To L and back! MTA adds new trains to North Brooklyn line

Gravy train
Ben Prewitt

Getting the L is about to get a bit easier thanks to an MTA plan to add more trains to the overcrowded North Brooklyn line.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will bring 16 new trains on weekdays, 11 extra trains on Saturdays, and seven extra trains on Sundays after public officials urged the authority to ease congestion for commuters.

“Anyone tired of crushing crowds and overflowing trains will now have an L trip less likely to feel like hell,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Williamsburg), who pushed the agency to add trains last year. “This is a big step toward a subway system that works for its riders every day of the week.”

The increased service begins on Sunday.

Ridership on the train line has skyrocketed by 141 percent over the past decade, with straphangers enduring long waits during the morning rush hour, when trains operate at 110-percent capacity, according to agency standards.

The L train has also remained consistently crowded on the weekends, retaining 90 percent of its weekday ridership, according to an MTA study last year.

The added trains will reduce wait times and overcrowding, but they won’t prevent other setbacks caused by the route’s two-track design.

“This won’t eliminate delays caused by breakdowns, police activity, and sick passengers but under normal operating conditions, the extra trains could make a big difference,” said Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis.

The authority will continue to perform maintenance on the line and update its signals, which will cut service between Broadway Junction and Lorimer Street on several weekends in September and October.

An MTA spokesman said that the maintenance work to improve signals is also improving service for straphangers.

“Customers will have the added benefit of more trains both weekdays and on weekends,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “This should ease overcrowding on a line that serves continuously growing populations in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Canarsie.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.