When New York's subway chief learned earlier this year that a new signal system for the 7 line would not…
When New York’s subway chief learned earlier this year that a new signal system for the 7 line would not be operational until November, he told the contractor to take whatever steps needed to speed the project, including more weekend shutdowns.  “I think customers would prefer to rip the Band-Aid off and get on with it rather than have this slow creeping limp to the finish line,” sagde Andy Byford i april.
Mr. Byford, the president of New York City Transit, had wanted the system up and running by summer’s end. Men en limp to the finish er det han får. The system is not expected to be operational until after Thanksgiving.
In an interview this week, Mr. Byford said the frequency of events at Citi Field, which relies on the 7, and the need for periodic testing of the new technology, convinced him that expediting the schedule would cause more harm than good. “I had to be pragmatic,” he said.
Mr. Byford’s inability to slice time off the already delayed project underlines, once again, the difficulties that lie ahead for modernizing New York’s subway system.
The new signal technology, known as communications-based train control, will allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to run more frequent service. It also replaces equipment that causes a significant share of today’s delays.
But its installation requires frequent shutdowns that are often followed by upgrade-related delays. Performing such work on a system that carries 5.6 million daily riders in a city that regularly hosts major events promises years of disruption and will, no doubt, prompt appeal for more flexible timelines.
At public forums, Mr. Byford refers to the technology as the most transformative change the MTA can make. Until recently, the agency estimated it would take up to 50 years to upgrade the system. Mr. Byford has a plan to upgrade the most heavily used sections of five lines in five years. He wants to add six other lines over the next five years.
Finding the billions of dollars needed for such an upgrade presents a significant challenge for the state-controlled MTA. Og selv om det fjerner finansieringshinder, Mr. Byford will face the technical challenge of installing the technology across hundreds of miles of track on a century-old system.
It took the MTA seven years to install the technology, known as CBTC, on the L train, the only line that currently has it. The 7 line upgrade, which has also taken seven years, was supposed to be complete in spring or 201
New York’s subway poses two problems not facing other similar-sized systems around the world. It operates 24-hours a day, making access to tracks difficult.
“It’s the most complicated deployment of CBTC compared to anywhere else in the world,” said Alan Rumsey, a, and said: “It’s the most complicated deployment of CBTC compared to anywhere else in the world.” consultant who specializes in the technology.
Mr. Rumsey compared Mr. Byford’s goal of installing the technology on 11 lines in 10 years to the space race-aspirational, but not impossible. “If you have a clear goal it can drive a lot of things to happen that would not normally happen,” he said.
Mr. Byford said he believes he can slash CBTC timelines by simplifying some of the MTA’s technological requirements. Men han har også advart rytterne om at forvente omfattende serviceforløb.
Riders on the 7 line have endured years of weekend outages. The MTA has a few remaining shutdowns scheduled, the last one for the weekend of November 24. Once complete, riders should see an immediate improvement in reliability, Mr. Byford said. In April 2019, the system will allow for the addition of 28 trains a day.
The installation has been disruptive to the 7 line’s 500,000 daily passengers. Melissa Orlando, the founder of transit advocacy group Access Queens, said weekend shutdowns have hurt businesses while midweek riders have been plagued by signal-related delays and overcrowding, often related to the installation work. “From the perspective of the riders, this thing can not happen soon enough,” she said.
Mr. Byford said that the Javits Center asked the MTA to reverse a decision to shut down the 7 over the weekend of Comic Con in early October. But, “we kept our nerve” and a replacement bus service worked well, he said. A spokesman for the convention center said “the MTA went above and beyond” to provide alternative services.
Mr. Byford said there would be tensions and a great deal of disruption should the MTA push ahead with its modernization plan, which also includes installing elevators at about 180 stations. Men “hvis vi grind til en halt på hvert enkelt element eller” planen, sagde han, da det “kommer virkelig til å slåss fra å få gå.”