New York City Transit making progress on fixing R train vibrations

Relief is on the way for Bay Ridge residents whose nerves have been shattered by earthquake-like R train vibrations, according to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, who has been in contact with transit officials about the ongoing efforts.

Beckmann told the community board that residents living near the R line on Fourth Avenue “should start to feel a difference over the next month or two.”

Speaking at the board’s March 24 meeting, Beckmann said New York City Transit (NYCT) has been working to replace defective tie blocks, plates and rails along the tracks.

In addition, the “track team” is also in the process of installing a continuous welded rail (CWR) for the tracks. CWR refers to the way in which rail is joined to form track, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s website. CWR rails are welded together to form one uninterrupted rail that may be several miles long.

“This job requires several thousand feet of CWR, which had to be manufactured and delivered. This process was hindered due to inclement weather. To date, NYCT has been able to manufacture and deliver enough CWR to address the major areas on the northbound track. They will spend the next few weeks installing the CWR on the northbound track,” Beckmann said.

Once the northbound track is taken care of, the workers will turn their attention to the southbound track. After installation of the CWR is complete, the workers will put in noise abatement plates, Beckmann said.

“While it is a challenge to manufacture, deliver, and install the new rail while maintaining train service to the community, our track team is very capable and does it well,” Beckmann said.

For months, Bay Ridge residents living along the Fourth Avenue corridor have been inundating the community board with complaints about increased vibrations from the R train, which runs beneath the avenue. Residents have complained that their dishes rattle and their doors shake. Several residents have expressed concern that the vibrations will damage the foundations of their homes.

The vibration from the R train is something that Bay Ridge residents have been putting up with for years. But residents said that in recent months the vibrations have been getting stronger and more sustained. “It has multiplied 10 times,” the Rev. Msgr. John Maloney, pastor of Saint Anselm Catholic Church, told the Brooklyn Eagle in a recent interview. The church is located on Fourth Avenue and 82nd Street.

Maloney said he also feels the train vibrations in the church rectory, even though the rectory is located around the corner from the church, at 356 82nd St., more than a quarter of a block away from the avenue.

Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that oversees NYCT, said they are aware of the complaints and are doing their best to rectify the shaky situation.

“We are working overnights to replace and repair rail which should mitigate the vibrations. This should be completed shortly, and at the conclusion NYCT will inspect and test again,” an MTA statement read.