Home Asides Flushing Line CBTC completion delayed by six months

Flushing Line CBTC completion delayed by six months

by Benjamin Kabak

The target date to wrap the MTA’s installation of communications-based train control along Flushing Line has been delayed six months until mid-2017, the agency said in documents released this weekend. As part of the update to the Capital Program Oversight Committee, the MTA noted that the $550 million project remains on budget, but due, in part, to complications from Sandy, the project’s substantial completion date has been pushed back from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017.

According to the documents, two issues could further impact this date. The first concerned the availability of test tracks for the CBTC-enabled R188s. These cars were due to be tested on the Rockaway Test Track, but this stretch of railbed was damaged during Sandy. The delay in repairing the test track has pushed back the date for final delivery of the R188s from February 2016 to August 2016.

Second, the MTA fingers “G.O. Availability” as a concern. As CBTC work means many weekends without 7 train service into and out of Queens, the agency has been working with community leaders along the Flushing Line to better plan outages. As the Board materials say, though, “if track outages for this project are delayed/denied, the project’s milestones will be delayed.” In other words, if the MTA can’t schedule G.O.’s, it can’t perform the work on time. I’ll continue to follow this story, but for now, the expected completion date is slipping.

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Patrick @ The LIRR Today November 11, 2013 - 4:07 pm

I work in Long Island City and the (7) GO’s do make it inconvenient to get to or from the area. I know many of the local businesses in the area feel it when the trains are not running.

While I understand the outages are necessary, perhaps the MTA could do a little bit more than just running shuttle buses to/from Queensboro Plaza. Maybe extending the shuttle bus route to operate through the Midtown tunnel to Manhattan to provide people a direct link to LIC without having to backtrack might lessen the blow. Perhaps the MTA can also have the LIRR run shuttles between Mets-Willets Point and Long Island City so passengers to those two areas at least can get a quick train connection at Woodside or Mets-Willets Point.

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect solution other than to try and get the work finished as quickly as possible. Dragging this project on by pandering to all the politicians who want to say when they can have the GO’s will only make this more painful then they have to be.

Aj November 12, 2013 - 3:55 am

Excuse my ignorance, but what is a G.O.? I can’t seem to figure out what it stands for from just its contextual use.

martindelaware November 12, 2013 - 7:18 am

G.O. = General Order, i.e., the planned closure of one or more tracks. The G.O. is typically assigned to an MTA division or an outside contractor performing assigned work, although others may “piggyback” on the G.O. to get their work done, too.

Bill November 11, 2013 - 4:39 pm

However, I did see some R 142s (I think) on the 7 line this weekend. One of them was stopped at Queensboro Plaza taking passengers, as the station was the temporary terminal for the 7. Didn’t have time to snap a photo as I was running to catch the N upstairs.

Jeff November 12, 2013 - 12:57 pm

You actually saw the first R188 on the line which started service on Saturday.

War Admiral November 11, 2013 - 4:43 pm

Has the MTA ever finished anything on budget and on schedule? I doubt it. In fact I wonder what the best they’ve ever done might be – 200% of budget and 150% of the original time estimate? Maybe not even that good. Does anyone keep track of these things?

Spencer K November 11, 2013 - 9:28 pm

I believe when the Williamsburg Bridge tracks were rebuilt in the early 90s, they came in so early that the contractor won a bonus. I also remember learning in my engineering courses, that such bonuses and penalties (for being early and late) were standard, and that was the first time I ever heard of it. It was also the last. I don’t know if they still do it or it’s just not news.

pete November 12, 2013 - 6:49 pm

100s of change orders are more profitable than the early completion bonuses. The early completion bonuses, nobody wants them.

Duke November 11, 2013 - 4:47 pm

What I don’t understand is why baseball season is 100% off limits. The schedule is known. Any weekend the Mets aren’t in town should be fair game. That should nab you an extra 10 or so weekends a year to work with.

Bill November 11, 2013 - 7:59 pm

I know it’s not as popular as baseball, but the PATH doesn’t care whether the Red Bulls have games when it comes to their weekend service changes. They had a number of 20-minute headways this summer on game days. Considering that’s the way the majority of fans get out to the stadium in Harrison, NJ, it was quite inconvenient. Had they not bombed out of the playoffs in the first round, there would have been no trains going to Harrison from World Trade Center on the day of their semifinal game.

The team averages 19,000 fans a game, but the PATH doesn’t run nearly enough trains to support them.

Dan November 12, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Is it entirely off limits? The MTA definitely schedules G.O.s for Concourse or Jerome on some weekends or late nights when the Yankees are on the road.

Otherwise, there may be other non-baseball issues during the summer months.

Alek November 12, 2013 - 7:08 pm

The U.S Open games is during the summer. Lots of events going on at Flushing Meadows Park and that why the MTA tries not to interrupt service.

They should do work when the mets are gone.

John Doe November 11, 2013 - 5:52 pm

A travesty! I’ve been riding the 7 for over 30 years and the MTA has been doing weekend work on this line since the mid-90s!!! That’s 20 years of service interruptions!!!! oh the humanity!!! we used to dream big in this country, now we can’t even get rail service right!

Ant November 11, 2013 - 7:05 pm

The R188s have already been testing on the Sea Beach express track for weeks now. I didn’t realize this was still an eternity away.

Keith C. Edwards November 11, 2013 - 9:04 pm

E3 and E4 on the Sea Beach would be a perfect proving ground, but one track has no DC power. In 1976, the R-46’s were tested for their ATO/ATC. It went nowhere. I’ll bet those scanners/transponders still work. Put a 188 on those tracks and that train would perform.


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