The MTA has reopened the storm-ravaged Montague Tube, which connects Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan, and has restored full-length R train service Friday morning.
"For the past several weeks the Lexington Avenue Line has been overburdened. Staten Islanders have been forced to find alternate routes to midtown and subway customers from Bay Ridge have endured longer trips and transfers," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "The return of the full length R route is an enormous achievement that will take some of the pressure off of the 65,000 commuters who use this line every day."
In the weeks after Superstorm Sandy whalloped the city's transportation systems and infrastructure, the MTA has been repairing unprecedented damage to subway and commuter tunnels, rail and subway tracks, and subway stations.
Historic storm surge flooded the Montague Tube with about 27 million gallons of corrosive salt water, submerging tracks, signals and electrical components submerged for days, officials said. Pump room and fan controls were also damaged.
Work crews had to rebuild the electrical and signal system, including wiring, relays, track circuits, lighting stop motors, and more, the governor's office said.
While the tube has been closed, the R train line has been running in two separate sections: between Forest Hills-71 Avenue in Queens and Whitehall Street in Manhattan, and between Jay Street-MetroTech and Bay Ridge-95 Street in Brooklyn.
With the full-line restored, the R will run between Forest Hills and Bay Ridge during the day and in the evenings. (Late nights the R runs much a shorter route only in Brooklyn.)
Two parts of the subway system remain knocked out because of storm damage: the A train between Howard Beach and the Rockaways and the 1 train south of Rector Street in Lower Manhattan.
Riders should anticipate some changes but "near normal" service on the Long Island Rail Road for the morning rush. Crews have been working to repair tracks and switches after Monday's derailment.
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