Paul Fleuranges: I’m Paul Fleuranges and you’re listening to an In the News podcast on TransitTrax, NYC Transit’s podcast service.
(SOUND: Jackhammers chipping concrete.)
Paul Fleuranges: As a regular rider, you know that on weekends, the subway system you know doesn’t exist…because of all the construction and upgrade work we perform to make sure the system is reliable and safe.
(SOUND: Jackhammers chipping concrete.)
Paul Fleuranges: We also do work during the week. But because of all the service we run, we can’t do everything we need to do. So, we're taking a new approach to how we perform maintenance and upgrades that are critical to providing reliable service. We're calling it FASTRACK.
This comprehensive program will allow us to inspect, maintain, and upgrade our stations, tracks and signals in less time, and with less cost. As Joe Leader, head of Maintenance at NYC Transit Subways explains.
Joe Leader: Well what we’re hoping to do is as we perform more of these shut downs and get better quality inspections and more work done, we hope that will create more success for us during the day where we’ll have less delays due to equipment malfunctioning. So we believe although there’s an inconvenience to our customers at night, and it’s a small portion of the customers that ride our system throughout the whole day, we believe we’re going to see the benefit in the future as we get less delays. If we tried to put as many employees or as many gangs as we did on one track under a single track G.O., there would be so many yellow flags creating slow speeds on the adjacent tracks that the trains would be crawling through and there would be no schedule at all. By shutting down and letting the customer know that there’s no service on the corridor, we’re able to get basically three times the amount of work done that we would normally get done during the same period of time. So we’re getting in quickly, we’re getting in, getting as much done, getting a bigger bang for our buck. There is an inconvenience to our customer, however they know it’s coming and they can basically plan their transportation for that night.
Paul Fleuranges: FASTRACK entails closure of a subway line segment on four consecutive weeknights from 10 PM to 5 AM, four times a year. The FASTRACK program will begin with the line in between January 9th and January 12th…with service suspended along the Grand Central-42 St to Atlantic Av corridor. Larry Gould from Operations Planning explains the service impact.
Larry Gould: Well the impacts are that there’s no service on the Lexington Avenue line from Grand Central south to Bowling Green in Manhattan and extending out to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. And customers who normally use these lines will have to use other lines such as the Broadway Q and N trains or the 6th Avenue D train. If they’re going to Brooklyn, they should take the D or the N or the Q to Atlantic Avenue, where you can transfer back to the number 2 or 3 that will make all the stops that would normally be made by the 4 or the 5 out to New Lots and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. Customers traveling within Manhattan should simply take another line to a nearby stop. For example, instead of 23rd and Park Avenue, go to 23rd Street and 5th Avenue on the N and R.
Paul Fleuranges: But in choosing to do this, we are making sure nearby service isn’t impacted.
Larry Gould: What we did was we restricted all sorts of construction on all the lines other than Lexington Avenue. So when you go to your alternate station, you’ll find that service is running in both directions on a normal schedule and there will be no construction impacts when you get to the alternative station.
Paul Fleuranges: And while service is out, we have an aggressive plan to make sure we get as much work done as possible.
Joe Leader: For this shut down coming up on the Lexington Avenue Line, we have actually identified over three hundred tasks or work orders that we’re looking to get done in four days. That work… some of it belongs to Infrastructure, some of it belongs to Station Maintenance, belongs to Signals, Track and Third Rail. It is a very aggressive four night schedule, but we’ve been planning for it well over three months now and we believe we can get all this work accomplished. Everything that could take basically three hours worth of work to maybe two nights worth of work, we’re trying to get all this work accomplished in four days.
Paul Fleuranges: To learn more about the FASTRACK program, pick up a brochure or check out FASTRACK posters at affected stations, or log on to mta.info and click on the FASTRACK button.
While we’re FASTRACK’ING the Lexington Ave line, you can follow our progress, with daily updates on the prior evening’s work online as well.
For TransitTrax, I’m Paul Fleuranges. Thanks for listening and thanks for riding with MTA NYC Transit.