Communications-based train control is coming to the 7 train. For years, Transit has talked up this technology improvement, and this weekend, installation begins. Per the press release:
MTA New York City Transit announces that this coming weekend will be the first of five planned service suspensions on the 7 line between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square this fall. There will be no 7 subway service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza from 11:30 p.m. Fridays through 5 a.m. Mondays during the weekends of October 7-10, October 28-31, November 4-6, November 11-14 and November 18-21, affecting an estimated 280,000 customers each weekend. The E, F, N, Q, S and free shuttle buses will provide alternate service.
This fall, as we continue our maintenance efforts in the Steinway tunnel, we begin installation of a new signal system known as CBTC – Communications Based Train Control. This automated train control system ensures the safe operation of trains using wireless data communication that will allow for more frequent service and the use of countdown clocks in the future. Fiber optic and computer equipment will be installed on the tracks along the entire line. This work requires service changes in October and November and will continue for several years. We realize this will be an inconvenience, but the work is necessary to modernize and improve the reliability of the 7 line.
Eventually, when all is said and done, CBTC will allow the MTA to run more trains on 7 line — a necessity as the route will soon be a mile and one stop longer — than they currently can. “Several years” of service changes to accommodate this week sounds pretty painful though. Is that the cost of progress or indicative of the slow pace at which the MTA works?