Jan. 14, 2012 Staff Report
Expect service delays and closures on the No. 7 train through 2016.This week when the MTA announced that it was shutting down No. 7 service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square for 11 weekends, it noted that it was part of a four year plan to install a new signaling system and make upgrades to the tunnel that goes below the East River.
The MTA said it needs this 4-year period to make such a radical change since it is relying on a signaling system that is anywhere from 50 to 90 years old. The MTA claims that by installing a new one, the train will be more reliable and easy to maintain. Additionally, the MTA said it needs to make repairs to the tunnel between Vernon Ave. and Times Square.
The MTA said that the tunnel only has two tracks and is so narrow that there is no room for subway workers to step aside when oncoming trains pass by. Therefore, the MTA has to stop service altogether for the work to be done. This problem dates back to around 1900, when the tunnel was constructed as part of the New York City trolley system—before being incorporated as part of the subway in 1915.
The MTA said that this current project began in 2011 and the project should be completed by 2016. Many service changes are going to take place until its completion.
Service diversions, as reported earlier, are scheduled for the weekends of January 21-23, January 28-30, February 4-6, February 11-13, February 18-21, February 25-27, March 3-5, March 10-12, March 17-19, March 24-26 and March 31-April.
The MTA anticipates a number of other weekend closures in October and November. These are likely to take place on the following weekends: Oct. 6-8, Oct 20-22, Oct. 27-29, Nov. 10-12 and Nov. 17-19.
The MTA said that the work schedule will typically take place in the winter and fall to avoid interrupting Mets baseball games and the US Open tennis.
Additionally, a major station rehabilitation project will begin at the Court Square Station in Long Island City. The station will be closed from Jan. 21 through April 2.
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