A Great Big City

"Summer of Hell" Timeline: Penn Station and Subway Repairs Impact NYC

Waiting for the track assignment at Penn Station in NYC so I can head home.
Waiting for the track assignment at Penn Station in NYC so I can head home. via dionhinchcliffe on Flickr

New Yorkers can survive anything, but this summer of transit shutdowns are stretching sanity pretty thin. We'll be documenting the "Summer of Hell" transit woes as our infrastructure evolves to handle the next 100 years of transportation.

The first bad news came in May 2017 when Politico acquired a preliminary plan a draft plan for 44 total days of shutdowns. The first stretch would shut down various Penn Station tracks from July 7–25, with the second August 4–28 outage anticipated to bring "significant impacts to service." Now, as train tunnels and individual tracks are taken out of service for repairs, normal interruptions in service are being felt much more as they cause significant crowding and confusion on train platforms.

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Vital Info


Info from each agency about summer repairs:
MTA LIRR • NJ Transit • Amtrak • PATH • NY Waterway

Thursday, July 27

A Quinnipiac poll shows a majority rate subway service as "poor" and 36% of respondents say they have switched away from the subway to another form of transportation in the past year.

What do you think: Could corporate sponsorship save the subway?


Wednesday, July 26

One summer of repairs? That'll be a cool $58 million. That's 21,090,909 subway rides at current prices — better get ready for a price hike!

And hey, you can cover half the cost, right?


Tuesday, July 25

MTA Chair Joe Lhota announces an $836 million "subway stabilization plan" to tackle key failures that lead to 79% of all subway delays. Split into Phase One and Phase Two, the first $836 million phase will make repairs, the second $8 billion phase will make improvements and take the system into the 21st century. The plan even comes with a dedicated explainer website.


Monday, July 24

Another week begins, and brings a stalled PATH train in Hoboken that added some early-morning excitement to anyone hoping to bypass Penn Station closures.


Friday, July 21

This derailment of the Q train in Brighton Beach was not major, but caused a significant backup in subway traffic and added quite an interruption to the 135 people on board. The derailment was later determined to be the result of improper maintenance.

A series of unfortunate events causes E and F trains to stop between stations near Roosevelt Avenue.


Wednesday, July 19


Monday, July 17


Monday, July 10

Day one of modified service is rather painless, with passengers splitting up between PATH trains, buses, and ferries to avoid Penn Station.


Thursday, July 6

Before the repairs could even start, an NJ Transit train derailed near Penn Station, putting a stop to any train traffic that needed to use the busy corridor.


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