Rail

NYC Transit begins boosting speed on subway lines

Posted on December 11, 2018

As operators are trained to proceed with safety as the primary factor, train speeds through any given area are impacted by many factors in addition to speed limits, such as congestion, unplanned diversions, equipment issues, or track work.
Marc A. Hermann
As operators are trained to proceed with safety as the primary factor, train speeds through any given area are impacted by many factors in addition to speed limits, such as congestion, unplanned diversions, equipment issues, or track work.
Marc A. Hermann

MTA New York City Transit announced that as part of the “Save Safe Seconds" campaign, the agency will aim to safely improve subway performance by correcting antiquated speed limits and fixing faulty speed-regulating signals called "grade time signals" throughout the subway system.

The positive effects of speed limit changes may be felt immediately under optimal conditions and after a period of operator acclimation to the new limits.

This past weekend, several months of careful testing and study have led to the safe increasing of five speed limits between 36 St. and 59 St. on the N and R lines in Brooklyn, with 15 mile-per-hour zones being increased to 20 or 30 miles per hour. Twenty-nine more increases throughout the system have also been approved by a safety committee and will be rolled out in coming weeks, with transit officials estimating speed limits to be safely increased at more than 100 locations throughout the system by the springtime. The speed limit changes already approved increase speeds generally in the 10 to 20 mile per hour range to speeds that reach 40 mph.

The positive effects of timer signal repair work will be felt more long-term, as long segments of timer signal repairs must be completed before bulletins are issued and train operators are acclimated.

The same team doing this work is also testing and fixing speed regulating signals called "time signals" or "timer signals," with 95% of some 2,000 such signals tested since the initiative began in late August. Approximately 267 faulty timer signals have been discovered and approximately 30 of them have been fixed so far in what amounts to labor-intensive work to inspect, diagnose, and repair or replace numerous possible pieces of equipment during times of exclusive track access for workers such as weekends or nights.

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