Oh, L no! MTA suspending weeknight service on line for eight weeks starting Monday

On the night train! Bedford L station as busy at 1 am as it is at rush hour
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It’s L-pocalypse now — the sequel!

Late-night commuters are set to enter fresh L on Monday, when state-transportation leaders will stop the subway’s weeknight service between Bushwick and Manhattan for eight weeks straight.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s announcement of the suspended service comes about a week after its leaders formally cancelled the long-promised shutdown of the L train’s East River–spanning Canarsie Tube, in favor of a plan Gov. Cuomo abruptly revealed months before that closure was set to kick off on April 27.

The new plan, which will allow trains to run the line’s full length at reduced rates throughout the repairs to the superstorm Sandy–damaged Tube, requires workers to spend nights and weekends repairing the infrastructure’s two tunnels one at a time.

But in order to prepare for those fixes, the state-run transit agency must do some extra work on the tracks ahead of time, requiring nightly L-train service between the Broadway Junction station on the Bushwick–Cypress Hills border and Manhattan to stop on Mondays through Fridays between 10:45 pm and 5 am, from Jan. 28 through March 18.

“As part of the revised L project, we’re still moving forward on the long-term reliability improvement work we had originally planned. This includes installing brand new rail in the tunnel and along other critical sections of the L line, and preparing key switches and signals. For you, this means our track will be safer and trains will run faster and smoother, and that we’ll have the right signals to run the one-track operation come April,” read a press release the Authority issued on Friday. “This work requires full track access because of how the track installation and signal work is implemented.”

In addition to the weeknight closures, previously announced mini-shutdowns will stop full L-train service on seven weekends in February and March — including Feb. 1-4, Feb. 8–11, Feb. 15–19, Feb. 22–25, March 1–4, March 8–11, and March 15–18, when no trains will run between Manhattan and Broadway Junction from 10:45 pm on Fridays until 5 am on Mondays. Full L train service will also be suspended on Monday, Feb. 18, President’s Day, as part of the line’s closure that weekend.

Straphangers displaced by the subway’s weeknight and weekend closures can alternatively take the A, F, J, or M lines, or hop on any of five shuttle buses that will run when the subway is not.

Two of the buses will run on weeknights, with one making stops at every L train station between Broadway Junction and Lorimer Street, and then connecting riders with the J train at Marcy Avenue station, and the other running a loop between the Marcy Avenue and Hewes Street J stations, the Broadway and Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue G stations, and the Bedford Avenue L station.

And three more will run during the weekend closures, with one shuttling riders between Broadway Junction and the M train at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue station, the second running between Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue and the Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue G station, and the third stopping at the Marcy Avenue and Hewes Street J and M stations, the Broadway and Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue G stations, and the Bedford Avenue L station.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.