Here’s How the MTA Got All of Its Trains Underground


Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive for all state agencies to be prepared for Winter Storm Juno, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stabled all of its passenger trains overnight on January 26 to protect them from the coming snowy onslaught. According to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz, during the suspension of passenger service, which took effect at 11 p.m. that night, a handful of “work trains” armed with snow-fighting equipment continued running. MTA workers and trains cleared snow and ice from tracks and platforms throughout the evening.

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Meanwhile, train operators parked local and express passenger trains in tunnels on the express tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, B, D, E, F, N, and Q. And worker trains operated on local tracks.

Passenger trains were stored underground on any express line that had available tracks, making it easy for transit operations to resume shortly before 9 a.m. on January 27. Operators powered up the trains and rode them back into service, and by noon, they began running on the Sunday schedule, which is approximately 60 percent of a regular weekday schedule.

Ortiz says the MTA followed the protocols for Plan V, the transit agency’s highest storm alert level, initiated in June 2011. The plan was drafted in response to the December 2010 snowstorm that dropped over 20 inches of snow on the city. During the blizzard, buses and trains remained operational even after a significant number of them became stuck. The MTA learned from its mistake.

“We created a new plan to make sure our customers, employees, and equipment are safe,” Ortiz told the Voice.