REVENUE services will start this month on the complex and expensive link between New York’s overcrowded Queens Boulevard subway and the 63rd Street line leading under the East River to Manhattan. Construction of the 457m link has taken six years and cost $645m, in part because of the intricate work required to keep the Queens Boulevard line open around the clock.

MTA New York City Transit initially plans to divert off-peak E and F services over the connector to allow the rehabilitation of signalling in the 53rd Street tunnel. Both routes are expected to be fully operational by August or September, when service patterns will be revised. The Queens Connector will accommodate up to 17 trains/h, providing much-needed relief to the E and F lines which are now carrying a total of 900000 passengers a day.

NYCT’s average weekday ridership topped 7 million in September 2000, of which 4·7 million were carried on the subway. The total was 10·6% above the same month in 1999, and the highest since 1971.

NYCT has approved the start of series deliveries of R142 subway cars from Bombardier and Kawasaki, following the completion of acceptance trials with a 10-car prototype from each manufacturer. Operating in revenue service on Lines 2 and 6 of the IRT division since July, both sets have successfully completed 30 uninterrupted days of trouble-free service. Around 100 cars should be delivered by the end of December under the $1·4bn order covering 680 cars from Bombardier and 400 from Kawasaki. n