In the city that never sleeps, the subways soon will.
The MTA will be closing some subway lines from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on consecutive weekday nights beginning in January in a move that represents a break for the transit agency, which has otherwise tried to do work while trains are running or on weekends.
The transit agency is billing the closures as "a faster, less disruptive way to do subway work." The MTA also plans to shut some track segments for 24 hours for up to 16 days.
The first closure is slated for the Lexington Avenue line: The No. 4, 5 and 6 trains won't run overnight between Grand Central Station and Atlantic Avenue the week of January 9, 2012.
Other lines slated for weeknight closures include the Eighth Avenue Line (A, C, and E), the Seventh Avenue line (1,2 and 3) and the Sixth Avenue Lines (B,D, F and M).
No other transit system in the nation, and few in the world, keep hours like New York's. Most close overnight, when the majority of track work is done.
"Finding adequate time to perform track and signal work remains a daunting challenge while running a system that operates 24/7," the MTA said in a press release. "Inspecting, repairing and replacing tracks, signals, power supply and infrastructure is necessary work vital to the safety our customers and employees, often requiring a series of service suspensions or slowdowns in order to be performed."
Subway maintenance work, particularly on weekends, has driven riders to distraction of late, and caused some local politicians to get restive.
The MTA promises that "performing work in this manner is expected to shorten the overall duration of projects, minimizing customer inconvenience, and maximizing worker safety."
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