New signals on the 7 line fail on first day system goes live

November 27, 2018

Photo via Tim Adams on Flickr

After seven years of installing modern signals on the 7 line, the system failed on the first day it went live. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday announced on Twitter that “modern signaling tech” went live on the entire line. Less than an hour later, the authority tweeted that 7 trains were delayed in both directions due to a “network communication problem.” Upgrading the line with the new system, called communications-based train control, originally was scheduled to finish by late 2016.

The modern software is intended to let trains run closer together, allowing for more to operate every hour, potentially reducing the number of delays. Modernizing the signals is a key focus of NYC Transit chief Andy Byford’s plan to fix the subway, as laid out in his Fast Forward plan.

The new system only operates on one other line–the L–which also took roughly seven years to complete. The MTA previously estimated that installing the system across the remaining 25 lines could take over 40 years. But Byford has promised to cut that timeline dramatically, by installing the system on lines that carry 80 percent of commuters over the next ten years.

The MTA blamed Monday’s 7-train delays on a “track circuit failure” but told the New York Post it was not clear whether it was caused by the new technology or not. But Tuesday morning straphangers on the 7 were again met with delays during rush hour. The MTA said on Twitter that emergency brakes were automatically activated and a train was removed from service near Queensboro Plaza, causing residual delays in both directions for hours.


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