Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
Seven months later, the A train is running to the Rockaways.
The New York City subway system recovered with impressive speed, all things considered, after Superstorm Sandy inundated the network's underground tunnels last October, causing billions of dollars in damage. Within two weeks, much of the severed system was intact again. But the last piece of the subway map wiped out by the storm – 3.7 miles of the A train to the Rockaways – didn't finally come back online until noon yesterday. Today, morning commuters were able to board the line for the first time in seven months.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has spent more than $75 million restoring service to the Rockaways, and another $9 million running temporary bus and shuttle service while parts of the line were closed. These 3.7 miles between Howard Beach and the Broad Channel stations were the most exposed stretch of the entire system, according to the MTA, with destructive saltwater during Sandy "crashing over and under the tracks, twisting steel rails, destroying the electrical and signal infrastructure and washing out hundreds of feet of track support."
Yesterday the line was ceremoniously reopened by a Vintage subway train made up of cars from the 1930s:
All photos courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin.