The MTA will hold a press conference at noon today to discuss a possible timetable for the return of the subways. One unnamed MTA spokeswoman has already floated the idea that some of the lines which weren't effected by flooding could be reopened very soon, adding the caveat that the entire subway system "does all fit together." Meanwhile, a 2011 report from a Columbia University research team paints a scarier picture. According to the report, which estimates the effects of a 100-year storm on the city's infrastructure, it should take at least three weeks for the subways to be up and running again at 90 percent functionality. Pumping all the water out of the tunnels is a big problem and estimates for how long that will take have put it at anywhere from 14 hours to a week (hopefully the process will be expedited somewhat by the elite Army unwatering team now on the scene) but it's certainly not the only problem facing the 108-year-old subway system.
Update: Apparently, limited subway service on 14 lines will return on Thursday. Here's the official list of which ones will resume service.
Once the water is cleared out, the MTA will have to assess which pieces of equipment were damaged by brackish water. That in itself should be a lengthy process, and if anything needs to be replaced, it's likely that the parts are no longer being manufactured. Those parts would need to be redesigned and installed, which would, needless to say, take a while. Even if the replacement parts do still exist, the Columbia report estimates that, "There probably are not enough personnel trained to rebuild and refurbish equipment simultaneously in multiple subway lines." The MTA will hold a press conference in about half an hour, so we'll update with any new information.
· The 2011 Report That Predicted New York's Subway Flooding Disaster [TAC]
· MTA to Consider Phasing in Subway Service [DNA]