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Infrastructure

Reliable Service

As busy New Yorkers, it's easy to overlook many of the critical investments that make our system so reliable. The MTA Capital Program is investing over $8 billion in signals, track, power, pumps, drains, and thousands of cables and circuit breakers. All of these components need to work to get you where you need to go.

The Components of Safety

An interlocking is a series of signals and track switches that work in tandem to protect our customers. Each component of our signal system communicates with the others to ensure that no two trains can occupy the same track at the same time. Today, it is incredibly safe but also clearly outdated and breakdown-prone. In fact, much of our system dates back to the early 20th century, and only one subway line today, the L Line Line, operates with modern signals.

The vast majority of MTA Capital Program investments are to maintain service and safety - and track, signals and signals related communication infrastructure account for over one third of those investments.

Did You Know?

New signals on the 7 Line Line Line will allow us to run 7% more service. That means capacity for 2,500 more customers during peak hours and less waiting and crowding.

The Backbone of Our System

We all know how important it is to maintain highways, bridges, and tunnels. Line structures—subway tunnels, elevated structures, viaducts, and railroad bridges—are the transit system's equivalent, and the backbone of our system. Just like roads, bridges, and tunnels, line structures are extremely vulnerable to water damage, corrosion, and normal wear-and-tear.

The MTA is currently rehabilitating two major line structures for a total cost of over $510 million. Repairs to the Atlantic Avenue Viaduct include replacing girders, beams, bracing, and the upper portion of street columns supporting the structure, while repairs to the Culver Viaduct include replacing all four tracks, repairing and waterproofing the concrete deck that supports the tracks, and installing new track drains.

Did You Know?

The Culver Viaduct's Smith and Ninth Street Station on the F Line and G Line is the highest subway station in the world.

Keeping Subways Dry

Smooth and reliable service depends on dry train tracks, but dry weather outside doesn't necessarily mean dry conditions on our tracks. Our subway system is mostly underground, and in many areas below the water table so even on a dry day subway pumps remove millions of gallons of water from our system. Water gets to the pumps through drains that run it to pump plants, where pumps then move it into a manhole under the street that empties into the city's storm-water system.

Overall, investments in pumps ensure that our tracks stay dry and our trains run reliably no matter what the weather. But we really get our money's worth on wet days, when subway pumps handle water from overflowing drains in the streets.

Did You Know?

Pump plants remove approximately 13 million gallons of water that enter the system on a dry day.

Keeping MTA Systems Running and You Informed

The MTA owns and operates a vast communications network supported by wireless radio systems, more than 3,700 security cameras, and over 975 miles of fiber optic cable.

The MTA Capital Program includes over $4 billion to advance communication initiatives for projects such as Positive Train Control (PTC) which enhances safety throughout Metro North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road, and for continuing real time bus information.

Did You Know?

The MTA's fiber optic cable network can stretch from New York to Missouri.

Greening and Energizing Our Region

Believe it or not, here's the simple explanation of how power gets to the third rail: Generators send alternating current along high-tension cables to substations along the various routes, where it's converted to direct current. The converted current is then fed onto the third rail through 900 miles of heavy traction power cables and 1,700 circuit breakers.

Thousands of components in our power system need to be in good working order for trains to run at their full, safe speed—making investments in power essential. If anything isn't working properly, trains operate more slowly or not at all, and your service suffers.

Did You Know?

Thanks largely to the MTA network, New York State has the lowest per-capita energy consumption in the United States.

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