Subway Crisis: What is continuously welded rail?

- Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota spent Wednesday morning at the Avenue M subway station in the Midwood section of Brooklyn talking about continuously welded rail, which they say will reduce track-related delays.

This system connects the welds, smooths them out—we now have a continuous welded rail for 390 feet before you have a joint," Cuomo said.

Currently, rails have a gap between every 39 feet where a weld is needed. Over the years that gap gets bigger and the alignment gets worse, Cuomo said. That can make your ride bumpy and disrupt train service.

"Fixing the joints that are every 39 feet, that's the way the system was built, it degrades the equipment," Cuomo said. "And most significantly, it can trigger what we call a false red signal."

The MTA said continuously welded rail installations will be implemented throughout the entire system now that the subway action plan is fully funded. It has also purchased better welding equipment, an electric welding machine, which will get the job done faster and safer."

"The additional money we have received from the subway action plan has allowed us to double our efforts," Lhota said.

The MTA said it has completed 387 miles out of 440 miles. The work should be finished by the end of 2018.

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