MTA Press Releases

Press Release
December 13, 2017
NYC Transit Performing Significant Upgrades, Maintenance & Repairs on E/M Line

Subway Action Plan & Capital Improvement Work on Signal System, Track, Drainage & More

Work Planned During Week of Low Ridership to Minimize Impact on Riders

See Video Explaining the Work & Service Options Here

MTA New York City Transit will be performing significant upgrades, maintenance and repairs on the 53rd Street em Line during a period of lower-than-average ridership this month, with more than 500 workers tackling signal, track, drainage and other projects as part of the Subway Action Plan and long-term capital improvements.

“We pledged to do more work in less time as we work hard to improve the subway system, and this is yet another example,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer and Acting NYC Transit President Phil Eng.  “The schedule for this intensive Subway Action Plan and capital improvement work minimizes the impact on our customers while putting in new track, third rail and signal equipment for a more reliable ride.  We appreciate our customers’ patience while we do this critical work.”

The work will be done in and around the 53rd Street tunnel between Manhattan and Queens, between Queens Plaza and 50 St-8 Av, from the early morning of Tuesday, Dec. 26 until the late morning of Sunday, Dec. 31.  This is a week that has significantly lower ridership than normal weekdays, and the efficiency of this schedule will allow an entire month worth of weekend work to be accomplished in a single five-day period.  Normal weekend service – with the addition of New Year’s Eve enhancements – will be in place well before the festivities begin on Dec. 31.

The comprehensive Subway Action Plan and capital program work includes:

  • Installation of four miles of cabling for signal improvements including Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC)
  • 2,000 feet of third rail replacement
  • 700 feet of track replacement
  • 1,000 feet of track drainage clearing
  • Leak-eliminating grouting

For service options during this planned work:

  • Between Queens and Manhattan, e trains will be rerouted along the f Line between Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av and W 4 St at all times, and follow their normal route between W 4 St and World Trade Center at all times except overnights (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.), when they will run along the f line between W 4 St and 2 Av at Houston St.
  • m trains will not operate except for the m shuttle trains between Metropolitan Av and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs.  Additional j trains will operate between Broadway Junction and Chambers St.
  • Customers traveling to and from Forest Hills-71 Av may take the f, the r, or the rerouted e.
  • Customers traveling to and from city airports may continue to take the rerouted e and, as always, connect with the LaGuardia Link bus for LaGuardia Airport at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av, or the JFK AirTrain at Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av.
  • Queens Plaza will continue to have r service except overnight, when buses to 21 St-Queensbridge will be provided.

MTA and NYC Transit officials have begun an extensive customer and community outreach program to inform the public about this work and related service options, including MTA Board, community board and elected official notifications; local institution outreach, station signage and announcements including personnel in stations distributing brochures and answering questions; social media, text and email notifications; and media outreach. Brochures will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Russian. Online tools at including the TripPlanner will also include service change info.  A video explaining the work and service options is available on the MTA’s YouTube channel here.