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Superstorm Sandy: Fix&Fortify Efforts Continue

Metro-North continues to restore infrastructure

Superstorm Sandy Archives

Metro-North Railroad

Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge and floods caused extensive damage to Metro-North’s infrastructure.  Over 50% of the Hudson Line was flooded, while wind and tree damage impacted infrastructure system-wide.  Metro-North performed immediate repairs to vital infrastructure to restore rail service as quickly as possible to get the railroad and the region moving again. However, longer term repairs are required to restore the system to a state of good repair to ensure safety, service reliability and expected on time performance for Metro-North customers and the region.

Following Sandy’s destruction, Metro-North completed a system-wide damage assessment on the condition of the infrastructure. Brackish water from the Hudson Line damaged 3rd rail traction power substations and elements, communications and signal components, 30 miles of communications cables, Harlem River Lift Bridge power facilities and eroded significant areas of the Hudson River shoreline.  Latent damage from salt water infiltration has significantly reduced the useful life of power and communications and signal components. Electronic components that did not immediately fail are failing prematurely due to the exposure to salt water. This not only affects reliability, it affects the cost of maintaining the system.

Metro-North developed projects and implementation strategies to restore infrastructure to pre-Sandy conditions and improve system resiliency against future natural disasters.    $313 million in repair and restoration projects were identified for funding through the FTA’s Sandy Emergency Repair Program:

  • Rolling Stock Restoration:  $3.3 M
  • Right of Way Restoration $8 M
    • Tree removal
    • Shoreline restoration
  • Power Infrastructure Restoration:  $168.6 M
    • Replace Hudson Line substations (3)                            
    • Replace Harlem River Lift Bridge Facility Houses (2)  
    • Replace Traction Power components (Highbridge – north of Croton Harmon) 
  • Communications & Signal Infrastructure Restoration:  $133 M
    • Replace 30 miles cable plant (145th Street – north of Croton-Harmon)
    • Replace C&S components (Highbridge – north of Croton Harmon)

Accomplishments include: 

  • Repair of all damaged rolling stock

  • Critical work completed to stabilize the Hudson River shoreline with additional shoreline work continuing, and ongoing tree removal in close proximity to the right-of-way to protect against future wind related damage.

  • Construction began to replace damaged power Facility Houses under the Harlem River Lift Bridge. 

  • Completed 100% design and advertised construction contract to replace three damaged Hudson Line substations (Riverdale, Tarrytown, Croton-Harmon) with contract award anticipated in December 2014.

  • 30% design completion for permanent repairs to power, signal and communication assets along approximately 30 miles of the Hudson Line.  Metro-North will award a design-build contract in early 2015 for Phase 1 of the infrastructure work for 16 miles of track that flooded with Sandy’s storm surge.  Estimated total cost is $138M.

  • Ongoing replacement of damaged or failed communications and signal components.     

Resiliency measures to better protect the repaired infrastructure (e.g., raising and waterproofing structures and equipment as they are replaced etc.) are being incorporated into the restoration work as feasible, and Metro-North has established new design guidelines for all capital projects that outline how assets can be relocated, elevated, and/or protected in place to make infrastructure more resilient to flood damage..

In addition to repairing what was damaged and ensuring all new infrastructure is more resilient, Metro-North is seeking FTA resiliency funding for specific projects that will improve the agency’s ability to recovery after a storm.  Resiliency projects with funding identified to date include work to protect critical vulnerable power and signal infrastructure at substations, interlockings and yards and the purchase of specialized equipment to facilitate a swift response in emergency storm situations to maintain drainage structures and a stabilized shoreline.

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