Major service changes to E and M subway lines between Queens and Manhattan

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- Service changes went into effect Tuesday on the E and M subway lines as the MTA starts a sweeping rail upgrade.

The fixes are expected to inconvenience thousands of commuters.

The MTA decided to do the work this week because ridership is low, down by 45 percent during the holiday week.

Here's a rundown of the service changes:

--Between Queens and Manhattan, E trains will be rerouted along the F Line between Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av and W 4 St at all times, and follow their normal route between W 4 St and World Trade Center at all times except overnights (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.)
--E trains run local between 71 Av and 21 St-Queensbridge overnight.
--M trains will not operate except for the shuttle trains between Metropolitan Av and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs.

The MTA said 500 workers will be on the lines for 24 hours a day during the planned work, tackling a number of upgrades and repairs on the 53rd Street East River tunnel.

Plans call for it to be completed in time for the New Year's Eve festivities.

"We pledged to do more work in less time as we work hard to improve the subway system, and this is yet another example," said MTA Chief Operating Officer and Acting NYC Transit President Phil Eng. "The schedule for this intensive Subway Action Plan and capital improvement work minimizes the impact on our customers while putting in new track, third rail and signal equipment for a more reliable ride. We appreciate our customers' patience while we do this critical work."

The work will include four miles of cabling for signal improvements, 2,000 feet of third rail replacement, 700 feet of track replacement, and 1,000 feet of track drainage clearing.

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