Update on the A train in the Rockaways, plus Hammels Wye


    Damage on the New York City Subway’s Rockaway Line (A train), shortly after Hurricane Sandy came through. Photo: MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins

    The folks who run the Rockaway Emergency Plan posted an update on the A train track work scheduled for this winter. Work that was originally planned for later this year has been bumped up to and earlier timeframe, which is good news for the area. Here are the details:

    This is to advise you as to upcoming track work that will take place on the Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park branches of the A line during the winter of 2013.

    Beginning on Monday, January 21, and continuing for a period of five weeks, we will be carrying out work on the tracks on both the Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park branches in the vicinity of the “Hammels Wye,” which leads to the South Channel Bridge, which connects the Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel.

    This project had been scheduled to take place later in the year. We are undertaking it earlier, so as to avoid further service disruptions to the Rockaways following the completion of repairs of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy.

    All construction work will take place during daytime hours. However, we will be digging out the roadbed in the project area at nights in preparation for the following day in order to expedite work. We will do everything possible to minimize the impact of the nighttime work on the surrounding area.

    To facilitate this work, H line shuttle train service, which now operates between the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue and Beach 90th Street-Holland Stations, will end service at 10 p.m., rather than at 12:30 a.m. The MTA Bus Company’s Q22 route provides parallel service on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive.

    This work is necessary to provide safe and reliable service to our riders through the “Hammels Wye” on the Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park lines once service resumes across Jamaica Bay.

    We did a little reading about Hammels Wye, and came across this video that was uploaded in November 2012 (so, after Hurricane Sandy), entitled, H Rockaway Shuttle via Hammels Wye.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogVhNTs_jYI]

    So what is this “Hammels Wye” place anyway? NYCSubway.org describes it as “the point where the Rockaway Line divides to serve Rockaway Park and Far Rockaway.” Here’s an image of it – it’s the triangle of track in the middle of the photo, just as it heads from Jamaica Bay onto the peninsula.


    Local photographer Nathan Kensinger dedicated an entire blog post to the Hammels Wye in 2010. Here’s an excerpt:

    Hammels Wye is where the A train splits east and west along The Rockaways after crossing Jamaica Bay. Elevated trains rumble overhead through the surrounding neighborhood of Hammels, an area which was once crowded with grand hotels, restaurants and bungalows. Today, Hammels is pockmarked with empty lots and abandoned buildings, and dominated by the Hammel Houses, a 14-acre NYCHA housing development which is embroiled in a decades-old gang war with nearby complexes in Edgemere and Far Rockaway.

    Hammels Wye sits in the shadow of the Hammel Houses. It is flanked by the shoreline of Jamaica Bay, where fenced-off blocks and empty beaches are covered in trash and abandoned boats. To the west, an undeveloped park sits on the water, covered with bricks and bottles. It was “sort of” opened in August 2010, according to The Wave, but currently the only access point is through a hole in a fence. On the east side of Hammels Wye, a solitary dead end street runs into the bay. The discarded remains of a young girl’s bedroom rot in the middle of the road, while a nearby empty lot contains a reedy marshland the size of four city blocks. A faded sign promises that a new marina is on the way, but for now local fishermen must climb a fence to reach the water.

    The photos are wonderful, too. Love this shot of “Sunset Wye,” evocative of summers from times past, and a more peaceful time that is currently being experienced in the Rockaways right now.


    Image source: Nathan Kensinger


    Hammels Wye [Nathan Kensinger Photography]
    Hammels Wye (IND Rockaway) [NYCSubway.org]


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