Hurricane Sandy ripped through the city last night, flooding subway tunnels with at least four feet of water and bringing the century-old system—already shut down for safety—to its knees. So obviously, New Yorkers want it back up and running now. But it isn't going to be that easy and THERE IS CURRENTLY NO TIMETABLE. Before the MTA can start cleaning up it needs to take stock. And in the early morning light MTA Chairman Lhota saysthe damage to the subway is devastating. Or, in the words of Mayor Bloomberg: "There’s no chance mass transit will be back in time,"
According to Lhota all seven of the subways tunnels under the rivers were flooded (the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was "completely flooded," Lhota told WCBS, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel "took on water"). But still, fret not. Lhota called the city subway system "very dynamic, very robust," and assured listeners that there are plans to try and bring back the system in "part" though it might not all happen at once. First they need to have workers walk the whole system and check for damage. So to be clear, once things are calm it could still take anywhere from 14 hours to four days to clear water from the tunnels.
Meanwhile, Lhota put the following statement up on MTA.info:
The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots.
As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.