L Train to Be Computer Controlled Starting Tomorrow


20081204-vintage-subwayStarting tomorrow, L line trains will be fully controlled by a computerized signal system. Motormen working the Brooklyn-Manhattan line will remain on board and take over if problems arise, officials said. Communications Based Train Control will enable NYC Transit to run trains closer together and more frequently than the current antiquated signal system allows. The technology is the agency’s best hope of relieving overcrowding across the system and handling future population growth, officials have said.

CBTC will first be used during overnight hours before the morning rush and then other off-peak periods.

Activating the computer mode has been delayed many times over the years due to software problems, technical glitches and a failure to order enough CBTC-ready subway cars.

The cost of the CBTC system was pegged at $300 million two years ago.

The MTA had wanted to remove conductors from trains in automatic mode but had to back off because the move violated the transit workers’ contract.

Critics have raised safety concerns but Steve Feil, NYC Transit’s vice president of subways, said straphangers shouldn’t fret.

“This is a safe system with proven technology,” Feil said. “This technology is not in its infancy.”

 {NY Daily News}