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Transportation Nation

H is for Hoodie: Rockaways Shuttle Swag Will Benefit Hard-Hit Queens Neighborhood

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

For $34, you too can dress like MTA chair Joe Lhota.  Note: the catwalk is his actual office. (Photo courtesy of NY MTA)

You can ride the H train for free -- but the shirt is a different story.

On Tuesday, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched the Rockaways Collection -- shirts, magnets, and pins branded with the logo of the shuttle now plying the heavily damaged Queens neighborhood.

The MTA says all profits from the sales will go to the Graybeards, a Rockaways non-profit helping rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Products will be sold through the New York Transit Museum.

 

But can the MTA afford to give away money? The transit agency sustained $5 billion in damages from Sandy. It will cost $650 million alone just to restore A train service from mainland Queens to the Rockaways. It had to truck subway cars out to the neighborhood just to operate the free H train shuttle service.

An MTA spokesman says yes.

"We have a financial plan," says Aaron Donovan. “We will have money available through issuing short-term notes to restore the service and we expect to be reimbursed by FEMA and our insurance.”

The MTA announced last week it was taking on debt to pay for Sandy damages and will issue $950 million in bonds. At that time, chairman Joe Lhota said he had "an enormous amount of confidence" that the MTA would receive "a substantial amount of money" from the federal government.

Since then, both New York City's mayor and the state's governor have gone to Washington to make the case for federal aid.

To learn more about the H train, and to watch a video of how the MTA got subway cars out to the Rockaways, go here.

 

 

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Transportation Nation

The H Train Rides Again in the Rockaways

Monday, November 19, 2012

(For the full NYC subway map, go here.)

The H train is rolling where the A train can't.

Starting Tuesday, residents of the storm-battered Rockaway Peninsula will get a free subway shuttle known as the H train. To connect Beach 67 Street to Beach 90, the train will incorporate a piece of rarely-used track known as the Hammels Wye.

Currently, A train service to Queens terminates at Howard Beach. According to a press release issued by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the tracks over Jamaica Bay were "almost completely destroyed by the storm." Residents have been using shuttle buses to connect to mainland Queens as well as navigate the peninsula.

There are no estimates yet as to when full A train service will be back up and running.

(Note: according to the MTA, the appellation "H" is unrelated to Hammels. Shuttle service began on the Rockaways in 1956; by 1962, it was called the "HH." )

To get subway service out to the Rockaways, the MTA loaded subway cars onto flatbed trucks in Ozone Park, Queens, drove them over the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, and lifted them back on the rails at the Rockaway Park-Beach 116 station. That work can be seen in the below video.

The H still exists on the rolls of the MTA -- as captured in the 2008 photo below.

An H train, spotted in 2008 (photo by SaikoSakura via flickr)

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