The MTA is pulling the W train off the shelf and returning it to service, one of the route changes announced Friday in anticipation of the Second Avenue subway opening. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
The last stop for the W train came in 2010. But on Friday, the MTA announced plans to bring back the local line that once stretched from western Queens to the southern tip of Manhattan.
"I was kind of confused when they got rid of it, so it's nice that they're bringing it back," said one commuter.
"Options are good," said another.
W trains ran weekdays between Astoria in Queens and the Whitehall station in lower Manhattan before falling victim to budget cuts.
When the W disappeared, riders in Queens could still take Q train into Manhattan. But the northern end of the Q line is about to be moved to the new Second Avenue subway line that's opening in Manhattan.
"We had to reroute the Q for service up to Second Avenue," said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. "But at the same time, we could not decrease the amount of service that we were providing our customers in Astoria. So we had to bring back the W."
Its return will give riders at stations in western Queens another transit option besides the N. As part of the changes, the N train, which is now a local in Manhattan, will run express from 34th Street Herald Square to Canal Street.
"I think customers will embrace it," Ortiz said. "It provides customers both in Queens and Manhattan with new options."
The service shifts are a clear sign the MTA is pushing to meet its end-of-year target date for opening the first phase of the long-delayed Second Avenue, three stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets, and a link to the existing 63rd Street station on the F line.
"It's coming along, it's coming along," Ortiz said. "Again, we fully anticipate having service along Second Avenue in December of 2016."
The MTA says restoring the W line along its old route, along with the other planned service changes, will cost the agency close to $14 million a year, money it says is well spent by easing overcrowding.
The MTA is planning to hold a public hearing sometime this spring on its proposal to bring the W train back to lower Manhattan.