“People know that the system is old, but I don’t think they realize just how old it is… in our system, it’s not just the architecture that’s 100 years old. It’s a lot of the basic technology, as well. The infrastructure is old.”
From the MTA in New York City, this is CBTC: Communications-Based Train Control, an astounding behind-the-scenes video about the technologies running the NYC subway system. Get a gander at West 4th Street station’s electromechanical relays, a pre-1930s technology that’s no longer supported by anyone but the MTA themselves. Plus, learn about their multi-decade plan to modernize the traffic control system, and see the Corona Subway Maintenance Shop, temporary home of the new CBTC-equipped subway cars.
As Service Delivery Division VP & Chief Officer Wynton Habersham explains, Communications-Based Train Control provides constant, centralized data about a train’s location, direction of travel, and speed, a leap forward from the safe but less precise fixed block signaling of the current system. The MTA invested seven years into converting the L train (14th Street – Canarsie Local) to CBTC, and is currently working on the 7 line (the Flushing local and express).
We love going behind-the-scenes with how things work, especially when the public transportation system of a bustling metropolis is involved. Watch this next: Meet the People Who Retrieve the Stuff You Drop On the Tracks.