Home Service Advisories FASTRACK hits the Queens Boulevard line tonight

FASTRACK hits the Queens Boulevard line tonight

by Benjamin Kabak
Shuttle buses and 7 trains will pick up the slack during Fastrack this week. Click the map to enlarge.

Shuttle buses and 7 trains will pick up the slack during Fastrack this week. Click the map to enlarge.

Tonight’s FASTRACK promises to be one of the more disruptive ones as the Queens Boulevard line gets its due. Starting tonight at 10 p.m. and continuing each night this week until 5 a.m., there will be major disruptions along the E, F, M and R lines. The 7 and N trains as well as free shuttle buses in Queens will pick up the slack, but travel times will be a bit longer for many Queens- and Manhattan-bound riders who rely on the those IND lines.

Here’s the story in handy-to-follow bullet points as trains will operate as follows:

  • E in Queens only between Jamaica Center and 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue
  • F in two sections:
    1. Between 179th Street and Roosevelt Avenue and
    2. Between Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue and 21st Street-Queensbridge.
  • M service ends early each night and the M shuttle operates between Metropolitan and Myrtle Avenues all night.
  • R service ends early each night and the R shuttle operates in Brooklyn between 95th Street and 36th Street all night.

So how does one get around? Well, the MTA offers up these lovely suggestions:

  • Take the 7 between Manhattan and 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue or Queensboro Plaza
  • Take the N between Manhattan and Queensboro Plaza
  • In Manhattan, transfer at 5th Avenue/42nd Street-Bryant Park for the 7 or F, Times Square-42nd Street/42nd Street-Port Authority for the 7 or A, and 34th Street-Herald Square for the F or N
  • In Manhattan along 8th Avenue, take the A local instead of the E
  • Take free shuttle buses running LOCAL between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue making station stops at Queens Plaza, 36th Street, Steinway Street, 46th Street, Northern Blvd and 65th Street
  • In Queens, transfer between shuttle buses and trains at 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue for the 7, E and F or Queensboro Plaza for the 7 and N

The utter silence on tonight’s FASTRACK from most media outlets makes me think New York City subway riders have simply accepted this program as a necessary evil, and in a way, it is. Tonight’s though is a challenge. It will impact late-night JFK-bound travelers and many folks just trying to get to Queens. Allow lots of extra time.

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Someone March 18, 2013 - 8:06 pm

From my experiences with previous FASTRACKs, it should be called the SLOWTRACK.

Jimmy March 18, 2013 - 9:23 pm

The Q should really run to Astoria, or at least Queensboro Plaza.

John-2 March 18, 2013 - 9:30 pm

An overnight 7 express between QP and 74th Street wouldn’t hurt, either (swapping outbound expresses for inbound ones around 4 a.m.)

Someone March 19, 2013 - 6:53 am


capt subway March 18, 2013 - 10:02 pm

I’d been with NYCTA for almost 37 years before retiring in 2009. For a fact many of NYCTA top managers live in the suburbs (with NYC residency waivers for all sorts of mostly bogus reasons), rarely use the subway and often have nothing but disdain & contempt for the regular passengers. And so we have the hard sell for fast track. In some situations, such as in this one, perhaps a total shutdown is not the way to go as it just creates way to much really serious inconvenience.

BTW, while the notices announced in bold faced the starting time of this fiasco as 10:00PM a perusal of the small print reveals that the actual starting time is around 8:50 – 9:00 PM, the times the last Queens bound trains leave midtown.

And: will there be added #7 service? Or are the 20,000+ per hour (at least for the first 2-3 hours) passengers just be expected to jam on to the already standing-room-only #7s? And is there added LIRR service maybe, at least for those high rollers willing to spend the extra shekels on that particular “luxury”?

Andrew March 24, 2013 - 7:49 pm

The starting time for the E and F shutdown was after 10 PM. The M and R dropped out early, but the E made local stops after that time.

And, yes, there was added 7 service. I don’t think there was any need for added LIRR service – at that time of day, there is plenty of room on the existing trains between Penn and Jamaica.

Frank B March 18, 2013 - 10:03 pm

Special Express Diamond 7 Service.

Not that I view it as wholly necessary, but the IRT Flushing Line will absorb virtually all of the passengers going to points east of Roosevelt Avenue; Elmhurst, Middle Village, Corona, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jamaica, Briarwood, etc. etc. There are two issues here; increased commute times for many Queens Citizens (Many of whom have journeys which do not end with a subway station, but with a bus) and capacity; passengers of E and F Trains and to a far lesser extent, M and R Trains will essentially be all cramming into 11 car trains with IRT Loading Gauge; a sheer recipe for diaster; even at 10 pm.

Track connections on the IRT exist that would allow for a 7 train to depart Queensboro Plaza as an express; ride along to the express station at 61st Street- Woodside; then switch to the local tracks, stopping at 69th Street (Or even bypassing it on the local tracks entirely) and then unloading its surely massive amount of passengers at 74th Street.

Not only would this ease the pain of those using the Queens Boulevard Line by mitigating the increase in commuting times, it would help the capacity of the local 7 trains; which are going to be packed from several heavily-used subway services packed into the skinny IRT cars. This special express would only be necessary until midnight, most likely; it need not run until 5 AM when FASTRACK ends.

Thoughts? Would such a service be worth it, or would simply adding more local Flushing Service be more practical in its simplified track switching, sacrificing increased speed for simplicity of train coordination?

I suppose we’ll know the answer by morning. 😀

capt subway March 18, 2013 - 10:11 pm

The #7, with the present, under normal conditions, 125% seated load up until about 100AM is not going to handle all those additional passengers (20,000+ for the first couple of hours – remember this thing really starts around 900PM – that’s when the last Queens bound E, F, M & R trains leave midtown) without a lot of additional service – nearly peak period service of around a continuous 3 minute headway.

Someone March 19, 2013 - 6:59 am

Well, actually, switches are also located at 74th Street. So the 7d trains do not need to go to the local tracks at 61st. The 7d trains can just go express eastbound from Queensborough Plaza all the way to 74th Street.

I think that’s a good idea, but how are we going to turn 7d trains back around after their runs to 74th Street? There aren’t any switches until 111th Street.

Michael K March 18, 2013 - 10:48 pm

I am very surprised that there is no LIRR cross-honoring at Kew Gardens & Forest Hills

TP March 18, 2013 - 11:27 pm

And Woodside! I don’t know how they’d “cross-honor” Metrocards on LIRR. It’d probably just be easier to offer free LIRR rides after 9:30pm to Woodside and Forest Hills. How crowded are they at that hour?

Henry March 19, 2013 - 12:43 am

Okay, since no one has said it yet, I’ll say it here.

Is there any particular reason there’s no shuttle bus to Queensbridge to meet with the (F)? That would take pressure off of the (7) and would ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE ROUTE OF THE (F).

Someone March 19, 2013 - 7:00 am

Because it’s a short walk from Queensbridge to Queensborough Plaza?

Eric Brasure March 19, 2013 - 10:05 am

I certainly wouldn’t want to be walking around that area in the wee hours.

Andrew March 24, 2013 - 7:51 pm

There was a shuttle bus from Queensbridge to Queensboro Plaza only. It wasn’t advertised, to discourage people from using it, since it’s a lot cheaper to accommodate large numbers of riders on a train than on a bus.

R2 March 19, 2013 - 8:59 am

Dealt with this last night (12:00a) as I was returning home from JFK. The E ran local as it normally does at this hour. Conductor made repeated announcements and often got out of his cab to help direct passengers. Plenty of staff to direct folks at Roosevelt and the 7 arrived within 5 mins. Overall, it was just fine.
Now, if I had to catch a bus, that would suck since it was still sleeting/raining.

Someone March 19, 2013 - 9:53 am


BBnet3000 March 19, 2013 - 11:35 am

I count myself lucky that I wont be dealing with this at all this week, but honestly, its never much of a hardship to be forced onto the A division. The crappy part of this is still going to be waiting for the E in Jackson Heights, just as its normally waiting for the M or R.


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