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Feel free to take the F train this holiday season.
So says the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who assured this paper that there will be no more weekend stoppages until next February.
“We hold a moratorium on work during the Christmas shopping season,” explained Glenn Lunden, MTA Senior Director of Subway Operation Improvement and Planning as he outlined the ongoing work on the vital transportation artery that wends its way through the borough as it brings thousands of Brooklynites to Manhattan each day.
The F train begins its circuit through the city at the Surf Avenue station in Coney Island. As it makes its way through the borough, it picks up passengers in Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Midwood, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and downtown Brooklyn before going through Manhattan on its way to Queens.
During a recent overview of F line construction, Lunden went into painstaking detail about the repairs to the train line as well as the reconstruction of the Culver Viaduct %u2013 the elevated part of the subway line between the Carroll Street and 7th Avenue stations.
Yet the question on everyone’s mind was clear: will the train be available on the weekends?
Over the last few weeks work on the Culver Viaduct has caused a shut down of the line between Church Avenue in Flatbush and Jay Street in Brooklyn Heights. While the trains were replaced with shuttle buses, most straphangers found themselves waiting endlessly for service.
While some of the stoppages were expected, some were not.
Commuters were fuming two weeks ago when an unannounced stoppage closed down several F train stops for a weekend.
But the stoppages have stopped%u2026at least for the near future, Lunden said, adding that commuters will see notices about the future disruptions in the next eight weeks.
The ongoing work must continue since most of the equipment on the line “dates back to the 1940s.”
Reconstructing the line will take place for the next few years, he said, adding that trains will run slower throughout the entire line when work is underway.
“We try to keep the work to off peak hours and weekends,” he said. “It’s a trade off%u2026we have to do it if we want to keep the train reliable in the long run.”
“There’s a balance that must be struck between repairing the railroad and running the railroad,” he said.
Lunden said that fifteen trains run through Brooklyn per hour on peak hours.
Yet still the line still has a “below average” performance rating according to a survey the MTA conducted in September.
MTA officials said that the ongoing reconstruction, aging infrastructure as well as the increased ridership the line has sustained over the last few years led to the below average rating.
Once the Culver Viaduct is repaired, MTA work crews will begin signal modernization throughout the line and work on tunnel lighting and emergency ventilation in Queens. All of the Brooklyn F line train stations will also be painted, Lunden explained, putting the kibosh on any hopes that an F express train will be coming through the borough anytime soon.
“Two of the four tracks on the F line will be out of service for the next three and a half to four years, but we’re looking into [an F express]” he said. “We’re evaluating it to see if it makes sense.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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