Great news for residents living in the Rockaways – after nearly seven months of cramming onto slow and crowded shuttle buses thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority finally restored A train service as of noon today. The $650 million project is said to be the most expensive of all Sandy restoration projects, but we think Rockaway straphangers will agree that it was well worth the money. WNYC reports that the MTA rang in the return of the A by riding a vintage R1/R9 1930’s subway car down the newly opened tracks.
Since Sandy surges destroyed tracks in the Rockaways, the MTA has taken extra precaution to protect the subway line from future storms. They installed a two-mile long wall along the tracks consisting of seven feet of thick steel. The walls plunge 30 feet underground and stretch along the Broad Channel.
Displaced commuters have endured months of making it to work via inconvenient and often tardy shuttle buses. The MTA resurrected the H line to get residents into the city, and also provided temporary ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan, but it still hasn’t been easy. “I’ve been having a hard time getting back and forth to Manhattan, getting back and forth to Brooklyn,” said one commuter to NY1. “It’s crazy.”
In total about 1,500 feet of track was rebuilt in addition to the replacement of power lines and signals. Two stations were also rehabilitated in order to resume service to the line. With the new improvements in place as well as the sea wall, officials are confident that the service will be protected and operable for years to come.