Sandy Update: The L train lives again

By · Published in 2012

As the MTA and TWU duke it out over hurricane pay days, the authority has some good news for riders: The L train has returned. Joe Lhota just announced via Twitter that “the L train is back.” It will be providing limited service, running once every ten minutes and making all stops between 8th Ave. and Rockaway Parkway. Trains will likely be quite crowded as service levels have to catch up to demand at first.

In a subsequent press release, Transit explained the extent of the damage to the 14th St. tube, which had been without service for 10 days. The tunnel had flooded to a depth of 15 feet for 3400 feet — or the length of its span from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Crews had to repair “severe damage” to the stationary pumping, signaling and communications system. The first trains rolled through today though at 3 p.m.

With that announcement, service through Manhattan has returned on every subway line, and the only areas still lacking in service are the A train to the Rockaways, the Montague St. Tunnel and the N train’s Sea Beach Line. Those three areas suffered extensive damage from Sandy’s storm surge, and there is “no timetable for the return of service” to either the Rockaways or the Sea Beach line. Crews are pumping out the Montague St. Tunnel, and Transit says it is still pushing forward on 24/7 efforts to restore all services.

Categories : Service Advisories

21 Responses to “Sandy Update: The L train lives again”

  1. Alex C says:

    The Sea Beach line was flooded pretty badly up to Kings Highway. The switches south of Kings Highway station are probably done for, hence they can’t turn trains there. I’m guessing the lower level on the City Hall station on the Broadway BMT got flooded if they’re not turning R trains there.

    • Hoosac says:

      I’m trying to visualize where the water came from. If it came in from Coney Island Creek and went northward, did it affect the Avenue X Shops? Or did the water come from somewhere else?

      • Alex C says:

        It took a week for them to restore service to Coney Island, so I’m betting that whole yard area got flooded badly, with water spilling into the Sea Beach ditch. They probably sealed up the buildings pretty tightly, as even the dud that was Irene brought flooding there.

        • Ian D. says:

          On Sunday, I drove past the Coney Island rail yards on teh Belt Parkway. The yard was pretty much empty, except of a few idle cars, but ALL the tracks were rusted over. It looked REALLY bad from my view above. Also, the water had gone up as far 18 Ave. It looked like a canal.

          • Alex C says:

            Up to 18 Ave? Amazing. I live by Kings Highway and assumed the water hadn’t gone much further than that just based on distance.

    • Nathanael says:

      Regarding the “split service” for the R, it’s also possible that the switches at City Hall on the Broadway BMT just aren’t up to frequent service. We discovered this problem with a bunch of the infrequently used switches which were put into use in the last couple of days.

    • Nathanael says:

      Well, hopefully the Sea Beach line will be back soon; it seems like a type of damage which they’ve been successfully repairing.

      The trestles across Jamaica Bay certainly won’t be back soon. That’s another order of magnitude of damage (and should probably be rebuilt using different construction methods).

  2. Marc Shepherd says:

    The other area lacking service is South Ferry/Rector Street.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      And the southernmost three stations on the Nassau Street Line.

      • Nathanael says:

        Broad St flooded. Fulton St is probably fine but they can’t turn trains there (the tracks are on two different levels). Because those stations are part-time in regular service, they’re probably not priorities.

        Rector St. / South Ferry both flooded, and although they’re probably pretty high priorities, South Ferry is going to require so many replacements (elevators, escalators….) it will take a long time.

  3. LLQBTT says:

    ha 10 minute headways on the L. It’ll take some of the load off the J M & G, but I will go no where near the L at 1/3 of rush hour service. That’s 1 stupidly crowded train for every 3 ridiculusly crowded trains on a normal work day. No way..

    • Let’s just say that I’m really glad I don’t have to take the L train at all for the next few days. I can’t imagine what the platform at Union Square is going to look like tonight.

      • John says:

        The L into the city this morning was fine. It was coming every five minutes or so. It ran smoothly to Union Square (at least from where I got on at Graham).

        I do have to say, I was a little upset yesterday at the MTA during the J/M commute. Even though the L still wasn’t back in service, they had restored express service on the J line. Customers at Flushing, Lorimer, and Hewes Sts were left with only the M, and it was doubly bad. I think this was poor planning on the MTA’s part to restore express service on a line that was already way, way too overcrowded. I am just wondering why they put this into place, whether or not it was mandatory or something, because common sense would not have dictated that.

  4. Someone says:

    Is there any chance that automated operation will resume on the L?

  5. Nathanael says:

    Let me say I am genuinely impressed at how fast NYC Transit has recovered service. This speaks to a well-planned and well-executed operation.

    In contrast we have New Jersey Transit.

  6. Chet says:

    I know this isn’t a subway related question, but it is transit related: What is the clean up status of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel? Going through NJ or over the Manhattan Bridge is causing all sorts of commuting hell for Staten Island express buses.

    Anyone have any news?

  7. Herb Lehman says:

    I’m curious — if a train line like the L can be restored, how come it can only run on a 10 minute headway? If the tracks and stations are safe, and there are the same number of trains available, how come trains can run only once every 10 minutes? The 4 and 5 trains, for instance, seem to be back to their normal level of service.

    I’m not asking this question to be critical of the MTA — on the contrary, I think it’s nothing short of amazing and heroic that so much has been restored so fast — I’m genuinely curious as someone who doesn’t know much about the technical aspect of subways.

    • Alex C says:

      They are probably monitoring the conditions of the signal system and rails for now.

    • Nathanael says:

      This can depend on various details of the signal system. I don’t fully understand why, but it’s typical to run slow and less frequently and ramp up after you’ve replaced major parts. It can also depend on track conditions; riding over the track can reveal new problems, so it’s normal to check the track frequently for a while after major track repairs.

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