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M train shutting down for switch replacement through Labor Day weekend

Aug. 30, 2023 By Ben Brachfeld

The M train will entirely shut down service starting Wednesday night and continuing through Labor Day weekend, as the MTA replaces switches and reconstructs tracks along the subway line.

The M will close for service along its entire 18-mile route — between Middle Village-Metropolitan Avenue in Queens, snaking through Brooklyn and Manhattan, and ending at Forest Hills-71st Avenue in Queens — starting at 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30 and continuing until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Most of the M’s route is shared with other subway lines, so riders can take those instead. For riders in Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Middle Village, where the M branches off on its own, riders can take free M90 shuttle buses making stops between the Metropolitan Avenue and Myrtle Avenue stations.

Service on the M will be restored in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood come Sept. 5. The segment between 5th Avenue-53rd Street in Midtown and Forest Hills-71st Avenue will, however, remain closed until the first quarter of 2024. The M already shuttered service between Rockefeller Center and Forest Hills on Monday.

In Queens, the M shares its route with the E, F, and R lines.

The move comes after the M already shut down on weekends between May and July on its solo branch line in Bushwick and Ridgewood, in order to conduct track replacement. Routine infrastructure maintenance is necessary to ensure continued reliability in the subway system, where much of the trackage is more than a century old and train signals date to the Great Depression.

The vulnerabilities of old infrastructure came to the fore this week when a 127-year-old water main — older than the consolidated City of New York — burst early Tuesday morning, sending 1.8 million gallons of water flooding into the subway system and largely shutting down the 1, 2, and 3 lines for the morning rush hour.

Track replacement is also leading to snags on the F line, which on Monday started running on the E line between Rockefeller Center and Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue in both directions; it will continue to do so until early 2024 as the MTA works to reconstruct tracks in the 63rd Street underwater tunnel.

Roosevelt Island residents can either take the aerial tram, free shuttle buses, or an F shuttle train running on a reduced schedule between Lexington Avenue-63rd Street and 21st Street-Queensbridge during the daytime hours.

Subway and bus service on Labor Day, Sept. 4, will follow a Sunday schedule throughout the transit system.

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