New Yorkers are notorious for complaining about the subway…but here’s some good news: trains will be faster since the MTA took advantage of low ridership during the pandemic to make some much-needed repairs!
Hopefully train delays and moving at a snail’s pace will be a thing of the past thanks to these new updates.
According to an MTA press release, the biggest reason for slow trains lied in outdated or broken GT (grade time) signals which control the speed of the train to ensure it isn’t moving too faster, and too much time spent holding at station platforms. Over the past two years there has been a “SPEED” team dedicated to improving poor on-time performance, and staff have installed nearly 1,000 new digital timers for the GT signals to date. They also raised speed limits in 279 locations so far, finding an additional 384 areas where limits can also be raised. The most significant of these changes were made in 2020 during the pandemic while the subway was much less busy.
Some of the biggest changes you may have already noticed include: the northbound curve entering City Hall on the from 6 m.p.h. to 15 m.p.h., the southbound speed limit at President Street on the from 15 to 35 m.p.h., the speeds on the express tracks on Queens Blvd. from 35 to 50 m.p.h. at multiple locations, and removing the 25 m.p.h. limit on the line express in the Bronx, allowing for speeds about 40 m.p.h. near Fordham Rd and Kingsbridge Rd.
The speed limits and use of GT signals started because of safety issues nearly 100 years when the subway system was first built, but over time as technology improved they became “overly restrictive,” resulting in slower trains.
“We’ve continued to identify root causes for slower speeds, and we’ve continued to move rapidly to fix grade time signals that were defective and to increase speeds where it’s safe to do so,” said Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg. “But make no mistake, this is not the end. We will continue to inspect the system so that as new speed-related challenges emerge, we are prepared to address them promptly.”
featured image source: MTA