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N line lingers behind rest of transit system

A scene on the Sea Beach Line (N) train in southern Brooklyn, which here has the character of a suburban railroad rather than a busy part of the subway system. Photo courtesy of nycsubway.org

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Overlooked in all the discussion about L and G line service in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy is the fact that the N train between 59th Street-Fourth Avenue and Coney Island – also known as the Sea Beach line – is out of service and will be for the foreseeable future.

The line, which mainly serves Sunset Park, Borough Park and Bensonhurst, is, for many parts of its route, within walking distance of the F, R and D lines. Of course, this is out of the question for some local residents, especially seniors.

The problem is, as an MTA spokesperson told the Eagle, that “the Sea Beach Line isn’t underground, and it isn’t an elevated line. It’s in an open cut [where rain and snow can easily accumulate]. There has been extensive damage to the line, and we don’t know when it will be running again.”

Indeed, some photos taken shortly after the storm, which are visible on the web, show water almost as high as the platform level at some stations

Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager for Community Board 11, which includes Bensonhurst, said that the N train’s absence has been noticed, but the board hasn’t received a huge volume of calls complaining about it.

“People are patient – they know about the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy,” she said. “They see people from the MTA working there [on the N line] trying to repair the damage.”

For the western-most part of its route, the Sea Beach line runs alongside the New York and Atlantic freight line, formerly the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge freight line. Bruce Lieberman, chair of the NY&A, told the Eagle that the line was able to run freight trains from last Wednesday into the early part of this week, although it has temporarily stopped operations to inspect the tracks in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s snowstorm.

Several other portions of the MTA subway system, although not many, also run in an open cut. One of these is the section of Brighton line from Prospect Park to Church Avenue, which is currently in service.

November 8, 2012 - 3:39pm


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