NYCT’s “Fastrack” on track

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At the January meeting of the NYCTRC  Joe Leader, VP and Chief Maintenance Officer (CMO), NYC Transit Department of Subways with Jackie Kuhls, Unit Chief, Resource Review, NYC Transit Office of Management and Budget, and Liz Deluca, Manager, Office of the Vice President and CMO, presented the preliminary results from the first limited-duration closures for maintenance of right of way.  This pilot program for repair work was initiated because it is becoming increasingly difficult to do work on weekends and late night without greatly impacting riders.   From 2001 to 2010 ridership increased 12.6% on weekdays, and 22.1% on weekends, so more riders are affected when work is done.  And, 82% of the 200 million new riders were during off-peak hours on weekdays and on weekends.

This new pilot program identified lines in the Central business District (CBD), with significant alternate services, for full closure (all tracks) of a segment over four consecutive weekenights from 10PM to 5 AM, while full regular service is maintained on adjacent CBD lines.   The first Fastrack shutdown occured Jan 9 – Jan 13 on the Lexington line from Grand Central Station to Atlantic Avenue.

While the customers are impacted during these night hours, the benefits are great:
(1) Because of the expanded full closure shutdown period, workers are more productive.  Jobs that typically take weeks or months are accomplished in days.
(2) It is a much safer environment for workmen.
(3) There are fewer train delays due to work gangs along tracks in regular revenue service.  Leader noted that when a train has to pass through a work zone it adds 2 minutes on average to the trip.

While the main thrust of the work was track and right of way, NYCT took this opportunity to attend to other components of the stations that needed maintenance as well: elevators and escalators; fire systems; CCTV monitors and cameras; lighting, tiles, paint, steps; and heavy duty cleaning.

Based on the success of this initiative, NYCT is moving forward on other lines in the pilot program: 7th Avenune, 6th Avenue, and 8th Avenue.   Leader closed the presentation by reminding the audience that “the better you maintain, the more you can put off capital investment.”

Also see the MTA story at http://www.mta.info/news/stories/?story=553

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