The Sea Beach line is now dry for days, there is some debris to cleanup and repair signal, 3rd rail.

    The Brighton was flooded in the Prospect Park tunnel with lots of debris all over the tracks to Coney Island.

  7. Spendmore Wastemore says:

    How deep were the tunnels flooded? “L” was floor to ceiling, were the others also?

    Considering that nobody made salt water resistance part of the spec and that in today’s legal climate mta could not bypass any flaky equipment they did an amazing job.
    How amazing differs if the tunnels were flooded above all the electrical/signal/alarm cabinets

    • Don Anon says:

      How amazing differs if the tunnels were flooded above all the electrical/signal/alarm cabinets
      What? Would you care to translate into English?

      • Eric says:

        I understood perfectly.

        If the water level reached above the cabinets, they did a really amazing job.
        If not, the job was only a little amazing.

  8. Spendmore Wastemore says:

    It’s notable that NJT is doing much worse with a newer system. Compare PATH vs MTA.

    • pea-jay says:

      what is the extent of flooding with the PATH? Did it flood in sections under the Hudson or in its entirety from WTC to Hoboken back over to Christopher St?

    • Nathanael says:

      First of all, PATH is, in actual fact, older. Look up “Hudson & Manhattan Railroad”. It opened in 1907, after the IRT, but it had been planned since 1874 and under construction since 1890. Yes, they had trouble with construction. 🙂 Pretty much everything in the PATH system is built to designs as old or older than those for the oldest parts of the NYC Subway, apart from things like new signals and trains.

      Second, PATH flooded at both Hoboken and WTC. Hoboken is the particular problem. Based on elevations, I expect it’s also flooded at Exchange Place, Pavonia/Newport and at every intermediate point, and also across the upper Hudson tunnels to Christopher St. Even if it’s OK from Newark-Penn to Grove St. or from 33 St to Christopher St, that is a very large amount of water to clear out.

      There are hints that there is a similar problem with the L train in NYC — that it may have flooded westward across the entire Manhattan length of the line.

      I’m also not sure whether PATH dismantled the electronics preemptively, as the MTA did.

      One more point: NYC Subway has one or two “pump trains”. I don’t think PATH has such a thing; they have to pump it out the old-fashioned way.

      NJT did make two major mistakes, one of which is causing many of its problems: the NJT rail operations center (dispatching) was located next to the Passaic and *it* flooded, which is why NJT Rail service is still out (several of the lines themselves have been cleared). They need to relocate the Operations Center to safer ground and they need to have redundancy (two workable dispatching centers). Amtrak has been carefully building redundant dispatching centers, and so have most commuter rail operators, but apparently NJT hasn’t.

      The second mistake is that NJT didn’t get all of its trains out of harm’s way. SEPTA did (after screwing up during Irene); NYC Subway did; Metro-North got most of them out of harm’s way (but some got caught slightly at Harmon Yard).

      • Spendmore Wastemore says:

        “First of all, PATH is, in actual fact, older. Look up “Hudson & Manhattan Railroad”. It opened in 1907, after the IRT…”

        That’s interesting history which I was unaware of. Raising all of the PATH’s water ingress points would not be small project then.

      • Spendmore Wastemore says:

        Re pump trains —

        From an under-river tube, where’s the train going to pump to?
        Perhaps there’s a series of ports to make a pressure tight connection to the drainage system, as occasional flooding is something one might expect in a tunnel running under a river.

        • Nathanael says:

          I’m not sure exactly how it works (and I’d love to know), but I think there are such things, because most of these tunnels were expected to have occasional mild flooding.

          Everything I’ve seen of the pump trains is quite interesting. It’s possible that the hoses, once they get past the end of the train, are simply strung along the tunnels all the way back to the surface, which would require some people to keep moving the hoses as the train moves forward. Which would be OK since the train moves forward very slowly while pumping, and it’s diesel powered so the third rail is off.

  9. Larry Littlefield says:

    “An “unprecedented engineering feat.”

    I think the impressive engineering was done when the equipment was installed. What has happened in actually “an unprecedented janitorial feat” by those who cleaned it up.

    If things are near normal by the middle of next weak, I don’t think you can say the subway was devastated by the storm. But that remains to be seen.

  10. Kai B says:

    Regarding lack of partial service on the G and (more) partial service on the L, I just found this quote:

    An MTA spokesman just provided the following explanation for why the MTA has yet to be able to provide at least partial service along the L and G lines within Brooklyn where the tracks are not flooded:

    “The answer on the L is that it’s impossible to turn trains around easily mid-route for a Brooklyn shuttle service,” Mr. Lisberg wrote in an email. “Very difficult to set up because of the track layout. They may try now that other lines are getting better service, but that’s just a discussion at this point. As for the G, enough of it is parallel to other lines—plus the naturally low ridership.”

  11. Austin says:

    I just got off of a westbound J train; during the ride it was announced that the train would cross the bridge and terminate at Essex.

    • Nathanael says:

      Woo! Williamsburg Bridge service is back!

      Now, what’s the holdup on the Manhattan Bridge?

      Or, for that matter, on the tracks west of Essex Street? It really looks from the flood maps like the J ought to be good to go from Essex St to Chambers St. Maybe there are tricky electrical supply issues or something.

  12. Nathanael says:

    ….and the N train is cut back to Queensboro Plaza due to “mechanical problems at 59 St”.

    Meanwhile, the lights are still off at Fulton St., so it’s closed. ConEd seems to have been a lot less prepared than the MTA.

  13. stan says:

    what the hell is going on with the G? why is no one explaining the closure of the G??????????????????

  14. Nathanael says:

    Aha. From Twitter @MTA :

    “Unforeseen problems w/electrical svc and unexpected track work at the W.4 St have slowed the timetable for subway restorations.”

    The W 4 St problems account for the delays in restoring all the IND routings. I wonder what’s going on there.

    I guess it’s the electrical service problems which account for the delays in restoring the Broadway Line routings, and the delays in getting the J line back to its terminus. The ConEd system needs to be updated. 🙁

  15. Ashley says:

    Where’s the Q train? Why isn’t it running?

  16. Phantom says:

    2, 3, D now running between Brooklyn and Manhattan

    I am just back from a round trip on the 4 line to Manhattan. You can smell the water in the tunnel and in the Bowling Green station

    • Kai B says:

      Interesting that the 2 & 3 are running express in lower Manhattan, leaving Spring St, Christopher St, etc. without service.

      • Spendmore Wastemore says:

        Considering the crowds in the subway, an excuse to get off and walk is not a bad thing. You also don’t want any more switching than absolutely needed. Correct call by the MTA.

        • Nathanael says:

          Especially since several of the switches being used for reversing in the last few days seem not to have been up to the task, and broke and needed repairs!

          Apparently they’re “low duty” switches, good for occasional movements, rather than “high duty” switches good for movements every 10 minutes.

        • Mark says:

          How are they turning the 1 trains at 14th? I don’t think there’s a whole lot of switches around there to get a train from s/b local track to n/b local track.

          • Spendmore Wastemore says:

            Maybe the turn is somewhere below 14th? 2/3 runs to Chambers, and the track is probably OK a bit beyond that.
            MTA can be resourceful when the red tape and work rules are kicked aside.

          • Matthew says:

            There is a single crossover from the southbound local to the southbound express before arriving at 14th St. Trains shut-down in the station on the southbound express track then reverse. Leaving northbound there is a single crossover to put trains on the northbound express, then another from the express to the northbound local.

            Not very efficient because it only allows one train to terminate at a time.

      • Duke says:

        Looking at the track map, if the 2/3 ran local south of 14th, they’d have to continue to so up to 34th. So that’s probably why not.

        There is one possible way to turn the 1 at 14th: switch from s/b local to s/b express and pull into station, reverse, switch from s/b express to n/b express and then to n/b local.
        Considering the necessary sharing of real estate involved here or anywhere between Chambers and 96th, the 1, 2, and 3 cannot run at normal rush hour frequency until trains are clear to run to South Ferry (Rector can handle terminating trains, but probably not the full schedule of them – it’s only one slip switch)

        • Anon256 says:

          1 trains can run to Rector and use the old South Ferry loop to turn, at full frequency. (The loop is evidently dry since 5 trains are using it presently.)

          • Nathanael says:

            The 5 is looping at City Hall, not South Ferry.

            • Nathanael says:

              Oh, wait, confusion on my part. The 6 is looping at City Hall, and the 5 is running to Brooklyn.

              I guess some of the 5s might be looping at South Ferry (have you been on one?) However, it’s a *DIFFERENT LOOP*, so it’s still possible for the 5 loop at South Ferry to be in service without the 1 loop being in service, depending on the state of switches and stuff.

              • Spendmore Wastemore says:

                Is the new 1 South Ferry loop underneath the old 2/5 loop? The old ones were, I believe, one inside the other on the same level.

                • Nathanael says:

                  They are one inside another, but MTA could easily have repaired one set of signals and switches and not the other.

                  Though I hear tell that MTA will be using the #1 loop to reverse soon, once Rector St. is functioning again.

              • Anon256 says:

                According to “Limited (5) train service has resumed between the Eastchester-Dyre Avenue Station and the Bowling Green Station in both directions.” This is of course the 5’s normal weekend service pattern; I think 5s stopped running to Brooklyn when the 2 resumed? Or is this incorrect?

                • Nathanael says:

                  This seems to be correct. Services have been changing *very frequently*, and the MTA’s updates are a bit spotty.

  17. Phantom says:

    Does anyone know when the R might be running into the financial district again?

    • Nathanael says:

      Nope. It was the fourth or fifth tunnel to start pumping if I’m not mistaken, and Whitehall St. flooded, so it should be some time.

      Expect the N and Q to start running over the south side of the Manhattan Bridge first. I still don’t know what’s delaying that — power outages? Equipment availability? Access to Coney Island Yard?

      • Phantom says:

        Got it

        But I suspect that the R side of Whitehall is less damaged than the 1 train side there, so I bet you see a fully restored R before you see a fully restored 1 train

  18. Anthony says:

    Interestingly the shuttle buses are still running even though most service to Manhattan is restored as of today (4pm Nov 4). I live by the Jay St. stop and I saw 3 buses dispatched; 1 had maybe a dozen passengers and the other 2 were empty.

  19. Nathanael says:

    In addition to the previously mentioned 2,3, and D, the F and M are now running through.

    I really want to know what’s delaying the restoration of the BMT Broadway Line – Manhattan Bridge route (N and Q). I would have thought this would have been one of the routes which would have recovered faster. Obviously there’s something I’m missing; maybe part of the electrical system which supplies this line got badly damaged or something.

  20. Anon256 says:

    Here is a timeline of maps chronicling the restoration of subway service so far. I will continue to update it as more reopenings are announced.

  21. Phantom says:

    For what its worth, I just took a look at the N Sea Beach tracks at 64 St / Fifth Ave Brooklyn and saw that the signals were lit in both directions.

    • Nathanael says:

      Good news. What is delaying Manhattan Bridge southside service? I would never have anticipated that the numbered lines would all be running before it restarted. At this point the Sea Beach line may be back up before the Broadway line in Manhattan!

  22. Nathanael says:

    OK, so MTA says that the Q train is running through now — but the same service advisory says there is no Q service in Manhattan south of 34th St.

    Is this really correct? Anyone riding the subway at this hour who can check whether the Q is actually running superexpress from Brooklyn to 34th St? That would sure be weird….

  23. John says:

    The N’s back up between Astoria and 59th St-4th Av in brooklyn

    • Phantom says:

      Great f**** job MTA guys !!

      ( seriously )

      The pre and post storm performance has been well planned and well executed.

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