Wednesday, April 03, 2013
By Kate Hinds
On Thursday, New Yorkers will ride the subway like it's 1999.
Or really 2009, because that's the last time the old South Ferry station saw action.
The formerly decommissioned station is being pressed back into service while the newer station -- heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy -- undergoes extensive repairs that could take several years. The old station is built around a tight curve in the tracks at the Lower Manhattan terminus of the 1 line that subway trains sometimes use to turn around. And the platform is shorter than the length of a train: passengers using the retro station will need to sit in the first five cars to exit.
Related: Old South Ferry Station, Replaced At a Cost of $530 Million, Pressed Back Into Service
South Ferry is used by tens of thousands of Staten Island Ferry riders. Their convenient connection to the 1 train was lost when Sandy flooded the new South Ferry station. Since then, the 1 line has been starting and ending at Rector Street, which inserts a ten minute walk into Staten Islanders' already long commutes.
The MTA estimated several weeks ago that returning service to the decommissioned station would cost about $2 million. (Read about the scope of the work here.) Meanwhile, restoring service to the three-year old station destroyed by Sandy will cost about 300 times more.
The MTA is still working on restoring another post-Sandy subway service gap: A train service to the Rockaways.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Three and a half years before Sandy, the NY MTA unveiled a new subway station, at South Ferry. The station would enable far faster turn-arounds for trains than the old station build a hundred years ago, speeding commutes for tens of thousands of straphangers each day.
The new station was "visible proof that when the MTA is provided with adequate capital funding, we build monumental works for generations of New Yorkers for decades to come," then MTA Chief Jay Walder said.
But Sandy completely submerged the station, wiping out the vital signaling room. Replacing it will cost $600 million, more than a tenth of the damage to the MTA during Sandy. It could take a year, or more.
And most critically, says Wynton Habersham, Chief Electrical Officer in charge of signals and power for NYC Transit, the relatively brand new signalling room was inundated with saltwater: live wires hardened, signals corroded, and even electronic track-moving equipment was rendered unusable. "It's like just taking your computer and dipping it in saltwater," Habersham says.
Habersham says crews tried to clean off the signals, but the corrosion reappeared, and the supplier advised junking them.
Four such relay rooms, out of some two-hundred systemwide, were submerged and rendered useless by Sandy.
Rebuilding the brand new South Ferry station, opened only three years ago after a laborious expansion using 9/11 recovery money, will cost $600 million. Habersham says no construction will take place until the MTA can figure out how to defend the station from future storms. Possible fixes include installing a horizontal barrier over the station's entrance, raising the signal room, and protecting components from saltwater.
MTA officials say no one is contemplating not rebuilding the station, which is normally used by 30,000 of the 70,000 people who ride the Staten Island Ferry on a weekday.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
By Kate Hinds
New York's R train -- which hasn't gone south of 34th Street since Hurricane Sandy -- will make it as far south as Whitehall Street beginning Monday morning.
In an email, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said “the resumption of service to the Whitehall Street station will restore a vital link to midtown’s west side for Staten Islanders and also ease crowding along the Lexington Avenue Line."
The Whitehall station is located near the ferry terminal. The South Ferry #1 station, which was completely flooded during the storm, is still being repaired. The MTA has ballparked the cost of restoring both stations at $600 million.
Cuomo's email called the restoration of service a "herculean task" that required "repairing and replacing track, third rail, communications systems, pumping equipment, electrical feeds and controls."
But straphangers planning to exit at Whitehall could be working out their quadriceps. According to the MTA: "Customers should be aware that only one escalator at this deep station, leading from a landing above the platform to the mezzanine located at the south end of the station nearest the ferry terminal entrance, will be in operation. The escalator at the north end of the station (Stone Street entrance) had previously been removed from service for replacement and remains out. The two escalators at the southern end sustained extensive damage in the wake of the storm but one has been restored to service. We urge anyone who has difficulty climbing stairs to consider using the Rector Street station instead. "
The Montague Tube, the tunnel which carries R trains between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, was flooded during the storm and is still being repaired. Service on the R between the two boroughs is expected by late December.
Want to watch subway service return, post-Sandy? Check out this GIF.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
By Kate Hinds
New York's MTA just released a startling video of the extent of the flooding at the South Ferry - Whitehall station, located at the southern tip of Manhattan.
The station recently underwent a $530 million overhaul. When it reopened in 2009, it created a new connection between the 1 train to and N/R line and was the first new subway station in the city to open in 20 years.
Below, for comparison, a photo of the station pre-Hurricane Sandy.