CH 650 Signals a Faster Future for NYC Subway

CH 650 Signals a Faster Future for NYC Subway 

Popular Transit System Undergoes Major Upgrades 

Editor: Allison Braswell

New York City is the city that never sleeps--and same goes for its world-famous and well-used public transit system. Every day, 268,000 suburbanites and sightseers ride the Eighth Avenue A/C/E subway lines between 59th Street in Manhattan and High Street in Brooklyn. The problem is, the Automatic Block Signaling currently being used by the subway system is not complementing the city's hustle-and-grind culture. Implemented in the 1930s, the fixed block system detects when a train occupies specific sections of the track but does not consider the status of trains' speeds, travel directions, and braking distances. This method results in longer head-ways and does not make use of all the space on the tracks. Furthermore, replacement parts for this aging signaling system have become scarce, which raises concerns about the safety of riding the trains. The last thing a New Yorker needs is sluggish, unreliable transit, but a modern touch may help the subway pick up speed. 

In efforts to improve riders' travel experiences, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is installing a new signaling system using communications-based train control (CBTC) that will allow trains to continuously communicate their statuses down the line. With this upgrade comes increased track capacity and thus the need for more reliable power, so MTA is also constructing an underground electrical substation on West 28th Street that will boost power to trains running on the Eighth Avenue line. It will convert AC power, provided by New York energy company Con Edison, into voltage that the subway system can handle. Scheduled to be completed by Fall 2025, this $80-million project will shorten head-ways between trains, boost train frequencies, and ultimately modernize the dated subway system. 

To support the excavation on the site, which is 36'x 110' (ft) and 40' deep, Underpinning & Foundation Skanska (UFS Skanska) of Maspeth, NY (Queens) is constructing a secant pile wall. This type of in-ground retention wall consists of intersecting cast-in-place concrete piles braced with steel beams, forming a continuous structure that prevents soil, water, and hazardous materials from entering the excavation site. Secant pile walls are an ideal solution for urban construction projects because their increased alignment flexibility makes them easy to install in narrow spaces and they do not produce much vibration or noise during construction. In this case, West 28th Street is an angled road with manageable traffic, which will help to further mitigate disturbances to the surrounding neighborhood. Secant pile walls also have higher wall stiffness compared to sheet pile walls due to their overlapping shafts. 

The crew is utilizing a Comacchio CH 650 Drill Rig to drill holes 50' (ft) deep to prepare for the installation of 1000mm (about the length of a baseball bat) double wall casings, which will prevent dirt from collapsing into the holes while the concrete is poured. The casings will be extracted after the poured concrete is partially dried. UFS Skanska was grateful for the availability of this drill rig at International Construction Equipment, Inc as well as its affordable rate that was lower than another drilling solution they considered for this job. Thank you, UFS Skanska, for making ICE® deep foundations equipment your top choice for clearing the path to faster, more frequent, and more dependable service on this key corridor in the concrete jungle. 

Learn more about the Comacchio CH 650 and other large diameter drill rigs of the Comacchio fleet. 


Media Contact-    
Pollyanna Cunningham, MA, MBA    
Vice President Marketing, Brand and Media Relations  

Vice President IT and IT Comm 
ICE® - International Construction Equipment, Inc    
Office - 704-821-8200    
Email -   

Posted in Comacchio Drill Rigs, ICE Team. Tagged as CH 650 Comacchio, Comacchio, Deep Foundation, ICEUSA, MunicipalityInstall, NYC Subway, Seacant Pile Wall.

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