NEW YORK City Transit expected to introduce automatic train operation last month on its L Canarsie line, which has been re-equipped with communications-based train control by Siemens as a pilot for resignalling the subway network.

The four-car trains formed of Kawasaki R143 stock have a train operator to supervise the opening and closing of doors at each station. NYCT is expected to remove conductors from the line in July, under its existing rules for driver-only operation.

Prequalification bids are due by May 9 for a contract to design and build a 1·7 km extension of NYCT’s 7 Flushing Line from Times Square, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes will spur redevelopment on Manhattan’s neglected West Side. Now expected to cost around $2·1bn, the project is being managed by MTA Capital Construction. The bored tunnels will run west from the existing terminus under 41st Street to an intermediate station at 10th Avenue, before turning south under 11th Avenue to a terminus between 24th and 25th Streets serving the Javits Convention Center and a proposed football stadium.

Preliminary engineering and an Environmental Impact Statement for the extension were completed in 2004.