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Rockaways A train ready to roll Thursday

MTA officials rode a test train from Howard

MTA officials rode a test train from Howard Beach to Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St. (May 28, 2013) Credit: MTA

Seven months after superstorm Sandy robbed Rockaways residents of their main transit route to the rest of the city, the A train is set to return at noon Thursday.

The above-ground A line in the Rockaways was among the most damaged parts of the transit system after Sandy, and the MTA estimates it cost about $650 million to repair the line's mangled infrastructure, remove debris and fix corroded cables.

Celeste Kirkland, a power cable maintainer, said, "We're used to emergencies, but Sandy was something totally different."

Kirkland, a vice chair of the power section for Transport Workers Union Local 100, said she had never seen sand get inside a cable until she started working on the Rockaways peninsula in January. She and her crew were tasked with pulling out and replacing thousands of feet of cables.

"Cables that were ripped down from their location, green corrosion [was] showing. . . That's what we were looking at," Kirkland said. "It just showed us how high the water came up."

In March, the MTA got about $18 million in federal funds for initial repairs to the Rockaways line. Meanwhile, the 30,000 Rockaways commuters on the A line have been taking crowded shuttle buses or a ferry to lower Manhattan.

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