Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter said his agency now believes it can have both the A and the C lines running normally in six to nine months - not the three to five years estimated Monday after a blaze damaged a subway signaling room serving both lines in Lower Manhattan Sunday.Borough officials and subway riders have expressed consternation and frustration over the breakdown. For the foreseeable future, Queens straphangers must contend with service on the A train, which is the only subway line to the Rockaways, running at 60 percent of normal levels at best and the C line out of business altogether. The Transit Authority said the A line disruption affects both the Rockaway branch, used by passengers en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport as well as commuters to the Rockaways, and the Lefferts Boulevard branch running to Ozone Park. The AirTrain from Kennedy Airport connects with the A line at Howard Beach.The fire, apparently set by a homeless person in the Chambers Street station, destroyed a critical underground signal and switching station room and brought nightmarish delays for the 470,000 daily riders of the A train.Transit workers speaking to subway operators by radio now must manually guide A trains over a 1,300-foot stretch of tracks. The Transit Authority said the C line was effectively out of business for six to nine months."We have located some parts, called relays, of the type destroyed, which will make our jobs a bit easier," Reuter said at a news conference Tuesday evening at Transit Authority headquarters in Brooklyn.Queens Borough President Helen Marshall called for ferry service from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan to help people of the Rockaway Peninsula."Today our residents in the Rockaways are almost completely stranded," Marshall said in her State of the Borough address Tuesday.City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said, "I believe we're at the tip of the iceberg with this problem." Addabbo also is an advocate for ferry service for Rockaways residents.
©2005 Community News Group
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