NEW YORK CITY — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will assess damage to the transit system in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to determine how quickly the city's trains and buses can be up and running again.
Workers were waiting for daybreak Tuesday morning to begin the process of analyzing the damage caused by the storm and begin the cleanup process, an MTA spokeswoman said.
"The New York city subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced [Monday] night," said MTA chairman Joseph Lhota.
The authority plans to start pumping water out of the tracks and tubes. At some stations, workers will have to wait for the water to recede in order to even get inside, said spokeswoman Deirdre Parker.
Seven tunnels underneath the East River were flooded, Parker said, affecting the 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, L, A, C and F subway lines.
Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line, while the Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards, Lhota said.
"Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region," he said. "It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots."
One of the challenges facing the MTA is the salt water affecting the system's electrical network in the tunnels, Parker said.
It was unclear when the trains would get going again, she noted.
Lhota added that the MTA's workers have "never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now."
Transit workers "will be out there working every inch of every track" to rid the system of water and debris, Parker said.
Lhota said six bus garages were affected by flooding.
The authority, however, hopes buses can be phased back into service depending on debris along the bus routes, Parker said.