Leaf creepers! MTA slows trains because of slippery leaves on tracks

Slow your roll: Q and B trains run slower over elevated lines in Brooklyn during the autumn, because falling leaves make the tracks slippery.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Wondering why your above-ground subway commute has slowed lately? It’s the season that’s the reason.

Straphangers should leaf a little extra time for commuting now that fall is in full swing — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is running elevated and above-ground trains slower because fallen leaves make the tracks slippery, officials said.

“When the leaves fall, they are crushed by the train wheels leaving behind an oily residue on the rail,” said agency spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “This oily substance creates a lack of rail adhesion or slippery rail, which makes it difficult for the train operators to come to a stop when entering stations.”

Special trains also lay down a sand-filled gel on rails at night to give morning commuter cars a little more grip, he said.

It’s an effort the agency undertakes every year, according to Ortiz — just one front in a deep-rooted battle between man and tree.

But many seasoned straphangers had no idea the foliage was foiling their commutes.

“It’s been creeping really slowly — I thought it was because of construction” said Cassandra Brown, who takes the B and Q trains from Kings Highway to Downtown.for work every day.

Operators drive slower until around mid-December, Ortiz said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
That it is the norm every single Fall season, for safety reasons.
Nov. 9, 2016, 8:46 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: