Normal A train service in the Rockaway Peninsula is expected to be restored in June, MTA President Thomas Prendergast said this week.
The development will be welcome news to Rockaway residents, who have been without regular subway service since Hurricane Sandy washed out the A train connection between Howard Beach and the peninsula more than three months ago.
The Rockaway connection is one of two subway service areas that are still disabled due to Sandy’s wrath, the other being the South Ferry station in Lower Manhattan.
“We’re working tirelessly to remediate the most serious damage,” said Prendergast, saying the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has made significant progress in restoring A train service to the Rockaways.
Prendergast made the comments at a storm preparedness oversight hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Transportation Tuesday.
The hearing was one of a series looking at how the city dealt with Sandy and its aftermath and how it can better prepare against future storms. Praise for the overall handling by the MTA of the storm’s aftermath was nearly unanimous among committee members.
“By almost all accounts the MTA’s response was excellent,” said Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), chairman of the Transportation Committee, noting that MTA subway, bus and train service was restored almost to normal within a few weeks and the agency has made strides in disaster planning since the 2010 blizzard.
But the damage that was done to the A train connection between the Rockaways and Howard Beach was extensive, Prendergast noted.
The MTA launched an extensive effort to rebuild the train track crossing over Jamaica Bay, which was breached in two places. It has also worked to remove storm debris along the tracks and rebuild the track bed that was damaged in the storm, Prendergast said. The agency also had to replace damaged and missing third rail protection boards and insulators and signal, power and communications equipment, he said.
In the meantime, a free H shuttle train has been replacing A service between the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station and Beach 90th Street and all intermediate stops. A temporary ferry service was also started between the Rockaways and Manhattan in November to help residents.
According to the MTA, the subway line between the Rockaways and Howard Beach serviced more than 30,000 riders per day before the storm.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cn
©2013 Community News Group
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