Sandy Update: Even more rush hour service but still no L, G

By · Published in 2012

As of Monday morning, the L train tubes were still flooded with water. (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

The ride home for millions of workers on Monday night was among the more painful in recent memories. Heading west of the city, New Jersey-bound travelers found hours-long lines at Port Authority as the buses couldn’t handle the masses of folks who usually take New Jersey Transit. Heading southeast out of Manhattan was a challenge too as an accident at Atlantic Avenue snarled IRT service and led to crush conditions on the BMT. With service still far from 100 percent, New Yorkers had to show patience in their travels.

As Tuesday — Election Day — dawns, ever so slowly, things are improving. Today, the A, B, C and Q trains will see even more service. The A will again make stops to 207th St. in Manhattan, and the C will terminate at 168th St. The B train will be revived, running between Bedford Park Boulevard in the Bronx and Kings Highway in Brooklyn, and the Q will terminate as far south as Brighton Beach.

Additionally, Transit is looking for ways to improve 1 train service as well. With switches being called into heavy duty, the agency says it is “studying ways to adjust signals for the 1 train in lower Manhattan that will allow them to turn around faster, improving the frequency of service and reducing crowding.” On Monday morning, trains were very full, and with South Ferry out of commission for the foreseeable future, adjusting service levels is a priority. Now, all that is the good news.

The bad news is that L and G trains — missing on Monday — will not return quite yet. The MTA again stressed tonight that “the top subway priority is now restoring service on the G and L trains through northwest Brooklyn, where alternate service on the J and M trains was extremely crowded.” Earlier in the day, in an interview on WNYC cut short by a call from the governor, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota voiced similar sentiments and promised trains “soon.” “You’ll get the G soon,” he said. “I can’t tell you when, but you’ll get the G real soon.”

Hope and vague timelines aside, the MTA says that the G train has been cleared of water from Newtown Creek. With so much potentially polluted and damaging floodwaters in the tunnel though, crews have to inspect and repair the signal system before trains can run again. The L train tunnel, as the above photo shows, is still under water. Extra B62 buses will run tomorrow until services are restored, but that’s a small consolation for a neighborhood largely cut off from its transit connections.

And so we’ll do it again this morning as things inch slowly toward a new normal, if not an equilibrium, before the long-term repairs kick off. Limited PATH service returns in a few hours, and hopefully, those L and G trains won’t be too far behind.

Categories : Service Advisories

29 Responses to “Sandy Update: Even more rush hour service but still no L, G”

  1. R. Graham says:

    The lack of the L is like a blocked artery. It affects the rest of the system. I saw that first hand at Fulton Street yesterday as the 4/5 platform and trains were more crowded than ever and you could almost sense the resignation of the riders and train crew as boarding was slower than usual and even the door closing process was very “lacking”(Missing the typical New York aggression).

    Hopefully today is better. I’ll spend it relaxing with the kids. (Election Day!)

    • Andrew says:

      Why would the L outage have any measurable impact on 4/5 loads at Fulton Street?

      • R. Graham says:

        It’s not the same affect it’s having on the J and M lines but you have to understand there is always an affect even if in direct to increased discharge times or longer dwell times at stations where the 4/5 connects to another line that at some point connects directly to the L line.

        • John-2 says:

          It’s also possible that a lot of people still don’t know about the uptown transfer to the 6 at Bleecker via the M train, and are thinking the only place to get the 4/5/6 uptown since you can’t take the L to Union Square is to go to Canal or Chambers.

  2. Jon A says:

    “The A will again make stops to 207th St. in Manhattan, and the C will terminate at 168th St.”

    The MTA’s website does not confirm this. What is the source of that?

  3. Larry Littlefield says:

    The issue for me is Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I’ll be tired, and facing a nine mile bike ride each way in an howling storm. Or the commute on a diminished capacity subway system facing a second hit. It will not be pleasant either way.

  4. John-2 says:

    Looking at the video last week of the high water rescues around the shorted out Con Ed plant at 14th Street and Avenue C, if the L train’s river vent shaft is in the same area it’s no shock that there would have been excessive water in the 14th Street tunnel.

    That seems to be one of the modifications the MTA already was aware of for the street vent gratings after previous storms, with the grates raised in areas prone to flooding. Determining what the maximum flood level was last Monday in the areas where the various river tunnel vent houses are located and making sure in the future none of the air intake vents are placed below that line could help in the future prevent inflow as bad as the situations from Sandy (and while the Jourlemon Street tunnel suffered flooding in part from the low level of the Bowling Green station, having its Brooklyn vent house well above the water line in Brooklyn Heights may have cut down on the potential flooding and made it easier for the MTA to make that the first tunnel to pump out).

  5. Alek says:

    Why no Z trains? Since the J is restored full route. Im assuming that the Z would be back when the L train is restored

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately J is not running its full route. It is running only to Chambers Street, not Broad Street. The problem most likely is that they cannot turn too many trains at Chambers Street (probably “low capacity switches”).

      • FivePoint says:

        Wasn’t Chambers street always designed to be a major terminal station?

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          It was, but it hasn’t been used as a rush-hour terminal in decades, and the current installed switch plant might not be able to handle rush-hour volume.

          The other factor is that some of the stations the Z Train would ordinarily skip are fairly close to L train stops, and since the L isn’t running, the J is getting extra patronage.

  6. Larry Littlefield says:

    I wonder if part of the reason for low capacity is rank and file workers not showing up, because they can’t get gas. Or are the staying with people in the city to avoid having to drive?

  7. Marc Shepherd says:

    How are they turning 1 trains at Chambers Street?

    As far as I can tell from the track map, they can’t turn locals at Chambers without moving them onto the express track, temporarily blocking expresses to and from Brooklyn.

    The only other place to turn them is past Rector Street, but if you have to run trains down there anyway, then why not actually re-open Rector Street?

    • This is pure speculation but there may still be some power-related problems in and around Rector St. As of yesterday evening, power still wasn’t restored in the area around Bowling Green but the station was open to allow better access to the Ferry Terminal.

    • Matthew says:

      1 trains are discharging passengers at Chambers St southbound and running light via the South Ferry loop before resuming service at Chambers St northbound.

      I don’t know what the problem is at Rector St that’s preventing them from stopping there.

      The gap fillers in the SF loop are not functional due to lack of use for 3 years and flooding damage, so trains can’t stop there either.

      • Nathanael says:

        Well, Rector St. was verified to be flooded (we don’t know how deep), so anything could be wrong with it (turnstiles, ticket machines, etc.)

      • nycpat says:

        I believe that to increase capacity, some signals south of rector st are off line. They hand off a baton southbound at Rector and no train can follow until the baton comes back on the uptown track.

  8. Kai B says:

    I saw no lines at B62 stations today and the buses that passed me on my walk from Greenpoint to the Williamsburg Bridge barely even had any standees.

    Additionally, I saw an extra empty B62 bus enter service at Nassau St / Manhattan Ave (by the Nassau (G) station).

    Much improved over yesterday.

  9. Realname says:

    The NYCTA Subway service guide for today [ ] says that there is “normal service” on the D from 205th Street to Bay Parkway. Similarly, the November 6 Recovery Service Map [ ] shows only the ‘B’ and ‘C’ serving the stops from 116th St CPW through 72nd St CPW. Yet the real time Service Status report continues to state that the ‘D’ is “Making local stops between 125 Street Station and 59 Street Station.”

    Does anyone know which is correct?

    • Cali says:

      I tried to take the D uptown on Sunday, and even then the conductor said that after Columbus Circle it was going straight to 125th St (she said only the A was handling those stops). I imagine now it is certainly back to express service.

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  1. […] I do, but even a casual visitor over the past week would notice that the G train was on the mind of transit-interested New Yorkers, and probably most of the people living in North Brooklyn. While the G was down from […]

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