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Manhattan R Train returns to Whitehall St — but not yet to Brooklyn Heights

The Montague Street entrance to the Court Street R train station remains closed. The station marks the beginning of the Montague Street Tunnel. Photo from NYCsubway.org

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Manhattan residents celebrated on Monday when R train service was extended beyond 34th Street southward to Whitehall Street, near Battery Park.

But for Brooklyn residents, there was also some bad news. Service from Brooklyn to Manhattan won’t be in operation until the end of this month, according to the MTA.

“The Montague Street Tunnel [through which the R train passes] was severely damaged, worse than most of the other tunnels,” said Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for the MTA. “The water was in the tunnel all the way up to the ceiling, and all of the electrical circuits were damaged.

“The water has been pumped out, but we’re testing the equipment now,” she said.

The R train, which is the “home train” for residents of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, is running in two sections. One part runs from Queens to Whitehall Street, while the other runs from 95th Street in Bay Ridge to Jay Street-MetroTech.

Last month, the Eagle spoke to representatives of communities along the line. Most in Downtown Brooklyn, which is served by many transit lines that all go to Manhattan, were not really concerned.

However, some residents of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, where the R train is basically the only mass transit option, were perturbed. Although Manhattan-bound transit riders from these areas can easily transfer at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center for other lines, many miss the convenience of a one-seat ride.

Especially for those people who ordinarily would be heading to the R train’s stations in Lower Manhattan, the current situation often means that they have to walk a longer distance than usual from the train, according to Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Community Board 7, which includes Sunset Park. The R train's route in Lower Manhattan is several blocks from the 4 and 5 train's route.

December 3, 2012 - 6:34pm


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