More Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway trains are on schedule, and that has to do with a massive effort to replace train signals.
MTA train speeds have increased at almost 300 locations. Damaged signals were causing trains to apply emergency brakes. Conductors were driving slower to avoid setting off the signals, which delayed the trains daily. A team was sent out to replace the century-old signals, and impressive progress was made during the pandemic.
On March 22 the MTA announced speeds were increased at 270 locations and 900 signals were now digitized. On the E, F, M and R lines, speeds have gone from 35 mph to 50 mph in some sections. Speeds have increased to 15 mph on the northbound curve entering the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station.
Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said the system will continue to be inspected, and the MTA estimates if all of the signals worked properly each train line could run five minutes faster.
The MTA’s $51.5 billion capital plan includes additional signal modernization.