New York City, NY

New York City Transit Slowly Resumes After Hurricane Ida Flooding

Synthia Stark
Woman waiting for the train.Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

As we all know, New York City had some significant disruptions to their subway lines due to the events of Hurricane Ida. It seems that Hurricane Ida had dropped massive levels of rainfall in the area, causing significant floods and trapped patrons.

On top of that, Ida swept through the entire East Coast and caused a fair number of fatalities where 48 people reportedly died. As such, the tone in New York is quite distressing.

As Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned to reporters:

"This is a new world."

These comments were made because there seem to be more intense and frequent storms arising in America, and this would mean that more pre-storm evacuations would need to be initiated, kind of like how one would approach blizzards and other natural disasters.

Thus, more aggressive and proactive measures are needed to tackle weather-related emergencies.

Significant Delays

Many of the New York service lines had significant delays, and some were temporarily not in operation. As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) mentioned, there are still some delays and suspensions, even today.

If you need to know the immediate status of a specific service, you can check out the MTA link here. See below for the accompanying screenshot:
Screenshot of the MTA Service Status Website.Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)


Regarding Amtrak, service along the Northeast Corridor, particularly the areas between Washington and Boston, there is an effort to resume scheduled service. This includes Acela, Northeast Regional, Keystone Service, Springfield Service, and Vermonter trains.

Yet, trains between Albany and New York City have been reportedly cancelled. Twitter may help with having up-to-date service information for inside and outside Northeast Corridor. Here's one example:

New Jersey Transit

Meanwhile, New Jersey Transit is resuming regular service today except for Montclair-Boonton, Gladstone, Pascack Valley, and Raritan Valley. For a while, trains have been suspended since the crew needed to assess some of the storm damages.
Screenshot of the NJ Transit website.New Jersey Transit (NJT)

Long Island Rail Road

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is North America's busiest commuter railroad. It can carry an average of 300,000+ customers each day across 735 daily trains.

Over at LIRR, full service had resumed at most places as of yesterday, with some delays on trains travelling east of Mets-Willets Point on the Port Washington Branch while disruptions remain for most of Metro-North Railroad lines.

These may be subject to change.
Screenshot of active service alerts for LIRRLong Island Rail Road (LIRR)

Why These Delays Occurred

We know that these delays occurred because of the intense rainfall and flooding that impacted many train stations. It also caused many travellers to be stranded. In cases like these, it is important to suspend train service for the safety of all patrons.

As Phil Eng, president of the Long Island Rail Road said at a news conference:

“It’s not a light decision to make, to shut down service, but with the visibility at near-zero, and seeing the devastation that Ida was causing elsewhere, it was the right call."

The chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is Janno Lieber. According to Lieber:

“The subway system in New York is not a submarine. We definitely are subject to weather and water, especially when, like last night, the surface level, street level, drainage and sewer system is overwhelmed.”

Flights Impacted Too

While all this happened, many flights had to be cancelled or delayed too. For example, Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and La Guardia Airport were impacted.

With Newark Liberty International Airport, at least a whopping 370 flights had to be cancelled, and the lower level of Terminal B had been closed overnight on Thursday.

Final Thoughts

In recent years, storms have continued to repeatedly disrupt train service in New York. For example, back in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy happened, subway service had to be stalled. In July of 2021, rains from Tropical Storm Elsa prompted mass flooding inside the station too.

While many residents, locals, and tourists are upset, the best thing we can do is wait while nature takes its course. In due time, more feasible infrastructure and more robust pre-planning measures can help ease these problems, especially if more frequent weather disasters happen in the future.

We can only hope for the best.

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