Once upon a time, the MTA referred to the Rockaway shuttle which operates between Broad Channel and Rockaway Park as the H train. Although the train still carries this designation internally, to the world, that shuttle appears as a gray S on subway maps. As the Rockaways face a lengthy rebuilding process, though, the H train is returning, this time as a free shuttle operating between Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue and Beach 90-Holland station, making all intermediate stops via the Hammels Wye.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this free service this afternoon, and it will begin tomorrow morning at 4 a.m.. It will run every day from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m., providing a transfer to the shuttle buses that run between Mott Avenue and Howard Beach. According to the Governor’s office, the train runs only those Beach 90-Holland because points further west “suffered extensive damage to signal systems and cannot yet accommodate passenger service.”
“The A train tracks from Howard Beach to the Rockaways were almost completely destroyed by the storm, and replacing them is a tremendous undertaking,” Cuomo said in a statement. “While that work continues, this new shuttle service will help improve travel for people in the Rockaways who are still recovering from Sandy’s effects.”
The rolling stock for this new shuttle service arrived via flatbed trucks. Transit loaded 20 R32 cars onto these tracks and placed them on the rails at Rockaway Park-Beach 116th. There are some pretty dramatic photos of the operation available here. Raw video footage comes after the jump.
“Transit has responded with unprecedented creativity to restore subway service to Rockaway customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “This partial restoration of service is an important step for the Rockaways, but our work won’t be done until the A train is fully restored.” It will still be months before the A train is fully restored.