Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
NY Subway System Shuts Down Due to Hurricane Irene (UPDATED)
Friday, August 26, 2011 - 03:09 PM
UPDATED 8:55 p.m. ET Sunday: The MTA says it will restore limited subway service at 6am on Monday morning. Buses are currently running in all five boroughs. No word yet on Metro North and Long Island Rail Road.
UPDATED 5:55 p.m. ET Sunday Buses are back in operation throughout the city.
UPDATED 1:40 p.m. ET Sunday There is still no prediction of when subway service will be restored in New York City. Public officials were unapologetic about the decision to preemptively shut down the nation's largest transit system. "The actions that we took yesterday were right," Jay Walder head of the MTA said at the Mayor's afternoon press conference. He said the first service to return will be buses, some of which will first be used to shuttle evacuees back home he said.
He did not say when subway service would return, calling it a "difficult process" that will "take some time." He said, "we have widespread impacts of the storm. We have flooding, we have downed trees, we have power outages."
The worst fears were not realized however: salt water flooding into the tunnels under the East River. "Metro North has sustained real damage," Walder said. That appears to be the worst affected of New York area transit properties.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to evacuate coastal areas of the city. When asked what his message is to residents who will likely face a Monday morning commute without public transit, Mayor Bloomberg asked for patience, adding, "there are taxis, and some people can walk."
UPDATED 11:30 a.m. Saturday
All New York City transit remains shutdown 24 hours after the first ever total closure of the nation's largest subway and bus system due to a weather event.
Earlier this morning MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told Transportation Nation, that there is "no estimate on restoration right now." He said they would soon release information on "the many tasks that must be done before service can resume."
It took approximately eight hours to shut the entire transit system down. LIRR and some Metro-North trains were stored on high ground away from low-lying yards. The MTA explained it takes two hours just to allow trains to complete their runs. Then they had to be positioned in safe locations. After that the crew members out safely need transportation out to safe locations.
Trains also were situated on express tracks some in locations distant from where trains end their runs. Stations were then secured, areas inspected and power shut down, according to the MTA.
There is widespread flooding on Metro North tracks including in two substations.