The MTA is Really Sucking Here

The MTA is testing two prototypes of powerful – but portable -- track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next. The new units are part of the MTA’s ongoing Track Sweep initiative, which is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, in the process improving the station environment, and reducing track fires and train delays. The prototype units are both powered by Lithium iron phosphate batteries with a battery management system that protects the batteries and load from over current, and both can be moved from station to station on a conventional revenue train. (Photo courtesy the Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) said it is testing a pair of prototypes track vacuum systems.

The powerful, but portable vacuums can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next, the agency said.

The new units are part of the MTA’s ongoing Track Sweep initiative, which the agency announced in August 2016. The multi-pronged plan aims to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, clean stations and reduce track fires and train delays.

“There’s no question that a concerted and sustained effort to limit trash on subway tracks will have a significant impact on the efficiency of subway service – getting rid of trash on the tracks helps us decrease the number of track fires, and that means fewer delays,” Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in an August news release. “Just as importantly, this initiative will also have a positive effect on how people feel about their daily commute – when there’s less debris, the entire station looks and feels cleaner, and the ride is more enjoyable.”

The prototype units are both powered by Lithium iron phosphate batteries with a battery management system that protects the batteries and load from over current, and both can be moved from station to station on a conventional revenue train.

In addition, the MTA has ordered a trio of powerful new track vacuum trains, with the first two trains arriving in 2017, and a third in 2018. Vacuum trains can remove up to 14 cubic yards of trash every day.