According to MTA chief Joe Lhota, the A train's Broad Channel crossing — that cool, scenic stretch of train that runs on top of Jamaica Bay on the way to the beaches — was severely damaged, and likely won't be back up and running for months.
"The amount of destruction on the A-Train over Broad Channel is indescribable," said Lhota. "I've seen it, I've seen pictures of it, the amount of damage, this was almost a direct hit. It's over water, it's through marshland, it's going to take quite a long time to rebuild this, and I'm talking about rebuilding this. I'm talking about the water that went underneath and really affected the structural integrity. This part of the world, what happened in the Rockaways was really devastating. Not only that, but this A-train, that extends from Howard Beach over here, it's just nightmarish."
Additionally, the process will likely be slowed down by the track's path through the Gateway National Recreation Area, which means that numerous federal organizations including the EPA will have to be involved.
For now, the structural damage is the primary concern, and Lhota said of the three-mile track, "The foundation of what's holding it up is severely shot, we have to rebuild it. [...]The Rockaway branch of the A train requires extensive reconstruction and no timetable has been established for resumption of service there.”
For stranded residents, the MTA is currently in the process of transporting subway cars to the Rockaways for internal service, but judging by New York 1's footage of frustrated shuttle bus commuters trying to get to work this morning, things may get worse before they get better.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.