More 14th St. - Canarsie News

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, October 12, 2019 5:34 PM

Dave, I need to thank you for posting these notices. As an EE with an interest in transit, I find these fascinating. Most people don't care about what it take to operate mass transit so these provide insight into the infrastructure required to move large quantities of people safely. And to remember nost of this system was installed more than a hundred years.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, October 12, 2019 12:41 PM
Hi there. Work started September 13 on that new escalator at Union Square. We're bypassing the station overnight this coming Tuesday to keep the job going. But why an escalator? How do we get it in that tight space? And what does "egress" have to do with it? We talk to three people from our engineering, construction and maintenance teams to get the uplifting intel.

Also: specific date and time info on the above-mentioned bypass, more demolition work this weekend, and we digress about egress. Have a super weekend.
 
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A construction rendering shows what the completed escalator at Union Square Station, L platform, could look like.

Image: MTA New York City Transit

Movin’ on up at Union Square: The "Rolls Royce of elevators," but better

Every job has its ups and downs. For some of our L Project colleagues, up and down is the job! This week, we’re talking to Kevin Moylan, Nathaniel Getzel, and Bharat Kothari, who are all part of our elevator and escalator engineering and operations. We’ll just call them the E&E Team. They’re here to tell us about what goes into installing and operating an escalator, and why the new one we’re working on at Union Square is unique. Among other things, you’ll learn that it is nothing like those lightweight mall escalators. (They’re pretty serious about that!)
 
L Project Weekly: First, guys, how many escalators do we have in our subway system?

E&E Team: We have 230 escalators now. We’ll have 231 once we get this one installed at Union Square.

LPW: Why are we installing this escalator? The Union Square Station has been operating for decades, why now?

E&E Team: It all starts with how many people are on the platform. Our stations operations and planning teams monitor this throughout our system, and then make a proposal if a change needs to happen. In this case, it was a proactive move—our plan to run more L trains once the substations are up and running means an increase in people on the platform. Based on the current state and projected numbers, an escalator was proposed. It’s all about clearing that platform between trains. What we call egress capacity.

LPW: Right, confirming personally. Union Square does get crowded.

E&E Team: Price of success. Our ridership really shot up on the L train. With the CBTC signaling, we started running more trains. We’re getting more people into the station faster. Now we’ve got to get them out faster.

LPW: How fast is faster?

E&E Team: This escalator will run up only, from the platform to the mezzanine. The code says an escalator can go 100 feet per minute. But you can get a variance if certain requirements are met, which we did. So we’ll be running it at 120 feet per minute.

LPW: So how many people are we “egressing”?

E&E Team: That escalator has a rise of 26.5 feet. It has 46 steps, what we call the exposed steps. Those are the steps from bottom to top on the outside, not including the ones rotating through the underside. We figure two people per step at maximum capacity, or 92 people. But realistically, people will space themselves out a bit. So more like 23 people on at a given time.

LPW: Okay, got the calculator here. So our added egress capacity is about 23 people every 15 seconds, right? That’s 92 per minute, about 5,520 straphangers per hour, up and out!

E&E Team: I suppose the maximum is something like that. Too many variables to be exact. Even when it’s crowded, there are usually people standing on the right and walking up on the left. That’s the etiquette, but it actually moves fewer people.

LPW: So, tell us about the escalator itself. We don’t build it ourselves do we? Where does it come from? How does it get here?
E&E Team: One of the tricky things about designing an escalator for our tight space is planning how you actually get it into place. We’ll bring it into Union Square Station on a work train. But then we have to maneuver around the columns and spaces in the station to get it into the excavation. So we do very precise calculations of all the angles and lengths in advance, and we ended up with the six parts.

LPW: An escalator has a lot of moving parts that have to be maintained. Even the escalators you see in department stores or malls…

E&E Team: Let’s stop just a minute. Our escalators are nothing like mall escalators! Those are lightweight escalators. And they get turned off for 8 or 10 hours a night. Ours are heavy duty, transit-grade escalators. They carry tons of people every day. They run all day and night. They’re exposed to dirt, water, weather. It’s a very harsh environment. They have lots of complex safety sensors and monitors. If a mall escalator is like the cheapest Chevy our escalators are like a Rolls Royce. Better than a Rolls Royce.

LPW: We can see you feel strongly about that.

E&E Team: There’s no comparison.

LPW: You mentioned safety sensors. Where are those?

E&E Team: Our escalators are designed with lots of advanced sensors and monitors. For example, there are safety sensors where the steps fold into the combs at the top and bottom. If something gets stuck in there, the escalator shuts off. In fact, we do get shutdowns from people jumping or running or carrying something heavy on the escalator. Whenever an escalator shuts down, monitors instantly signal the maintenance office and at the same time, they automatically post the outage advisory right on our public website until it’s fixed.

LPW: That’s honest dealing. You said the new escalator at Union Square will only run up. Would we ever reverse it? Can it be put in reverse to run down?

E&E Team: All escalators are technically reversible. But no, this one will only run up. Wherever you can fit just one escalator, you want to carry customers up the stairs. Also, escalators actually get broken in, like new shoes. If they’re running up, people will tend to cluster on one side and the machinery will adjust a little. If you reverse it after a time, then you’ll get more repair issues. These are heavy duty machines, but there are lots of sensitive parts.

LPW: Interesting. One more thing. You mentioned the way the steps fold into the combs at the top and bottom, which is kind of mechanically fascinating. Customers never see the underside of an escalator, but you guys do. What does it look like?

E&E Team: Like bicycle chains. Like two rotating bicycle chains and a shaft.

LPW: Trying to picture that. Anyway, thanks guys. We know there will be some necessary service changes to complete this big job, and we’ll keep readers informed. Good to know we’ll be getting the Rolls Royce of escalators and more egress capacity!
 

L trains will skip Union Square overnight Tuesday to Wednesday

 As we mentioned last week, we're going to have four nights where L trains will bypass Union Square Station, making all other stops. 

The first is this coming Tuesday to Wednesday, overnight (overnight = midnight to 5 a.m.), October 15-16.

Check signs at Union Square for travel tips, or click the button below for more details on this and all upcoming service changes. 
Plan your trip
 

Curious about the egress? These people were!

We use the term “egress capacity” to measure flow at subway stations. Not a common term, as the wily P.T. Barnum knew. 

From 1841 to 1865, the impresario ran his famous Barnum’s American Museum on Broadway, near today’s Fulton Street Station. Exhibits included trained bears, phrenologists, exotic dancers, an oyster bar, waxworks, the Fiji Mermaid, and Ned the Learned Seal. About 15,000 customers per day paid 25 cents to visit the museum at its peak.

Many lingered and Barnum faced his own “capacity” problem. He solved it by posting a sign reading, honestly, ”This Way to the Egress.” Thinking it some fabulous creature, customers exited...and had to pay to enter again. (Barnum didn’t give free transfers.)
 

Glamour shot of the week: What's behind floorboard #2?

Elevator fun fact: Most of the time, when you think there is one elevator at a station, there is actually more than one. Why? Because there is one from street to mezzanine, and then another one from mezzanine to platform. 

This is the case at Bedford Av, where there will be one street to mezzanine elevator, and then another one from mezzanine to platform—its future home is shown in this photo. There are many complexities of retrofitting old stations with new elevators, one of which you can see here—the tangle of the city's utility lines!

Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA Capital Construction / September 23, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 10/12/19

We're continuing our demolition work and making progress on the tunnel cabling system. Check out what we're doing (mostly) underground this week:
  • Set up work containment areas prior to demolition
  • Continue demolition: track wall tile at the south end of 1 Av Station and ductwall from N 7th to the pump room in two areas
  • Remove and splice old positive cable
  • Conduit work: Install conduit for heat trace, fiber optic cable monitoring, tunnel lighting near Bedford Av Station
  • Pull CBTC fiber optic cable into Bedford Av relay room
  • Install new tunnel cabling system between 1st Ave and Ave D: Racks, junction boxes, tunneling lighting cable
  • Install overhead pipe and supports at Avenue D
  • Swap plates and ties, and remove and install contact rail parts in two locations on the Brooklyn side
  • Receive and install at least two of the six components for the Union Square escalator
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 06, 2019 12:16 AM
Welcome to the L Project Weekly Halftime Extravaganza! Sorry, we don’t have Beyoncé or Springsteen. But we did we have our team tour the finished L tube with the Governor, confirming that we are halfway through our L tunnel repairs. On budget, ahead of schedule. That’s worth applauding!

So this week, we’ll talk about this halfway milestone, what we’ve got done, and why you valued L riders can now expect better service…sooner than we thought.

Also: new details on service changes in October and November, how many miles of cable we installed, and which upcoming holiday will have normal L service? Read on to find out, and have a great weekend.
 
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New cables, discharge pipe, tracks, tunnel wall and more: Behold the completed Manhattan-bound tube.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / September 21, 2019

Been There, Done That: One Tube Done, One Tube to Go

Last Sunday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo made it official. We’re halfway through our L tunnel repairs, beating the schedule by three months! The Manhattan-bound tube is done. Now we’re swiveling our super-efficient renovation operation around and heading down the Brooklyn-bound tube. 
 
How did we get here? Why are we ahead of schedule? It’s definitely not luck. If you reread all of our LPW interviews (okay, not even we do that) you see one constant. Everyone we talked to says this was a new sort of MTA project. A newway of doing things. How so? How was it new? We collected all of your questions on the topic and turned it into a mini FAQ.  
 
Reader: So, the L tunnel rehab is really ahead of schedule? That means back to normal service sooner than planned?
 
L Project Weekly: Yes…and no. To sum up, we finished the Manhattan-bound tube in about 5 months. This means the whole tunnel rehabilitation is tracking to finish about three months earlier than even our most aggressive timeline of 15 months. We’re very happy about that. We’re now using the same new techniques to finish the Brooklyn-bound tube. If all goes well, we should have your critical Brooklyn-Manhattan link up and running sooner than planned. (Remember, there are other parts of the L Projectbesides the tunnel that are ongoing, like the new elevators, Union Square escalator and three new substations.) But no, we are not going back to normal service. The work we’ve done means a smoother ride, better service. And when the substations are done, more service. We’re not going back, we’re moving forward!
 
Reader: At Sunday’s press conference, the Governor called the L tunnel rehab “what happens when you abandon the old way of doing things and think outside the box.” What’s he referring to?
 
LPW: We don’t speak for the Governor. But let’s remember. The original plan called for a 15-month full shutdown of the L between 8 Av and Bedford Av. It also scheduled demolition and replacement of the entire tunnel duct wall. Instead, we tapped some of the nation’s top brains at the Cornell and Columbia engineering schools. We huddled with our project planners and train operators. By using some “outside the box” techniques, we kept your L trains running on regular weekday schedules. We shortened the work schedule. We made the tunnel even more resilient. And now, as the Governor announced, we even beat that shorter schedule to the halfway mark by three months.
 
Reader: What were these new techniques again? It seems like we’ve been reading about a lot of new techniques.
 
LPW: You’re right. We’ve reported a lot of new stuff. But there were two big innovations that made this continued service and rapid progress possible. Racks and panels! First, we hung all the tunnel cabling on an external racking system above flood levels instead of embedding them behind the duct wall. That’s faster, cheaper, and it makes cables easier to check and maintain. Second, we
used panels made of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) to form a new wall around the old one, instead of rebuilding the existing duct walls. For transit engineering in the United States, both of those techniques are new when applied to an existing transportation infrastructure.

Reader: Someone at the press conference talked about using these new methods to “revolutionize” the way the MTA does all its projects. What does that mean? You’ll use racks and panels for everything?
 
LPW: Hmm, tough crowd here. Actually, that was Janno Lieber, who’s our chief development officer and heads up our MTA Capital Construction unit. They’re an all-star team of engineers, architects, and planners who oversee our big construction projects and megaprojects. Some of the biggest projects in the world, in fact.
 
Reader: MTA Capital Construction is coordinating all the project teams on the L tunnel?
 
LPW: That’s right. And, as Janno noted, that’s something new as well. Historically, an operating agency like NYC Transit would manage all its own construction projects, big or small. But industry changes have opened up new opportunities. Things like design-build contracts, imaging software, digitized workflows, wireless field communication—it all adds up to big efficiencies. It makes sense now to have a dedicated team, like an in-house firm, coordinating all the construction elements. They can see the big picture, in terms of scheduling, while coordinating lots of project crews at a detailed level. It’s not something customers can see, like a new engineering technique, but it’s equally important.
 
Reader: This is the first time you’ve done this technique?
 
LPW: Not at all. We’ve always managed multiple contractors and work crews, of course. What’s new is for MTA Capital Construction to coordinate all the specialized construction contractors on a big subway repair job like this, while interfacing with ongoing subway operations. That’s what Janno was referring to. For us, the L tunnel job has been a model or pilot—a full-scale run-through for this way of doing things. Now that we’re halfway through we can say, yes (fist pump!), this is really working. This is the way to go.  
 
Reader: All I really want is the L tunnel finished. And better L train service, faster repair projects, a super safe subway system, more flood-resistant infrastructure, and more cost-efficiency. Is that too much to ask? 
 
LPW: No, it’s not. That’s exactly what we’re aiming to do. You summed it up nicely, reader!
 
Reader: One thing I still don’t understand. You said the new rack system holds the “tunnel cables.” What kind of cables are those?
 
LPW: Oh wow, cables! Tunnel cabling is a whole story unto itself. We’ll discuss that in a future “The Cable Guy” issue, not starring Jim Carrey. In the meantime, here’s the trailer...
 

The Cable Guy—Starring Real-Life L Tunnel Experts

We did a lot of work in the first tube. If you read the weekly construction look-ahead, you probably were wondering, "how much cable can they possibly be installing?!" So we counted them up. Tube 1 cables, by the numbers:
 
 Two types of communication cables—7,110 ft. each
Antennae cables—7,110 ft. on one wall, 7,960 ft. on the other
Five types of pump feeder, power and control cables—2,000 ft. each
 Fiber-optic cable—7,110 ft.
Signal cables—28,000 ft.
Tunnel lighting and conduit cables—15,930 ft.
Phone wires, sound, power cables—7,000 ft.
Receptacle power—7,965 ft.
 
Okay, that’s one subway tube, 13 types of cable, and over 25 miles of cabling. Which unspools to about 108 Empire State Buildings laid down horizontally end to end. More on cabling in an upcoming issue.
 

New schedule details: Union Square bypasses, 14th-St/6 Av accessibility work, Halloween

Remember when we announced that our Union Square escalator and 14 St-6 Av accessibility initiative were starting, but we didn't have all of the dates? The time has come!

But before we get to that, a brief reminder that not all service changes mean less service. Exhibit A: we're running normal L service on Halloween! It's a busy night in the city, especially near the L—that annual Village Halloween Parade ends right by the train. 

Check out our service info page on the L Project site for the full details; but here are the highlights:
  • Four scheduled one-night bypasses at Union Square
  • Several weeks of no weeknight or weekend service at 14 St-6 Av or 8 Av Stations for the accessibility project at 14 St-6 Av
  • Normal service on Halloween!
Plan a trip with alternative service
 

Halftime feature: How do you find the halfway point on subway platforms?

 Ever noticed this black and white board? Whenever a train rolls into the station, the conductor opens the window and points upward. What does it mean? It’s an old Japanese custom. Not joking! Here’s the deal.

When a train pulls into the station, it’s critical for safety that it align perfectly with the platform before the conductor opens the doors. But with only one conductor in the center of the train, how can they be certain? 
 
Well, right above the center of the platform there’s a black and white striped sign or “zebra board.” When conductors stop right at the zebra board, they know the train is aligned. As a double check they lower the window and point to the board. It’s also a way our conductors keep themselves alert and oriented during their workday. Good idea!
 
How did it come about? Word has it that back in the 1990s an MTA official was visiting Japan and noticed this safety practice in the Tokyo subway system, where it’s called shisa kanko or “see, point, call.” He brought the practice home, and it’s been shisa kanko ever since.
 
Hot tip: Want to find a conductor to ask a question? Find the zebra board and wait!
 

Glamour shot of the week: The L's new competitor in Manhattan

This was a big week for the L. But also for its above-ground Manhattan alternative, the M14 SBS—WHICH NOW HAS ITS OWN LANE. Thanks to the hard work by our partners at NYC Department of Transportation, NYPD and our bus team, we've already seen reports that the buses are on target with the projected 25% cut in travel time.

Have you tried the M14 SBS since Thursday? Especially on nights and weekends, use it instead of the L, if you're traveling in Manhattan. It's definitely a more reliable option. But don't take our word for it. Check out what your fellow MTA customers had to say

Photo: Marc. A. Hermann  / MTA NYC Transit / October 4, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 10/5/19

Someone asked if we were just going to copy and paste from the first tube's work rundowns. Great thinking, except for the fact that we are making improvements to our work plan, based on what we learned in the first go-round. For example: we're flipping the order of new discharge pipes and FRP panel installation (now, FRP panels then discharge pipes) as our crews will be able to work more efficiently.

Here's what we're doing in the week ahead:
  • Set up work containment areas prior to demolition
  • Start demolition on track wall tile and ductwall
  • Start installing cable racking system
  • Start conduit work: Emergency lighting fixtures, tunnel lighting system and wayside signal cable conduits
  • Install riser box and wire
  • Install new electrical panels at the pump room
  • Install feeder cables in the mezzanine areas of Bedford Av Station
  • Swap plates and ties, and remove and install contact rail parts in two locations on the Brooklyn side
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 01, 2019 1:16 PM
We've reached a milestone in the L Project: all of the tunnel rehabilitation work in the first tube (Manhattan-bound) is done.

This also means that we are ahead of schedule: we expect the tunnel rehabilitation part of the project to be completed in April 2020—12 months since rehabilitation began and 3 months ahead of the original 15- to 18-month projection. (All of the other work like elevators and substations is also on schedule, planned for a fall 2020 completion.)

Starting today, we're getting to work in the second tube (Brooklyn-bound). Use the information below to continue being the best educated L train customer around:
 

Travel tips

Look for our station signs and use these tips if you’re using the L on nights and weekends, starting tonight:

At 1 Av and 3 Av Stations: Use the stairs on the north side of the street, instead of the south side. We'll have extra staff out this week to help direct you.

At Bedford Av Station: Same platform, different track. Trains will be running on the other track, in both directions.

At Metropolitan Av-Lorimer St Station: After ~9:45 p, once you get into the mezzanine, you'll be directed to use the Manhattan-bound platform. (Remember that nights this week, Lorimer St is the last stop on Brooklyn-bound trains as we make improvements at some Brooklyn stations.)
 

What's new

If you're taking the L in the Manhattan-bound direction, you're riding in the tube where the rehabilitation is complete. Lots of the improvements aren't obvious (we'll detail them in the next L Project Weekly), but one is: it's a MUCH smoother ride now.

That's because we've replaced all of the rails there, and because we specifically used continuous welded rail. This kind of rail is literally continuous, so you don't have those bumps anymore, and our trains get less wear and tear as a result.
 

The news

For more information about the project milestone, click the button below to read: "Governor Cuomo Announces First Phase of L Project Tunnel Rehabilitation is Complete Ahead of Schedule and on Budget"
 
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:15 PM
Hi there. There are lots of reasons New York is special. One in particular: we have one of the only subway systems in the world that runs 24/7. Very cool. But it does mean it takes more effort and planning to make improvements. Read our interview with two construction veterans to find out how we do it, and how we’re getting even better at it thanks to the L Project. 

Also: the Union Square escalator barricade is up and don't forget about upcoming service changes for work between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction. Have a wonderful weekend. 
 
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Could you carry all of this? Not unless you're a work train! Here, a work train brings in supplies on a recent weekend. Without work trains like this, we would spend most of our time getting materials in, instead of doing the actual work.

Photos: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / July 13, 2019

How we get work done in a 24/7 train system (and how we're getting better at it)

As New Yorkers, we're proud that we do things differently. But while one could debate the merits of the omnipresent dollar slice, one thing's for sure: few transportation systems run 24/7 like we do. That means we also have to do our system upgrades differently!

So how do we do it? Regardless of if we're fully closing service like last weekend for the Union Square escalator, or if we're running some service, it's complicated. We caught up with L Project lead Shawn Kildare, and construction manager Mooki Patel to explain why they decided to make this past weekend's schedule even more complicated by adding more work, and why it's a good thing for you (hint: more work now, less service disruptions later).

L Project Weekly: As our readers know, we had a lot of work on the L last weekend. The escalator project meant that we had to have a full line closure between several stations. But how does it actually get done, with all of the crews and materials? Setting it up can be pretty complicated, right?

Shawn Kildare: Correct. It's not like the crews can just show up in a truck outside the station closest to where they're working. They have major materials that need to get in. And sometimes, there's debris that has to come out. That's where our work trains and our rapid transit operation, or RTO, team come in.

LPW: So how does the job get set up?

Mooki Patel: We started by announcing across the organization that we had the full track service outage for the Union Square escalator project. Different teams looked at their upcoming workloads for the L. Some had regular maintenance work, others had repairs planned, months or years out. They came back to us and said "here's the work we want to do, here's where it needs to happen, here's the material we need, here's how many work trains it will take."

LPW: So this is a normal process we do for scheduling work during any service changes?

SK: That's right. But for this one, we opened it up to even more types of work and teams than usual. We are already disrupting our L customers on nights and weekends. So we are really pushing the boundaries of work to keep future service disruptions to a minimum for our other work outside of the tunnel, too. And it worked: we had 29 total teams that worked at the same time this past weekend.

LPW: Okay so after the work requests? You slot in the work trains?

MP: Materials for all of the work trains were delivered and loaded first. The RTO team, specifically the subdivision C, manages the whole operation. Lately on weekends for the L, we only have six work trains. We ended up requesting 21 work trains for this one weekend, which translates into 42 flatbeds for materials.
RTO looked into the available work trains, and planned the most efficient way to get them onto the Canarsie Line.

SK: The work trains ended up coming from three different train yards. Once the trains were identified, they were organized by the contract number for the particular job they were supporting. Then the materials packages were matched with that number, and shipped out to the right train yard. At this point, the work trains headed to the loading docks. We started loading on Tuesday that week.

LPW: Okay, now we have the loaded trains at different yards, and we line them up. They all need to move down the tracks in the right order and end up at the right project site.

MP: Yes. Getting the configuration right, or the "proper consist" as we say, is critical. The track space is limited, the time is limited. Each project site has to have all the right materials, not someone else's! Once those trains are moving, we can't say, oh we forgot to send that equipment out. Everything has to move like clockwork.

It's also about getting it right for our service overall. Remember our subways are still running 24/7. That's not something most other transit systems have to deal with. They shut down at certain times. And the work trains coming for one construction job usually don't just impact that one line. Some of the 21 work trains came from yards not directly linked to the L, for example. So customers might have waited a little longer for an N train, for example, while we moved a work train through. It's a delicate operation, but better than stopping all train service on other lines.

LPW: Talk about keeping things on track! Service came back as scheduled at 5 a.m. on Monday, right?

SK: In my 33 years doing construction management, I can't think of a more complicated, yet efficient operation. Hats off to everyone involved.

MP: We said pencils down for all work around 11 p.m. on Sunday night, cleaned up, did an inspection and checked and then checked again to make sure all crews were off the tracks. Then we turned power back on, and ran a test train through. All went well, and so yes, L service for customers came back on as scheduled, Monday morning.

SK: We tried a lot of new things this past weekend in how we managed the job. New processes. We're going to use our lessons learned for future construction and maintenance work.

LPW: Thanks, team, for setting new standards in how we get things done. You are exceptional. Just like our customers, who now have another item to add to their "reasons why New York is special" lists. 
 

Pardon our progress: Union Square barricade is up

 We dug. We poured. We sealed. And now there's big blue barricade. That's right, the new Union Square escalator project is underway—we successfully dug the pit and poured the concrete this past weekend. We'll be working behind that barricade to install the escalator until it's ready for you in spring 2020.

Not sure the best way to get around the platform in the meantime? Ask an MTA team member for help getting to the closest stair. Or if you're more of a DIYer, check out our wayfinding signs on the barricades, like this one here.
 

What's happening here? Progress at 4 Brooklyn stations

 We made a ton of progress last weekend, including on the improvements at four stations in Brooklyn. As you know, we designed the L Project to do more than just rehab the tunnel, and this station upgrades project is an example of that.

We're continuing this work (see full schedule below); here's a reminder of what we're doing to improve Morgan Av, DeKalb Av, Halsey St and Bushwick Av-Aberdeen St Stations:
  • Fully replacing all of the platform edges on both sides of the track
  • Installing new ADA-compliant boarding areas
  • Repairing steel beams and columns
  • Painting the platform areas
Learn more about L Project improvements
 

Plan ahead: Weeknight and weekend L service changes in Brooklyn start again on Monday

Brooklyn customers: planning to use the L on nights and weekends between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction? Plan ahead to use alternative subway service (the M!) or our shuttle buses if you're traveling on the dates or times below. 

Weeknights
Mon., September 23 to Fri., September 27
Mon., September 30 to Fri., October 4
~11:30 (depending on your station's last train time) to 5 a.m.

No L overnight between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction

Weekends
Fri., September 27 to Sun., September 29
Fri., October 4 to Sun., October 6
Fri., January 3 to Sun., January 5
Fri., January 10 to Sun., January 12
Fri., January 17 to Sun., January 19
Fri., January 24 to Sun., January 26
~11:30 (depending on your station's last train time) on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday

No L service between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction
Plan a trip with alternative service
 

Glamour shot of the week: Keeping our cool

Our new substation on 14th St and Avenue B has floors, walls and a ceiling. That means it's time to start installing the equipment. Here the industrial grade fans arrive, which will help maintain the right temperature in the substation.

Photos: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / September 8, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 9/21/19

More discharge pipes and communications cables are being tested this week. Here's what we're up to:
  • Continue installing, insulating and testing the new drain pump in one location
  • Continue the FRP panel installation in two areas
  • Install conduits for communications and fare control machines for the new entrance at 1 Av Station
  • Install and cleat the new negative return cable
  • Work on fiber optic monitoring cable and monitoring controls
  • Test the heat trace system and discharge pipes
  • Test the new communications cables near Bedford Av Station
  • Continue installing new tunnel lighting: brackets, straps, boxes
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:28 PM
Hello. We made lots of progress this week. The newly rebuilt stairs at Bedford Av (Driggs Avenue side) are reopened as of yesterday. And we have a lot of work on tap for this weekend—don't forget, no L service from 8 Av to Broadway Junction while we work (until Monday at 5 a.m.). If you missed it last week, use this guide and this map to get around with our alternatives.

Read on for what we're doing in the tubes and stations this weekend; Reminder about upcoming service changes at some Brooklyn L stations; And what Union Square customers will see starting Monday. Have a fantastic weekend. 
 
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A crew member inspects the cabling for the new tunnel lighting we're installing in the L tunnel. This is one of the ongoing projects we're progressing this weekend.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / September 9, 2019

No L service this weekend (between 8 Av and Broadway Junction). What's actually getting done?

As you smart L Project Weekly readers already know, there's no L service this weekend between 8 Av in Manhattan and Broadway Junction. We're starting accessibility and capacity projects at 14 St-6 Av (elevators!) and Union Square (escalator!). But as they say—"but wait, there's more!" That's right, we coordinated across all of our teams to really maximize our time in tube and stations.

Some numbers:
  • We have 14 different teams coordinating to work at the same time
  • There will be 21 work trains in total used to get materials in and out
  • 9 stations are getting work done
And here are the highlights of the 13 primary projects we're progressing:
  1. New Union Square escalator: demolishing the platform floor to create the pit
  2. 14 St-6 Av Station accessibility initiative: planning and surveying platform space and edges
  3. Upgraded platform components at 4 Brooklyn stations: replacing platform edges and installing new tiles to maintain ADA-compliance
  4. New substations at Maspeth Avenue and Harrison Place: installing new 2000KCML cables to connect the substations to the track so we'll be able to run more trains
  5. Vent control replacement: installing new fiber-optic cable from 1 Av to 8 Av
  6. Track work at Wilson Av: replace old tracks and ties at this station area
  7. Track cleaning and maintenance: replacing an old switch at 8 Av and cleaning the track from 1 Av to 8 Av
  8. Power-washing tile at Bedford Av and installing final trackwall tiles there
  9. Continue installing FRP in two places in the tube
  10. Pulling and strapping fiber-optic cable in two locations
  11. Continue conduit work at 1 Av: installing crossover communication and fare machine conduits
  12. Continue new tunnel lighting work: installing brackets, straps, boxes and connecting to power near Avenue D
  13. Continue work on new discharge line: installing and insulating the new discharge line and pressure testing it from the pump room
More info about our L Project construction
 

Rebuilt Bedford Av platform stairs are now open

 On the Driggs Avenue side of the platform, we've been working on a project to increase stair capacity by 50 percent. We still have to do the finishes, but in the meantime, both of the stairs are open!

As of yesterday (9/13/19), we opened what was the original stair there. We had fully demolished and rebuilt it, all while keeping service open for you. 
 

Why were there random service changes on the L on Friday and during a few days this week?

 Glad you asked. Because in fact, they weren't random at all. 

If you're a long-time L Project Weekly reader, you've probably noticed just how much cable work we're doing every week. (Photographic evidence here.)

We've been replacing cables, including negative return cables in the first tube we're working on as part of the project. It's in our plan to replace the same negative return cables in the other tube (Brooklyn-bound), once we finish construction in the first one, but unfortunately the negative return cables had an issue this week.

We're still investigating the original cause of the problem. In the meantime, here are some answers to your savvy questions you asked us:

What's a negative return cable and does it have anything to do with the infrastructure of the tube?
These cables are part of our traction power system, i.e. how we bring power to the trains. It works like this: substations supply voltage via positive cables to the third rail. Then the power returns through one of the running rails (AKA the negative rail) to the negative return cables. So no, these cables don't have to do with the tube; they're everywhere in our system—anywhere we have a moving train!

What did you do to fix it?
There were 12 total negative return cables in the area with the issue. While we worked to replace 8 of the cables, we were able to continue L service by single-tracking it (using all of our experience from the past several weeknights and weeknights), instead of fully holding all L service. We then went back with just reduced L service to fix a power connection point. 

We know any unplanned service changes are not fun. But if you only use the L train during peak times, you probably don't even know what we're talking about. That's because we pushed to get the work done before the rush times hit. 

Are you using this weekend to put a permanent fix in?
Yes and no. We'll be replacing the 4 remaining cables in that area out of caution. And to be even more super cautious, we're installing an additional 4 cables as a backup, for a total of 16 negative return cables.

This fix is expected to work until we get to the construction in the second tube. At that time, we'll fully replace all of the negative return cables and connections in the tube. That will be the more permanent fix.
 

Watch your step at Union Square: Barricade for new escalator means a busier platform

As you know, we're using this weekend to dig a pit on the L platform at Union Square for the new escalator. And since we care about you, we have to build a big blue barricade around it. 

Come Monday when service is back, remember to use a little extra caution on the L platform. No texting/emailing while walking, please.
 

Reminder: Upcoming weeknight and weekend L service changes in Brooklyn

Brooklyn customers: reminder that the weeknight and weekend work at select stations is starting up again. We're going to advance the work this weekend, too, and will keep you posted if this allows us to cut back any of the outages further ahead.

Mark your calendars if you haven't already, and click the button below for the full details.

Weeknights
Mon., September 23 to Fri., September 27
Mon., September 30 to Fri., October 4
~11:30 (depending on your station's last train time) to 5 a.m.

No L overnight between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction

Weekends
Fri., September 27 to Sun., September 29
Fri., October 4 to Sun., October 6
Fri., January 3 to Sun., January 5
Fri., January 10 to Sun., January 12
Fri., January 17 to Sun., January 19
Fri., January 24 to Sun., January 26
~11:30 (depending on your station's last train time) on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday

No L service between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction
Plan ahead with the full details
 

Weekend event planner: Smorgasburg and Taste of Williamsburg at East River State Park

Heading to East River State Park in Williamsburg this weekend to check out one of these events? We made a special travel guide to help get you there. 

Click the map above for a bigger version, or the button below to plan your trip using one or more of our alternative service options.
Get to East River State Park this weekend
 

Glamour shot of the week: 1 Av Station, but make it brighter

New lighting and new tiles are up on the Manhattan-bound side of 1 Av Station. We'll go back towards the end of the work here to (carefully) power-wash the mosaic tiles.

Photos: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / September 9, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 9/14/19

See above.
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 08, 2019 2:00 AM
Hello there. The tunnel rehabilitation work is still ahead of schedule. But what about the other promised accessibility and capacity work? We're still doing this work, as we said we would. That was the focus of an announcement we made earlier this week, and it's also the subject of this week's L Project Weekly.

Read on for: details on what improvements you're getting; a full schedule of service changes so you can plan ahead; and answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Thanks for sticking with us while we make our system more accessible for all New Yorkers.
 
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Explainer: The 5 things you need to know about this week's news

There's a lot of work happening for the L Project, and we know sometimes all you want to know is "when is the L running and what should I do if it's not?!"  So we're breaking down this week's announcement about accessibility and capacity work on the L.

Here's everything you need to know:

1. The revised L Project tunnel rehabilitation plan is working: Service has continued due to the new approach, meaning 88% of you who use the L during the weekdays see no change at all.

2. We are now able to schedule work for some of the additional accessibility and capacity projects we promised we would do under the original L Project scope. 

3. The main two projects we're starting work on are:
  • New Union Square L platform escalator: This platform is one of the most congested in our entire subway system. The two recently redesigned and rebuilt stairs from the L to the NQRW platforms have helped. But the new escalator will dramatically decrease the issue—the escalator we've designed can move up to 92 people per minute (!) from the platform. 
  • Accessibility initiative at 14 St-6 Av Station, starting with the L and then the F/M platform. We're first building two elevators from the street to the mezzanine, and then two from the mezzanine to the L platform. The F/M will then get another two elevators, for a total of six between the L and F/M.
4. To make improvements in a 24/7 system, we have to close service sometimes, as you know. Here's what our fall service changes on the L will be so we can do this work:
  • Weekend of Sept. 13-16, 2019: No L service between 8 Av and Broadway Junction. Alternate service details are here.
  • October/November 2019: Approximately three to five weeks of weeknights and weekends with no L service at 8 Av or 14-6 Av Stations. We'll update you with dates as soon as possible.
  • Additional times on nights and weekends in fall 2019: Bypassing Union Square station. We'll update you as dates and times are set.
5. We're still doing the other planned work to make upgrades at select Brooklyn stations. The details of the previously released service changes are also on the L Project service change page.

Want more details? Read the full press release by clicking the button below.
Read the press release
 

FAQs...and answers

The news came out on Wednesday, and we've already had some thoughtful questions come in, because (as usual) you all are the best. Here are a few with our answers:

Will the extra service options be the same as when there were other weekend L closures earlier in the year?
Yes. Full details are here, including accessible travel directions. It includes two shuttle buses in Brooklyn, that special M service you've been using already, extra M14 SBS, and more Gs and more 7s, depending on when you're traveling. 

When will the Union Square escalator project be completed?
We need the full track and platform access to dig the pit for one weekend. After that, we'll be working behind a blue barricade on the platform. Fun tidbit: this barricade will actually be slightly narrower than the one we previously had up when we fully demolished and rebuilt the two stairs (between the L and NQRW platforms). The escalator will be totally ready for you in the spring of 2020.

Why do we need to close L service between 8 Av and Broadway Junction for that one weekend?
The service change is so we can dig the pit for the new escalator at Union Square (L platform). This requires full track and station access because we'll have a work train coming in with structural steel and then removing rock from the pit. We'll also be making the most of the service change and advancing the work we've been doing at Brooklyn stations. Brooklyn customers: we'll keep you posted if we're able to reduce the weeknights/weekends we're planning to work.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Before and after, track edition

Continuing with our theme of progress, here's a nice before-and-after shot of the tracks, taken at the same place in the tube. If you couldn't tell, it's before we started work cleaning up what Superstorm Sandy did (left), and after (right). We've completed all of the new tracks and ties in the first tube. Fun fact: the new rails we installed are continuous welded rail, which not only means a smoother ride, but also allow us to run trains at faster speeds safely.

Photos: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / March 2019 (left) and August 2019 (right)
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 9/7/19

Tunnel lighting and more conduit installation, and testing starts for the new discharge lines. Here's the summary of what our teams are doing in the week ahead:
  • Continue the mortar and tile work on the 1 Av Station platform
  • Replace "no clearance" signs with brand new ones
  • Work on the platform edges at Bedford Av
  • Continue preparing and installing the structural FRP panels; working from Avenue D to N 7th in several places
  • Continue tunnel lighting installation: install tunnel lighting brackets, straps and boxes, and pull new tunnel lighting and power feeder cables
  • Continue conduit work: core drill at the pump room for conduits and pipes, and at Bedford Av for communications cables; install conduit and emergency lighting fixtures on the platform at Bedford Av; install conduit and heat/wire trace panels at North 7th fan plant; install wireway conduit and lights for Avenue A south entrance; install new conduit for fire alarm on the mezzanine at 1 Av
  • Continue rail work: Install new third rail gap jumpers in two places; weld negative return 4th rail joints
  • Work on fiber cables: connect the communications and fiber and relocate LAN fiber
  • Test the new discharge line on the Manhattan side
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 01, 2019 5:02 AM
Hi. This week, we're branching out from our regular discussion of tunnels, tracks and ties. Yes, we're talking trees, since we're planting a bunch as part of the project. We met up with the certified arborist team we work with (yes, arborists)—read our interview below to find out how they choose trees and which ones could be planted for the L Project. 

Also: don't forget that the L will run on a weekend schedule on Labor Day and today is the last day for the B91A. Enjoy the unofficial-end-of-summer weekend.
 
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This is a project rendering for 14th Street in Manhattan. The image shows a potential layout for how the finished street restoration could look.

When our construction crews go under ground, our arborists take over

A transit infrastructure job like the L Project involves so many facets, so many tasks, so many areas of expertise...it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. So this week we’re stepping back to look at…the trees!

That’s right. Not only does our project need archeologists (see last week’s issue), it requires licensed arborists. This week, we checked in with our certified tree experts, who are also urban landscape designers. They explain what it takes to plant trees in New York City. Hint, it’s all about location, location, location.      

L Project Weekly: Team, we talked about streetscaping in an earlier issue, and we heard that our L customers have some nice, leafy trees in their future. What can you tell us?

Arborists: Yes, there will be trees. Landscaping and plantings are one of the last steps in a big project like this, kind of the icing on the cake. But our tree team was also involved early on, before most of the construction even started.

LPW: Really? What were you doing, planting seeds?

Arborists: Before the project crews started work on the street level, we did a tree inventory around the 14thStreet and Bedford Avenue worksites. We looked at the trees already there, we mapped their positions, we determined the best ways to protect the existing trees. And we determined which trees really had to be removed. This is always a last resort, only for the trees right on top of where digging happens. We actually found that some of those trees weren’t in great shape to begin with. They weren’t ideal species for an urban setting.

LPW: So what’s next?

Arborists: All trees in the city are officially owned by the Parks Department, so we’ve been working closely with them since the beginning. Once you establish that a tree must be removed, then you have to pay the city a restitution. But that doesn’t necessarily mean money. You can pay in trees. That’s what we’re doing. We’re putting back more trees than we took out, lots more. Approximately twice as many.

LPW: Doubling down on trees! You said some of the old species weren’t great city trees. So we can assume we’re getting some new and different types? What are we getting? How do you select them?

Arborists: A lot of things go into selecting trees. For example, we want taller trees over pedestrian pathways, shade trees near a bench or bus stop. And we consider the aesthetics, like fall colors that complement each other. Maybe some red-leafed Sweet Gums near a yellow-leafed Ginkgo. Of course, we want hardy species that are going to survive here. And that requirement can actually change over time.
LPW: What do you mean? Why would it change?

Arborists: Just look at why we’re doing the L Project in the first place. Our subway system has to now meet today’s issues, namely for climate change and rising sea levels. Same goes for trees. We need trees that are more flood-resistant, that can withstand more extreme weather, hotter and colder. And, of course, they have to be tough enough to make it in the urban setting.

LPW: Tough how? How does city life impact a tree?      

Arborists: There’s a lot of stuff under any New York street. Roots have to compete with all that stuff. So before we can plant, we do very specific tree layouts. The main thing we need to know is where all the utilities are. And it’s not just the trees we have to worry about. Roots can work their way into water pipes or steam pipes. We have specified distances they have to be away from each kind of utility—water, electrical, sewer. And we have to worry about pedestrians, cars, traffic sightlines. Locating tree pits in New York is really a needle-in-a-haystack job.

LPW: Wow. Guess if a tree can make it here, it can make it anywhere. So once you diagram your pit locations, we dig?

Arborists: Yes, but even then we may find some unmapped utility or something that makes it unfeasible. As we’re digging we extend outward, backfilling around the pit itself with a specific kind of rock and dirt mix we call "structural soil." This helps to guide the roots down and away from the surface. Otherwise, they can grow straight back up through the sidewalk. 

LPW: You generally plant saplings in fall or spring, right? And then that’s it?

Arborists: Not exactly. We do contracted maintenance on every tree for one to two years, depending. It’s pretty much a warranty. The MTA and the city want to know they got their money’s worth. We all want to be sure that those trees will be around for generations.

LPW: Definitely. Oh wait, you didn’t tell us what kind of trees we’re getting. Any elms for our L customers and neighbors along 14th Street and Bedford Avenue?

Arborists: We have to finalize all of our picks with the city, so I can’t tell you exactly. We’ll have some of the proven city species, like Ginkgoes and London Plane Trees. If you’re an arborist, you really want to rotate in some new species, and the city is approving more types now. We’re looking at a few kinds, like Sweet Gum, Swamp White Oak and Japanese Zelkova, which is an elm that’s resistant to Dutch Elm disease.

LPW: That was really interesting, tree team. Thanks for helping our customers get a better above ground experience at our stations, too, after the L Project.
 

Reminder: Labor Day Monday will be an every-20-minute-L schedule all day

ICYMI: just like we do for other work in the system, when there's a long holiday weekend, we extend our working schedule to the holiday. 

So plan ahead, as this Labor Day (Monday, September 2), the L will be operating like a current Saturday or Sunday. L trains will be every 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and every 10 minutes between Lorimer St and Canarsie. And the alternate service options will be available.
 

L Project refresher course: More than just the tunnel

We got some questions this week about what exactly the L Project includes. Assuming you don't have someone around who geeks out on this stuff as much as we do, we're here to help. Here are three things every L customer should know:
  1. The L Project all started because of Superstorm Sandy and the damage it did inside the two tubes between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
  2. When we designed the project, we included the tunnel rehabilitation work, as well as repair and improvement work for things like capacity and accessibility. We did this to help make the most of any service disruptions. 
  3. Even though how we're doing the tunnel rehabilitation has changed from the original methods, what we planned is still going to get done. Timing and service changes will shift around as we schedule out and progress the project's components, but we're still doing what we promised, from station improvements to elevators at Bedford Av and 1 Av.
Now just click the button below for the full details, and you'll be ready to host your own L Project themed trivia night. 
More L Project details here
 

Glamour shot of the week: Shameless tunnel photo

...Or should we say "tube photo"? The L tunnel is actually one tunnel with two tubes. This shows the one tube that we're currently working on. In this segment, all of the new tracks and ties, as well as new cables, are completed.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, August 10, 2019
 

Changes to Williamsburg bus options start tomorrow

If you've been using the B91A, a reminder that this route will be replaced by other existing bus options in the neighborhood starting tomorrow. The change is because the majority of people are starting trips at the subway stations instead of using the B91A to get there. 

Use the link below to see a map and schedules for your alternative buses.
Learn about your replacement bus options
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 8/31/19

We're making the most of the long weekend: lots of tile work, cable installation and more conduits. The full rundown:
  • Clean several segments of tiles at Bedford Av and install new platform tiles at 1 Av Station
  • Install new wire for tunnel lighting at Bedford Av
  • Continue preparing and installing the structural FRP panels from 1st Ave to N 7th
  • Continue cable work: install negative equalizers and transponder jumpers; splice cables for trays; continue putting the tags on new cables
  • Continue conduit work: install conduit and pull cables for negative rail to the 4th rail; chop and pour to prep for conduit installation in two locations; install heat trace conduits at N 7th fan plant; remove existing 3/4 conduit from pump room to N 7th fan plant
  • Continue working on discharge pipes and brackets near the N 7th fan plant
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, August 24, 2019 2:11 PM
Hello. We're moving ahead on the project. But this week, we're also looking back—way back. Specifically, we'll look at an archaeological report we did before we broke ground on our Maspeth Ave substation (one of three we're building for the project). The report cleared us to work, and we’ve been doing so consistent with its recommendations. But why did we need this report? And what did we find out about the history of the area? Keep reading. And if you're really into urban history like us, you'll find a link to the full report.

Also: your Labor Day weekend L schedule; the M train will run up to the Upper West Side on the D line again this weekend (because of our project on the 1, 2, 3 lines); and one more full week before we make changes to Williamsburg bus options. Have a fabulous weekend.
 
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Our worksite on Maspeth Ave. Here, we're building one of three new substations for the L. Based on records available, this site required an archaeological study before we started any work.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 29, 2019

History revealed: Long before a substation, a 17th century Dutch village

Can you dig it? That’s a question we have to answer before we dig up certain New York City properties. Prior to big construction jobs, we have to file a slew of impact reports. Those may include archaeological studies when digging in certain areas. Which areas? What are we looking for? Do we ever find things? We asked Derek Braithwaite, whose official MTA title is City Research Scientist (cool!), to tell us more. Here’s what we unearthed.    

L Project Weekly: Derek, we’re in the subway business, so we do a lot of digging. Before we do that, we have to file certain federal, state, or city reports, correct?

Derek Braithwaite: Sure, we may be required to assess impacts on endangered species, air quality, historical sites, architecture. So our archaeological reports are part of that bigger environmental package.

LPW: But we don’t do that every time we put a shovel in the ground, do we? How do we know if an area is archaeologically significant?

DB: First, we have to know what work has been done there before. If we can show that the area was dug up extensively in the last century, there’s probably little archaeological value. Sometimes we’re digging near old cemeteries, and we may have a record that the bodies were previously moved. Still, you have to be careful just in case. We do all of this out of an abundance of caution.

LPW: So if we don’t have records of recent development or deep excavations, what happens?

DB: First, we’ll bring in an archaeological survey firm for a documents assessment. They’ll go through old records and maps to see what existed there before. If there was anything significant, they may go out and dig up soil samples. If there’s reason to think there’s something still there, an archaeologist may even come on site as we work and watch as the digging progresses.

LPW: What are we looking for?

DB: One significant thing would be pottery shards or anything from what we call the “precontact” period, before Europeans. From any period, it has to be things that last, of course. That would be pottery, foundation walls, plates, cups, bones, wells, cisterns.
LPW:  What about the L Project? Did that require an archaeological report?

DB: Yes, one. We knew that most places we were digging along the L had been thoroughly developed for over a century. But on Maspeth Ave, where we were digging for the new substation, we couldn’t prove recent development at the depth we were digging. So we assigned a preliminary report. It’s called a Phase IA Archaeological Documentary Study.

LPW: What did the study find?

DB:  This kind of report complies with all the relevant state and city requirements. It gives a pretty detailed historical record of the space; super interesting for anyone who lives in the area. Quick summary: It did not find a high potential for precontact sensitivity so it was fine to proceed. Native Americans in the area lived along the waterways, and the nearest was English Kills, about five city blocks away. The most significant finding was a Dutch village here in the 1660s called Het Dorp. But it’s hard to know what structures were there. The known burial grounds were about 1,000 feet from our worksite.

 LPW: So what’s the verdict?

DB: We watch as we go. The most likely findings would be building foundations, cisterns, refuse deposits. We instruct our crews on what to look for. We are very careful as this is sensitive stuff, obviously. We haven’t found anything though. But still, we are closely following the recommendations to continue monitoring. 

LPW: Have we ever found anything exciting while working on the subway system? A dinosaur? A Viking ship?

DB: When we were working on South Ferry Terminal in Battery Park we found very significant remains of the 250-year-old military fortifications, and literally thousands of artifacts. It was a big deal, we had archaeologists right alongside our crews. If you go to Castle Clinton there, you can see a display on that whole project and what was found.

LPW: Thanks, Derek. Maybe 1,000 years from now someone will be thrilled to dig up our Maspeth substation. Readers who live in that area can get our archeological report here (note: technical drawings have been redacted for security).

It has lots of local history, maps, and the below photo of the old Bushwick Church, right about where St. Francis of Paola Church stands today.
Drawing from 1864 depicting the area around where our Maspeth Ave substation will be, as it appeared in 1711.

Source: New York Public Library, Meeker 1864
 

Reminder: M train will run on the D line this weekend

We're continuing our reliability project on the 1, 2, 3 lines. This means that this Saturday and Sunday, the M train will once again be rerouted from its usual route (up to the Upper East Side) to 145 St on the local track. See the map below for the details.
The rare one-seat trip between North Brooklyn and the Upper West Side: The M will route up to 145 St Station (instead of 96 St-2 Av on the Upper East Side) this weekend, August 23 to 26 (Friday night to the early morning hours on Monday).
 

Labor Day Monday: L will do the every-20-minute-schedule all day Monday

Just like we did for Memorial Day, we're extending our weekend work schedule to the Labor Day Monday.

That means that Labor Day (Monday, September 2), the L will be operating like a current Saturday or Sunday. L trains will be every 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and every 10 minutes between Lorimer St and Canarsie. And the alternate service options will be available.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Lighting check-up, now remote

A crew member works to program the remote testing feature on one of the new tunnel lighting fixtures. This feature allows us to remotely check on our tunnel lighting, reducing the time we need to take trains out of service for maintenance on the lights, and allowing our teams to spend more time on other work.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, August 10, 2019
 

ICYMI: Changes to Williamsburg bus options start September 1

If you've been using the B91A, a reminder that this route will be replaced by other existing bus options in the neighborhood starting September 1. The change is because the majority of people are starting trips at the subway stations instead of using the B91A to get there. 

Use the link below to see a map and schedules for your alternative buses.
Learn About Your Replacement Bus Options
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 8/24/19

More tile work, third rail progress and new waterproofing. What we're up to:
  • Tile and trackwall work: continue working on mortar and tile installation at 1 Av; repair lateral girders on the trackwalls at Bedford Av
  • Install waterproofing materials in Bedford Av Station
  • Continue work on installing the structural FRP panels between stations in two locations
  • Reconnect platform lights and conduits on the Bedford Av platform
  • Continue track work: install positive connector and cables to the third rail in one zone, install new third rail gap jumpers in two areas
  • Continue cable work: install wire and tag signal cables, replace positive cable at Bedford Av
  • Continue conduit work: install fire alarm and fare machine conduits at platform and mezzanine level and conductors in conduits near 1 Av
  • Install more brackets and couplings between Bedford Av and 1 Av, in two areas
  • Install new tunnel lighting between the pump room and Bedford Av Station in two locations
  • Continue pump room work: remove and replace overhead piping, removed old discharge pipe and wall brackets, install rubber isolation gaskets between discharge pipe and wall brackets, from the pump room to Ave D
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, August 17, 2019 2:10 PM
Hi there. As we're making progress underground, that also means we're getting closer to making improvements above ground. Starting this weekend, we're going to begin restoring one part of the street/sidewalk in our construction zone on the Manhattan side. We'll have a full schedule of this restoration soon. In the meantime, get all of your street restoration questions answered here, like "will there be new trees?" (yes) and "will the sidewalk be just plain concrete?" (no). Keep reading for more.

Also: the M train will run up to the Upper West Side on the D line this weekend and next (because of work we're doing on the 1, 2, 3 lines), and don't forget about changes coming to bus options in Williamsburg on 9/1. Enjoy the weekend.
 
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An aerial view of 14th St in Manhattan from April 2019. Starting this weekend, we're beginning the process of restoring the street and sidewalk in front of Associated Supermarket (top left, red awnings).

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Street restoration 101: Belgian blocks, trees and more

This weekend, we’re going to begin packing up and restoring a section of the street and sidewalk on the Manhattan side of the job. We’ll have a full schedule soon of what you’ll see and when, and what’s to come on the Brooklyn side, too. In the meantime, we wanted to know: what does “street restoration” actually mean? In general, it’s “leave the neighborhood better than you found it.” We talked with our construction management (CM) team to get the specifics.

L Project Weekly: Team, jobs like this mean that we’re temporary neighbors in a community. When it’s done, of course, we’ll leave behind a brand new, fully accessible subway station. But what about everything we tore up?

CM: Sure, we have a very comprehensive plan for street restoration. The basic rule is to restore everything, leave no footprint.

LPW: People restore old houses and paintings. What does it mean to restore a street?

CM: We mean the street, the sidewalk paving, the trees, everything. The biggest task is rebuilding the street itself. We’ll be doing that work ourselves, following very specific rules from the city DOT.

LPW:  What’s involved?

CM:  It's a multi-step process. First, we dump in backfill, then we compress it with a heavy vibrating roller and tamping machines. Then we pour a base course of concrete.

LPW: Then comes asphalt, right?

CM: Yes, that’s called the ‘wearing course.’ A big asphalt spreader moves down the street slowly with crews following, raking the asphalt even. We do one pass down

one side of the street and back up the other. We need to minimize traffic disruptions, and so we’re required to do most of the work at night.

LPW: We’ve seen those asphalt machines working at night. It’s kind of fascinating to watch. What about the sidewalks, we’re pouring concrete there, right?

CM: That's partially right. It's actually an accessibility issue. We are pouring concrete around the new elevators and on sidewalk ramps for ADA-compliant accessibility. Originally, the sidewalks along the worksite were what’s called Belgian block. You see it a lot around New York City. For proper restoration, we actually removed all those blocks and saved them at the beginning of the job. We’ll have a team of masons who lay down a bed of sand, then set the stones. It’s really a craft, the same way it was done in the nineteenth century.

LPW: We have some great trivia on that below for our readers. But to finish up, we also had to pull out a few trees, the ones directly on top of the areas where we're working. We’re replanting trees, right?

CM:  We were able to protect most of the trees, but we did have to take out a few. We’ll be putting back more trees than we took out. I can give you our final shopping list later, but I know there are a few different kinds.

LPW: Great. We know you still have a lot of work to do. We’ll get back to you later about those trees, knock on wood!

 

M train will run on the D line Aug 16-19 and Aug 23-26

North Brooklynites/Upper West Siders: If you've ever yearned for a one-seat trip to get to each other's neighborhoods, you have it for two weekends.

We're doing some big weekend work to improve reliability on the 1, 2, and 3 lines. So as we're moving service options around to accommodate the West Siders, that means the M train will be running on the D line for two weekends, August 16-19 and August 23-26.

Specifically, the M will be rerouted to 145 St via Central Park West on the local track on Saturday and Sunday for those two weekends. See the map below for the details.
The rare one-seat trip between North Brooklyn and the Upper West Side: The M will route up to 145 St Station (instead of 96 St-2 Av on the Upper East Side) for two weekends, August 16-19 and August 23-26.
 

Progress report: 3 weeks, 10 Brooklyn L stations

Thanks for your flexibility when we had those three weeks of late night and weekend L closures (between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction). We'll be going back later in September to finish up the accessibility and power work, but we made major progress during those three weeks. 

Some highlights:
  1. Reconstructed new platform edges and created ADA-compliant areas at Halsey St and DeKalb Av Stations
  2. Prepped for new tactile strips on both sides of the platforms at Bushwick Av-Aberdeen St, Halsey St, DeKalb Av and Morgan Av by removing the old ones, and installed new tactile strips on both sides of the Halsey St Station
  3. Pulled several thousand feet of the various kinds of cable (telephone, 36-strand fiber optic and control) needed to connect the two new substations in Brooklyn to the track
  4. Connected 1,200 feet of 500 MCM cables—big power cables—to the positive and negative cables from the substation. The photo below shows the new negative return cable being "cleated," as we call it, at Maspeth Av substation
 

ICYMI: Changes to Williamsburg bus options start September 1

If you've been using the B91A, a reminder that this route will be replaced by other existing bus options in the neighborhood starting September 1. The change is because the majority of people are starting trips at the subway stations instead of using the B91A to get there. 

Use the link below to see a map and schedules for your alternative buses.
Learn About Your Replacement Bus Options
 

Asphalt and revolutions: What’s the connection?

 Here’s some party patter about…paving!

Your friends will be fascinated to learn that asphalt may haveoriginated as part of a counter-revolutionary strategy: When the urban planner Baron Haussmann reconstructed Paris between 1853 and 1870, he is said to have renovated streets with a smooth asphalt-style surface to cover the cobblestones and blocks. This prevented the old practice of tearing up the paving stones for barricades and weapons during the city’s many revolutions. Later urban planning guides would cite this as one of the virtues of asphalt paving.
 

Glamour shot of the week: All of the new ties. All done.

Our new ties. Up close and personal. As of last weekend, we finished installing all of the new ties in the first rehabbed tube. We're continuing to do work on the third rail and other parts of the track in this tube.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, August 10, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 8/17/19

We're doing work below and above ground now. Also: the tile work continues. Here is a summary:
  • Tile and trackwall work: Powerwash in preparation for mortar and tile installation at 1 Av; repair and install trackwall tiles and fix lateral girders at Bedford Av
  • Continue removing old and installing new trackwall tiles at Bedford Av Station
  • Repair existing platform tiles on walls at 1 Av platform
  • Continue work on installing the structural FRP panels, between 1st Ave the circuit breaker house, and Bedford Ave to the pump room
  • Continue track work: disconnect old third rail jumper connections between 1st Ave and the circuit breaker house; install new track fuse box near 1st Ave; install contact rail between 1st Ave and the circuit breaker house and weld 10 rail joints there
  • Continue cable work: remove old positive feeder cable on the Brooklyn side; start splicing new communications and control cables from Bedford Av to 1 Av
  • Continue conduit work: Install heat trace at Bedford Av fire standpipe; install conduit for heat trace at the Ave D fan plant; install new fire alarm and fare control conduits at the platform and mezzanine level of 1 Av Station; install conduit for telephone at 1 Av Station; install conduits for DC power at Bedford Ave
  • Continue installing brackets and couplings between Bedford Av and 1 Av
  • Install new tunnel lighting between pump room and Bedford Av
  • Install discharge line and manifolds by the N 7th fan plant
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, August 10, 2019 1:46 PM
Hello. We’ve talked pumps, cables, racks and tracks. Still, we’ve barely scratched the surface! That's right, this week, we're talking about subway tile. We've installed about 60% of the replacement tile on the first side so far...and we just started two weeks ago. More below on the history of our tiles, and how while they all might have that same pearly white gleam, they're actually made from several kinds of material to withstand different conditions.

Also: reminder about changes to bus options in Williamsburg coming on 9/1. Have a lovely weekend.
 
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We've installed about 60% of the new tile on the first side of the L tracks so far—and we only started two weeks ago. Here, a team works to install the tile at Bedford Av Station, all while keeping the station open on the other track.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, August 3, 2019

Doing Tile, Subway Style

What do Topkapi Palace, the Basilica, and our subway system all have in common? All are world-famous for their ceramic tilework. Restoring tilework is a big, bright chunk of the L Project. So this week we’re talking tile with three members of our architectural team—Linda Tonn, Thomas Fackelman, and “tile guru” Sara McIvor. We’ll just call them the A Team.
 
L Project Weekly: We have beautiful mosaics and tilework all across our system. That includes new artworks and the old ceramics, which we work hard to preserve. Give us a little background.

A Team: Yes, our older tilework is quite famous. It falls into roughly two periods. The earliest, from 1901 to 1907, was created by Heins & LaFarge, who were part of what’s called the Arts and Crafts movement. They also worked on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The L stations were done later, in the 1920s, created under Squire J. Vickers, our chief architect from 1906 to 1942.

LPW:  Are the styles different?

A Team:  There are many styles, but the work done under Vickers has a simpler, graphical look and is used as signage and station identification, like the B in a hexagonal frame at Bedford Av Station. This is the mosaic style people associate with our subways.

LPW: What sort of tilework are we doing with the L Project? We’re not tearing out any old mosaics are we?

A Team: No!!! We are cleaning the old mosaic and matching and repairing any missing bits. And we are replacing the basic white tiles on the track wall at Bedford Av and on the platform and mezzanine at 1 Av Station. We try to match any tilework we are replacing whenever possible.
LPW: So, the basic white wall tiles we’re replacing, are those standard tiles we use throughout the subway system?

A Team: Our white platform tiles are somewhat standard, but we use different tile sizes and types. That’s because our stations were built over different periods by different companies. We use ceramic or glass tiles. We also use glazed and unglazed bricks, porcelain enamel panels, painted concrete, and other finishes. But ceramic tile is the most common.

LPW: Why is that?

A Team: It looks nice and it’s very practical. It’s easy to clean, even when it comes to graffiti. The glazed surfaces won’t fade. High-fired ceramic and porcelain tiles are very durable and withstand fluctuations in temperature. We use frostproof tiles near station entrances, which are fired at ever higher temperatures and absorb less moisture. And our tilework uses soft corners instead of mitered corners, which is easier to clean and more resistant to impacts.  Most of the tiles you see at Bedford Av and 1 Av are still the original tiles, almost 100 years old.

LPW: If it’s so durable, why do we have to replace large sections of tile?

A Team: Water. The main thing we have to combat is water infiltration coming in behind the tile. But basically there’s no material or finish that is going to withstand water infiltration.

LPW: Thanks, team. And one final note to readers—yes, we are going to go back and power-wash all of the old mosaics later in the project (wouldn’t make sense to do it while we’re still working!). Check out the photo below for how Bedford Av Station looks with new tile (platform left) and the old walls exposed, pre-new tile (platform right). Pre-power-wash, not bad.
 

Reminder: Plan for changes to Williamsburg bus options starting September 1

As we shared last week, there will be changes to night and weekend bus options in Williamsburg, starting September 1, due to more people starting their trips at the subway and not needing the B91A. 

If you've been using the B91A bus to connect between Marcy Av Station to other parts of Brooklyn, there are several other bus options in the neighborhood. Use the map and link below to learn more about your alternative buses.
Learn About Your Replacement Bus Options
 

That glazed look

 The Canarsie Line has many fine examples of the geometric Arts and Craft tilework. This style was created under famed subway architect Squire J. Vickers when he worked on the subways between 1906 and 1942, like this cut-porcelain, high-glaze beauty at Wilson Av Station.

While Vickers set the overall look, dimensions, and signage coding, there was no standard pattern. Tilesmiths would often cut and set mosaics at their own whim.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Subway tile is always in style here

It's been said that subway tile is over. Not here. An L train enters Bedford Av Station where new tile has been installed. Crews installed this tile all while keeping the station open for service.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, August 3, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 8/10/19

We're pushing ahead on the aforementioned tile work. Also: lots of work on discharge lines and tracks. Here's what we're up to:
  • Continue removing old and installing new track-wall tiles at Bedford Av Station
  • Repair existing platform tiles on walls at 1 Av platform
  • Continue progress on installing the structural FRP panels, between 1st Ave and Ave D
  • Install tunnel lighting room equipment near Bedford Av
  • Pull cables near Avenue D fan plant
  • Install new conduits and feeder power cables for existing panels near Bedford Av Station
  • Install new conduits for fire alarm and communications at 1 Av platform and mezzanine levels
  • Remove and install new handrail in the tube from 1st Ave to Ave D
  • Work on discharge line and manifolds by N 7th fan plant, and remove old pump discharge pipe
  • Core drill at Ave D fan plant platform for discharge line
  • Install tunnel lighting brackets and new lighting
  • Swap additional plates and ties and remove and install new contact rail equipment between Ave D and pump room
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, August 03, 2019 1:40 PM
Hi there. We're making progress at a fast clip. Or perhaps more appropriately, we're "more than just on track" (okay, it was a stretch). That's right, the installation of the new tracks are about 80% of the way done in the first tube. But what does it take to install these tracks? More on that below.

Also: Changes are coming to night and weekend bus options in Williamsburg; Even more accessibility at 14th-6 Av Station, do "tracks" and "rails" mean the same thing (spoiler: no); And don't forget about service changes in Brooklyn this weekend. Have a super weekend.
 
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Approximately 80% of the track work is complete in the first tube on the L. Here, crew are chipping out and removing the old track ties (and keeping the area wetted down to prevent dusty conditions). The old ties were damaged from being under saltwater during Superstorm Sandy. 

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, July 13, 2019

Explainer: Making Tracks, Literally—Here’s How We Do It

Happy to say, among other things, the track work in the Canarsie Tunnel is really moving along. Our track crews are working in one of most confined spaces in the system. Yet they’re laying down track about 20 percent faster than normal. To find out how, we tracked down two of our experts, Antonio Cabrera in engineering and Frank Jezycki from operations. 

L Project Weekly: It seems like the track work is ahead of schedule. We can only do this work during the weekend shifts. How are we getting so much done?

Frank Jezycki: First, let’s back up and recall why we’re doing this. When Sandy hit, the tracks in the Canarsie Tunnel were under 7 million gallons of saltwater. The tracks are safe, but that really speeds up deterioration of the ties. We need to replace the whole thing. That’s 7,000 ft of track in each direction, so 14,000 ft in all.

LPW: Track crews typically lay down about 300 ft of track in a weekend. On the L Project, we’re doing about 350 ft to 400 ft per weekend. Are we doing something different?

Antonio Cabrera: Yes, though it’s not unique to the L. Originally, we were going to tear out the whole concrete roadbed under the ties. That would have meant jackhammers and trains hauling out tons of concrete. Instead, we took inspiration from other projects we’ve done and are chipping the old wood ties out of the concrete. We set slightly smaller plastic-composite ties into that gap, then we pour an epoxy concrete over the whole thing. Less demolition, much less time.

LPW: In an earlier issue, we talked about LVT, low-vibration track, which is currently only on the L and the 7 lines. Are there other track improvements we’re making?

FJ: Yes, we’re installing continuously welded rail or CWR. That’s standard now when we replace large sections of subway track. Instead of the usual 39 ft pieces of steel rail, called “sticks,” we weld them into 390 ft long rails. Those are called “strings.” When you ride the subway you can hear the difference. No more ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk.
That means a quieter ride, less wear on cars, less wear on the whole track system.  

LPW: Sticks and strings! Tell us more, like how much does one of those steel strings weigh?

AC: Okay, the standard spec for rail is either 100 or 115 lbs per yard, since we use two types. So going with the 100 lb ones, that’s 1,300 per stick, times 10 sticks per string, that’s 13,000 lbs, or 6.5 tons.

LPW: Not exactly lightweights. How do they get from wherever into the Canarsie Tunnel?

AC: The 39-ft steel sticks are made in Pennsylvania, then trucked to our Linden Shop in Brooklyn. It’s the shop where we work on track, and, by the way, it’s our only shop with rail connections to the IRT lines, the BMT lines, AND the LIRR. That’s where we weld 10 regular sticks into 390 ft. strings.

LPW: And then?

AC: As I said, that shop has a rail link to the BMT lines, or lettered lines, which includes the L. We load them onto a special CWR flatbed train and run them right into the tunnel worksite. That takes a lot of power. The CWR train can haul up to eight 390-ft strings, or about 52 tons of steel.

LPW: At this point, something called a “critter” picks up the rails, right? This critter isn’t actually alive is it?

FJ: The critters, as the crews call them, are these small, self-mobilizing tractors with hoists on their undersides. We’re using two of them in the tunnel. One critter pulls up the old rails, the other lays in the new rail.

LPW: So, once this is all done, once the critters lay out all the strings, our customers are going to have 14,000 feet of smooth, continuous rails on low-vibration track beds. No more ker-thunk, ker-thunk. How far along are we?

FJ:  We’re about 80% of the way done in the first tube.

LPW:  That’s great! Thanks. And thanks to all our hard-working track crews.
 

Changes to night and weekend bus options in Williamsburg: B91A will be replaced by current B62, B24, Q54

You've continued using the alternative subway options, especially the J and the M, instead of the L, in big numbers. But you've been starting your trip directly at the subways, instead of using the neighborhood Williamsburg Link bus (B91A) we've been running. The average number of customers on the B91A has been ~3 per loop; where the B62, for example, has about ~33 customers on weekends and ~44 on weekdays, per trip.

So to make the best use of our bus resources for all New Yorkers, we're going to replace the B91A with existing bus service in the neighborhood: the B62, B24 and Q54. We'll be keeping those buses in Brooklyn and using operators to fill vacancies.

Check out our handy map below for where these routes go and when they operate. And click the button below for more details. 

If you love the Williamsburg Link bus, you still have some time to enjoy it. The last day of service will be August 31, 2019. 
Learn About Your Replacement Bus Options
 

Reminder: Weekend work happening at select Brooklyn L stations

We're wrapping up a string of work at L stations between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction this weekend. This work will resume the nights and weekends later in September (don't worry, we'll send out reminders then). 
Plan your trip
 
Rendering of the original accessibility project at 14 St-6 Av Station, which would make the L and the F/M platforms accessible. The revised project will add accessibility to the 1/2/3 platform as well, not pictured here.

Accessibility upgrade at 14 St-6 Av Station

If you're a long-time reader, you might recall that we talked before about how the L Project was adding full L accessibility to three stations: Bedford Av, 1 Av and 14 St-6 Av. And we did a heck of a lot of legal-esque explaining to make sure you knew that we were ALSO committed to making the F/M platform at 14 St-6 Av accessible.

You may have heard rumblings about changes to this project this week, and the rumors are true! 14 St-6 Av will ALSO be getting accessibility for the 1/2/3 lines (within the 2020-2024 capital plan). The elevators in this complex will be completed as one project to maximize efficiency. And FYI, the elevator access to the L platform will still come first. 
 

Tracks, rails, roads…do you know the difference?

 Okay, “rails” are the runner bars, from the Latin “regula,” meaning “rule” or “bar.” Early rails were wooden, then iron, now steel.

The “track” is the pair of parallel rails the wheels run on.

A “road” is simply an open way for vehicles, hence railroad. The word comes from Anglo-Saxon “rad” meaning “to ride,” as in a journey on horseback. Our own subway crews usually call the tracks “the road.” A subway operator out on the job is “pounding the road.”

Bonus question: Why are track rails 39 ft long?

Railroad buffs largely agree, it’s because they were transported around the U.S. rail systems in open boxcars or gondola cars, which were standardized at 40 ft long. To get them in and out, you needed a little room at the ends.

But why were boxcars 40 ft long? Don’t know. If you do, drop us a line.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Working on parallel tracks

Moving on: Multiple crew members work together on the tracks. Here, they're in the early stages of replacing this stretch of track in the Canarsie Tunnel.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, July 13, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 8/2/19

Tiles, more cabling and accessibility prep work at Bedford Av Station. Check out the highlights of what we're doing this week:
  • Remove old and install new track-wall ties at Bedford Av Station 
  • Continue progress on installing the structural FRP panels between the pump room and North 7th
  • Install ADA-compliant ramp steel at Bedford Av Station platform
  • Remove and install new handrail in the tube on the Brooklyn side
  • Core drill and install new drain lines on the Brooklyn side, and a discharge line near the signal cases between Avenue D and the pump room
  • Testing and installing power elements: test the negative equalizer for the 4th rail; install 3rd rail power gap jumper near the North 7th fan plant
  • Cable work near Bedford Av Station: Core drill and install antenna communications cables; install conduits and feeder power cables; relocate and install conduits and cable at circuit breaker house; splice antenna and pull cables near the North 7th fan plant
  • Install tunnel lighting brackets and new lighting
  • Continue installing conduits at 1 Av Station for the fire alarm and lights, both platform and mezzanine levels
  • Swap additional plates and ties, and remove and install new contact rail equipment between Avenue D and 1st Avenue and weld rail joints
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 28, 2019 7:40 AM
Hello. Last week, we mentioned that one of the biggest uses of power is air-conditioning in train cars. We got a lot of questions from you about how this all works, including maintaining them and how you can report a "hot car." We talked with one of our general superintendents to get the cool lowdown; read our interview below.

Also: one of you asked "what's happening behind the barricade on the Bedford Av platform?" so we answered; A photo of the new rails—can you feel the difference?; Don't forget about the service changes in Brooklyn all weekend. Have a sunny summer weekend.
 
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Cool customer: An (air-conditioned) L train pulls in to Bedford Av Station. 

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, July 13, 2019

L train chill out: How our crews keep your AC humming

Last week, the mercury hit 93 F. So we don't think you'll disagree that we’re putting our power to good use with that temperature-modifying invention—air-conditioning! 

We didn't always have it though. The IRT tested the first AC units in 1955, and The New York Times called it “the dream of every heat maddened subway sardine.” Still, it wasn’t until July 1967 that our first fully air-conditioned fleet rolled out. Since then, AC has been standard order on all new cars. 
 
But keeping it working on the L means rigorous maintenance on the air-conditioning units at the East New York Yard, where we park the L, J, M, and Z trains. So how do we keep those cars cool? And what should you do if you board one that isn’t? We talked to Patrick Nee, a general superintendent and a 39-year NYCT veteran who’s fixed a lot of AC units in his day.

L Project Weekly: Patrick, we have about 5,400 cars in daily service. How do we check the air-conditioning on all of them?

Patrick Nee: It’s part of our routine inspections. Every car gets a top-to-bottom inspection every 10,000 to 12,000 miles, or 68 to 78 days, whichever comes first. We check the motors, doors, brakes, lights, everything. That includes the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, the HVAC unit. We also do daily inspections when trains lay up in the yard. If the AC or anything else isn’t working, we switch those cars out for ones that are working to keep service moving, and then fix the broken one.

LPW: Is there anything we do differently in summer?

PN: We do change the AC filters, like you would at home. I like to change them one or two times between the regular inspections.

LPW: We have a lot of different trains or “rolling stock,” as we call it, under different contracts. So the HVAC units are all different, right?

PN: They all have the same basic parts, but there’s one big difference. The rolling stock built before 1999 have the HVAC units underneath the car. They pick up more dust, and they’re harder to work on because they’re built into the car.
And the maintenance process is more manual. I used to work on them in the summers, down in the service pit under the car. It was sweaty, dirty work. But hey, I was in my 20s, I had to put my time in.

LPW: So if those are manual, what’s more automated about the newer cars, AKA our "millennium" fleet?

PN: For the newer ones, we can plug in a computer diagnostics system and check the whole car. Everything is right on screen. It’s much faster. I love working on the new ones. And the HVAC units themselves are modular and sit on top of the car. We find something wrong, we just pop out the whole unit with an overhead crane and pop in a new one. We send the defective one up to the 207th Street shop and they fix it and store it there.

LPW: What kind of cars run on the L, old or new?

PN: Those are all newer ones, mostly the Kawasaki R143 cars. It’s a good car, the first 60 ft car built for our B Division, the lettered lines. You can tell them by the lighted “strip maps” over the windows. Their HVACs are good.

LPW: We all know that you’ll sometimes get into a car with no AC. If that happens, we tell customers to note the car number, located at either end of the train, and send it to us using this handy form. What happens then?

PN: Someone confirms it, then flags to us, and we’ll get them out as soon as we can and fix them. The R143s come in four-car sets, so if a train comes in with one AC out, we have to take out those four cars and switch in new ones. Sometimes we’ll have a spare train at the yard, a “gap train” as we call it, and we can just send that out right away.

LPW: Thanks, Patrick. Thanks to you and all our shop crews for keeping things cool.
 
Want to help us keep the cars cool? Do keep the windows closed when the AC is on, please. And if you encounter a hot car, first, sorry! Then tell us about it using this form for the quickest fix. (Reporting it at a Help Point in a station works, too.)

Still craving more cool? Check out these photos from a recent visit we made to the Corona Maintenance Yard (not where L trains go, but still interesting!).
 

Reminder: Use alternate service options or free shuttle buses during late nights on weekdays + all-day weekends at select Brooklyn L stations

Your weekly friendly service reminder: We're continuing work at stations between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction, meaning no L service all day at those stations this weekend, and between midnight and 5 a.m. on weekdays. Click the button below to get the full schedule and our alternate service options.
Plan a trip
 

 Customer question of the week
 

Q: There's construction plywood up on the Bedford Av platform, but I can't see anything happening. I know there was a new staircase installed over there already, so what is this all about?
-Anonymous


A. You might not see us, but we're working behind that big blue barricade all while L train service continues at Bedford Av Station (see photo below). This is where we're demolishing the old staircase and building a brand new one.

 And yes, we've already installed one new staircase. This is kind of part 2 of the bigger project here (the Driggs Ave side of the platform, to be specific). Here's the rundown:
  • The overall project will both make that end of the platform easier to get around AND increase stair capacity by 50% on that end.
  • To achieve this, we removed one stairway that was too wide for wheelchair access, and are replacing it with two stairways that are slightly narrower. This will add more room on the platform.
  • By having two staircases that are narrower (instead of just one, wider one), it's a net 50% increase in how many people can use these stairs at one time to get from platform to mezzanine.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Renewed rails means smooth sailing

A crew member walks the tube currently being worked on. In this section, all of the rail and track ties have been fully replaced. If you're traveling Manhattan-bound on weekdays, see if you notice just how smooth the ride is.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, July 13, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 7/27/19

We're continuing our progress on conduits, cable and track work. Here's what's on tap this week:
  • Install the structural FRP between the North 7th fan plant and the circuit breaker house
  • Continue installing negative transponder jumper
  • Install more conduits, including heat trace conduits and cable
  • Install brackets at Avenue D
  • Continue installing cable and tunnel lighting brackets and boxes
  • Install discharge line near signal cases between Avenue D and the pump room
  • Continue working on the new equipment, conduits and wiring in the tunnel lighting room at Bedford Avenue
  • Install conduits for fare machines and lighting at the 1 Av Station mezzanine
  • Swap more plates and ties and remove and install new contact rail parts between Avenue D and 1st Avenue, and continue welding rail joints
 

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  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 20, 2019 2:01 PM
Hi there. Thank you for your patience and flexibility last Saturday while we dealt with the power outage. The L wasn’t impacted, but in light of the situation (the puns are too easy), we went back to our electrical experts to find out how it all works. Turns out we didn't always get our power from ConEd. More on that below. 

Also: Details about the ongoing work overnight and all day on weekends at select stations in Brooklyn (keep using those alternative service options or try our shuttle bus!); The old double-meaning of “Canarsie;” And discharge manifolds never looked so good. Stay cool this weekend.
 
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Underground power play: Progress at the new substation for the Canarsie Line, near Harrison Place. Once completed, this structure will be fully underground and the street restored.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 29, 2019

Juicing the L: Why the Canarsie Line craves more power

Everyone knows there was a blackout last Saturday. And as our readers know, we announced a few weeks ago that there will be no late night or weekend trains between Lorimer St and Broadway Jct for several weeks. What do these things have in common? Well, both are a pain for customers, and both involve electricity. So to keep you “current” we talked to Vinnie Valenti and Mike Anderson, two of our electrical and power experts, about power on the L.
 
L Project Weekly: Vinnie and Mike, thanks. As L riders know, we’re doing work now, including electrical work, that means shutting down some late night and weekend service between Lorimer and Broadway Jct. Part of that work is related to two of our three new substations for the Canarsie Line. Let’s remind folks what a substation is.
 
VV: Right, substations convert the AC power we buy from ConEd to DC power for the third rails. Our system draws about 1.8 billion KW-hours a year for our subway traction power alone. It all comes through substations.
 
LPW: We have 223 substations across the system, including five for the L. Now we’re adding one at Ave B in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn, at Maspeth Ave and Harrison Place. Why do we need these three new substations?
 
VV: The main reason is to run more trains. With the modernized signals on the Canarsie Line, we can safely run more trains closer together. But more trains need more power. And trains today need more power than they used to. They draw more power in summer with the air-conditioning. And they need more power when they’re climbing up inclines, which the L has on either end of the tunnel.
 
LPW: Everyone’s happy about more trains. Any other advantages to the new substations?
 
MA: Yes, they add redundancy and stability to the system. Trains can’t run too far away from a live substation. If a transformer goes out on some part of the line, for example, the additional power can cover more track and keep trains from stalling out.
LPW: So would more substations help in a blackout like the one we had last week?
 
VV: No, substations don’t generatepower. We get all our power from ConEd. If ConEd has a blackout we lose power, just like your house or any other building.

MA: Let me hop in here. Our subway system actually used to generate its own power. We had three powerhouses. One of them was the old Kent Ave BRT Powerhouse on the southwest end of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, which got torn down 10 years ago. In 1959, we sold our powerhouses to ConEd in exchange for 10 years of free electricity. For 10 years we paid nothing. Then in 1969, that’s when we got our first ConEd bill!
 
LPW: Ha, interesting! So, let’s talk about the work we’re doing now. These substations are big projects?
 
VV: Yes, building a substation is no joke. The two new ones in Brooklyn are each about 5,000 sq. ft.  When we start hooking up cables, that’s a lot of work involving multiple electricians. We run 12 positive cables and six negative cables from each substation to the tracks. At the L tunnel, we’ll have to start at one end of the tube and run it all the way through to the other.
 
LPW: When we do electrical work, we have to shut down service?
 
VV: Definitely. For safety reasons, you can’t do the electrical cable work with live power. There’s a lot of planning, a lot of moving parts, lots of testing. We’re trying to do this work with the least possible headaches for our customers.
 
LPW: Okay, now the classic “readers-want-to-know” question. Why don’t rats get electrocuted?
 
MA: They’re too short.
 
VV: What Mike means is, if they touched the third rail and the ground at the same time, yes, they would be electrocuted. But they hop up on it, so it’s like birds landing on a wire.
 
LPW: Thanks, guys. We’ll check back when our new substations go live.
 
 A final bit about substations: Though our new substations are completely underground, our old substations were housed in all sorts of buildings, some in cool art-deco towers. If you get off the last L stop at 8 Av Station and walk down to 13th, you can see a handsome specimen. It’s the 1932 IND Greenwich Substation No. 6.    
 
This 1932 IND substation is still providing
power to the L at 13th and Greenwich near the western end of the line. It was rebuilt a few years ago, and the MTA worked with local preservationists to retain the historic doors and façade.
 

Reminder: Use alternate service options or free shuttle buses during overnight + all-day weekend work at select Brooklyn L stations

Thanks to all of you who used our alternate service and the shuttle buses this week while we've worked at stations between Lorimer St and Broadway Junction. Reminder that we'll be continuing this work all day this weekend and for a bunch more overnights and weekends.

And a few of you were curious: what are the details of what's happening? We talked with one of the project managers to get the rundown of the work, just for this weekend:

How many different crews are working at one time?
This weekend alone we'll have 12 different teams working all at once. We always want to maximize our use of a service outage. So this includes multiple teams from maintenance of way and signal maintenance, to an iron working team and a lighting crew. And for the substation work, we of course have multiple electricians working. 

What is the work exactly?
It's a long list. Here are the highlights:
  • Installing new modern, efficient lighting in the stations
  • Running the track geometry car along the track to make sure trains can maintain the right speeds and frequencies
  • Improvements to station floors and platform edges for accessibility
  • Pulling cable for contact rail and the negative rail so we can connect it to the two new substations in Brooklyn
  • Cleaning trash from the tracks and roadbed to limit issues for our train service
Get the details
 

Contestants, use "Canarsie" in a phrase

 You know Canarsie is the official name of the line the L train runs on. Did you know it was also a vaudeville line?

Back in the day before Canarsie was connected by transit, it served as New York slang for an out-of-the-way place. For wise guys, "by way of Canarsie" meant getting somewhere by the most roundabout route.

Examples: A customer who thinks she was charged too much for a car ride might say the driver went “by way of Canarsie.” A losing racehorse might be “coming down the stretch by way of Canarsie.” Over time, the gag fell out of the lexicon.

While there's no evidence of exactly what did it in, we like to think the L train increasing access to Canarsie had something to do with it.
 

Glamour shot of the week: No water works here

New discharge manifolds are installed in the L train's one tube (see the six things with blue caps and mini wheels above). Discharge manifolds regulate water pressure and flow. The new and improved ones here took over for ones that were ready to be replaced after 20 years of solid service.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, July 13, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 7/20/19

We're continuing to work on conduits, cable and new plates and ties. Here's the list of what we're doing this week:
  • Continue progress on installing the structural FRP from pump room to North 7th
  • Remove the duct bank near a circuit breaker house and signal case and install a new discharge line
  • Install negative transponder jumper and negative equalizer returns
  • Install brackets for new signal cases between pump room and Ave D fan plant
  • Continue working on the new equipment, conduits and wiring in the tunnel lighting room at Bedford Avenue
  • Install conduits in several places at 1 Av for the fire alarm and lights
  • Swap additional plates and ties from Avenue D to 1st Avenue and weld rail joints
  • Inspect steel beams and install new ones at the pump room
  • Continue removing existing and installing new contact rail equipment from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 13, 2019 2:57 PM
Hello. If you're in the city this weekend, don't let the hot temps and muggy air get to you. We'll be out there, keeping up the work, including on our now-even-more-resilient tunnel lighting. So while your definition of recharging might be more of the AC and frosty beverage variety, we can't stop thinking about our new back-up batteries that are self-testing, using a computer-controlled system to keep the tunnel lit up. More illuminating information below.

Also: Remember to plan ahead for that overnight work that starts Tuesday, July 16; a cost comparison for the L vs. a for-hire vehicle; and more construction progress updates. Have a great weekend.
 
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That blue hue: Crews work near the blue lights in the L tunnel, which indicates the location for the safety phones. These phones are located about every 500 feet within the L tunnel.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 15, 2019

Enlightening explainer: From self-testing batteries to LEDs

Yes, there’s light at the end of the L Project. But exactly what kind? We asked Endrio Scalise, PE, acting principal engineer, to explain what sort of new lighting we’re installing in the L tunnel, and why. Turns out, there’s a lot more to it than screwing in bulbs.
 
L Project Weekly: Endrio, you were here when Sandy flooded us out, right?

Endrio Scalise: Yes, I’ve been with the MTA for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like that flooding. It destroyed so much electrical equipment in our tunnels. Floor to ceiling in some cases.

LPW: You’ve worked on the lighting design in all 14 of our river tunnels. Tell us what’s happening in the L.

ES: We’re installing new LED lights, according to safety rules required for rail tunnels. It’s the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code 130.

LPW: So this is a pretty standard installation?

ES:  Not at all, this isn’t off the shelf. The L tunnel is about 8,000 feet long, or 8,700 feet with the two stations at either end. That’s about a mile and a half. We’re installing 1,300 smart lights with chips connected by a computer-controlled network.

LPW: Why do we need so much tunnel lighting? We need plenty of light in stations and trains, obviously, but why tunnels?

ES: It’s for safety, primarily. The river tunnels are very confined spaces. We need good lighting and ventilation for maintenance workers, for police or fire crews, for any possible evacuations or emergencies.

LPW: So it’s critical that these lights are working 24/7. What’s the power source? Same as the third rail?
 
ES: No, the lighting has its own power sources. Two Con Ed utility sources, normal and reserve, plus back-up batteries. In case of a power failure to the utility, the back-up batteries can last about four hours. And our new batteries are self-testing. That’s one of the good things about it being computer-controlled. Instead of sending workers into the tunnels to check the lights and batteries, we can check them right from a laptop.

LPW: When you’re riding the train, you also see some blue lights in the tunnels. What are those?

ES: The blue lights indicate trackside safety phones, which are about 500 feet apart. Let’s say you have an emergency, someone injured on the tracks. There’s a safety lever at each phone box that lets you shut off the third rail. Once you pull that lever you have to phone into the rail control center. Otherwise, they turn it back on to prevent any unauthorized disruptions. 

LPW: So we have LED safety lighting in the tunnel. What about the stations?

ES: The station lighting is more aesthetic. In the tunnel we have bulbs every 30 feet. In the stations we have much brighter LED panels in continuous streamlined fixtures. Better than just bulbs. There’s a lot of science to this and many, many different types of colors. Without getting into the physics, it’s kind of in the middle between warm and cool.

LPW: The station lights are also smart-chipped LEDs?

ES: That’s right. We’ve had fluorescent fixtures in most of our system since the 1960s or even the 1940s. Some years ago, the cost of LEDs came way down and the quality went up. So we now switch over to the LEDs whenever we do major upgrades. These new bulbs should last about 10 years. That and the computer-controlled system we designed really save on maintenance and energy costs.
 

Reminder: Plan ahead for overnight work at select Brooklyn L stations starting Tuesday, July 16

As we mentioned last week, we're gearing up to do some planned accessibility and stations work. This means there will be no L service from midnight to 5 a.m. between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St on these dates. The first weeknight stint starts Tuesday, July 16.

FYI: L service will continue operating every 20 minutes between 8 Av in Manhattan and Lorimer St in Brooklyn. It will also operate every 20 minutes between Broadway Junction and Canarsie Rockaway-Parkway.
 
Here are some tips on how to best navigate the changes:
  • Keep taking the other subway options during late nights and weekends. Using the G, 7, M, J and connecting Williamsburg Link B91A bus will still be the fastest option for most of you. 
  • Use our free shuttle bus: To get between the stations where there will be no L service, there will be a bus coming every 3 minutes, making all stops near L stations.
  • Look for signs at your local station to see when the last train before midnight leaves the station.
Get the details
 

Transportation math: Subway vs. for-hire vehicle

 The Canarsie Line runs 10.1 miles from 8 Av to Canarsie.

(That’s about a third the length of the A line, our longest subway line at 31 miles, and about one sixtieth of our total track of 665 miles.)


To ride the length of the L would cost approximately $45 to $60 by a for-hire vehicle. Or, on the L, it's your $2.75 base fare. Nice deal.
 

Monthly two-tracking is coming up, this time on a Monday

Our monthly, mandated L track inspection is coming up this week—except this month, it's on Monday instead of Tuesday.

From 8 p.m. on Monday, July 15, into the early morning hours on July 16, we'll be running two-track service so we can do our mandated track inspections. Service will ramp down starting at 8 p.m., and will stay reduced to about every 10-12 minutes after 10 p.m.

And just like in May and June, the alternate service won't change: same extended M train service, more G service, Williamsburg Link B91A bus route, and more. 
 

Glamour shot of the week: Piecing it all together

A prefabricated piece of a substation is lowered into the site. This is one of three substations being built as part of the L Project, located near Harrison Ave.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 29, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 7/13/19

We're continuing our cable and conduit work. Here are the highlights of what’s on tap this week:
  • Continue working near the pump room: work on floor beams, remove temporary shoring and install steel support beams
  • Continue installing the structural FRP from pump room to North 7th
  • Install new third rail power equipment
  • Install cable and tunnel lighting brackets and fixtures from Bedford to North 7th
  • Install tunnel lighting fixtures at 1 Av
  • Continue working on the new equipment, conduits and wiring in tunnel lighting room at Bedford Avenue
  • Core-drill and install conduits at 1st Av on mezzanine level
  • Swap more plates and ties from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Continue removing existing and installing new contact rail equipment from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
 

Related links

Subway on-time performance crosses 80% for the first time in six years, up from a low of 58% in January 2018 (MTA press release)

In South Brooklyn subway news, new limited F Express service has arrived (MTA press release)
 

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  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 06, 2019 2:38 PM
Hello. The Brooklyn Bridge's history got a lot of attention this week as it played host to that annual fireworks extravaganza. Always nice when transportation icons get recognized. But since part of our Canarsie Line is actually several years older (the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, whereas the Canarsie Line originated in 1865), we want to give it its proper due, too, on this Fourth of July week. Your L nostalgia is below.

Also: plan ahead for overnight L work in Brooklyn, what's the difference between "tube" and "tunnel," and what's coming up in construction. Have a fabulous weekend.
 
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Getting on track: train cars getting delivered at Bushwick and Montrose in Brooklyn, circa 1924.

Steam to CBTC—We've come an L of a long way

In an earlier edition, we talked about communications-based train control (CBTC), the modern signal system currently on the L and 7 lines only. Once the L Project is done, with new substations, track, and all the rest, the L will be among our most modernized lines. That’s quite a rise for a line that started as a pokey steam engine to a pier. You didn’t know? Here’s the mini-history.
 
1865 The first stretch of today’s Canarsie Line opened under a charter from the Long Island Rail Road, now an MTA commuter line and the nation’s oldest railroad. That coal-fed steam engine ran between East New York and Canarsie, which once vied with Coney Island as a waterside attraction.

1906 The Canarsie Line next became an electric Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) line, terminating at the Williamsburg ferry. It had both elevated and grade-level track. Its juice was supplied by third rail and by trolley wire south of New Lots. (You can still see a few of the old trolley poles in Canarsie.)
 
1924 From the west, meanwhile, cometh the subway. The BMT subway line from 14 St-6 Av to Montrose Ave opened in June 1924.  
1931 A second underground line from Montrose to Broadway opened in 1928. Lastly, the 8 Av Station in Manhattan opened in 1931. With some nips and tucks, that’s your current Canarsie Line.

A final fun fact: The Canarsie Line is one of two “isolated” lines unconnected to the rest of the subway system tracks. The other is the 7 Line. (That’s part of the reason why it made sense to install CBTC first on these two lines.) With no overlapping track, new BMT cars couldn’t just be driven onto the line. So when the first cars were delivered to the Brooklyn side of the Canarsie Line in 1924, they had to be hauled down a special ramp at Bushwick and Montrose. See above photo.
 

Trip planner: Upcoming weeknight and weekend work at select Brooklyn L stations

 During the overnight hours for nine weekends and the preceding weeknights, we need full access to L stations between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St in Brooklyn to make a bunch of accessibility and power upgrades. This work was always part of the L project, and we’re able to set the dates for it now based on our progress and other work going on. 

This means that there will be no L service from midnight to 5 a.m. between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St on these dates (full list below).

FYI: L service will continue operating every 20 minutes between 8 Av in Manhattan and Lorimer St in Brooklyn. It will also operate every 20 minutes between Broadway Junction and Canarsie Rockaway-Parkway.
 
What’s the work?
In these nine weeks, we’re making improvements to 10 stations. Highlights include:
  • Morgan Av, DeKalb Av, Halsey St and Bushwick-Aberdeen: Reconstructing the platform edges, adding new tactile strips and installing ADA-compliant boarding areas
  • Myrtle Av and Wilson Av: Upgrading the power at the circuit breaker houses there
  • Wilson Av: Upgrading the track near this station
We’re also putting the finishing touches on the two new substations in Brooklyn—connecting them to power means we’ll be ready to run more L trains once the project is finished. We aren’t able to have active trains running while this connection is made.
 
Trip tips
  • Keep taking the other subway options during late nights and weekends! Using the G, 7, M, J and connecting Williamsburg Link B91A bus will still be the fastest option for most of you. 
  • Use our free bus connector: To get between the stations where there will be no L service (between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St), there will be a bus coming every 3 minutes, making all stops near L stations. On weeknights, one bus will run from Broadway Junction to Lorimer St in both directions. On weeknights, the bus will operate in two sections, one from Broadway Junction to Myrtle Av and one from Myrtle to Lorimer St.
  • Look for signs at your station to see when the last train before midnight leaves the station.
 
Weeknights

Tues., July 16 to Fri., July 19
Mon., July 22 to Fri., July 26
Mon., July 29 to Fri., August 2
Mon., September 23 to Fri., September 27
Mon., September 30 to Fri., October 4
 



Service rundown
From 10 PM to Midnight:
L: Operates every 20 minutes between 8 Av and Rockaway Parkway
L: Overlay operates every 20 minutes between Lorimer St and Rockaway Parkway
 
From Midnight to 5:00 AM:
L part 1: Operates between 8 Av to Lorimer St every 20 minutes
L part 2: Operates between Broadway Jct (L platform) and Rockaway Parkway every 20 minutes
Bus: Operates between Broadway Jct and Lorimer St
 
Weekends

Fri., July 19 to Sun., July 21
Fri., July 26 to Sun., July 28
Fri., August 2 to Sun., August 4
Fri., September 27 to Sun., September 29
Fri., October 4 to Sun., October 6
Fri., January 3 to Sun., January 5
Fri., January 10 to Sun., January 12
Fri., January 17 to Sun., January 19
Fri., January 24 to Sun., January 26
 
Service rundown
From 10 PM to Midnight Friday:
L: Operates every 20 minutes between 8 Av and Rockaway Parkway
L: Overlay operates every 20 minutes between Lorimer St and Rockaway Parkway
 
From 12:01 AM Saturday to 5:00 AM Monday:
L part 1: Operates between 8 Av to Lorimer St every 20 minutes
L part 2: Operate between Broadway Jct (J platform) and Rockaway Parkway every 20 minutes
Bus 1: Operates between Broadway Jct and Myrtle Av
Bus 2: Operates between Myrtle Av and Lorimer St
Plan your trip
 

What do you call it...tunnel or tube?

 What’s the difference between a tunnel and a tube? Our subways run in tunnels. The tube is that subway over in London, right?
 
Sort of. In fact, you’ll often see our under-river connections called "tubes" as well. As in, the Canarsie Tube, the Joralemon Tube, the Cranberry Tube. We asked some of our engineering pros: why’s that?
 
Matt Best, our chief engineer at MTA Capital Construction says: “My understanding is that all underground subways are tunnels. Colloquially, underwater crossings are called ‘tubes’ because they generally have a circular cross-section. But it’s always safe to say tunnel.”
 
Frank Mondello, our chief civil/structural engineer at MTA NYCT Capital Programs had this to add: “Tunnel is the general term. Tubes refer to tunnels with a circular shape mined through rock or soil. The structure is made of cast-iron ring sections bolted together on site then grouted with cement. They differ from land-based tunnels, which are usually dug as box-shaped trenches then covered over.”
 
In the Canarsie Tunnel, there are actually two cast-iron tubes, each enclosing one track running in opposite directions. So properly speaking, there’s one tunnel and two tubes. We cannot answer for London.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Filling in the gaps

Crews get closer to restoring the street at one of three total substations we're building for the L Project. This is near Maspeth Ave in Brooklyn. The substation is almost fully underground at this location.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 29, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 7/6/19

We're continuing cable work, and doing a lot with conduits this week. Here are the highlights:
  • Remove negative feeder conduit in one tube, and install the new conduit and cable
  • Install FRP shell from pump room to North 7th
  • Install cable and tunnel lighting brackets from Bedford to North 7th
  • Install new equipment, conduits and wiring in tunnel lighting room at Bedford Avenue
  • Install conduits at 1 Av platform
  • Install copper bus bar and cables on tube shell from Bedford to 1st Avenue
  • Core drill for conduits in Station Dept Rooms at 1st Avenue on mezzanine level
  • Pull signal feeder cable at Bedford
  • Swap plates and ties from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Continue duct bank work from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Remove existing and install new contact rail equipment from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Install discharge pipe, manifolds and wall support brackets from Avenue D to pump room
 

Stay connected

 
  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 30, 2019 1:00 AM
Hi there. In case you missed it, there is a major international event going on, and it's culminating this weekend in our wonderful city. So while the vibe is all about progress, we're marking the occasion by going retro and running L service like it’s pre-April 26, 2019, days again. More details below. 

And if you tuned in to our committee and board meetings this week, you heard the board's independent consultant report their findings, including their assessment that the L Project is a month ahead of schedule. From our perspective, we are happy with the progress but aren’t resting easy. We're going to keep pushing to get the work done fast and get it done right, and appreciate your continued flexibility as we do.

Have a pride-filled weekend.
 
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Put a lid on it. Crews work at street level on 14th Street in Manhattan. They are preparing the roof structure along the new extension of the 1 Av Station for the L.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / June 19, 2019

About that hole in the ground at Ave. A

Dateline—June 2019. Border of East Village and Alphabet City.  

We know folks around Ave A have been shouldering a lot lately. There’s been major, ongoing work around the east end of the 1 Av Station, right where the East Village meets Alphabet City.

It will end. And when it does, we’ll leave behind a big payoff for generations to come. Here’s what’s happening:

“We’re doing a lot of station improvements, but the big deal is the new station entrance at Ave A,” according to our onsite project engineering team.  

This is something L riders in StuyTown have been asking for…forever. From east of the station, it’s a hike west to the narrow stairs at First Ave. Which have been getting more and more crowded every year. Our engineers explain how we’re fixing that.

“We’re constructing two staircases and one elevator on each platform side,” they told us. “So that’s a total of four new stairs and two new elevators at Ave A on the east end of the platform. That means direct access for everyone who lives east of the station.”

Yup, two new ADA-compliant elevators. That’s the other big deal. It’s one of 50 new elevator installations we’re planning over the next five years to make our system more accessible.
And with new elevators also going in at Bedford Av Station, that means new borough-to-borough accessibility. For L riders on both banks of the river, that’s great news!
That’s also a lot of work.

The crew is digging down about 27.5 feet below street level. Which means unearthing and moving (carefully!)  gas lines, sewer lines, electrical conduits, and water pipes. Lots of stuff down there. All hooked up live to nearby stores and apartments.

“We have to build new utility lines before abandoning the old ones,” the team explains. “Each one has its own intricacies.”

Like urban surgery. Difficult…but has to be done.

As that digging goes on, the whole 1 Av Station is getting a redo. This 95-year-old, originally-BMT station is getting new lighting, security systems, communication systems. And things you can’t see, like new drainage, ventilation, more electrical power.

To sum up, East Villagers and StuyTowners are getting better station access. L riders are getting new inter-borough accessibility. And the 1 Av Station is getting a total systems upgrade, even as we dig.

Speaking of digging, did you know the MTA hires archaeologists? As we said, lots of stuff down there. More on that in an upcoming issue.
Read the full improvement plan for 1 Av Station
 

Trip planner: WorldPride 2019 + L Project edition

Service rundown:
  • L service is back in action, running on a pre-April 26, 2019, normal weekend schedule all the way from Friday night to the Monday a.m. rush.
  • M service will go back to its normal route (ending at Delancey-Essex) and frequencies.
  • G service frequencies will also go back to normal.
  • (There are other increased service options and changes, like special W service. Check them out here.)
Stations situation:
Overall, we expect stations around the March route on Sunday, June 30, 2019, to be crowded at times. But you're an L customer. You're ready for this. Just have your fare ready to go BEFORE you get to the station (or even better, grab an automatically-refillable EasyPay MetroCard). And tell your friends to do the same.

Read our special L Project + WorldPride trip tips email for more.

And if you missed last week's edition, check it out for tips on planning your Independence Day travel. 
Plan your trip
 
The platform at Bedford Av Station on the L. 

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Friday, April 26, 2019

Platform changes at Bedford Av Station starting the week of July 1

Last week, we mentioned that we were opening a new staircase, and soon closing the existing one. Well, the time has arrived.

During the week of July 1, the existing stair on the Driggs Ave side of the platform will close for several months. We're demolishing the whole concrete staircase and rebuilding it with our new steel stair standard.

The new barricade means you'll be moving around the platform there a little differently. We will have staff out to help direct you safely, and remember to watch your step. 
Learn the full improvement plan for Bedford Av Station
 

M14 A/D Select Bus Service starts Monday, July 1

 Do you usually use the L at night to travel just in Manhattan? Or on weekends?

Good news: we can now help make that trip a little faster. And yes, it involves a bus.

M14 Select Bus Service launches on Monday. 

We've transformed the existing M14 A and M14 D routes with better bus stop spacing and all door boarding. That said, unfortunately, as of yesterday, we will not be able to take advantage of New York City Department of Transportation's planned transit and truck priority busway due to a temporary restraining order that was issued as part of a lawsuit.

Our full statement:

"This ruling will undoubtedly hinder our goal of speeding up buses on one of the busiest and most congested arteries and make traveling around the city harder for our customers. Transit prioritization such as the city's Transit and Truck Priority busway would help speed up Select Bus Service. In the meantime, we're working with NYCDOT and NYPD to enforce existing rules to ensure our buses won't be blocked by vehicles double parking and blocking bus stops when we launch M14 SBS on July 1 as planned."

Click the button below to get route maps and the full schedule.
Learn about M14 A/D SBS
 

Glamour shot of the week: Going new spool

These giant reels are holding the new communications cable for the L tunnel rehab. This cable, technically known by our electricians as “cable type 25 PR #22,” will be installed from the Avenue B substation to the communication room at 1st Avenue, and from Avenue B substation to Bedford Avenue. It’s fire resistant, and we’ve installed about 1,010 linear feet so far, out of 8,700 total. 

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Wednesday, June 16, 2019
 

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  • Member since
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, June 23, 2019 10:25 AM

Very interesting.  Going back to US Navy sound powered telephone system.  That way can always communicate.  Very good idea !

fiber)
3. Sound power telephone system conduit (just under the rack)

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 23, 2019 6:11 AM

Hello. We're still drying off from the wet weather this week (thanks for sticking with us as we dealt with it). But you know what we DIDN'T have to dry off? The L tunnel. That's because a little thing called sump pumps did the work automatically—with capacity for 2,750 gallons drained per minute once the new ones are installed. More below on how we prevent these soggy situations.

Plus: Bedford Av stair openings and closings to watch for, what's a "snake tray," and plan your travel now for Independence Day.

Happy first official weekend of summer!

 
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Ready for the big city. This new Canarsie sump pump just passed its factory test in Wisconsin. Its next test is on location under the East River. 

Photo: MTA New York City Transit / 2019

Come L or high water: Everything you need to know about sump pumps

One crucial piece of the L Project isn’t visible to riders. But it is fun to say: sump pumps!

These stationary pumps suck up water from a collecting basin called the sump. 

Sump pumps are usually located in a pump house at the lowest point of a subway line, where water wants to go. And since we had a lot of rain this week, we figured it's a fitting time for an update on how we're managing that inevitable issue: water coming into our system.

We asked Henry Schober, chief mechanical engineer at MTA New York City Transit, and his ace hydraulics team to demystify sump pumps. Here’s what we learned.

1,100 gallons per MINUTE
Yes, brand new pumps are being installed in the Canarsie pump room. We learned from the Sandy-situation, so not only are the new ones more powerful, but they also have their own power generators and controls above ground.

They’re designed to keep on pumping, no matter what. There are four pumps in the house, actually. Two small pumps that each drain 275 gallons per minute. Two super-strength ones that each drain 1,100 gallons per minute.

Why? The small pumps run daily, slurping up normal leakage from runoff. There's a lot of that.

And one non-L specific fun fact: On a dry day, about 13 million gallons of water gets pumped out of the city’s subway system. 

Fighting to the end
As you guessed, the big pumps are for special occasions.
They kick in when triggered by a rising float, like the one in your toilet tank. With their own generators, they’ll run even when there is a loss of power.
The sump pumps run by themselves. Our maintenance team can monitor their status right from their desks. In a bad flood, the big ones will pump away until the cavalry arrives.

Pump trains, go!
With the fixed sump pumps fighting incoming slosh, powerful pump trains can get in faster.

The department has five pump trains. Each sucks up 5,000 gallons per minute. They hose it out, into the sewer system, through nozzles placed every 500 feet along tunnel walls.

Now, this raises a nice hydraulic question.

Why not just have sump pumps that can do 5,000 gallons? Schober told us why not.

The size of a pump you can fit into a subway tunnel, pipes and all, is limited. It’s limited by the tunnel dimensions and track bed width.

It’s also limited hydraulically, by the size of the discharge pipes. 

“You know how many gallons are in the East River,” Schober asks rhetorically. “You can’t pump out the East River.”

A room under the river
Now that you’re into sump pumps, a few more answers for the curious L customer.

If you look hard, can you see sump pumps from the train? No. The sump and the pumps are in a room at the lowest elevation point between the tracks.

The pump room is equipped with extraction pipes and nozzles, and the pumps are below the floor there. Maintenance teams visit there monthly. They clean drains, check things out.

It isn’t the most pleasant place to visit, but one thing they don't have? Rats. "Rats stay by food, not water," according to one astute member of Schober's team.
 

Trip planner: Independence Day edition

 Getting your travel plans lined up for Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)? We're here to help you get around. 

And one hot tip: Don't wait in lines! Make sure you have your fare ready to go BEFORE you get to the station. Bonus points if you get an automatically-refillable EasyPay MetroCard.

Here's what you need to know:

Like we do on other holidays, we'll be running what we consider a "normal Saturday service." So let's hearken back to pre-April 26 days as to what used to be a normal Saturday on the L (and other alternative like the M and G):

During the day, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.:
  • L trains will run every ~4 minutes
  • G trains will run every ~10 minutes
  • M trains will go to Delancey-Essex only, and run every ~10 minutes
After 8 p.m.:
We'll stop pretending it's a weekend and get back to work like a normal weekday. L service will decrease to that every-20-minute thing, and alternative subway and bus options will start up at 8 p.m.
 

Openings & closings: Bedford Av Station stairs this weekend

Been to Bedford Av Station lately? If yes, you know that we've been busy working on adding more stairs at both ends of the station—specifically, doubling the number of stairs that go to the street level. 

Our approach for these stairs is to open them as soon as they're safe, and then we'll go back later to do the finishing touches (sorry to disappoint if you're a fan of that unfinished basement vibe). Also, FYI, we always keep a certain number of stairs open at a time. 

This weekend, we'll open a new platform to mezzanine staircase on the Driggs Ave side. Soon, we'll close the existing one on that same side for several months. We're totally demolishing the old concrete style and rebuilding it with our new steel stair standard (see above photo).
Learn the full improvement plan for Bedford Av Station
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 6/21/19

We're continuing to work in the tunnel, in two stations and three substations. Here are the highlights coming up this week:
  1. Install temporary shoring and demolition at the pump room
  2. Install conduits in tunnel lighting room near Bedford Ave
  3. Continue accessibility work at Bedford Av Station, including installing ADA-compliant tactile edges on the platform
  4. Continue duct bank shaving work, moving to between North 7th and the circuit breaker house
  5. New work on the rails: Remove and install contact rail parts between North 7th and the circuit breaker house, and install negative return rail conduit, cables and rail tags from Bedford Ave to North 7th
  6. Swap more plates and ties: from North 7th St to the circuit breaker house
  7. Install discharge pipe, manifolds and wall support brackets from Avenue D to pump room
  8. Install handrails and brackets between pump room and Avenue D
  9. Swap rail at 1 Av Station
Learn more about our construction
 

Glamour shot of the week: Now you know what a "snake tray" is

As we install new cables, we're doing so in a new way—outside of the bench wall. We're using a piece of equipment seen here, aptly named a "snake tray" for the shape of the brackets. These racks along the tunnel wall are designed to hold the new cables well above the tracks, and therefore away from any potential water in the tunnel. 

Here's what the snake tray is holding in the photo (from top to bottom):
1. Radio antenna cable
2. 36 strand fiber optic cable ("36" means there are 36 strands of fiber)
3. Sound power telephone system conduit (just under the rack)

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Wednesday, June 16, 2019
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 4:33 AM
Hi. So we're building three new substations for the L. But how can they power more trains if we don't have more modern-signaling-trained operators to run them?! Good question. We can't! Which is why we're training more, right now. More on that below.

Plus: that weird monthly L service pattern is back this coming week, take our quarterly survey, and find out if you've been using "line" and "train" wrong all this time. Have a fabulous week.
 
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MTA New York City Transit team members help customers navigate the changes to L train service while the train operator runs the single-track operation.

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Friday, April 26, 2019

Training the train operators: (More) people who move you know modern signaling

Did you know that the L is one of two lines in our system with modern signaling? And did you know that we wouldn't have been able to run our single-track operation without it (i.e. the reason you have some L service while we work vs. no L service)?

That's right. As we explained in last week's edition, we're working to get even more out of the modern signaling by adding more substations to power the trains. Modern signaling + more power = more trains.

But there's more to it than just new infrastructure. We're also training more conductors to use our modern signaling system (the L uses Communications-Based Train Control or CBTC). We asked Kim Gibbs, a senior director in the Subways division and former train operator herself, what this entails.
 
L Project Weekly: Kim, we understand the L line was our first subway line to get the modern signaling.

KG: That’s right. The CBTC is a big help right now. It's actually a major reason we can still run trains during the tunnel repairs.

LPW: How’s that?

KG: During the nights and weekends, trains run in both directions on a single track, switching off and going around our work site. We couldn’t do that efficiently without the precision of modern signaling, at least not with 20 minute intervals.

LPW: Good to know. Let’s talk about your role in all this. You’re in charge of training our people to run the trains with modern signaling. The train operators, conductors, dispatchers, control room people. What’s involved?
KG: The training depends on the job. For our train operators, modern signaling alone is a five-day course. We are currently have about 740 operators in our system trained on it. When the L Project was announced, we immediately started planning to train more people because we’ll be able to run even more trains on the L then. We’ve already trained a few dozen more since that point.

LPW: Is it hard for conductors to get used to the more automated signaling?

KG: They love it, once they get trained on it. We have a system where crews pick their job preferences, and the L line is a top pick. The train speeds and positions even out nicely. Actually, I used to be an operator on the L years ago, I really wish we had modern signaling back then!

LPW: Thanks, Kim and to all your modern signaling trainees. Our L customers see a lot of specially trained people out on the platforms these days. Now we know there are many more running the trains, too.
 

Reminder: Monthly two-track Tuesday is coming up on June 18

Remember when we said service would be a little funky once a month? It's that time again!

From 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, into the early morning hours on June 19, we'll be running two-track service so we can do our mandated track inspections. Service will ramp down starting at 8 p.m., and will stay reduced to about every 10-12 minutes after 10 p.m.

And just like last time, the alternate service won't change: same extended M train service, more G service, Williamsburg Link B91A bus route, and more
 

Want to give us feedback on your commute? Noticed recent improvements? Take our survey.

W The MTA regularly surveys people like you to get feedback on a range of topics. Right now, you can take the Customers Count Survey, which asks you to rate the subway lines, stations, and bus routes you use most often. Access-A-Ride and Staten Island Railway customers can evaluate those services, too. And bonus: you'll be entered into a drawing to win one of ten 30-day Unlimited Ride MetroCards or one of ten 7-day Express Bus Plus Unlimited Ride MetroCards.
 
The survey is only open until June 30, so take it now by going here: www.mta.info/CustomersCount.
Take the survey
 

True or false: The proper name for the L is "L line"

 False!

A subway “line” refers to the physical route and tracks. The subway “service” or “route” refer to the trains serving that line.

So the L is the train service (or “route”) running on the Canarsie Line. Don’t like that option? Good news! You can also call it the 14th Street-Canarsie Line and not be wrong.

Informally, people mix lines, routes, services, and trains all the time. A habit to which we also plead: guilty.
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 6/15/19

We're continuing to work in the tunnel, in two stations and three substations. Here's what's coming up this week:
  1. Continue to work on cabling: pulling communication and telephone cables near the Driggs-side communication room at Bedford Av Station
  2. Install fire alarm conduit at Bedford Av Station
  3. Install third rail cable brackets at 1 Av Station
  4. Continue accessibility work at 1 Av Station, including installing ADA-compliant tactile edges on the platform
  5. Install discharge pipe, manifolds and wall support brackets from Avenue D to the pump room
  6. Start duct bank shaving work from Bedford to North 7th
  7. New work on the rails: Remove and install contact rail parts, install contact rail between Bedford and North 7th and new negative return rail
  8. Install DC lighting fixtures at the 1 Av Station platform
  9. Swap more plates and ties: between Bedford Ave and N 7th
Learn more about our construction
 

Glamour shot of the week: There's more to a new entrance than the stairs

Behind the barricades between 1st Avenue and Avenue A along 14th Street in Manhattan, we're extending the 1 Av Station for a new entrance. From new lighting to lots of concrete to build the structure, there's more to it than just the new stairs. 

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Wednesday, June 5, 2019
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, June 10, 2019 4:41 AM
Hello. We've talked a lot about the tunnel work, and what we're doing to prevent future Superstorm Sandy-situations for our subways. But we know protected street vents aren't going to help you get to work on time during rush hour on a regular dry day. So we checked in with our construction managers for an update on two of the three substations we're building that will help solve that problem—they'll power more L trains when the project is done. 

Also: how pink became a thing, we reached a mini milestone in the tunnel work, and a reminder that the new (and still free) Williamsburg Link route, the B91A, starts today. Have a super weekend.
 
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Progress at one of three substations we're building as part of the L Project. This substation is located in Brooklyn near Harrison Ave.

Photo: MTA New York City Transit  / Wed., June 5, 2019

Update: What's happening with those things in Brooklyn that will bring you more L trains, AKA substations

We've talked about the progress of one of the substations we're building for the L Project (on 14th St in Manhattan). So what's happening with the other two substations, located near Harrison Ave and Maspeth Ave in Brooklyn? 

It might look like they're building a green jungle gym of sorts (see photo above), but there's a lot more to it. Here's the latest:
 
Harrison Ave (in photo)

Completed:
  • Excavation: This one goes 55-60 ft below ground
  • Pouring and finishing the concrete floor


Currently working on:
  • Rebar installation (the green-ish bars in the photo), which creates a foundation to build the walls 
  • Preparing to pour the concrete along the rebar
What's next:
  • Taking the work fully underground, which also means giving back the street
Maspeth Ave

Completed:
  • Excavation: The team dug 70 ft down
  • Rebar, walls, floor and roof
  • Waterproofing the inside of the structure, including the walls and floor
Currently working on:
  • Wiring up the equipment so we can connect to power




What's next:
  • Fixing up the street
  • Connecting the building to the L's tracks
  • Testing the electricity (which comes from Con Edison)
 

Reminder: new B91A Williamsburg Link bus route starts TODAY

The modified Williamsburg Link service includes a new route with new stops, the B91A. This will replace the current B91 and B92, and goes into effect Saturday, June 8, 2019.
As we mentioned last week, we're making changes to the Williamsburg Link bus service. The goal of this service is to get you to alternate subway options fast, and so we've modified the route and frequencies based on how you've been using it. The changes go into effect today with one new route—the B91A—replacing the current B91 and B92.

Check out the map here or the link below for more information on the new bus route.
Meet the new Williamsburg Link B91A bus
 

How the L Project turned pink

Many of you and our Twitter friends have told us you like the pink look (thank you) and wondered how it came to be.

Here’s the story (details of late nights working in the office with average takeout food removed; you’re welcome):
When our marketing and communications team had its L Project kick-off (yes, we did everything “in-house,” as we say in the marketing biz), we were focused on two things:

1. Reaching as many L (and J, M and G) customers as possible with the right information in a way that works for you, and
2. Making it as easy as possible to navigate the service changes, whether you're a regu-L-er or a visitor.

As we made our own plan, we also phoned a few friends—including our colleagues at transit agencies around the world. We talked with Transport for London's team about a 2018 project in which one major connecting station was skipped for several months. And we spoke with Sydney's team about a rail line upgrade that meant thousands of customers had to use an alternate bus service for about nine months.

Both agencies shared that the most important thing they did was to make all information about the project look totally different. Sydney mentioned that it was tough to find a color that they didn't currently use in their system—a bright, fluorescent pink was the only one they could find.

So we sat down with our design team and looked at some options: teal, neon green and hot pink were the top choices. We tested all of them across our digital screens, tweaked shading to differentiate from other brands that also happen to advertise in our subways and buses, and, well, you know the rest. 
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 6/8/19

Check out the photo below for info on a mini milestone we reached last weekend. And here's what's on tap for this week:
  1. Continue to work on cabling: pulling fiber and communications cables near the N 7th fan plant and Avenue B, and pulling the pump room feeder and fiber cables at Bedford Av Station
  2. Restore liner wall from Avenue D to the pump room
  3. Accessibility work on the 1 Av Station platform
  4. Swap more plates and ties: between Bedford Ave and N 7th
  5. Install cables and tunnel lighting brackets from Bedford Ave to N 7th
Learn more about our construction
 

Glamour shot of the week: Now you see it, now you don't

Our demolition work for the project started with the wall duct. Over the weekend, we completed the wall duct demolition and smoothing process within the tube we're currently working. This photo, taken prior to that completion, shows where the wall duct demolition and sealing is done, and what part still needs to be sealed.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Monday, May 20, 2019
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 04, 2019 9:43 AM
Hi. The alternate subway options (especially the J and M) are working. They're working so well in fact that most of you are just starting your trips there, and not even needing the current Williamsburg Link buses. So we're making some changes. More on that below.

Also: our answer to "how do you keep the tracks straight?," you can now use OMNY to get to the L (we're in the pilot phase, so just at Union Square for now) and some trivia: turns out pink was a thing before the L Project...except it wasn't used on the L.

Have a sunny weekend.
 
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A track geometry car, one of four in the system.

Photo: MTA Capital Construction / Fri., Sept. 23, 2016

How do we keep our tracks aligned? We have a special train for that.

While the tunnel gets a lot of attention, the L Project is just as much about the massive amount of new track we're installing. With this new track comes a very special train: it has two shiny, stainless-steel cars and super bright lights on the underside.
 
It’s not a work train, it’s not a vacuum train. It’s one of our custom-built Track Geometry Cars (TGCs), which are a bit like laboratories on wheels. People who see them wonder, what’s that? So we asked Antonio Cabrera, our Assistant Chief Officer for Track Engineering, to explain. The following is math-free.  
 
L Project Weekly: Antonio, these aren’t just regular subway trains with special equipment, are they?

Antonio Cabrera: No. They are completely unique, custom-built, self-propelled trains. They were designed and built just for our subway system. We have four TGCs that cover all665 miles of mainline track. They pretty much work all year round, but we rotate them in during off-hours, so you don’t see them often.

LPW: What are they for?

AC: We have two ways we inspect tracks. We have crews walking the tracks and we have automated track inspections. That’s what these cars do. They measure track and rail parameters, very precisely. They detect and record any defects or clearance obstructions. They measure the exact width of the track to gauge any misalignment or distortions. They check the levelness of the tracks and the track grades. They even sense flaws in the steel rails.

LPW: How do they do all that? What’s inside the cars?

AC: There’s a lot of equipment inside and outside. They have video cameras under the train to check the tracks and fasteners. Infrared cameras check “hot spots” on the third rail. Sensors measure the track gauge and the alignment and profile of the rails. Ultrasound devices check the rails for flaws. The crews inside have computers, monitors, and other analytical equipment. 
LPW: Like a locomotive pulling a laboratory.

AC: Sort of. Actually, there are two joined units. A measurement car and an engine car, and both carry measuring equipment.

LPW: They must have to move very slowly, right?

AC: No, they actually move at the regular subway speed. And they weigh the same as a typical rush hour car loaded with passengers, about 100,000 pounds. That’s part of the testing. It’s dynamic measuring. We’re testing under real load conditions, which is something manual inspections could never do.

LPW: So we have four TGCs and they move around the entire subway system monitoring for defects. What role do they play in the L Project?

AC: A very important role. We do our regular measuring and testing about every three months, but in this case we are also doing very precise quality control. As the track work progresses, we are checking everything under real load conditions to see that it’s done exactly right, exactly as specified in the contracts. We’ll be coming back to the L tunnel about mid-July for our next inspection.

LPW: Note to your calendars, trainspotters!
 

The not-so-secret way to get to the L using OMNY

Starting at noon this past Friday, we rolled out the first phase of OMNY, our tap-to-pay system. We're starting with 16 subway stations on the 4, 5, and 6 lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn between Grand Central-42 Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, and all Staten Island buses. 
If you're thinking, "But wait, doesn't this mean that even if I'm not using the 4, 5, 6 at Union Square, I can still use OMNY to get in and then head to another line, like the L?!?!?" Very astute, and yes.
Learn more about OMNY
 

New Williamsburg Link bus route to replace current B91 and B92 starting Saturday, June 8

We've been tracking how much you're using our alternate service options: the J and the M trains, for example, are seeing about 60% more of you on trains going over the Williamsburg Bridge.

For the Williamsburg Link bus routes, we've seen two patterns: 
1. Most folks are starting their trips at the Marcy Av Station instead of taking the buses to get there, so the bus ridership is low (only two or three customers per trip, on average).
2. The most used bus stops are in the Bedford Ave area and near Marcy Av Station (more than 60 percent of customers).

So we're launching a new bus route to replace the current two routes—the B91A—starting Saturday, June 8. 

More information (maps! frequencies!) will be posted online next week, but here are the highlights:
  • The new route will be shorter and focused on connecting the Marcy Av Station with the Bedford Ave area.
  • It will have two new stops—one on Driggs Ave at Grand St and another on Roebling St at Grand St—for a total of four stops. 
  • The new route will run every 8 minutes during busiest times, and will keep the current late night and early morning frequencies as is (every 10 minutes).
  • The bus will still be free.
  • The new route also helps you connect to other buses: Customers going between Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St and Marcy Av Stations can take the B24 bus for a direct connection between the two stations. Customers going between Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St and Bedford Av can take the Q59 to the B91A at Grand St.
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 6/1/19

Here's what we're working on this weekend and the week ahead:
  1. Continue wall duct demolition, and smooth/seal previously-demolished surfaces
  2. Pressure-testing the discharge line, which is critical to reducing the impact of future storms
  3. Installing electrical conduits and fixtures on the platform at 1 Av Station as part of the station expansion
  4. Continue to work on cabling: pulling a variety of different cables to prepare for upgrades to power, communications and lighting
Learn more about our construction
 

Glamour shot of the week: Lower level, please

One of the two new elevator shafts in progress at the L's 1 Av Station in Manhattan. Once complete, the station will have two elevators along 14th Street, one on the north side and one on the south side.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Monday, May 6, 2019
 

Real or fake?


Answer: Real.

This was the M line's symbol from 1967 to 1969. It was specifically used on the section of the route at Myrtle Avenue. Nice color!
 
 

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  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, May 26, 2019 4:05 AM
he L Project <lproject@nyct.com>
To:daveklepper@yahoo.com
 
May 25 at 6:14 PM
 
 
Hi there. It's a three-day weekend for many of you, but we're working Monday. So plan ahead and use the L alternatives on Monday like you've been doing on weekends. Also: an explainer on a special kind of track we have called "low-vibration track," an update on our demolition progress, and a fellow traveler asks "what's the difference between a viaduct and a bridge?"

And most importantly on this Memorial Day, to all of our service men and women and their families: THANK YOU for your service.
 
Catch up on L Project Weekly newsletters here
 
Workers in the contained area for demolition.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Tues., May 7, 2019 

Data on demolition: One tube is already 65% done with wall duct demo

We started demolition of the wall duct a few weeks ago, which is one piece of the overall rehabilitation work. The revised plan has much less total demolition (reduced to about 7 percent of the original), and we have made a lot of progress already:
  • We've completed demolition of 2,200 of 3,400 linear feet within the first tube, or approximately 65 percent.
  • There is 3,400 linear feet to demolish in the other tube, so overall, we're more than one-third of the way done with this demolition part of the job
Learn more about our construction
 

Explainer: What's "low-vibration track" and why don't we have it everywhere?

After our feature on the Myrtle Viaduct, we got a few questions about low-vibration track, or LVT. As we mentioned, this kind of rail makes for a quieter commute, but it isn't found in many places in our system.

You wanted to know why that was, and we did, too. So we talked with Antonio Cabrera on the MTA New York City Transit track engineering team:
 
Antonio Cabrera: To install the LVT you need to shut down a line entirely. It’s not a weekend job. So we’ll install it on big projects when possible, since we're already disrupting service. We have it on the Second Avenue Subway and the 7 Line Extension and now on the Myrtle Viaduct.

L Project Weekly: Why just these more recent projects? Is it a new technology?

AC: In the U.S., it’s pretty new. It’s been used in Europe and some other countries for maybe 30 years. In the U.S. they have some in San Francisco’s BART system and few other places. We started using LVT in 2008 and we are by far the biggest user in this country.
LPW: Why does LVT take longer to install than regular rail?

AC: It requires what’s called a monolithic concrete pour. First you put down a rubber boot, then a pad, then a concrete block, then another pad. You lay the rail on top of that layered support. Then you do very precise rail measurements and alignments. Then you do the concrete pour all at once, flowing the concrete under and around the LVT supports.
 

Hot tip: Buy/refill your MetroCard AFTER your trip

Ever get to a station at the same time as the train...then realize you don't have your fare ready and miss the train? 

Here's a tip: fill up your MetroCard AFTER you ride the train (extra credit if you use an EasyPay MetroCard). 
For those of you who use Bedford Av Station, we won't have the lovely MetroCard van there anymore, so if you need to buy or refill a MetroCard, we'd recommend doing it on the Bedford Avenue side where there are more vending machines.

And while we're on the topic of ways to pay your fare, have you heard about OMNY? Get smart here before we roll it out in select lines starting May 31 (less than a week!). 
 

Memorial Day reminder: L will do the every-20-minute schedule all-day on Monday

Just like we do when we have full train closures on weekends to do work, if it falls on a holiday weekend, we treat that Monday like a work day.

That means that this Monday (Memorial Day), the L will be operating like a current Saturday or Sunday, with trains every 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and every 10 minutes between Lorimer St and Canarsie.

Interested in Memorial Day weekend schedules for our other lines and rails like MetroNorth? Check out the press release round-up we did earlier this week for the full update.
Plan your Memorial Day weekend travel
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 5/25/19

Here's what we're working on this weekend and week ahead:
  1. Continue duct bank wall demolition, and smooth/seal previously-demolished surfaces
  2. Continue to swap plates and ties along the line to create a smoother, quieter, more comfortable ride
  3. Pull a variety of different cables to prepare for upgrades to power, communications and lighting
 

Glamour shot of the week: 
Mortar never looked so good

Crews pour mortar as part of the process to install new rail and ties on the L.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Sunday, May 19, 2019
 

Customer question of the week


Q: You talked about the Myrtle "Viaduct" but it just looks like a bridge to me. What's the difference between a viaduct and a bridge? -anonymous
A: A viaduct is actually a type of bridge. It’s long and made up of smaller spans held up by arches. Usually, a viaduct crosses over land not water.

A few other fun facts about viaducts and bridges:
  • Our Myrtle Viaduct is 310 feet long.
  • To improve the M line, we also rebuilt our 100-year-old Fresh Pond Bridge in Ridgewood, which is 65 feet long.
  • The world’s tallest viaduct is the Millau Viaduct. It’s impressive, taller than the Eiffel Tower. But it’s in France and useless to L train customers.
Ask us a question
  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 15,054 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, May 12, 2019 1:40 AM
Hi there. Two weeks in. How are things looking? You've taken our advice and are using the M and J in big numbers. Keep it up, and see below for a full report. Construction-wise, we're on track and doing demo (appropriate glamour shot below). And while we're mostly looking forward, we wanted to give the proper kudos to an already-completed job that's making this whole operation work: that Myrtle Viaduct. 

And thank you to everyone who wrote in with your stories about taking other options. Many of you commented on how you hadn't considered taking the M to midtown before (as opposed to the L + connecting line) and enjoyed it. A few of you told us that while the M14 was more frequent than the L, it felt slower because of traffic. Thanks for letting us know. We went out and timed the M14 (on a weeknight when there was a 10 minute wait for an L), and found that it did still beat the L headed from 8 Av to 1 Av. But we're certainly still working with NYPD to keep buses moving and are definitely looking forward to June.

Have a great weekend, and keep the comments/questions coming.
 
Catch up on L Project Weekly newsletters here
 

Everything you need to know about repairing viaducts

Riding the M on nights and weekends instead of the L? Good recon! Now take out your earbuds and tell us if you hear any difference.

You should. At that rebuilt stretch of track along the Myrtle Viaduct (between the Central Av and Myrtle Av Stations on the M), we installed new low-vibration track (LVT) for a smoother, quieter ride. Not many sections of our system have LVT, so enjoy.

New velvety rails are just one tiny part of what our teams did to prep the M line ahead of the L tunnel rehab. What sort of work? We asked our project folks about their full-court press to rebuild the entire Myrtle Viaduct. Here’s what we found out.

Doing a total viaduct rebuild in 10 months isn’t easy. First, you have to find an expert on viaducts. Luckily, we have one: Syed Abbas, the NYC Transit construction administrator who ran the project:
 
Syed Abbas: We don’t have many of these viaducts in our system, and they knew I had experience with an even bigger one. So I came off my other responsibilities and focused on the Myrtle Viaduct for 10 months.

L Project Weekly: So the Myrtle Viaduct needed work if it was going to run proper M train service for customers during the L tunnel rehab?

SA: It’s over 100 years old, built in 1913. It’s almost all concrete, the deck and supports, and while we had a supporting structure, the concrete was deteriorating. It was time to rebuild it.

LPW: What does the Myrtle Viaduct have to do with the L train?

SA: We always planned to use the M as a key alternative for customers. To replace the whole viaduct we had to shut down a section of the M line, from where it crosses over the L at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs Station down to the viaduct. If we didn’t have that work finished before the L tunnel work started, that would be a real headache for our customers.

LPW: And this was no small job.

SA: Massive. We took down the whole structure, then installed over [200] pilings. The whole 310-foot deck was precast, which is kind of unique. Lots of quality control. We had the structural steel made in Pennsylvania, then shipped it to Massachusetts, where we precast the deck panels. Each panel is about 22 to 29 tons. Then we trucked them to the site.
 
LPW: So, what was the hardest part of the whole job?

SA: You have to plan every step exactly. In some places we were just 1 ft. away from a private property line. We had to work with very tight restrictions and track alignments. Even a tiny error means you miss the J line connection. To get it right, we drew elevations for every step and had super-strict quality control.

LPW: Like threading a huge needle.

SA: Absolutely. And it’s hard for the community too. We relocated the whole block ahead of time. The MTA took care of everybody, but nobody likes that. My biggest concern, day and night, was to reduce stress for the community and our customers. That was my goal. Get it done right. Get it done on time to minimize stress for customers.

LPW: So your team got it done on time?

SA: Yes! We had a great team who got it done on schedule and on budget.

LPW: Music to the ears! Great job, everyone. So our L customers now have M trains every 8 minutes during the busiest times on nights and weekends, right when they need it.
Learn about the M train schedule
 

By the numbers (so far): M, J, G, L and M14 ridership

It's been two weeks, which our planners tell us is enough time for a preliminary look at how many of you have taken our advice to use other subways and buses instead of the L.

The highlights (numbers look at ridership on the weekends during busiest times):
  • By station, L ridership has decreased up to 50 percent 
  • By station, J and M ridership has increased on average over 60 percent between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
  • G ridership has also gone up—by about 35 percent—between Brooklyn and Court Square Station in Queens.
  • M14 ridership has risen by about 35 percent, and we're projecting even more once we launch Select Bus Service in June.
Learn all of your service options
 

Two-track Tuesday: Why L service will look a little different once a month

Did you know that we follow federally mandated guidelines for our track inspections? Yep. We have to do regular inspections all throughout our system. For the L, this means that once a month, we'll take a break from the tunnel work and instead do our track inspections.

For you, this means that nighttime L service will look a little different once a month—this month, it'll happen on Tuesday, May 14.
 
 
We'll be running two-track service so we can do the inspections, but service will stay reduced to about every 10-12 minutes after 10 p.m., with a similar ramp-down starting at 8 p.m.

What won't change is the alternate service options: same extended M train service, more G service, two Williamsburg Link bus routes, and more
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 5/11/19

We are continuing much of the work we talked about last week. Here are the highlights of what we're working on in the week ahead:
 
  1. Swap out old track plates and ties for a more comfortable ride
  2. Set up enclosure; conduct duct bank wall shaving and demolition
  3. Install electrical conduit from track level at Avenue D fan plant   
  4. Install brackets and junction boxes
 

Glamour shot of the week: Demolition
There's not a lot of it, but we're getting it done

Bobcat machine inside of the enclosed dust containment area. This machine is used to maximize efficiency of wall duct demolition. 
 
Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, May 4, 2019
 

Update: About that fan plant

In case you missed it last week, we wrote about the two fan plants that flank the L tunnel, built in 1916. Update: since the one in Williamsburg is now surrounded by residences along the previously industrial waterfront, this week, we started to test out a few methods to potentially minimize the noise the fan plant emits when used. 

It's going to take some time as we build and try out a few different structures and see if anything works to reduce the noise. So we'll be back with an update once we're able to test how effective these are. 
 

Customer question of the week


Q: The M Train always stops and crawls through the brand new Viaduct. It adds at least 5 minutes onto the already long commute. I thought we fixed it? - anonymous
A: You're right that we fixed it—we rebuilt the whole structure (see above article). Because of the density of the surrounding neighborhood, we had to build it in exactly the same spot, which also meant that we had to keep the track curves the same as before. 

It's these sharp track curves (overhead shot below) that slow down the trains. For example, for Manhattan-bound M trains, the speed limit is 10 MPH just outside of the Myrtle Av Station.

At this particular spot, you might experience some additional slowness because it's also where the switch is for the Ms to merge with the Js. So if there is a Manhattan-bound J train in the Myrtle Av Station, then the Manhattan-bound M has to pause temporarily until the J has left the station. 
 

Get in touch

  • Sign up for our text alerts
  • Call 511 and say "subways" then "L train"
  • Tweet @NYCTSubway with #LProject
  • Ask a team member: We're still going to have lots of staff out from 8 Av to Lorimer St over the weekend. Look for someone with a pink button that says "Ask me about the L Project" 
Learn more
 

Learn more and stay connected

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 15,054 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, May 05, 2019 8:37 AM
  • i. We made it through the week together—THANK YOU! Nobody likes change, but New Yorkers are resilient and yes, patient, flexible and polite. L trains were very crowded on nights and weekends as expected, and will continue to be. But many more of you heeded our advice and tried out new routes using our more frequent alternate service.

    So this week's newsletter is dedicated to all the "customers formerly known as L train riders on weeknights and weekends." We want to hear about your experience. Did you take the M train for the first time and discover the view from the Williamsburg Bridge? Take the J and realize you have connectivity a lot longer than the L? Use our question form to tell us how it was and what we can do to improve. And read about a few things we're already working on below.

    Also, as promised, we posted the results from our dust monitoring following the first weekend of work (summary: they're well below the limits we've set), and will continue to publish these on Fridays. You can see all of our reports here.
     
    Catch up on L Project Weekly newsletters here
     

    The M train is really nice if you hate transferring

    "Where does the M train go?"

    Other than "can I transfer for free between the subway and bus?" (A: yes), this was the question we heard the most while we were out chatting with you this week.
    Turns out New Yorkers and visitors alike aren't used to this magical train, given that it used to hibernate after dark and on weekends. But now that the M train is running every 8 minutes on nights and weekends, and with an extended route, it has a ton of benefits—a view from the Williamsburg Bridge, connections to 14 other subway lines in Manhattan alone...

    ...and a bunch of "one-seat trips" (as we call it in the biz).

    So this one's for you, customer-who-doesn't-like-to-make-subway-transfers:
     

    Places you can get to with a one-seat trip on the M train 


    1. SoHo and NoHo (Broadway-Lafayette): Spend the day shopping if that's your thing, or check out the International Center of Photography (more our thing).

    2. West Village/Greenwich Village (W 4 St Station): Springtime at Washington Square Park is the best. In the other direction, NYU students, here's your Williamsburg alternative.

    3. Koreatown/Herald Square (34 St-Herald Sq): For the visitors: Macy's. For the visitors or the locals: karaoke.

    4. Midtown (42 St-Bryant Park, 47-50 Sts Rockefeller Ctr): It's in the name. Bryant Park. Rockefeller Center. Also: don't miss the New York Public Library's Reading Room in the main branch.

    5. More midtown (57 St): Two blocks away from Central Park. One avenue away from 5th Avenue. 

    6. Upper East Side (Lexington Av / 63 on up the Q line): The art work in our stations. Sometimes called "an underground art museum," check out the permanent art installations starting at the Lexington Av / 63 Station.
    Learn about the M train schedule
     

    Behind the scenes: Countdown clocks, work trains, and other first week fixes

    No matter how much you prepare, you can't plan for everything. During our first week of the single-track operation, we tried a lot of things for the first time in MTA New York City Transit history. Many things worked. A few didn't. 

    From the beginning, we promised we'd be able to make changes quickly, which we've been doing. Here are a few things we're working on or have already improved:

    1. Work trains
    We have to use work trains to get materials and crews in the jobsite. As we planned out the schedule for work trains, our mindset was always "how do we maximize the number of regular trains" within that work train schedule. So our initial plan was to mix work trains and regular trains, including the extra "overlay" trains in Brooklyn.

    But even though we had more trains, they weren't running reliably. The extra regular train service wasn't worth it if the work trains were slowing it down as much as it was. So we're trying a new way to make service as consistent as possible: we are adjusting the schedule to start the Brooklyn overlay service a bit later—10:45 p.m. (instead of 10:25 p.m.) at Lorimer St on most weeknights, and a bit later on Friday nights.

    This schedule adjustment will allow us to move work trains directly into the work zone. For you, this means L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn will be more reliable during the ramp down period (between 8 and 10 p.m.).
    2. Countdown clocks and apps
    When we were starting to plan for the single-track operation, we immediately brought in our IT team. They're the ones who know how the data feeds from the modern CBTC signaling system drive the information you see—the countdown clocks and navigation apps. 

    They made a ton of changes behind the scenes in advance, including programming that special "overlay" train in Brooklyn so that you know it's "last stop, Lorimer St." But the single-tracking proved to be more challenging. So everyone from IT, the Rail Control Center and Service Delivery got in a room to figure out why the data kept jumping around. We could talk about this for a whole newsletter, so we'll leave it at this: we have a few solutions we're testing out, and if you see a blank screen, it's because we're trying something but don't think it's ready for prime time. 

    3. Line map inside M, J, L and (any new cars on the) G
    You know the graphics inside of some train cars that show the next stop information? Our newer cars have it, including many of the ones used along the M, J and L trains. 

    When possible, we integrate the bus lines that connect at key stations, so that you can see it on the map and hear it via announcements. Because of the special way these maps are produced, it's going to take some time before you see them in train cars. But when we do, you'll be notified of those critical connections. For example at Marcy Av: "Connection is available to the Williamsburg Link B91 and B92."
     

    Weekender: Plan ahead for Five Boro Bike Tour, McCarren 5K & 10K

    We're always on the look out for big events around the city that could impact our service. Here are two this week that we're watching, and our advice if you're taking part in the fun:

    1. Five Boro Bike Tour (Sunday): The ride starts in Lower Manhattan, so take the J to get there. Please be courteous to your fellow riders and don't take bikes on the L train during the busy times. Most L stops are super close to other lines that run more frequently and will have more space.

    2. McCarren 5K & 10K (Saturday): The race already happened, but shout-out to the team at St. Nicks Alliance for being great partners as we planned ahead to shift our Williamsburg Link routes (B91 and B92) and some stops during the race hours (8-11 a.m.).
    Learn all of your service options
     

    What's a "fan plant"?

    Along our train lines, we have industrial structures that we operate for ventilation purposes. Meet the very literally-named: "fan plant."
    For the L line, we built two fan plants in 1916 before the tunnel opened for service—one near the river on Avenue D in Manhattan and one on N 7th St in Williamsburg (way before the 2005 rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint when the area was industrial!).

    We use them any time we do work on the L, like in recent weeks with the nights and weekends with no L service. We need to continue using these fan plants regularly during the project for safety. But we know the noise is disruptive, so we are taking steps to minimize it as much as possible. We've already 1) made a plan with our contractors and 2) used that plan to first activate the Avenue D fan plant before the one in Williamsburg as it's now by the new residences built after the rezoning. The Avenue D fan plant is close to the river in a fully industrial area.

    Here are some quick facts about fan plants and how we're operating them during the L tunnel work:
    • They are needed to meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 130 requirements for Emergency Tunnel Smoke Evacuation and OSHA requirements for workers.
    • We will need to use both fan plants, but will start by running the Avenue D fan plant first, evaluate conditions, then use the Brooklyn one as needed. We'll continue that process as conditions require.
    • The fan plants will be used when L service is reduced to the every-20-minute-situation around 10 p.m., and again in the morning when service is resumed to the normal schedule.
    • Both fan plants will also be used while we're working in the tunnel as needed.
    • We are currently working with our environmental engineering team to look for even more ways to reduce noise from the fan plant, in addition to minimizing its use.
    Learn more about our construction
     

    Construction update: This weekend

    Here are the highlights from our work this weekend:
    1. Install fiber cable for CBTC, which will allow us to move more trains closer together
    2. Install discharge pipe to the Avenue D fan plan to enhance the tunnel's resiliency
    3. Swap out old track plates and ties for a more comfortable ride
    4. Progress the station expansion of Bedford Av
     

    Glamour shot of the week:
    Look for the pink

    Maps, travel options, trip tips: To get to where you need to go, look for the pink signs around stations.
     
    Photo: Marc Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Fri., April 26, 2019
     

    Get in touch

    • Sign up for our text alerts
    • Call 511 and say "subways" then "L train"
    • Tweet @NYCTSubway with #LProject
    • Ask a team member: We're still going to have lots of staff out from 8 Av to Lorimer St over the weekend. Look for someone with a pink button that says "Ask me about the L Project" 
    Learn more
     

    Learn more and stay connected

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  • i. We made it through the week together—THANK YOU! Nobody likes change, but New Yorkers are resilient and yes, patient, flexible and polite. L trains were very crowded on nights and weekends as expected, and will continue to be. But many more of you heeded our advice and tried out new routes using our more frequent alternate service.

    So this week's newsletter is dedicated to all the "customers formerly known as L train riders on weeknights and weekends." We want to hear about your experience. Did you take the M train for the first time and discover the view from the Williamsburg Bridge? Take the J and realize you have connectivity a lot longer than the L? Use our question form to tell us how it was and what we can do to improve. And read about a few things we're already working on below.

    Also, as promised, we posted the results from our dust monitoring following the first weekend of work (summary: they're well below the limits we've set), and will continue to publish these on Fridays. You can see all of our reports here.
     
    Catch up on L Project Weekly newsletters here
     

    The M train is really nice if you hate transferring

    "Where does the M train go?"

    Other than "can I transfer for free between the subway and bus?" (A: yes), this was the question we heard the most while we were out chatting with you this week.
    Turns out New Yorkers and visitors alike aren't used to this magical train, given that it used to hibernate after dark and on weekends. But now that the M train is running every 8 minutes on nights and weekends, and with an extended route, it has a ton of benefits—a view from the Williamsburg Bridge, connections to 14 other subway lines in Manhattan alone...

    ...and a bunch of "one-seat trips" (as we call it in the biz).

    So this one's for you, customer-who-doesn't-like-to-make-subway-transfers:
     

    Places you can get to with a one-seat trip on the M train 


    1. SoHo and NoHo (Broadway-Lafayette): Spend the day shopping if that's your thing, or check out the International Center of Photography (more our thing).

    2. West Village/Greenwich Village (W 4 St Station): Springtime at Washington Square Park is the best. In the other direction, NYU students, here's your Williamsburg alternative.

    3. Koreatown/Herald Square (34 St-Herald Sq): For the visitors: Macy's. For the visitors or the locals: karaoke.

    4. Midtown (42 St-Bryant Park, 47-50 Sts Rockefeller Ctr): It's in the name. Bryant Park. Rockefeller Center. Also: don't miss the New York Public Library's Reading Room in the main branch.

    5. More midtown (57 St): Two blocks away from Central Park. One avenue away from 5th Avenue. 

    6. Upper East Side (Lexington Av / 63 on up the Q line): The art work in our stations. Sometimes called "an underground art museum," check out the permanent art installations starting at the Lexington Av / 63 Station.
    Learn about the M train schedule
     

    Behind the scenes: Countdown clocks, work trains, and other first week fixes

    No matter how much you prepare, you can't plan for everything. During our first week of the single-track operation, we tried a lot of things for the first time in MTA New York City Transit history. Many things worked. A few didn't. 

    From the beginning, we promised we'd be able to make changes quickly, which we've been doing. Here are a few things we're working on or have already improved:

    1. Work trains
    We have to use work trains to get materials and crews in the jobsite. As we planned out the schedule for work trains, our mindset was always "how do we maximize the number of regular trains" within that work train schedule. So our initial plan was to mix work trains and regular trains, including the extra "overlay" trains in Brooklyn.

    But even though we had more trains, they weren't running reliably. The extra regular train service wasn't worth it if the work trains were slowing it down as much as it was. So we're trying a new way to make service as consistent as possible: we are adjusting the schedule to start the Brooklyn overlay service a bit later—10:45 p.m. (instead of 10:25 p.m.) at Lorimer St on most weeknights, and a bit later on Friday nights.

    This schedule adjustment will allow us to move work trains directly into the work zone. For you, this means L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn will be more reliable during the ramp down period (between 8 and 10 p.m.).
    2. Countdown clocks and apps
    When we were starting to plan for the single-track operation, we immediately brought in our IT team. They're the ones who know how the data feeds from the modern CBTC signaling system drive the information you see—the countdown clocks and navigation apps. 

    They made a ton of changes behind the scenes in advance, including programming that special "overlay" train in Brooklyn so that you know it's "last stop, Lorimer St." But the single-tracking proved to be more challenging. So everyone from IT, the Rail Control Center and Service Delivery got in a room to figure out why the data kept jumping around. We could talk about this for a whole newsletter, so we'll leave it at this: we have a few solutions we're testing out, and if you see a blank screen, it's because we're trying something but don't think it's ready for prime time. 

    3. Line map inside M, J, L and (any new cars on the) G
    You know the graphics inside of some train cars that show the next stop information? Our newer cars have it, including many of the ones used along the M, J and L trains. 

    When possible, we integrate the bus lines that connect at key stations, so that you can see it on the map and hear it via announcements. Because of the special way these maps are produced, it's going to take some time before you see them in train cars. But when we do, you'll be notified of those critical connections. For example at Marcy Av: "Connection is available to the Williamsburg Link B91 and B92."
     

    Weekender: Plan ahead for Five Boro Bike Tour, McCarren 5K & 10K

    We're always on the look out for big events around the city that could impact our service. Here are two this week that we're watching, and our advice if you're taking part in the fun:

    1. Five Boro Bike Tour (Sunday): The ride starts in Lower Manhattan, so take the J to get there. Please be courteous to your fellow riders and don't take bikes on the L train during the busy times. Most L stops are super close to other lines that run more frequently and will have more space.

    2. McCarren 5K & 10K (Saturday): The race already happened, but shout-out to the team at St. Nicks Alliance for being great partners as we planned ahead to shift our Williamsburg Link routes (B91 and B92) and some stops during the race hours (8-11 a.m.).
    Learn all of your service options
     

    What's a "fan plant"?

    Along our train lines, we have industrial structures that we operate for ventilation purposes. Meet the very literally-named: "fan plant."
    For the L line, we built two fan plants in 1916 before the tunnel opened for service—one near the river on Avenue D in Manhattan and one on N 7th St in Williamsburg (way before the 2005 rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint when the area was industrial!).

    We use them any time we do work on the L, like in recent weeks with the nights and weekends with no L service. We need to continue using these fan plants regularly during the project for safety. But we know the noise is disruptive, so we are taking steps to minimize it as much as possible. We've already 1) made a plan with our contractors and 2) used that plan to first activate the Avenue D fan plant before the one in Williamsburg as it's now by the new residences built after the rezoning. The Avenue D fan plant is close to the river in a fully industrial area.

    Here are some quick facts about fan plants and how we're operating them during the L tunnel work:
    • They are needed to meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 130 requirements for Emergency Tunnel Smoke Evacuation and OSHA requirements for workers.
    • We will need to use both fan plants, but will start by running the Avenue D fan plant first, evaluate conditions, then use the Brooklyn one as needed. We'll continue that process as conditions require.
    • The fan plants will be used when L service is reduced to the every-20-minute-situation around 10 p.m., and again in the morning when service is resumed to the normal schedule.
    • Both fan plants will also be used while we're working in the tunnel as needed.
    • We are currently working with our environmental engineering team to look for even more ways to reduce noise from the fan plant, in addition to minimizing its use.
    Learn more about our construction
     

    Construction update: This weekend

    Here are the highlights from our work this weekend:
    1. Install fiber cable for CBTC, which will allow us to move more trains closer together
    2. Install discharge pipe to the Avenue D fan plan to enhance the tunnel's resiliency
    3. Swap out old track plates and ties for a more comfortable ride
    4. Progress the station expansion of Bedford Av
     

    Glamour shot of the week:
    Look for the pink

    Maps, travel options, trip tips: To get to where you need to go, look for the pink signs around stations.
     
    Photo: Marc Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Fri., April 26, 2019