Coney Island Train Yard replaces its boiler plant and saves $400,000 a year

Transit yard and shops keep NYC subway trains 'chugging' 

Resting on 75 acres of former swampland in Brooklyn, New York, the Coney Island Complex and train yard is managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and is one of the largest rail maintenance shops and rapid transit yards in North America. Built in 1926, the nearly century-old complex is used to perform regular maintenance for a fleet of 800 cars, as well as heavy maintenance and overhaul for every one of the approximately 6,000 cars in the New York City subway system – one of the oldest and most used public transit systems in the world.

"Coney Island Yard is vital to New York City Transit's subway operations. This facility supports a very large car maintenance, inspection and overhaul program, as well as being the largest car storage facility in the system." – SVP, Dept. of Subways Carmen Bianco

Maintenance operations support one of the biggest subway systems in the world

As one of the most populous cities in the United States, the subway system for New York City provides 24/7 transportation services and served over 1.75 billion rides in 2014 alone. A critical component of New York’s transit subway operations, the Coney Island Complex includes heavy maintenance facilities and track facilities for cars undergoing maintenance and overhaul, three related railroad storage yards and a central plant. The boiler plant provides heating to the entire complex, maintenance facilities and shops and process loads for maintenance and cleaning of subway trains - helping to sustain the largest subway system in the world.

Meeting the thermal needs of the largest rapid transit yard in North America

With two of the three original boilers shut down in recent years due to disrepair, a temporary boiler was installed to help support the complex’s thermal energy needs, along with one of the existing original boilers. Although the original boilers ran on fuel oil when they were constructed, the burners were replaced in recent years with dual-fuel burners capable of firing fuel oil and natural gas – a more environmentally-friendly fuel source. However, recognizing that the existing plant was well beyond its useful life, the MTA sought assistance from the New York Power Authority (NYPA).  By leveraging NYPA's Energy Efficiency Program, the MTA launched its energy-saving boiler replacement project to reduce carbon emissions and service its existing steam loads with higher efficiency and greater reliability. 

Energy efficiency projects like the one carried at the Coney Island Train Yard share in the goal of both saving energy and improving important infrastructure at key buildings in New York State,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “The Power Authority has plans to finance and carry out hundreds of millions of dollars in energy efficiency projects every year in support of Governor Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative, installing energy-saving technologies in public facilities throughout the state.”

MTA lowers GHG emissions and saves money

As an implementing contractor for NYPA's energy conservation programs, SourceOne managed a team of contractors led by AKS international to replace the existing steam plant. The multifaceted boiler project included demolition of the existing boiler plant, removal of the original steam boilers dating back to 1926 and installation of three new, dual-fuel high-efficiency boilers. The system also incorporates a condensate return system to conserve water and lower the need for city make-up water. The new boilers primarily run on natural gas and can also leverage #2 fuel oil in emergency situations or if there are constraints in the natural gas supply. Using multiple fuel sources provides flexibility, in addition to added resiliency.

The phased $5.4 million boiler replacement project was conducted in the midst of ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery and posed no interruption to 24/7 subway services. The new high-efficiency boilers will reduce operating costs at the train yard by nearly $400,000 per year and will avoid approximately 1,500 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually – helping to support Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. 

“This initiative is yet another way the MTA is playing a vital role in reducing carbon and evidence that investing in public transportation is one of the best strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast.

Read NYPA’s press release to learn more about the project.

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