Tram Down to One Car for Ten Weeks

Start planning your commutes! Starting the second week of February, and continuing for at least ten weeks, the Tram will be running only one cabin, due to two scheduled major maintenance projects, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) announced Thursday. One cabin at a time will be taken out of service, starting with the North cabin.

Susan Rosenthal, RIOC President

According to RIOC President, Susan Rosenthal, these maintenance projects are routine. “Much like a car that has recommended maintenance at predetermined intervals, we are at that point with the Roosevelt Island Tram.”

RIOC will operate Red Bus service at 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan – outside the Crunch gym – and Roosevelt Island, during the weekday afternoon peak commute. Exact schedules will be released before the repairs begin.

RIOC officials did reach out to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and have received assurances that there will be no disruptions of F Train service, including weekends, through April 19.

In addition, RIOC has asked NYC Ferry officials to consider expanding ferry service – to and from Roosevelt Island, Queens and Manhattan – during the weekday peak periods and weekends, and is awaiting their response.

Islanders wait for tram during rush hour during 2017 platform repairs

Last summer, both Tram platforms were waterproofed, a project that put one cabin out of commission for about five months, from the end of July through December, 2017. Initially that project was supposed to last even longer, but RIOC dedicated more money to expedite it.

During that time, lines stretched down the steps on the Manhattan side, and past the Visitor’s Center on the Island side, often in the summer heat.

Despite that, attendance on the Red Bus shuttle service between the Island and Manhattan was sparse. “I wish more people would take the Red Buses,” said Rosenthal in a President’s report.

Ultimately RIOC cancelled the morning bus service.

Phase 1 of the work, track cable relocation, is a safety requirement of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for aerial tramways and gondolas operating in the United States. The Tram is required to relocate its track cables after a predetermined amount of time. RIOC’s Tram contractor Leitner-Poma, responsible for the Tram’s infrastructure, will perform the work.

The timeline is subject to change depending on weather conditions and the conditions found within the equipment during the relocation.

The second phase of work consists of four gearbox overhauls (inspecting and replacing internal parts, such as the gears, bearings, seals and oil changes). This work will start as soon as Phase 1 is complete. The schedule may change depending on the construction of needed parts and the impact of the federal government shutdown on the overseas import of those parts.

The duration of Phase 2 is estimated to last four to six weeks. During that repair, the Tram will be running daily on a one-cabin reduced capacity.

“We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause. But this effort is to create the safest transportation system possible and to extend its service life into the future,” Rosenthal said of the Tram which has transported more than 10 million commuters since 2016. “We appreciate your patience and assistance with this important maintenance project.”

There will be periods of shutdown for both cabin systems, but the plan is to conduct this work late at night and during normal overnight shutdown periods.

Leitner-Poma crews will be working seven days per week to complete the work as quickly as


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