A final push for CBTC on the Queens Boulevard Line

Queens Boulevard: More reliable, frequent, and smooth service is coming in 2021.

We have been working to install a new, modern signaling system on much of the lines in Queens since 2017. When completed, this Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system will allow us to run more frequent and reliable service through the Queens Boulevard corridor. 

CBTC uses radio communications to constantly connect our trains and the signal system so service is managed dynamically by a computer system. This means trains can safely run more closely together, more efficiently, and service will improve. 

CBTC lines perform better

Once CBTC is activated, the Queens Boulevard Line will join the and trains with the technology. CBTC came to the line in November 2018 and since implementation, customers have experience vast improvements in their train service.

Weekday on-time performance rose from 68.1% in 2018 to 90.5% in 2019. Compared to before CBTC, trains run 7.8% faster on the local track and 13.5% faster on the express track. 

A map showing the subway lines in Queens that will have new, modern signals. All EFMR trains will have modern signals in Queens east of 71 Av.

Finishing CBTC on the Queens Boulevard Line

Currently, CBTC is in operation from Kew Gardens Station to 71st St – Forest Hills on all tracks, 71st St. –Forest Hills to Roosevelt Ave. on the express tracks and from 23rd Ely to 50th St. 8th Ave. on the Express tracks.

We’re finalizing a plan to finish construction and activate the new signaling system. The new system will substantially improve to service on the . But a few last items of work remain, including fine tuning the new signals and enhancing the power system that delivers current to the third rail. More power means we can run more trains per hour to take advantage of the benefits CBTC provides.

This work requires us to have access to the tracks, which results in changes to subway service (more on that below). Incidentally, we’ll be making the most of these outages by using the time to upgrade the tunnel pumping systems in the 53rd St Tunnel that carries and trains, to better protect it even in the most severe storms.  

To make this final push, we will need to make temporary changes to subway service. These changes will range from trains rerouted between local and express tracks to complete shutdowns of entire segments of the line.

Most of these changes will occur on nights and/or on weekends. There will also be an extended outage on the Queens Blvd Line corridor between 71st St Forest Hills and Queens Plaza. This will occur during Memorial Day weekend, June 26th & 27th weekend, July 4th Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend. We are taking advantage of historically low ridership to get this work done with minimal impacts to our customers, and so customers can benefit from CBTC.

A rundown of the service changes supporting the launch of CBTC:


Time of Week

Service Changes

May 29-31

Friday through Monday

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St

June 25-28

Friday through Monday

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St

July 2-5

Friday through Monday

E trains run via the F in both directions between Roosevelt Av and West 4 St at all times. No M service in Queens or Midtown Manhattan. M train run via the J in both directions between Essex St and Chambers St at all times.

There will be additional service changes to support this work in 2021 so please continue to check this page as we announce new dates.