A final push for CBTC on the Queens Boulevard Line

Queens Boulevard: More reliable, frequent, and smooth service is coming in 2021.

CBTC uses radio communications to constantly connect our trains and the signal system so service is managed dynamically by a computer system. This means trains can safely run more closely together, more efficiently, and service will improve.

We have been working to install a new, modern signaling system on much of the lines in Queens since 2017. When completed, this Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system will allow us to run more frequent and reliable service through the Queens Boulevard corridor. 

CBTC uses radio communications to constantly connect our trains and the signal system so service is managed dynamically by a computer system. This means trains can safely run more closely together, more efficiently, and service will improve. 

CBTC lines perform better

Once CBTC is activated, the Queens Boulevard Line will join the and trains with the technology. CBTC came to the line in November 2018 and since implementation, customers have experience vast improvements in their train service.

Weekday on-time performance rose from 68.1% in 2018 to 90.5% in 2019. Compared to before CBTC, trains run 7.8% faster on the local track and 13.5% faster on the express track. 

A subway map with segments on four lines highlighted: The E line between 50 St and Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, the M line between 47-50 Sts Rockefeller Center and Forest Hills-71 Av, the F line between 21 St Queensbridge and Forest Hills-71 Av, and the R line between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av.

Finishing CBTC on the Queens Boulevard Line

We’re close to finishing construction and activating the new signaling system that will substantially improve to service on the . But a few last items of work remain, including fine tuning the new signals and enhancing the power system that delivers current to the third rail. More power means we can run more trains per hour to take advantage of the benefits CBTC provides.

This work requires us to have access to the tracks, which results in changes to subway service (more on that below). Incidentally, we’ll be making the most of these outages by using the time to upgrade the tunnel pumping systems in the 53rd St Tunnel that carries and trains, to better protect it even in the most severe storms.  

To make this final push, we will need to make temporary changes to subway service. These changes will range from trains rerouted between local and express tracks to complete shutdowns of entire segments of the line.

Most of these changes will occur on nights and/or on weekends. There will also be an extended outage on the 53rd St portion of the line during the week between Christmas and New Years. We are taking advantage of historically low ridership to get this work done with minimal impacts to our customers, and so customers can benefit from CBTC. 

A rundown of the service changes supporting the launch of CBTC:

Dates

Time of Week

Service Changes

October 9-12, 16-19, 23-26; November 20-23, 27-30; December 11-14

Weekends

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St

October 12-16, 19-23

Weeknights

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St

December 26-January 4

Week between Christmas and New Years

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St at all times. No M service in Queens or Midtown Manhattan. M train run via the J in both directions between Essex St and Chambers St at all times.

December 14-18, 21-24; January 4-8

Weeknights

E trains run between Jamaica Center and Roosevelt Av. F trains run in two sections (between 179 St and Roosevelt Av; between 21 St-Queensbridge and Coney Island). Two shuttle buses routes connect stations without service (between Roosevelt Av and Queens Plaza; between 21 St-Queensbridge and Court Square).

There will be additional service changes to support this work in 2021 so please continue to check this page as we announce new dates.