It appears to part of SAS and ESA...
I was just at the Lexinton Avenue station on the F line and I noticed that it seems to only occupy half the tunnel space.
I do not ever remember it being completely open, but the tunnel apexes at the center of the escalators, and seems to be about 2/3 full vertically (or less) when you go to the lower platform.
What is the rest "filled" with? I know that they are probably using some of it for utilities across the east river, possibly to RI, but there seems to be a lot of unused space (and recent construction) in that large tube.
Actually Nexis, there's space for six tracks: there are guideways cantilevered off the sides of the Hell Gate. In GordonGecko's first picture, notice the small openings on the tower pier: the guideways begin / end there. You can likewise notice them in the second of GordonGecko's pictures, where the wood panels lie. (It's a curious thing that the bridge was built with such provisions but the approach viaducts only wide enough for four tracks.) Problem is that they were designed for trolleys, so I have no idea if they could support the weight of a subway car or above. It may be the sturdy Hell Gate, but I will assume for our purposes that they can not.
I remained unconvinced of the need for four tracks for Metro-North and Amtrak. The signaling technology going back to the early 20th century could support 30 trains per hour, almost double the amount of service presently seen on this ROW; if Amtrak thinks it needs to be separate from Metro-North, it's only because it's not willing to work with Metro-North. I again point to the fact that the busiest time of day only sees 16 tph, six of them Amtrak's.
Let's give Metro-North and Amtrak 15 tph for the ROW, a 50% increase in Metro-North service and more than doubling Amtrak's service... proper coordination and cooperation would yield significant service increase for relatively little money while also preserving two tracks for the X train.
Perhaps you're afraid HSR trains will be bogged down? Well, the ROW over the Hell Gate is far from ideal, so even top quality HSR rolling stock won't be going too fast. Instead, give MNRR higher performing rolling stock (courtesy of an FRA waiver or structural reform) so that the infrastructurally hobbled HSR train won't be additionally saddled with slower regional trains. (They won't lose too much time over that distance anyway.)
More radically, I propose operating MNRR and Amtrak like local and express trains in Connecticut. Have the locals (MNRR) run to Grand Central and the express trains (Amtrak) to Penn Station. Rebuild New Rochelle Station with island platforms and schedule the trains so that the largest number of trains possible offer immediate cross-platform transfers (although at 15 tph each, one would only have to wait four minutes at most). Offer heavily discounted tickets for commuters on Amtrak for the New Haven route. Japan Rail does this for their HSR trains in at least some Japanese metropolitan areas, so why not do that here?
If the volume of commuters seems a problem for Amtrak, lengthen the trains (and any necessary platforms of course), maybe even have reserved carriages for the premium-paying long distance travelers.
The whole point is this: why sacrifice a highly useful and cheap-to-build subway line for a problem that has more than one possible solution? If you say my ideas requires too many regulatory hurdles and that it's easier to spend many billions more with the sacrifice of a future X train, then I would hope we don't even bother. This is a problem that needs intra-organizational cooperation and thoughtful planning, not spending billions on infrastructure when there's an underutilized ROW present.
Last edited by marnegator; May 1st, 2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: changed closing remarks
When your running 40 trains per hour , with 20 slow trains and 20 high speed trains you need 4 tracks to run an efficient Railroad....future wise the NEC will carry 1 Million people a day....4 tracks running from Boston to DC will be needed to make sure everything runs perfectly. There are alot of sections on Metro North and LIRR that are 4 tracks , even with modern signaling you need more tracks. The Original Hell Gate line had up to 8 tracks in some parts.... Amtrak is targeting a goal of 2030 for all the NYC upgrades....which means 4 tracks along the Hell Gate line and 2 New Tunnels under the Hudson and 5 tracks to Penn station Newark.... Once the Catenary is replaced in CT which should be by 2025 it will be upgraded to 125mph....or higher if some curves are fixed. If Amtrak replaces the Pelham Bridge by 2030 , the line speeds will go up to 125mph.... I'm thinking about the current situation , im thinking 40 years ahead.....which is what the orignal Railroad builders did.... You can put the X Train on a hanging truss beneath the Hell Gate Bridge... Amtrak kinda already does what you propose , the MNRR will allow Amtrak to free up capacity on some of its regional trains....
NYC NEC plan by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr
Nexis, while I understand the need for 4 tracks, those plans for HSR are based on the assumption that the following government administration would be in favor of devoting billions of dollars for one rail line and that no delays would occur between now and 2030. Why not try to build out Triborough RX now and figure out how to manage all those trains when the time actually comes that the government will pour in all that money.
Regardless of HSR , the NEC needs capacity upgrades , more and more people are using it and and more and more trains are as well. I'm tired of NY per say mucking up NEC upgrades , unlike other states NY will not pay its fair share. Instead it pitches stupid plans like this , the Hell Gate line upgraded is expected to cost around 200 Million... If the Hell Gate isn't upgraded and the MNRR is allowed to start up service which is very unlikely to happen with out 3 and 4 tracks being re-installing , we are going to see NJ NEC problems. Its not fair to hold the regional rail network hostage for one subway line...Actually the true HSR doesn't even use the Hell Gate , it will run under NYC from Penn to GCT then Westchester , but the Heavily used Shore line which has grown by 25% since last year will run on the Hell Gate. Amtrak hopes to add at least 10 more trains per hr , which you then more tracks. The Upgrades are underway as we speak in terms of prepping for all this.... The Wires and ROW are being replaced and cleaned up for future track re-installation...which could start in 2016.... The Triboro RX is at least 15 years out...it hasn't even started the process of studies , and Engineering....which takes forever in this region. The Hell Gate has gone through most of that and just needs funded which the MTA said shouldn't be an issue...
The MTA's Newest Toy , the R156
Subway riders are quite familiar with MTA New York City Transit's fleet of 6,300 stainless steel subway cars, but what they may not realize is that we also have an impressive roster of specially-designed diesel-electric locomotives ready, willing and able to haul work trains to the farthest segments of the subway system.
NYC Transit maintains a fleet of 62 diesel-electric locomotives that haul work trains and pumping equipment into sections of track where power to the third rail has been turned off to facilitate capital construction, maintenance work or repair damage. On May 1st, the first of 28 new locomotives was delivered to NYCT's facilities.
The locomotive was loaded onto a flat car in Boise, Idaho two weeks prior and shipped cross-country over the rails and then off-loaded onto NYCT's tracks at Linden Yard. The locomotive will ultimately be transported to the Coney Island Shop for completion of conformance testing and other commissioning activities. All 28 locomotives are expected to be delivered by mid-2013. The new locomotives will add much needed resources to the existing fleet as well as replacing several units that have seen nearly a half century of service in the system.
Manufactured by MotivePower, Inc., this new fleet of diesel-electric switcher locomotives, termed R156, is custom designed and manufactured to meet NYCT's unique requirements such as tight tunnel clearances and strict weight limitations for bridges and elevated tracks. The units boast enhanced crew comfort and safety features, improved reliability and maintainability, and produce lower exhaust-level emissions than older equipment.
The R156 uses some of the latest NYCT subway passenger car components, which are service-proven and will result in more reliable operation and increased maintenance efficiency. The locomotives offer significant technological improvements, including AC propulsion, higher-horsepower, improved fuel efficiency, advanced emissions reduction technology and microprocessor controls. They also meet the latest crashworthiness and safety standards recommended by NYCT's Office of System Safety.
The locomotives feature an independent heating and battery charging (layover) system powered by a small diesel engine to keep the main engine warm during cold weather and provide auxiliary power to operate the lights and HVAC system, and to charge the batteries. This modern system reduces overall diesel engine emissions and while reducing fuel consumption during cold weather operations.
Additional features include advanced instrumentation and electronics, including a monitoring and diagnostic system with enhanced software, an automatic fire suppression system, and a sophisticated wheel slip and slide detection system. The new locomotive will also have cabinet space, electrical conduits and cabling allocated for future Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) implementation.
These units are definitely the 21st-century versions of the Little Locomotive That Can.
As one who regularly takes the Broadway line and the 'S' train, I empathize with the riders featured in this article.
In Commuters’ Daily Gamble, Dashing to Victory, or Despair
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER
The performance is held daily, just off Broadway.
Cue the symphony — two trains squawking to a stop on opposite ends of a subway platform.
Part the curtains, those steeled and sliding doors that sequester the ensemble’s ranks until the moment comes.
And finally, bring on the actors. See them scurry, crisscrossing between trains. See them slither deftly around a trash can or a bench or an indecisive peer. See them throw elbows more fit for the hardwood of Madison Square Garden, which is just to the west.
But consider the moment when slapstick comedy turns to a most harrowing New York City drama: The travelers turn back. The car doors close across the platform. Profanity reigns.
“It’s in the hands of fate,” one veteran player, Jan Geiger, 50, said of the finale.
Or, more precisely, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Many riders tussle daily with the timeless question: local or express? But for the denizens of the N, R, or Q trains, traveling uptown through Midtown, the calculus is a bit more complicated.
Every morning, during a peak commuting hour, two trains often arrive at about the same time. Sometimes the express leaves first. Sometimes it is the local. Sometimes at least two local trains will depart before a single express does. Sometimes they move together. And virtually every time there is a decision to be made, riders scamper across the platform, groping for a competitive travel advantage even as they are unsure why they have made their choice.
“It’s a gamble that you take,” Michelle Price, 34, an investment adviser, said of the dash. “Sometimes you win; sometimes you don’t.”
According to the transportation authority, the confusion is caused by a dispatching quirk on the Q train’s route. From 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. on weekdays, some Q express trains become locals after leaving 34th Street — crossing over and eventually going to Queens — but some do not. If an express is not changing course, it can leave at the same time as a local at 34th Street. If it is, a dispatcher must decide which train leaves first, said Charles Seaton, a spokesman for the authority.
Announcers occasionally inform passengers which train will leave first, though this often happens after the doors of the departing train have begun to close.
For a rider, a wrong choice, to say nothing of two or three, can lead to several minutes in initial delays. The amount of time lost can accelerate for passengers with transfers to make at the next stop, Times Square, who may miss their connections. (Since all N, Q, and R trains stop at both 34th Street and Times Square, most of the switching at 34th Street is likely done only because a rider thinks a train will leave first.)
But there is often a deeper indignity conveyed in the expression of the blundering traveler — a rare unguarded moment, when many others are spent with faces buried in iPod playlists or other reading material. Heads shake. Eyes roll. Teeth clench. Sometimes, someone chuckles in resignation. They have gambled, and the city has won.
“You can see it in the faces,” Mr. Geiger said. “It’s kind of like scratching the last box on a lottery ticket and it didn’t match.”
Of course, the city’s subway system is known for its myriad physical challenges, placed before riders like hurdles on an Olympic track. A beginner’s event is the sprint at 42nd Street, completed by those chasing down a crosstown shuttle which, as veterans know, tends to linger at the station long enough for nearly everyone to catch it.
For a time, another daily test was held at the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where locals knew to anticipate an abnormally elevated step as they exited up a staircase — and often tripped anyway. (After a filmmaker’s 87-second documentary of stairway stumbles ascended to viral status last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fixed the step.)
Still, the 34th Street shuffle presents a unique wrinkle: Riders know it is a matter of providence — or at least, a dispatching decision as mysterious as any deity to whom they may appeal.
“Mornings are hard,” said Jessica Bishop, 24, from the East Village. “You don’t have time to be running back and forth, playing a game.”
And yet, strategies abound. Jane Zhou, 30, from Jersey City, prefers the local train because it leaves first “8 out of 10 times,” in her estimation. Mr. Geiger, a manager at Bergdorf Goodman, said the savviest move was to follow the trends of the crowd.
Some riders prepare in advance for the platform flurry. “Usually I’ll wear flats,” said Alyssa Frake, who commutes on the N train from Park Slope, “just in case I have to make the dash.”
Others said they felt uneasy about leaving their allotted train. Courtney Bryan, 36, from Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, by way of Atlanta, attributed the guilt to her southern origins. “It’s this grass-is-greener thing,” she said. “You have to stick with your roots, stay the course.”
Ned Gaudette, 43, who travels to Midtown each morning for work, said he preferred a quiet, air-conditioned car to “running around like a mad man trying to shave a minute off my commute.” Brittany Corn, 27, from Hoboken, mused that among passengers who choose incorrectly, “if someone’s getting frustrated, they’re already late.”
For sanity’s sake, the wisest counsel may be a standard childhood truism.
“It’s like when you’re lost,” said another commuter, Daniel Dobrolowicz, 23. “The worst thing you can do is move around.”
Emily S. Rueb contributed reporting.
That's the trouble with idealism. It doesn't take into account that human beings can't always be trusted to do the right thing.
Doubts Raised to Counterintuitive Approach to Subway Trash
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER
Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times The 57th Street station in August,
shortly after the garbage cans were removed.
The program has been billed as something of a sanitation magic trick: take the trash cans out of the subway station, and the trash will follow.
But Midtown Manhattan, it seems, is full of nonbelievers.
According to a non-scientific survey conducted by the office of Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, about two-thirds of 218 respondents said they noticed more trash over the past month at the 57th Street F train station, which has gone without trash bins as part of a pilot program devised by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
In late August, the authority announced that it was increasing the number of stations without trash cans to 10. The program began last fall with two: the Eighth Street-Broadway station in Greenwich Village and the Flushing-Main Street station in Queens. The authority said the number of trash bags hauled out by workers had dropped by 50 percent and 67 percent at these locations, with no noticeable increase in trash on platforms or on the tracks.
“I’m actually very intrigued by this,” Joseph J. Lhota, the authority’s chairman, said in August.
Officials say the wisdom of the program is simple: If there is nowhere to place trash, riders will take it with them — often outside of a station.
But some riders have improvised. On a summer afternoon at the Eighth Street station, passers-by had piled trash about three feet high in a narrow alcove between a pay phone kiosk and a vertical beam, apparently out of the view of station cleaners.
Indeed, those who answered Ms. Lappin’s online survey were unmoved by the plan’s counterintuitive appeal — even those who had not visited the station in question. While 218 people answered the survey prompt intended for only those who “visited the 57th Street F station this month,” 553 responded to a question about whether the program was a good idea. Ninety-three percent said it was not.
“The M.T.A. should toss out this plan and put the garbage cans back,” Ms. Lappin concluded. (Though her district, which is on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, probably has many F riders, particularly Roosevelt Island residents, it does not include the 57th Street station.)
Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the authority, said the stations participating in the pilot were being “closely monitored” as officials considered whether to continue the program.
Though Mr. Lhota said in August that the policy “could be” applied systemwide, the authority has since clarified that high-traffic stations, like Times Square and Grand Central, would not be candidates for bin removal.
That is idiotic. Anybody who lives in NYC can tell you if there's no trash can around the trash gets tossed to the ground (it even happens when there is a trash can handy). The answer is bigger trash cans, more of them. This sounds like a budget cutting scheme: Take out the trash cans and then you can cut the crew that used to pick them up & empty them.
This goes right along with their plan to get rid of all ticket agents.
Assuming the best possible result, what exactly does the MTA think riders are going to do with their trash once they leave the station? Best case they are going to drop it into another (likely overflowing) trash bin on the street, which means they're just making this somebody else's problem. Worst (and likeliest) case, it ends up on the platform somewhere.
Has it occurred to these morons that what's needed is more trash capacity in the stations? The MTA is a completely mismanaged, asinine organization. Really, its infuriating.
Last edited by eddhead; October 13th, 2012 at 01:01 PM.