MTA Press Releases

Press Release
August 17, 2020
IMMEDIATE
MTA to Perform Critical Track Replacement Work at End of E Line in Queens Next Month

MTA Will Replace and Install Over a Mile of Track at End of E Subway Line in Queens, During Time of Historically Low Ridership to Improve Service Reliability

E Subway Train Service at Two Stations Will be Suspended and Supplemented by Alternate Subway, Bus and Rail Service

Work to Be Completed in Two Phases; First Phase Begins Sept. 19 

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that crews will replace and install more than 5,500 feet of track and over 7,800 feet of third rail at or near two stations at the end of the E Subway line in Queens beginning Sept. 19. The track is reaching the end of its useful life and needs complete replacement, which will lead to improved reliability and better service throughout the line in Queens and Manhattan. 

The critical project, which cannot be delayed, is being done at a time of historically low ridership to minimize impact to customers. It comes at a time when the MTA is seeking $12 billion in federal funding to help pay for operations through the end of 2021. 

“The MTA is changing the way we do construction, and that means getting work done faster and with less impact on our customers," said Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development. “By doing this critical track work now while subway and AirTrain ridership is low we will get this stretch of the E Subway train upgraded in time to be ready when residents of southeast Queens – and all New Yorkers – return to riding the subways in larger numbers.”

The service change seeks to minimize impacts to customers. The MTA is making these upgrades now and coordinating alternative travel options in order to prevent emergency track work and unplanned service changes that would create bigger disruptions for customers than the outage being planned. Alternative travel options detailed below include the J SubwayZ Subway, LIRR and bus connections with the F Subway.

“Track replacement is another step in the right direction towards having a modern, more reliable, safe system that will benefit our riders for decades to come,” said NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg. “We’re taking advantage of unprecedented low ridership to make sure this work causes as few disruptions as possible for our customers – but that doesn’t mean this is not a significant inconvenience for some riders – and I want to thank customers for their patience while we work to improve the system for all.”

Since 2016, there have been 46 incidents between Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center on the E Subway line because of track conditions, resulting in 713 delayed trains. 

Phase 1 of the project is expected to take six weeks, continuing to the early morning hours of Monday, Nov. 2. Phase 2 of the project, which will restore some E Subway train service in the two-station project corridor, is scheduled to begin in early November and last until mid-December. 

The MTA is accelerating the project’s timeline by taking advantage of traditionally low late-summer ridership, as well as low airport travel and low general subway ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to minimize the disruption of the work and impact as few riders as possible. The impact on customers is further reduced due to the ongoing overnight subway shutdown between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., during which there is robust alternate service available on MTA buses.

The work will require a temporary suspension of E Subway train service at two stations: Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av, and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer. These stations both have multiple connecting bus lines as well as J SubwayZ Subway subway service. Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av connects with the Long Island Rail Road’s Jamaica station. MetroCards and OMNY will be honored at the Long Island Rail Road for travel to and from Jamaica and these stations during Phase 1: 

  • Penn Station
  • Forest Hills   
  • Kew Gardens 
  • Hollis
  • Laurelton  
  • Locust Manor 
  • Queens Village
  • Rosedale 
  • St. Albans 

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks said: “Replacing tracks now prevents disruptions down the line so that Queens’ straphangers can depend on more reliable service for the coming years. This accelerated timeline for track replacement takes advantage of the limited ridership during coronavirus, reducing the amount of commuters inconvenienced by the work being done. I thank the MTA for prioritizing this preventative work and making sure the E Subway train can continue to serve Southeast Queens."

Senator Leroy Comrie said: "Recognizing the unique opportunity that lower-than-usual ridership presents, NYCT will expedite a critical track replacement plan between Jamaica Van Wyck and Jamaica Center along the E Subway line that will require a partial shutdown of this section of the system. I want to thank the MTA for adjusting the schedule for this project to ensure riders will have proper notice and ample time to prepare for alternate service. NYCT is committed to a robust rider notification plan as well as supplementary shuttle bus service in Downtown Jamaica. Moreover, the LIRR will cross honor MetroCards at LIRR stations in Southeast Queens for trips to Penn Station and intermediate stops. I thank the MTA for committing to making transit available via alternate services during this subway service disruption." 

For continuous service to and from Jamaica Center, customers are encouraged to transfer to and from buses between there and F Subway train stops on Hillside Avenue. Alternatives for customers traveling to the JFK AirTrain in Jamaica include the J SubwayZ Subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

Detailed Service Information

During Phase 1, which begins Saturday, Sept. 19, the following service changes will be in effect:

  • No E Subway train service at Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer.
  • E Subway trains run between World Trade Center and Jamaica-Van Wyck from5 a.m. to 1 a.m., all days.
  • E Subway trains also operate between World Trade Center and 179 St mornings, middays and evenings on weekdays.  

Customers are encouraged to use the following travel alternatives:  

  • J SubwayZ Subway subway service will continue to be available at Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Sutphin Blvd/Archer Av  
  • Bus service connecting riders between Jamaica Center/Parsons Archer and Parsons Blvd F Subway
    • Q25, Q34, Q65, Q83, Q110, Q111, Q112, Q113, Q114
  • Bus service connecting riders between Sutphin Blvd Archer Av/JFK Airport and Sutphin Blvd F Subway line station. 
  • Q20A/B, Q40, Q43, Q44SBS  
  • Q54, Q56, Q60  
  • Customers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should use Jamaica-Van Wyck E Subway or 179 St F Subway.
  • Bus service connecting riders between Jamaica Center/Parsons Archer with Jamaica-Van Wyck.  
  • For continuous service to and from Jamaica Center, customers are encouraged to transfer to and from buses between there and F Subway train stops on Hillside Avenue. 
  • Connection to JFK AirTrain is available at Sutphin Blvd/Archer Av via the J SubwayZ Subway and LIRR, and at Howard Beach via the A Subway.  
  • Shuttle bus between the Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center-Parsons Blvd/Archer Av stations in Queens. 

The MTA will hold a pair of community meetings, held remotely, in the coming weeks to explain the work being done and to provide in-depth alternative trip planning options to help customers plan their travel for the duration of the project. Details of the community meetings will made available in the coming weeks.

The MTA will post both print and digital signage in stations, along with announcements in stations and on trains ahead of the scheduled work. Customer service notifications will be made on trains, posted at affected stations and posted on the MTA website, the MYmta app and social media. Customers can also sign up for text and email alerts at www.myMTAalerts.com

Maps, fact sheets, trip planning and other resources will be made on available on the project’s webpage at new.mta.info/JamaicaTrackReconstruction and updated periodically.