C Train: A Modern Summary
In January of 2005, a fire caused by a homeless person, at the Chambers Street-World Trade Center station messed up the relay system controlling the (A) and (C) trains, with the worst between Broadway-Nassau Streets and Canal Street. All signals were permanantly set to red, and train operators had to stop at every signal to key by, or rig the signal to green. To this effect, the MTA could only operate a small amount of service, without massive congestion problems. Which meant cancellation of (C) trains, and converting the (A) to a local. (A) service to/from Rockaway Park was suspended as well.
At the time New York City Transit president (NYCTA is the agency operated by the MTA, that run the subways and buses in NYC) Laurence Reuter announce that it may take 3 to 5 years to resume normal service. Luckily that was an off estimate. 70% of service was resumed on Valentine's Day, 80% in late March, and full service in April.
Another note, the (B) and (C) trains swapped northern terminals in 1998, for better acess to yards and equipment. (C) trains now ran to Washington Heights-168th Street, and (B) trains ran to the Bronx, or Harlem-145th Street, depending of the time of day. (C) trains now ran full-length on weekends, allowing the (A) to run express in Manhattan and Brooklyn 7 days a week. (C) trains still don't run at night, and still have the same 8 car trains. With the arrival of the new R160 subway cars, the future of the R38 and R32 cars, which see service on the (C) are uncertain.