Management & Operations

N.Y. parks subway cars underground to avoid frigid temps

Posted on January 23, 2014

Credit: MTAPhotos

By Charles Seaton, director corporate communications, New York City Transit

New York City is not a place known for an over-abundance of free parking spaces and when the weather turns especially nasty even MTA New York City Transit’s subway fleet must be moved to alternate spots for overnight storage.

Credit: MTAPhotos/ Marc Hermann
Credit: MTAPhotos/ Marc Hermann
Normally, subway cars not needed for overnight service are parked in one of the system’s 14 outdoor subway yards, like the 207th Street Yard in Manhattan’s Inwood section or Brooklyn’s Coney Island Yard. But extremely cold, snowy or icy weather requires trains be parked underground along the express tracks of lines around the system. Deep snow, frigid temperatures and icy buildup on the third rails are liable to trap trains inside the yards, rendering them useless when needed and also making it far more difficult to clear the yards of snow.

New York City Transit has a cold-weather plan developed to protect the system against harsh weather and trains are parked underground when:
•    Temperature is 10ºF or less, or
•    Freezing rain and/or icing, or
•    Snow accumulation of 5-feet or more is forecast.

While customers benefit by having warm, comfortable trains ready for the next rush hour, the other side of the coin is the requirement that express service end early.      

“We are one of only two subway systems in the world with express tracks and this gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility, including the ability to store hundreds of cars in areas where they can be safe from the weather and easily accessible when needed for the next rush period,” said Assistant Chief Transportation Officer Pamela Elsey.

The first winter storm of 2014 and the following days of frigid weather required the activation of the cold weather plan. When express service was halted and the lay-up process begun, trains were pulled onto assigned locations and then parked one behind the other. Train operators were able to walk through the trains and then out at the nearest station. In the morning, that process is reversed. Train operators clear the trains one by one and then move them into their terminals to begin their morning runs.

The underground train parking system has been in place for decades and in the past, it was especially important because the older trains had air-operated systems that were prone to freezing.

Today’s trains are a lot more dependable, but they still need a little tender loving care and a warm, dry place to spend the night.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Valley Metro's Banta announces resignation

Has been with the agency since 2010 and oversaw its transition from a construction agency to an operating agency. He plans to work with the board to find his replacement.

Public transit users save $9,286, annually

The savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle, which includes the Nov. 23 average national gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers.

After criticism, MBTA delays schedule changes

The schedules, which would have operated two fewer trains out of North Station per day, were criticized by some as cuts. The MBTA had said the changes would improve service and decrease delays.

Amazon pulls controversial ads from NYC subways

The ads were for its new series, “The Man in the High Castle,” and featured wrapped New York subway seats with iconography from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Chicago agencies release new Ventra mobile payment app

The app is the first of its kind to allow customers to pay for rides on all three transit systems — CTA, Metra and Pace — from their mobile devices, transforming the way people across Chicago take transit each day.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close