"Back to work at the crack of 9:07, business as usual" one gleeful Bay Ridge resident and Midtown worker e-mailed us this morning after riding the finally rejoined R train. Because yup, just in time for the holidays, and after weeks of work, the MTA went and put the R train back together today.

"For the past several weeks the Lexington Avenue Line has been overburdened. Staten Islanders have been forced to find alternate routes to midtown and subway customers from Bay Ridge have endured longer trips and transfers," Governor Cuomo said last night announcing the resumption of service. "The return of the full length R route is an enormous achievement that will take some of the pressure off of the 65,000 commuters who use this line every day."

And with the return of the R train the only major pieces of the MTA puzzle that are still broken are the A to the Rockaways (hello H train!) and the No.1 Line south of the Rector Street Station in Lower Manhattan (gonna be a while!).

So what took so long getting the R back together? The problem was that when Sandy's surges flooded the Montague Tube connecting Brooklyn Heights with Lower Manhattan the "massive inflow of corrosive salt water" left tracks, signals and electrical components submerged for days:

Flooding extended for a span of more than 4,000 feet, requiring the pumping of 27 million gallons of water and the removal of tons of debris that had washed into the tunnels. Significant damage was sustained to the power feeds and controls to one pump room, and two fan plants were lost when components and controls for these pumps and fans were extensively damaged.

As such the MTA says the "electrical and signal system had to be rebuilt virtually from scratch, including wiring, relays, track circuits, lighting stop motors and other equipment associated with the safe movement of subway trains."

As you can see in the above photos enough work has now been done to get basic service back but the MTA warns that "temporary service suspensions will be necessary in the future to allow workers to go in and make permanent repairs. Some of this work can be done under FASTRACK but the majority of the effort will require limited suspensions of service in the weeks and months to come."

Still, nothing like a resumption of service to make you forget about an impending fare hike, right? Right?