L Train Woes: Signal problems impacting Friday commute

By · Published in 2013

It’s been a rather rough week for the MTA, and for L train riders, Friday morning will be no better. In fact, it’s shaping up to be a good day to stay home. Here’s what the email I received a few minutes ago says:

Ongoing signal problems between Myrtle Av-Wyckoff Av & Broadway Junction will likely impact service on the L Line into the morning peak period on Friday. The following service changes will be in effect:

There will be no L trains between Broadway Junction and Myrtle Av-Wyckoff Av in both directions. Shuttle buses will operate making corresponding stops between Myrtle Av-Wyckoff Av and Broadway Junction.

There will be limited L train service running between Canarsie-Rockaway Pkwy and Broadway Junction. At Broadway Junction, customers can transfer for A, C, J, or Z trains for further service into Brooklyn and Manhattan.

There will also be reduced service between Myrtle Av-Wyckoff Av and 8Av in Manhattan.

Crews are on site working to restore normal service as quickly as possible.

It is, as yet, unclear what the issue is, but we’re seeing a glimpse into why the MTA wants to invest $28 billion in behind-the-scenes infrastructure between now and 2019. These technological problems are only getting worse as everything ages.

More in the morning.

Categories : Service Advisories

23 Responses to “L Train Woes: Signal problems impacting Friday commute”

  1. Stephen Smith says:

    It is, as yet, unclear what the issue is, but we’re seeing a glimpse into why the MTA wants to invest $28 billion in behind-the-scenes infrastructure between now and 2019.

    To fix signaling that they just finished installing a few years ago?

    • Larry Littlefield says:

      Right. Investment won’t help if the MTA gets hosed.

      We really need new entrants in the railroad signaling business. Unfortunately, it seems the railroad industry isn’t big enough anymore to attract them.

      • The global railroad industry is huge and there are plenty of players in the signalling business, but it would mean willingness to buy off-the-shelf technologies developed in places like Europe and Japan.

        • Larry Littlefield says:

          We bought this system fromSiemens. Their stuff works in Europe. But all the signal installation firms in the U.S. went broke some time ago leaving one, Railworks.

  2. The L train says:

    Ah the jolly old L train, glad I moved outta Canarsie.

  3. Elvis Delgado says:

    Is this a problem with the brand-new CBTC system, or does it involve some pre-CBTC component yet to be upgraded? If it’s the former, then spending $28 billion for more of the same is not going to help.

    • Epson45 says:

      They are on an older CBTC system. Too bad it can not swap to 7 train’s CBTC system.

      • Elvis Delgado says:

        Maybe this is erroneous, but I was under the impression that the fixed equipment (hardware) is the same and that upgrades involved software alone. If this is not the case, then the whole CBTC concept is terribly flawed in the sense that changes in technology will quickly make any given installation outmoded.

        But clearly this is something major here, as it’s now mid-afternoon, and no resolution is yet in sight.

  4. Robert LaMarca says:

    perhaps this is sandy related durability issues? otherwise, yes the new CBTC should not be acting up already.

  5. Alex says:

    L train commuters on the back half or rush hour got a double whammy. The uptown M and F were running express from W4 to 34 this morning at about 9:30 due to a police investigation. There were several L trainers trying to take the M to 14th who were told to go up to 34th and take the downtown local. Insult to injury.

  6. D in Bushwick says:

    Can anyone explain why the “automatic” L train announcement system is always so out of whack with reality? It is frequently announced the next L train is arriving in the station but then it doesn’t come for another 5 minutes. Then it gets announced again while the train is rushing by and you can’t hear it.
    While this isn’t life or death, it does make the MTA look like they don’t know what’s going on and that’s not very comforting.

    • Roxie says:

      It’s the same way on the Queens Boulevard line and (if I recall correctly) the Central Park West line. I think it has something to do with the way trains are tracked for the next-train announcements on those lines compared to how they’re tracked on the Lex/7th Ave lines.

      • SEAN says:

        In a different sence I ran into a situation on the LIRR yesterday. At most stations the public adress system will anounce if a particular train is running on time or how many minutes late it is, but at Hicksville the other day,the pa said the 2:49PM was on time when it was actually 6 minutes late. Strangely that anouncement only came once 4 minutes elapsed beyond the scheduled time & usually those anouncements tend to be pritty accurate.

        So I understand the fustration when it comes to poorly deceminated information.

        • Nyland8 says:

          Maybe 6 minutes late IS on time for the 2:49PM.

          In this country, even 10 minutes late seems to be “on time”.

        • Stephen - NYC says:

          @Sean, believe it or not, the on-time window for the LIRR (& Metro North), is 5 minutes and 59 seconds. For a short ride, those minutes are a large part of the commute. And like airplane schedules, just hope you don’t miss a connection somewhere. By the way, airlines get a 15-minute window. And that’s from push-back from the gate for departures and arrival at the gate for arrivals.

    • Kai B says:

      I notice two issues.

      1) Even during normal operation, in many stations the “now arriving” announcement is around two minutes too early. The display will accurately still show “2 min”. Another announcement occurs when the train actually arrives.

      2) When there are issues, such as this past Thursday evening, trains will be displayed and announced that don’t exist.

      The whole system is due for a software upgrade/reprogramming to bring it more in line with the different system installed on the IRT. Get rid of the superfluous “ladies and gentlemen”, display service outages on the boards, etc. Oh, and fix the infamous “The next L-Train arriving on the Manhattan-bound train will not stop.”

  7. Elvis Delgado says:

    It sound like some lineside equipment was damaged on the surface portion of the line. The TA is saying that as of the even rush, repairs are still not complete because “workers could not get to the outdoor location until sunlight and dense fog had cleared earlier this morning.”

    What’s not clear is whether this is external damage of an “act of god” nature or whether some piece of equipment that should have worked simply failed.

    • Epson45 says:

      wanna bet copper wire theift

      • John-2 says:

        Fiber optic cable, from today’s MTA update. But it’s possible someone thought it was a copper cable line and damaged it while trying to steal it, before figuring out they should look elsewhere for their next precious metal score.

  8. Michael says:

    MTA says it’s working to restore normal service on the L train in Brooklyn after a broken fiber cable caused signal problems Friday that led to service disruptions on the line.

    Regular service restored as of 9:09 PM as per MTA Email.

    Enough already with the doom and gloom statements.

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