Barely a week after my light-hearted entry praising the redundancy of Manhattan’s West Side lines, the critical importance of the concept has sadly become apparent. Curbed and Gothamist are reporting that service on the A and C lines may be severely limited for three to five years after a fire in the tunnel near Chambers Street clobbered a subway switching room yesterday. The MTA website is less dire. As of this moment, it says:
A serice is running with extended headways system wide. There is limited A service between Fulton St. – Broadway Nassau and Canal Street, but service is running with delays. . . . C service is suspended. From Monday, January 24th to Wednesday, January 26th, A trains will run on the F line between Jay Street in Brooklyn, and West 4th Street in Manhattan, in both directions between the hours of 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM.
That last sentence makes it sound like the MTA will be doing major surgery on the A/C tunnel in Lower Manhattan for the next three days and hopefully will be able to restore something like regular service after that. The morning Big Media will probably help to clarify how long it will take before things are back to normal.
The good news is that riders from Inwood, Washington Heights, Sugar Hill, Harlem, the Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the Village, the Financial District, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn all have other lines not far away. It’s not going to be easy, and as a New Yorker I love to complain about the subway as much as the next guy: I imagine that your 1, 2, 3 and 9 lines are going to be absolutely hellishly miserable for at least the next three days. But West Siders will be able to get to work on the subway. Were a similar fire to knock out service on the 4, 5 or 6 lines, the Upper East Side and a huge swath of the Bronx would be paralyzed.