The line had its ups and downs in 2015. Riders created a very active social media group this year with more than 1,400 members called "7 Train Blues," as well as a more policy-oriented group called "Access Queens." Despite its woes, which included an umbrella on the tracks and ice memorably knocking out service for hours on a February weekday , the No. 7 was also named the best subway line by the Straphangers Campaign.
Next year will be somewhat easier on riders, officials say, with eight planned weekend shutdowns, several fewer than the 11 this year.
During those closures, the MTA will be working on both modernizing the No. 7 train's signal system, and repairing the Steinway Tunnel, a 121-year-old tube under the East River used by the line between Manhattan and Queens. Like many subway tunnels, it was seriously damaged by saltwater during Superstorm Sandy. It is also so narrow that any work requires a tube shutdown, since crews can't safely be in the tunnel with a live train.
The MTA is also still upgrading the signal system on the No. 7 to communication-based train control, a more modern system used by the L train in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some of the current signaling on the No. 7 is 90 years old.
Workers will also be installing new tracks. More trains will be able to serve booming Queens once the upgrades are complete, but the work often angers riders and local officials. The MTA said it will avoid shutdowns when the Mets have home games, as well as during the Lunar New Year celebrations.
"Replacing old tracks means a smoother, faster ride for customers, and installing a modern signal system means less crowded and more reliable commutes," said James Ferrara, the acting president of New York City Transit.
Access Queens, which runs "7 Train Blues," said members were gratified that work was getting closer to being finished, and that there would be fewer weekend shutdowns this year. They hope the MTA will add more rush-hour trains, and do a full review of the line. "Access Queens looks forward to ongoing and future improvements on the 7 line, as well as to an ongoing, productive dialogue with the MTA," said Hayes Mauro, a group member who lives in Sunnyside. (Credit: Getty Images)