Travelers in New York's subway system will have to deal with significant delays for months to come, despite the city's almost miraculous efforts to repair the damaged and flooded tunnels in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's destruction. With much of the underground circuitry rendered totally inoperable by the infusion of salt water, a complete replacement of integral systems will set the city back both in time and expense, much to the chagrin of transit users and the city alike.
Seven of the eight subway tunnels flooded by Sandy are back in service. But New York City Transit president Tom Prendergast said it will probably be months before the authority finishes fixing the eighth tunnel, which carries the R train under the harbor between Brooklyn and Manhattan. He said the problem is with the tunnel’s electrical systems, such as the switches that keep track of train locations.
“Electrical equipment doesn’t like water for obvious reasons — water is conductive,” he told reporters at the Midtown headquarters of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “But salt water is very conductive and when salt water dries, it leaves salt, which is also conductive when it gets re-wet.”