Response from MTA: http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/Rebuil ... nSandy.htm
Rebuilding efforts as of January 31, 2013
The devastated area surrounding the Rockaway section of the line has been completely cleaned of debris. The receding tide had left over 40 boats, docks, logs, oil tanks, foam and thousands of tons of debris trapped on the tracks between the two fence lines. The two major breaches (one was 270 feet wide and the second was 120 feet wide) have been rebuilt and the railroad tracks have been fully restored. All structurally compromised areas have been fixed and major work continues on refurbishing critical operational systems for signals, communications, power and electrical.
Rebuilding efforts, November through January
Damaged to the track bed, signal, power and communication systems forced a complete shutdown of the train service in the immediate aftermath of the Hurricane. After surveying the damage on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, personnel and equipment were mobilized to begin the cleanup and reconstruction on Thursday, November 1. Working seven days per week. the contractor force of approximately 100 set up two mobile command sites with temporary power and communications and work began clearing the thousands of tons of debris left on the tracks.
With the prospect of Rockaway Line service being disabled for the next several months due to the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy, the MTA took the unprecedented action of moving subway cars by flatbed truck onto the Rockaway Peninsula and setting up a temporary train shuttle service. The 60-foot, 80,000 pound R32-type subway cars for this special shuttle service were loaded onto flatbed trucks in Ozone Park, Queens and trucked across the Cross Bay Boulevard Bridge and placed back on the rails at Rockaway Park. Once there, they were prepared for operation. In all, 20 cars were transported over four nights. The began service between Far Rockaway-Mott Av station and Beach 90 St on Tuesday, November 20.
But five weeks on, there are definite signs of progress. In fact, most of the damaged roadbed has now been repaired to a point where it is difficult to tell that only a couple of weeks ago, there was no roadbed. Over the weeks, a train of concrete mixers delivered and poured more than 3,000 cubic yards of concrete to fill and repair two major breaches, the largest of which was 270 feet across.
Men and track-borne machines are busy along the right-of-way straightening rail and dumping ballast, preparing the line for an eventual return to service for trains that carry more than 30,000 customers a day. In a makeshift construction yard created just south of the North Channel Bridge a huge loader fills dump trucks with the 3,600 tons of debris that had to be removed from what was left of the tracks before work could even begin.
Everything had been dumped on the roadbed that you can think of and some things that you would never imagine. Heavy vegetation, boats, personal watercraft, logs-even a Coca Cola bottle dating back to 1902 was uncovered. This artifact was probably a remnant of the thriving beach and hotel community that existed on Jamaica Bay at the turn of the century. At one point workers came across a backyard deck and chairs that had become detached from a neighboring home.
A walk through the Broad Channel Station was like visiting a ghost station. The floors and walls had been scrubbed and all the debris cleared, even the oil tank that had washed up on the Brooklyn-bound platform. To clear the station, a street crane was brought in to lift the debris over the station fence before depositing it in dump trucks. Everything appeared ready for service, lacking only customers and trains.
A return to service, however, is still four to six months away as a full assessment of the damage sustained by the power and signal systems can only begin when one of the tracks is made completely safe and serviceable.
Here’s what’s happening:
Over 45 pieces of heavy equipment have been mobilized in the cleanup and reconstruction effort.
Over 20,000 tons of new material including, track ballast stone, Rip Rap stone and Jetty stone had to be located and delivered to the site.
Over 3,000 tons of debris has been removed from the site.
600 feet of steel sheeting has been installed at the major breach to restore the fresh water pond.
3,000 cubic yards of concrete have been placed at the tow breach locations.
80% of breach reconstruction has been completed at the two major breaches (one was 270 feet wide and the second was 120 feet wide) and railroad tracks are being restored.
Fence removal continues with an estimated 20,000 linear feet of new fencing required.
The current focus is the track restoration including surfacing, third rail power, signaling and communication.
Track work is progressing on an accelerated basis, while all the damage on rail system is still being assessed.
The Devastating Impact of Sandy
The Rockaway Flats rail line damaged by hurricane Sandy carries over 30,000 riders per day between the Howard Beach Section of Queens and the Barrier Island known as the Rockaway’s. The damage starts south of Howard Beach station/North Channel bridge extending to the Hammels Wye station/ South channel bridge approximately 3.6 miles. The rail system consists of two tracks the entire distance with a third test track approximately two miles long. The tracks are built on a 70 foot wide fenced strip of land crossing the middle of Jamaica Bay. The tracks are bound on the Eastern edge by the bay, with a good distance of the western edge bound by a freshwater pond within the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
During the storm, a tidal surge covered this seventy foot wide strip of railroad track with over four feet of water. Fencing was destroyed; track washout occurred throughout, and at two locations the strip of land was breached connecting the fresh water pond with Jamaica Bay. The receding tide left over 40 boats, docks, logs, oil tanks, foam and thousands of tons of debris trapped on the tracks between the two fence lines. Track ballast washed out from under and around the railroad ties for thousands of feet. Numerous areas had holes beneath the railroad track of three feet or more where all the ballast stone was displaced. Other areas were completely buried in this same stone. The two fence lines protecting the rail line from the public were bent over, filled with debris and destroyed. The fence line on the east edge of the property landed on the signal messenger systems, the pole bent over with the weight of the water and debris. Signal cables were ripped off of the messenger wires and were strewn on the tracks. Several areas of damaged cable were noted. The entire signal system was underwater requiring replacement and rehabilitation.
Our Pledge to You
Before Sandy's arrival, we safely evacuated customers, and secured equipment to weather the storm, and with the intention of bringing service back as soon as we were safely able to do so. Taking into account the breadth of our service area as a whole, we've been able to accomplish a lot. After Sandy, we worked to bring bus and subway service back as swiftly as possible. These efforts are continuing, and for the most part, we are running close to normal subway service. But we realize until we resume full service, your commute will be longer. We appreciate your patience as we work to restore service.