MTA New York City Transit Made Significant Subway Speed Improvements During Pandemic

MTA New York City Transit today unveiled a series of encouraging updates about the success of its ongoing efforts to safely speed up trains throughout the system, including the installation of 919 new digital timers on grade time signals, 270 civil speed increases across the system over the past two years, and a reduction in time trains spend holding at station platforms. The work builds on recommendations made in the “MTA NYCT Subway Speed and Capacity Review, Phase 2 Report,” which was commissioned as part of the Speed and Safety Task Force launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in July of 2019.

Aging and faulty grade time signals and excessive time spent holding at station platforms were among the biggest factors that led to slower train speeds and comparatively poor on-time performance in the subway system prior to the creation of a dedicated SPEED Team in 2018. Despite the pandemic, New York City Transit remained focused on safely increasing speeds and achieved several key accomplishments in 2020 which are expected to result in reduced running times for customers as they return to the system.

Key 2020 Accomplishments:

• Transit employees methodically took advantage of lower ridership during the pandemic to accelerate installation of new digital timers on grade time (GT) signals, which control the speed of subway trains – completing 900 by October 2020 (ahead of schedule) and 919 to date.
•  In 2020 alone, New York City Transit fixed 156 slow-clearing grade timers with an additional 14 completed in 2021.
• To date, 485 slow-clearing signals have been found throughout the system, with 413 of those having been resolved.
• Transit has identified 663 speed limits that could potentially be raised and 581 of those locations have been evaluated by members of New York City Transit’s safety and engineering teams. Of the speed limits evaluated, 279 of those have already been updated in the field, including 65 civil speed restrictions raised in 2020.

Members of the dedicated SPEED Team have continued to work closely with employees in several divisions within the Department of Subways to check on the reliability of grade time signals so that train operators are able to move customers at the maximum safe speed possible throughout the system. The dedicated unit has also traveled the system to identify parts of the system where previous speed limits can be safely increased.

Many locations had speeds doubled or increased significantly. Some examples include changing the northbound curve entering City Hall on the  from 6 m.p.h. to 15 m.p.h., changing the southbound speed limit at President Street on the  from 15 to 35 m.p.h., changing the speeds on the express tracks on Queens Blvd. from 35 to 50 m.p.h. at multiple locations, and removing the 25 m.p.h. limit on the  line express in the Bronx, allowing for speeds about 40 m.p.h. near Fordham Rd and Kingsbridge Rd.

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: March 23, 2021