VIDEO: Repairing the Sandy-Flooded R Train Subway Tunnel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 11:00 AM


What does it take to repair a subway tunnel that was inundated with 27 million gallons of salt water? Watch and see.

The Montague tube, as it's called, was flooded during Sandy. Now it's closed to subway traffic as the MTA rehabilitates it.

In the below video, project manager Jonathan Barnhart is on site, describing the extent of the work. "All of this electrical equipment was underwater," he says, standing in the tunnel. "And we've been tasked with replacing it and restoring all the cabling and connections out on the tracks."

"This entire tunnel and this entire room was flooded under 75 feet of water," Barnhart adds. 

Watch the MTA's video of the rehab work below. Note: 2:14 is when things start to get surreal.


Comments [5]

Harvey Wachtel. from Kew Gardens, NY

I had heard that one factor was a Federal disaster-relief grant that had to be used before a deadline that would have run out if the work had been spread out, but I can't find anything in writing about it. Does anyone know anything about this?

Oct. 23 2013 11:04 AM
Chris from Cedar Grove, NJ

Thanks for posting this fascinating video to give an appreciation for the level of destruction and subsequent hard work needed to restore the line. Seems appropriate to see folks digging under the earth on this Mole Day.

Oct. 23 2013 08:17 AM
zac from Bushwick

I can't see any reason to turn this repair into a conspiracy theory. Clearly this crew is doing some of the most back-breaking, behind-the-proverbial-curtain work, day after day. Perhaps the wording of "completely devastated" is a vague. Like the L train (of which I've been feeling the Sandy toll), the salt water didn't necessarily break it immediately, or even 8 months down the line, but salt water is corrosive. Can you even imagine all the nuts and bolts that go into even 100 feet of subway tunnel? Little by little, more and more defects, more and more trains stalled underground. Makes perfect sense for me. Total inconvenience, but think of how spoiled we all are when the trains work day after day and we just take it for granted. I don't enjoy taking a shuttle bus home from work 5 days a week at 3am for the past 2 months, but I'm glad they're taking care of it now rather than later.

Fantastic video. The MTA is so silent it seems most of the time. They should put pieces out like this more often so those of us affected by maintenance can get a sense of what is going on in those dark tunnels we never get to see.

Oct. 22 2013 09:18 PM
Not Devastated from NYC

I don't buy it- what's this "complately devastated" line they are feeding us.
Are these people forgetting the R train was working for about 8 months after the hurricane.
I wonder how voluntary and capricious this endeavor is...Why now? why 14 months?
It was working just fine before. It was NOT completely devastated.
These people want to get lucrative contracts with the city.

Oct. 22 2013 04:49 PM
brian_in_brooklyn from Brooklyn Heights

Cool video!

I really miss taking the R Train to Manhattan, but I understand why the Montague Street tunnel had to be closed.

Good job, MTA.

Oct. 22 2013 04:18 PM

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