The F train will shut down on nights and weekends for the next 8 months

July 21, 2020

Photo by Patrick Cashin courtesy of MTA via Flickr

After one year of service disruptions, the much-talked-about L train “slowdown” wrapped up in April. The MTA has now turned its attention to the F train’s Rutgers Tube, which is the last of 11 subway tunnels to be rebuilt after suffering damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Using the same tactics as were employed for the L train, the Rutgers Tube will only be shut down on nights and weekends, affecting F train service from August 2020 through March 2021.

The Rutgers Tube runs one mile under the East River between the East Broadway station in Manhattan and the York Street station in Brooklyn. It was flooded with 1.5 million gallons of water during Sandy. By comparison, the L train’s Canarsie tube saw 7 million gallons of water, which made those repairs so much more time-sensitive and intensive. The MTA first put out a request for proposals for the federally funded Rutgers Tube project in February, estimating that it would cost between $50 and $100 million. According to the MTA, it will be the fastest of all tunnel restorations. It includes:

  • Installation of a cable management racking system
  • Replacement of track, signal equipment, power and communication cables, fan plant equipment, tunnel lighting, and pumps
  • Relocation of pump controls outside the flood zone and addition of a backup generator connection
  • Addition of cellular service within the tube
  • Structural repairs and platform accessibility work at the East Broadway station

Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development, said that being able to complete this project “much faster and at less cost than anybody expected” will “prove that we can make it the norm, as we continue to embrace advanced technologies and private sector development technique.”

The MTA’s tentative plan for the service disruptions is as follows:

On select overnights and weekends between August 2020 and March 2021, F trains will be rerouted over the C Line between Jay St-MetroTech and W 4 St, and via the E line from W 4 St to 36 St in Queens. To accommodate the change, E trains will be rerouted during select overnights and weekends over the F line between 36 St in Queens and a temporary terminal at Delancey St in Manhattan.

The bulk of the work will begin in September, and at first, the overnight work will coincide with the subway’s current closure every night from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for disinfection.

The plan will get the final vote during the MTA’s board meeting tomorrow.


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