Hamptons Subway Newsletter: December 26–January 2, 2014

Hamptons Subway sleepers will be hosed down
Hamptons Subway sleepers will be hosed down, Photo: katsgraphicslv/iStock, PhotoObjects.net/Thinkstock

Week of December 26–January 2, 2014
Riders this past week: 11,812
Rider miles this past week: 86,946

Madonna, in riding gear, was seen on the Hamptons Subway traveling between Water Mill and Bridgehampton carrying several bags of Christmas gifts. Mayor Mark Epley of Southampton was spotted taking the short trip between the Main Street stop and the Coopers Beach stop on Friday. He told our photographer he was out inspecting the tunnels in the village. Henry Hildreth was seen on the subway carrying golf clubs from Southampton to Hampton Bays on Thursday afternoon. He also had a bag of red golf balls.

There was a 30-minute delay system-wide as a result of two men dressed as a reindeer getting caught in the closing doors at the Westhampton Beach platform on Christmas morning at 11 a.m. The trains backed up. First it was the antlers, then it was the rear hooves and tail. Things kept going wrong. We regret the delay.

Hamptons Subway is the only subway system in the country that still has flagmen out in the tunnels that hold out flags to “stop” and “go” the oncoming trains. The flagmen have green flags, orange flags and red flags. Red is stop, green is go. Orange is slow. Most systems replaced their flagmen with electronic traffic lights in the tunnels years ago, and Hamptons Subway was one system that did that. However, the flagmen’s union for Hamptons Subway pointed out the clause in their contract that says they can never be replaced unless they walk off their jobs, and they have never walked off their jobs. Currently the two systems work concurrently, so the motorman sees the light first, and then the flagmen. Usually, they two will wave to one another, but if they do and the flagman is holding up a flag different than the light, the motorman obeys the light and considers the flagman just being friendly. Anyway, the system works. And the flagmen’s union has rented the Southampton platform for New Year’s Eve beginning at 11:30 p.m. to watch the ball drop there. A total of over 200 current and former flagmen will be in attendance, each with their own set of personal flags. Flagmen, when they retire, are by contract allowed to retire with their flags. The subway system remains open until 2 a.m. as usual on New Year’s Eve (an earlier plan to shut at 11:30 was overruled by the Commissioner), so if you’re a straphanger trying to catch a train, grab a beer and offer a salute as you pass through the party.

All the trains head out to the Montauk Yard after closing time for nightly maintenance, so if you are found asleep in a subway car out there when its past 2 a.m., you’ll be hosed down with the rest of the car. Coffee is served on the Montauk platform from a big urn by the maintenance staff there to those sleepy, bedraggled folks who got hosed down. They also each get a gift noisemaker. It’s an annual tradition.

Come help Carl Phillips celebrate his birthday on New Year’s Day— he was born on that day— in the company cafeteria in the Hamptons Subway building in Hampton Bays at 2 pm. Carl is 22, works in maintenance and his mom and dad were both asleep and hosed down in Montauk just before he was born. That’s the only time that’s ever happened.

Happy New Year to you and yours from me here in the corner office upstairs. Many more to come.

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