This year may almost be over, but there’s still time for major service changes to E and M trains.
Starting Tuesday, the MTA shut down a segment of the lines from Manhattan to Queens for nearly a week to perform sweeping repairs.
The closing is part of a new strategy to avoid extended weekend outages, as the agency attempts to restore plummeting subway service. The outage will span from Queens Plaza to the 50th Street-Eighth Avenue stations and end Sunday, Dec. 31.
During that time, the MTA will send more than 500 workers onto the line to work on signaling, track and drainage projects — work outlined in chairman Joe Lhota’s yet-to-be-funded $836 million Subway Action Plan.
Phil Eng, MTA COO and acting president of New York City Transit, said work that will be done during the closure would have otherwise taken an entire month of weekend service closures.
“We pledged to do more work in less time as we work hard to improve the subway system, and this is yet another example,” said Eng in a statement. “The schedule for this intensive Subway Action Plan and capital improvement work minimizes the impact on our customers while putting in new track, third rail and signal equipment for a more reliable ride. We appreciate our customers’ patience while we do this critical work.”
The construction will focus on the 53rd Street tunnel running under the East River, including the installation of four miles of cabling needed for the line to eventually be updated with a modern signaling system. Workers will also complete 2,000 feet of third rail replacement and 700 feet of track replacement.
The MTA chose the week between Christmas and New Year’s holidays because it’s typically a “low ridership” period, according to an MTA spokesman. Normal weekend service will be in place by the morning of Dec. 31, in time for New Year’s Eve festivities, the MTA said in news release. R trains will continue to serve Queens Plaza — except overnight, when shuttle buses will run to the 21st Street-Queensbridge station.
During the outage, E trains will be rerouted along the F Line between the Roosevelt Avenue and West 4th Street stations at all hours. E trains will follow their normal route between West 4th Street and the World Trade Center stations except between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., when they will run along the F line between West 4th Street and 2nd Avenue at Houston Street.
M trains will not operate, though the M shuttle will run between Metropolitan Avenue and Myrtle-Wycoff Avenue stations. The MTA will also boost J train service between Broadway Junction and Chambers Street stations.