A project to rebuild a Staten Island Railway terminal that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy is moving along, with a focus on strengthening it against future storms. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
The St. George Terminal is at one end of the Staten Island Railway, but it's at the center of the operation.
"Well, this is the heart of the railway. This is the terminal," said Douglas Connett, vice president and chief officer of the Staten Island Railway. "We don't have other terminals. We only have one yard where we do repairs. This is everything. Without this, we can't run Staten Island Railroad."
But the terminal, which also serves the Staten Island Ferry, is in the midst of a long makeover to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy. The storm flooded the tracks at the transit hub, destroying much of the critical equipment.
"All the cabling, signaling, communications," Connett said. "Everything was in the way of the water. It all was penetrated."
It took months for full service to resume on the Staten Island Railway after Sandy. Two-and-a-half years later, the repairs continue, with a focus on bracing the waterfront terminal for future storms.
"You see a facility being constructed right behind me with poured concrete that is basically designed for the water, if there's another surge," said Projjal Dutta, director of sustainability initiatives for the MTA.
Rooms housing vital power equipment are being built higher off the ground, and new equipment that can be removed and stored is being installed.
"Equipment that you can come unplug, pick up under the crook of your arm and walk away with if you know a big surge of water is coming," Dutta said.
As part of continuing track work, thousands of ties made from recycled materials are being installed, replacing wooden ties that can more easily suffer water damage.
"This is probably one of many milk jugs that you put in the recycling bin a couple of years ago," Dutta said.
Officials say the new "composite" ties should last 50 years, twice the expectancy of a wooden tie. The MTA will study whether the ties should be installed in the subway system, too.
"This is a very good test bed. This is a very good application from where we can learn and then take the lessons learned to a much wider spectrum throughout the system," Dutta said.
The MTA expects to have all 7,500 composite ties installed by June 1 and the trackwork completed by the end of the year.