The MTA has announced the newest round of weekend closures on the 7 train as reconstruction and improvement projects on the subway line continue.
In a bit of good news for exasperated 7 train riders who have been dealing with the service disruption for years, however, the MTA says there will be fewer shutdowns in 2016 than in previous years.
For each of the following weekends in 2016, there will be no 7 train service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42nd Street in both directions from 11:30 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday:
- Jan. 22-25
- March 18-21
- April 1-4
- April 15-18
- Oct. 21-24
- Oct. 28-31
- Nov. 11-14
- Nov. 18-21
The MTA has been making capital improvements on the 7 for years to increase the line's capacity and reliability as ridership demand surges. The $774 million project is improving tracks and signals, and reconstructing and fortifying Steinway Tunnel, the Sandy-damaged tunnel that links Queens and Manhattan, among other things, the MTA says.
The MTA said the extensive nature of the work necessitates service shutdowns to allow crews to access and work on equipment, and that it's challenging to simply restrict work to hours of low ridership because the 7 line is busy around the clock.
The scheduled closures for 2016 take into account events like the Lunar New Year celebrations and the Mets' home game schedule.
During the shutdowns, shuttle service will be provided between Times Square-42nd Street and Hudson Yards-34th Street. Free shuttle buses will also be making all stops at Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue.
There will also be regular service on the nearby E/G trains in Queens, and increased N/Q service between Queens and Manhattan during the 7 train weekend outages.
“The growth of the Flushing Line matters greatly to the growth of Queens, and these projects are critical to the future of the line,” said James L. Ferrara, interim president of MTA's New York City Transit.
“Replacing old tracks means a smoother, faster ride for customers, and installing a modern signal system means less crowded and more reliable commutes. Improvements to any part of our infrastructure allows us to better serve all of our customers," said Ferrara. "This work may be a short-term inconvenience now, but every repair or improvement we make is a step toward a better Flushing Line and a more reliable subway system for all.”
Ultimately, the CBTC modern signaling system should launch in 2017, bringing subway countdown clocks, increased operational flexibility and reliability, system safety improvements and increased capacity to run more trains per hour.
For more information on the 7 line work, visit MTA's website.