- (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
New York’s public transportation systems remain suspended Sunday late afternoon as Tropical Storm Irene moved away from the city. The MTA reported widespread damage, which could leave many commuters stranded come Monday morning.
According to MTA workers the storm has caused track and yard flooding, downed trees and power outages across NY. The MTA said that answers regarding the return of transit services would be determined pending an assessment of tracks and equipment and consultation with New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
MTA officials warned that the transit shutdown, along with disruptions along the commuter railroads, could extend past Monday morning. The Wall Street Journal reported that one agency said a Tuesday return of transportation services was “possible.”
“I’m not going to put a time-frame on this because it’s too involved in the process,” said Charles Seaton, a subway spokesman at the MTA.
According to the MTA service advisory, the process to assess the signals, subway tracks, and equipment of NYC’s subway would be extensive. Tree blockage and flooded tracks was reported in several areas along the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).
The MTA reported that crews would be dispatched after the expected 40 to 50 mph winds have died down – only after it is deemed safe will workers begin to reinstall hundreds of gates.
The Metro-North Railroad has experienced heavy flooding in many locations and there was a mudslide at Spuyten Duyvil, on the Hudson Line. According to the MTA, there have been many power outages and tangled trees in overhead catenary wires. Workers are waiting to restore the system’s infrastructure when conditions permit.
Buses and bus operators are also beginning to move into position to restore services as soon as possible. The MTA stated that limited restoration of bus services was likely to happen before other transit services.
According to New York Daily News, PATH trains will up and running by 4 a.m. Monday morning, but LIRR and Metro North services are still suspended until further notice.
“You’re going to have a tough commute in the morning,” Mayor Bloomberg said at news conference Sunday.
Both Bloomberg and Cuomo expressed support for the mass transit shutdown and Governor Cuomo said in a NY1 interview:
“The decision on the M.T.A. was the right one. It allowed them to get a lot of the equipment off the tracks and in safe conditions, so when we go to start the system up again, it will be accelerated.”