NEW YORK CITY — The MTA extended the R train to the Whitehall Street - South Ferry station Monday morning — the first time the line has run south of 34th Street since Hurricane Sandy.
The train will run in two sections, the first from the Forest Hills - 71 Avenue Station to Whitehall Street in the Manhattan and the second from the Jay Street- MetroTech Station and the Bay Ridge- 95 Street Station in Brooklyn.
“The resumption of service to the Whitehall Street station will restore a vital link to midtown’s west side for Staten Islanders and also ease crowding along the Lexington Avenue Line,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The tube that stretches underneath the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn still needs repairs, however.
The hurricane flooded tubes servicing the R train with millions of gallons of water, officials said, forcing the Metropolitan Transit Authority to halt the train's progress at the 34th Street - Herald Square station.
At the Whitehall Station, floodwaters had climbed escalators from the platform up to the turnstiles. All but one of the escalators there still aren't operational, officials said.
To restore R train service in Lower Manhattan, workers took on "the herculean task" of replacing tracks, portions of the third rail, and rewiring large swaths of the tube, officials said.
Monday's extension marks the latest stop toward full restoration along the line which is expected to come some time this week.
In the meantime, workers will continue to repair or replace hundreds of signal relays, track switches, and wiring in the Montague Tube which carries the R train under the East River, officials said.