NYC Subway Communication Systems Upgraded

September 9, 2015
By Tara Jessup

New York, NY – Two Federal Transit Administration grants totaling $57,141,634 will pay for a new subway emergency communication system and the upgrading of subway stations to protect them during storms. “Superstorm Sandy brought unprecedented disruption to the New York subway system – but now we are building the system back better and stronger than before,” said Governor Cuomo.

“This funding helps us move forward with critical upgrades that will keep the system running and keep travelers safe during an emergency. This is about strengthening our infrastructure with the next storm in mind, and I am thankful for the support of our federal partners in this effort.”

When Superstorm Sandy swept through New York City in October 2012, it left behind extensive damage to transit facilities and subway stations. The record storm surge inundated tunnels, filling critical operations rooms that housed electric equipment with highly corrosive saltwater. The storm also exposed a need for a better communication system particularly in times of an emergency.

“These federal grants enable New York City Transit’s recovery from a devastating storm by funding critical improvements and repairs for a system that moves six million people a day,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “The MTA’s goal is to make the subway system stronger and more resilient than ever if and when we face another historic storm like Sandy. To do that, we look to our federal partners to help us protect a trillion-dollar asset that powers the New York region, and we thank the FTA for acknowledging how vitally important the New York subway system is to the city and its people.”

The grants will provide for an improved communications platform between station agents and Rail Control Centers. This will enable direct communication between customers and supervisors system-wide in the event of an emergency. During Sandy, vulnerabilities in low-lying or flood-prone parts of the system led to flooding putting equipment at risk as well as the safety of passengers. Station-hardening projects covered by the funding will improve the flood resiliency of subway stations.

Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “We all know the subway system is the lifeblood of New York City. When Sandy’s floodwaters inundated three major subway tunnels with thousands of gallons of water, it was a major blow. Sandy’s devastation demanded we rebuild New York in a stronger and more resilient way in order to protect ourselves against future storms. This federal funding will protect the power grids that keep our subway system working while ensuring instant communication at Rail Control Centers during a major storm. This funding and these efforts will make commuting safer and service better for countless New Yorkers.”

September 9, 2015

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