Gallery: MTA Assessing Storm Damage to Transit System, Limited Bus Serv...

Well, we survived! Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene may have been underwhelming, but there is still significant flooding in many parts of the city. And while it certainly is annoying to have no mass transit today, we're glad that the MTA took the unprecedented move of shutting down the whole system. The rail yards in Brooklyn and other low lying areas have flooded, trees have fallen on the LIRR, and there was a mudslide on the Metro-North. We don't even want to think of the mess there would have been if all transit had been up and running. The MTA is currently assessing the damage to the system, which requires a walk through of all the tracks. They are unsure when subway and railroad service will return to normal, but limited bus service is being restored today. Buses began running around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon in Manhattan and The Bronx, and service in Brooklyn and Queens followed shortly thereafter. Conditions in Staten Island remain too bad for service to be restored.

Shutting down the entire subway system is no small feat, and the process to restore service is extensive. From the MTA website:

Crews have a step-wise process that we follow, that starts with assessing tracks, then running test trains before it’s finally safe to run passenger trains. Pump trains are operating in places where there’s water on tracks. Employees are walking tracks throughout the underground portion of the system; employees will walk tracks and elevated structures when they are deemed safe.

Once all of the tracks have been examined, the equipment needs to be put back in place. At a press conference this morning, MTA Chief Jim Walder said that there are essentially no trains in Brooklyn right now because all equipment was moved from the rail yards in preparation for the storm. And it was a good thing they were moved, as the yards in Coney Island flooded, which would have damaged the trains.

On the Long Island Railroad, fallen trees are blocking much of the tracks, and wind gusts are expected to continue at 40-50mph throughout the evening, prohibiting the MTA from fully assessing the damage. The Metro-North has experience significant flooding in spaces, and a mudslide occurred on the Hudson Line at Spuyten Duyvil. There are also multiple power outages due to fallen trees and tree branches being tangled in wires. MTA crews are currently working to restore infrastructure.

Needless to say, the commute tomorrow will be a rough one. Hop on your bike, share a cab, or wake up early and have a nice morning walk to work. Check the MTA website for regular updates, and follow the Mayor’s Office on Twitter for updates about services throughout the city. It’s going to be a wet and windy evening, so grab a book or pop in a movie and enjoy the unusual quiet that Irene brought to New York City.

All images via MTA Photos

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