At first, the estimate was grim, a subway rider's nightmare. It could take up to five years to get the A and C trains running normally after a fire in an underground signal relay room last month.
Then the forecast improved: transit officials said it would take only six to nine months to fix the disruptions.
Now the estimate has come down once more. The new prognosis for restoration of most service on the subway lines?
Today. Just nine days and 15 hours after the fire.
The president of New York City Transit, Lawrence G. Reuter, announced yesterday that C trains would begin running again at 5 a.m. and that the A train would run at nearly its regular frequency, after what he called a herculean effort by repair workers toiling nonstop in 12-hour shifts since Jan. 23, when a fire at the Chambers Street station in Lower Manhattan halted the C and crippled service on the A, the third-busiest line in the system.....Mr. Reuter's initial estimate that service on the two lines could be impaired for three to five years was met with bewilderment from riders, outrage from public officials, widespread attention from the news media and incredulity from historians, who noted that the entire first segment of the Independent Subway System, including the A and C lines, was built in seven years, from 1925 to 1932.