After discovering rail defects near Grand Central Station during the installation of the new signal system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said they will be performing additional track work on the 7 train to address the issue.
While NYC Transit President Andy Byford said the defects pose no immediate threat to the safety of commuters, but the agency will be addressing the 2,000-foot span of tracks all throughout January and February.
“The 7 line is a critical transit artery in Queens and we are doing everything we can to improve its reliability and performance,” Byford said. “This is work that could not have been completed while we were installing the new signal system and it is absolutely critical it be completed soon. We thank our customers for their patience; when this work is completed, customers will be using a line with enhanced reliability and performance.”
The work will affect stops between Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City and 34th Street-Hudson Yards in Manhattan; crews will replace worn rails, deteriorated track ties and concrete, as well as improve water conditions.
Discovered during the installation of communications-based train control in October and November, Byford said the defects could not be corrected at the time of the installation.
The transit agency will also use the work period as an opportunity to remove the hardware from the old analog signal system.
But the weekend and overnight disruptions come at a bad time for Queens residents who have already seen reduced service on the J, E and M trains.
The MTA will spend Dec. 28 through Jan. 7 rebuilding all tracks and switches on the J train portion that stretches through Queens which will overlap with repairs made to the 53rd Street tunnel servicing the E and M from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31.
Work crews will be installing rails, plates, tie blocks and track ties in the 53rd Street Tunnel as well as performing preventive switch maintenance. Communications-based Train Control will also be rolled out in portions on local and express tracks on the E, F, M and R between the Kew Gardens and Rockefeller Center.
The tunnel work will take place between Queens Plaza and 50 St-8 Avenue and the MTA expects the signal upgrade to allow them move more commuters more efficiently.
Riders on the 7 train also saw a rough first week of CBTC service while the system was calibrated, according to the MTA.