Southern Brooklyn F train service suspended most weekends through 2023, starting Friday

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The F train will shut down south of Church Avenue for most weekends until 2023.
File Photo by Dean Moses

The F train will be out of commission most weekends in southern Brooklyn starting this Friday and lasting all the way until 2023, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority gets to work installing a modernized signal system along the line’s southernmost corridor.

The weekend closures will stretch between Church Avenue in Kensington and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, an MTA spokesperson confirmed.

Weekend service will be shuttered starting at 11:45 p.m. Friday nights and continuing until Monday mornings at 5 a.m. from this weekend until the weekend of Oct. 14-17. After that it will be restored for two weekends until Monday, Nov. 7; starting that Friday, Nov. 11, weekend service will be shut down until the end of 2022.

While service is suspended, riders are being advised to use the relatively close-by D, N, or Q trains for service to their destination south of Church Avenue. Because of the proximity of other subway and bus lines, there will be no free shuttle bus service along the route while work is being done.

The lengthy kibosh on service is so the MTA can install a modern, “communication-based train control” signal system along the corridor, to replace the existing analog signal system that dates to the Great Depression era. CBTC permits MTA signal operators to know the location of trains in tunnels far more precisely than the existing system, allowing trains to move faster and speeding up straphangers’ commutes.

The F train has an on-time performance rate below the systemwide average, MTA statistics show. CBTC has been shown to substantially improve the on-time performance of lines where it’s been installed: the MTA notes that 7 trains improved their on-time rate from 55.5% to 91% between March 2018 and March 2019, after CBTC was installed in the winter of 2019.

The L train has had CBTC since 2012, and today proudly claims the best on-time performance of any subway line in the system except for shuttles, at a sublime 93% in July.

The MTA’s service advisory dashboard only contains information up until mid-October, belying the true length of the weekend shutdown. That comes the same year the MTA announced a two-month weeknight and weekend shutdown of the R train just days ahead of showtime.

The message was relayed, however, to local elected officials, who were told in a Sept. 12 email, obtained by Brooklyn Paper, of the impending closure.

The email was signed by Nick Roloson, the MTA’s assistant director of government and community relations.

The MTA spokesperson did not say why the authority had informed electeds of the breadth of the shutdown before making it known to the public at large. Signage within Brooklyn F stations only indicates the service advisory until Oct. 7.