As the MTA tries to fulfill its promise of restoring A train service over Broad Channel and to the Rockaways by the end of June, a few bits of news have trickled out regarding the status of these efforts. First, the MTA announced late last week that indicator board in the signal tower at Rockaway Park – Beach 116th St. is up and running once again. In other words, the signal system — which had been utterly destroyed by Sandy — is up and running again.
According to the MTA, this is no small feat. The signal system in place in the Rockaways is decades old, and the MTA burned through its supply of spare parts. Crews had to refurbish old parts that were inundated with salt water or find replacements. These efforts will be magnified as other signals knocked out by Sandy and its floodwaters continue to degrade. Still, work remains, as Joe LaPorta, a signal engineer said. “The TA signal shop rebuilds these. They can’t even get them from a manufacturer anymore,” he explained. “By the end of the day, we might have all this cleared up here. But the yard part we can’t clear up, because we’re still waiting for parts.”
With the signal system on the mend, Transit will soon begin testing trains, The Wave, Rockaway’s local paper, reported on Friday. According to Transit officials, test trains will likely run across Broad Channel during the week of May 17th, and if all goes well, service will resume in June. As of yet, there is no set June date for restoration of the A train, but for Rockaway residents who have faced more than six months without a subway connection, it cannot come soon enough.