Two Queens meetings on major track work at end of E line in Jamaica

The E train platform at the Jamaica Center station in Queens. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tdorante10)

The MTA will hold Monday the first of two virtual public meetings on major reconstruction of the E train tracks at the Jamaica Center terminal in Queens.

As the authority previously announced, the work involves completely removing and replacing more than 5,500 feet of track and over 7,800 feet of third rail along the E line between Jamaica Center and Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue in Jamaica.

The project’s first phase begins on or about Sept. 19, with the E line between those two stations closed around the clock through Nov. 2, as the MTA seeks to take advantage of the continued low ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The project will not affect J/Z train service between Jamaica Center and Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue. Both trains will remain available as an alternate route.

The E train tracks have reached “the end of their useful life,” according to the MTA; they were built when the Queens Boulevard Line was extended underground between the 1970s and 1980s.

On top of becoming antiquated, the MTA reported a number of problems associated with the line between Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center, with 46 reported track conditions since 2016 that resulted in 713 delayed trains.

“Track replacement is another step in the right direction towards having a modern, more reliable, safe system that will benefit our riders for decades to come,” said NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg said in an Aug. 17 announcement about the project. “We’re taking advantage of unprecedented low ridership to make sure this work causes as few disruptions as possible for our customers – but that doesn’t mean this is not a significant inconvenience for some riders – and I want to thank customers for their patience while we work to improve the system for all.”

The first public meeting on the E train project will take place this Monday, Aug. 31, with a second session on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Both meetings will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Residents will hear from members of NYC Transit Customer Service, Government Community Relations and Construction & Development, along with local elected officials. They’ll also hear detailed information on alternative routes to the E train while the project is underway.

After the first phase ends on Nov. 2, the project’s second phase will begin with limited E train service between Jamaica-Van Wyck and Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue restored. 

Visit new.mta.info/jamaicatrackreconstruction/meeting to register to attend either of the public meetings. For further information about the project, visit the MTA’s website, mta.info.

The work will commence even as the MTA continues to stump for major federal funding to close a projected $12 billion budget gap through 2021. At an Aug. 26 board meeting, MTA officials warned that without federal relief, it may be forced to take “draconian” cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures, including a $1 fare hike and a 40% reduction in transit services.

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