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MTA completes 7 line's Automatic Train Operation upgrade in Queens

The 7 in Queens is the second line to be upgraded with ATO, after the L train. All other lines rely on operators to control a train's acceleration, cruising speed and braking.

The 7 train in Queens is now equipped

The 7 train in Queens is now equipped with a program that automatically sets optimal acceleration, cruising speeds and braking, the MTA announced on Thursday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The MTA has completed another upgrade to the 7 line in Queens that it expects will lead to more reliable service.

Under the Automatic Train Operation system, trains are programmed to run with optimal cruising speeds, acceleration and braking, creating more evenly spaced service. Operators are still responsible for a train's departure from a station and emergency braking.

The 7 in Queens is the second line to be upgraded with ATO, after the L train. All other lines rely on operators to control a train's acceleration, cruising speed and braking.

"I am tremendously proud and excited to announce that New York City Transit train operators are now running the entire Flushing Line using automatic train operation, which will make trips smoother and faster for all our customers on that line,” NYC Transit President Andy Byford said in a statement Thursday. "I am so thankful to our new signals guru Pete Tomlin and the entire NYC Transit signals team, as well as our train operators who are great partners in our efforts to improve service."

In December 2018, the MTA wrapped up the installation of Communications Based Train Control, a new computerized signaling system on the 7 line that officials are crediting with an on-time performance that jumped from 74.7 percent in November 2018 to 91 percent in March.

Between ATO and CBTC, the MTA expects service on the train line to improve dramatically.

"It’s no coincidence that the two lines with CBTC and ATO have the best performance in the system, and we’re excited about what the future may bring as we explore emerging additional technologies such as ultra-wideband communications, which could revolutionize the way we modernize the system, as envisaged by our Fast Forward plan," Byford said.

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