frankie wrote:We all know that rolling stock are constantly maintained and repainted if and when necessary to keep the appearance updated as well as to prolong the life of the cars, but how about all the gazillions of pillars and other weight bearing structures that makes up the subway system. Are they repainted also? I would assume they are low maintenance since they are not affected by the elements as you would find with el structures that with time will eventually erode. I have wondered this for quite a long time and I can't think of a better place to ask.
The instances are the subway support pillars being repainted are far a few between. These days the ones in the stations are only done when (and if) the entire station is being refurbished. The last ones done was 96th St/Broadway and 59th St/Columbus Circle (both almost complete) and right now they are working on the Bleecker St station (but so far nothing has been done to the pillars). Occasionally selected pillars in a station might be done to cover over graffiti.
When I look at some of the pillars (from the platform) I can see how many are just covered with dust (plain dust and steel dust). Sometimes I wonder if that is what is holding them up.
As far as the pillars in the tunnels between the stations, I would imagine they haven't seen a paint job in a long time (I still see old faded graffiti). I do recall (back in the 1980's - I think - that many of the tunnels were given a full wash down using water under pressure because the tunnel walls were actually clean (you could see the original white concrete).