Jan
27

Whatsamatta with the R train?

By

Over the past few years, local subway riders on the BMT 4th Avenue line have had a rough go of it. After over 20 years of ample peak-hour service — both the M (or N) and R trains served 4th Ave. from the mid-1980s until 2010 — R train riders have suffered through reductions in service, 13 months of transfers due to Sandy work and, now, constant complaints about reliability. Since the Montague Tubes reopened following Fix & Fortify work, riders have loudly voiced their views that R service isn’t satisfactory and has gotten worse. Pols are picking up the cause, but the MTA says it won’t do anything until the Second Ave. Subway opens.

The exact nature of the complaints from riders are standard throughout the system, but from constant stories, it sounds as though the R train in Brooklyn has been particularly unreliable lately. A letter from City Council member Vincent Gentile to the MTA noted “many late and overcrowded trains, infrequent service, frequent delays, unkempt stations, inadequate audio systems, and the use of older subway cars.” Some of these complaints are valid and systematic; the MTA hasn’t overhauled some pretty sorry stations along 4th Ave. in decades. Some stretch the bounds of pity. The R train’s rolling stock, for instance, is perfectly adequately and won’t be due up for replacement until the latter part of the 2020s. And some — infrequent service, for one — are a direct result of the loss of the M train.

The R, in other words, is the perfect storm of problems for the MTA. It runs through rapidly expanding (and gentrifying) neighborhoods and offers Bay Ridge its lone, slow subway connection to Manhattan. The pure data is hard to pinpoint, but experiences and anecdotes suggest the service along this line has not been up to snuff lately. As the R stretches from Forest Hills to Bay Ridge and shares tracks at various points with the N, Q, and M lines, the challenges are extreme.

In writing to the MTA last month, Gentile offered up a laundry list of solutions. His letter said:

First, if nothing else, conduct an audit to find out just how bad the service is and exactly what is needed to alleviate the trouble. Second, add more and newer trains to the R route to increase frequency and decrease late arrivals of the R. Third, put the R train on its own line in Manhattan so that delays caused by waiting for other trains that run on the same line, such as the N, cease to happen. Fourth, speed up the installation of platform countdown clocks and add other amenities on the subway cars such as digital stop trackers. Finally, if you do not replace the train cars entirely, at the very least add new audio systems that riders can actually hear and decipher in the event of an emergency or delay. Currently, a majority of the audio systems on the R train fleet are inaudible and/or incomprehensible.

In addition, I am proposing several changes to the scheduling for the R line that I also request be made as soon as possible. First, discontinue the late night R shuttle that forces riders heading into Bay Ridge at night to get off the train at 36th Street in Sunset Park and wait upwards of an additional 20-30 minutes for an R shuttle to arrive and complete their trip home. Second, since the TA itself claims many delays on the R line result from the length of the entire line itself, I am advocating the creation of an R line rush hour special from 95th Street in Bay Ridge to Chambers Street and back. This special segmented line will address and alleviate some of the delays experienced by Bay Ridgeites who work in lower Manhattan.

This is a jumble of ideas, again some better than others, but it seems indicative of the need for additional peak-hour service along 4th Ave. In addition to the letter, Gentile, along with Daniel Squadron, the Straphangers Campaign, and the Riders Alliance, has urged the MTA to conduct a full line review — essentially an audit — of R train operations to determine how best to improve the line. These line reviews can be modest and may fall victim to politics, but auditing service along particular lines is something the MTA has said it will do regularly.

Yet, the MTA is a bit resistant to the idea that the R is problematic. Internal load guidelines — also established by the MTA and loosened in 2010 — have determined the R to be at 62 percent of capacity during a.m. peak hours and between 30-60 percent of capacity during non-peak hours. This has always raised questions regarding induced demand and chicken-and-egg problems. Can the MTA improve service and boost ridership by increasing service and improving reliability?

In response to the request for an audit, though, the MTA told R train riders they will have to wait a bit longer for improvements. Here’s the agency’s statement:

Chairman Prendergast has committed to undertake full line reviews of all subway lines in the system. Since 2009, NYCT has completed reviews of the F, L, G and recently the A and C lines. Since all of the reviews conducted thus far have focused on the subway’s lettered lines (like the R), NYCT plans to select one or more lines on the numbered lines as the next line(s) to review. A review of the R has not yet been scheduled because if we were to conduct a line review of the R now, it would be obsolete almost immediately, because the opening of the Second Avenue Subway will significantly change overall service on the Broadway Line. The opening of Second Avenue Subway will affect how many people ride the R and how the R operates, so it would be premature for us to conduct an R line review on the cusp of such a change.

So the R could be doing better, but it’s not at capacity. Meanwhile, we’re on the cusp of major changes to the BMT once the Second Ave. Subway opens (whenever that might be), and for now, R train riders are stuck with what they have, an M-less ride down 4th Ave. Is that a satisfactory response? It’s hard to say.



Categories : Brooklyn

108 Responses to “Whatsamatta with the R train?”

  1. Gian says:

    When the Q train starts running up 2nd Avenue to 96th Street, it’s widely believed that the MTA will revive the W train to ensure adequate levels of service to Astoria. If this is the case (which it should be) then they should use the W train’s original 2001 routing from Whitehall Street to Coney Island (or at least Bay Parkway, like the M train before 2010) via the 4th Avenue and West End Lines. The only thing I’d change is that the W should run express on Broadway, because the N and R keep Broadway’s local tracks occupied thoroughly.

    • Joe Steindam says:

      I don’t think Transit would make the W the express service if its terminating at Whitehall Street or using the Montague Tube and going to Bay Parkway or 9th Avenue. Since the N uses the Manhattan Bridge which directly connects to the Broadway express tracks, it makes more sense to only have them switch tracks once (north of 34th Street to use the local tracks that head to Queens) instead of twice (at the same spot as the N, as well as south of Prince Street to continue to Lower Manhattan) in your proposed routing of the W.

      I really wonder if it’s possible to create good, frequent headways on the R, as it suffers from so many incursions (the N at Prince Street, the Q at 42nd Street, which leave before Queens Plaza only to have the M come in after Queens Plaza), it seems impossible to keep to a schedule.

      I ride the R between Union Street and Rector Street. It’s often quite crowded as it reaches me in the AM, but most mornings it thins out consistently at Atlantic Avenue and Jay Streets, so that we’re typically not crowded by the time we head into Manhattan (or so it seems at the front of the train). If it is crowded through the Montague Tube, the crowds seem to depart at Whitehall Street. As for the PM, it seems like a crapshoot whether the trains will be busy or overcrowded. On the rare days when everything goes to hell, they will run the R as a mock express between Atlantic and 36th Street to recover, only stopping at 9th Street to offer the F/G transfer.

      This is all to say I don’t know what should be done to fix the R. It seems to do what I need it to do daily, but I recognize that it could run better, but I don’t know how the MTA could deliver it.

    • Tower18 says:

      That wouldn’t work. The N naturally should be express, because it runs via the bridge. Anything going via tunnel naturally needs to be local. You want to keep switching to a minimum, so the logical plan is for the N and Q to be express, and the R and W to be local. This leaves the NRW on the local track 57th to 34th, with the N switching to express there. In the uptown direction, nobody diverges at all at Prince.

      • Alex says:

        It’s unfortunate there’s no easy way to invert things. It would be nice to have swap things so a Brooklyn local can go express in Manhattan and vice versa. Riders on those many local stops along 4th Ave in Brooklyn would love to have that option in a theoretical W train. But the track layouts and logistical problems make that nearly impossible.

      • N Broadway Local says:

        It makes more sense for the “N” to diverge onto and off before and after 57th Street. 49th Street should never be an express stop for the “N”.

  2. Walt Gekko says:

    To me, there are two potential ways to deal with this:Scenario #1 would require fixing the portion of the Montague Tunnel to Nassau that as I understand it would need to be repaired before anything can be done. Once that work is done, what I would then do is this:With limited exceptions, truncate the (J) full-time to Chambers Street while a new, full-time (Z) would pick up Broad and Fulton Streets with that line 24/7, running as follows:Weekdays (5:30 AM-11:00 PM):New (Z) is essentially the old "Brown (R) Bankers Special," except this version would be running both ways between Chambers and 95th Street-Bay Ridge at all times. During the week, coming north the line terminates on the northbound "local" track at Chambers, then after fumigation goes past the switches on the old northbound local/bridge track. As soon as there is no traffic, such (Z) trains would cross over to the southbound "local" track for the return trip to Brooklyn. All other times (11:00 PM-5:30 AM weekdays AND 11:00 PM Friday-5:30 AM Monday):New (Z) is extended to Metropolitan Avenue to absorb the current (M) shuttles during those hours, running from there to 95th Street. This also absorbs the current late-night (M) shuttle as well.This (Z) I would envision to be mainly a supplement to the (R) in Brooklyn (replacing the (R) and (M) shuttles late nights and weekends) and be no more than most likely 6-10 trains per hour, even at peak times. You could if needed send a handful of (J) trains at peak hours to Broad to cover the few instances at peak hours where the (J) and (Z) would not meet at Chambers (that this would be designed to do on weekdays) while weekends and late nights the (Z) would run with the (J) between Chambers and Myrtle Avenue.Scenario #2 would not be likely until after the SAS opens either the end of this year or early next year, which can work this way (which I will say is far from ideal but a lesser evil than other ideas):(D) would move to 95th-Bay Ridge on the southern end and runs to 205 as it does now (skipping DeKalb except late nights).(N) remains on Sea Beach, but becomes the 4th Avenue local (also stopping at DeKalb and running over the bridge) and runs as follows:Weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM): To Astoria as it does now, except it would be express to 57th and merge north of 57th (as opposed to how the (Q) merges now).Late nights (11:30 PM-5:30 AM) and weekends (11:30 PM Friday-5:30 AM Monday): To 71-Continental. This allows the (E) to return to being an express on QB 24/7 OR give QB two locals late nights.This obviously requires the (D) and (N) to switch tracks at 59th Street-4th Avenue unless somehow new connections could be built that allow the respective lines to come in on the track opposite the current setup. This is simply a lesser evil in this case.(Q) moves to the West End Line and runs Coney Island to 96th/2nd that way, express on 4th Avenue and skipping DeKalb Avenue (except late nights)(R) moves to the Brighton Line and runs 24/7 between Coney Island and Astoria (this gives it CI yard and yes is the current (Q) route on weekdays). (W) runs Whitehall Street to 71st-Continental weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM). Late nights and weekends as noted, the (N) replaces the (W) this way, giving QB 24/7 service from Broadway.Again, far from perfect, but likely the other best option to deal with the current (R) setup in Brooklyn. The easiest would actually be to return the (R) to its pre-1987 (RR) routing of 95th Street-Ditmars Boulevard but then you have the issue of no direct yard for the (R) line, which is why I would use one of these two options.

    • Walt Gekko says:

      What I get for trying to use coding (wish there was a preview version where I could seen that), here it is again without the coding:

      To me, there are two potential ways to deal with this:

      Scenario #1 would require fixing the portion of the Montague Tunnel to Nassau that as I understand it would need to be repaired before anything can be done. Once that work is done, what I would then do is this:

      Weekdays (5:30 AM-11:00 PM):
      New (Z) is essentially the old “Brown (R) Bankers Special,” except this version would be running both ways between Chambers and 95th Street-Bay Ridge at all times. During the week, coming north the line terminates on the northbound “local” track at Chambers, then after fumigation goes past the switches on the old northbound local/bridge track. As soon as there is no traffic, such (Z) trains would cross over to the southbound “local” track for the return trip to Brooklyn.

      All other times (11:00 PM-5:30 AM weekdays AND 11:00 PM Friday-5:30 AM Monday):
      New (Z) is extended to Metropolitan Avenue to absorb the current (M) shuttles during those hours, running from there to 95th Street. This also absorbs the current late-night (M) shuttle as well.

      Probably the best way to at least address the Brooklyn issues as unless you were going to the NYSE or other places in lower Manhattan, most people would use this to where they transfer to other trains.

      This (Z) I would envision to be mainly a supplement to the (R) in Brooklyn (replacing the (R) and (M) shuttles late nights and weekends) and be no more than most likely 6-10 trains per hour, even at peak times. You could if needed send a handful of (J) trains at peak hours to Broad to cover the few instances at peak hours where the (J) and (Z) would not meet at Chambers (that this would be designed to do on weekdays) while weekends and late nights the (Z) would run with the (J) between Chambers and Myrtle Avenue.

      Scenario #2 would not be likely until after the SAS opens either the end of this year or early next year, which can work this way (which I will say is far from ideal but a lesser evil than other ideas):

      (D) would move to 95th-Bay Ridge on the southern end and runs to 205 as it does now (skipping DeKalb except late nights).

      (N) remains on Sea Beach, but becomes the 4th Avenue local (also stopping at DeKalb and running over the bridge) and runs as follows:

      Weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM): To Astoria as it does now, except it would be express to 57th and merge north of 57th (as opposed to how the (Q) merges now).

      Late nights (11:30 PM-5:30 AM) and weekends (11:30 PM Friday-5:30 AM Monday): To 71-Continental. This allows the (E) to return to being an express on QB 24/7 OR give QB two locals late nights.

      This obviously requires the (D) and (N) to switch tracks at 59th Street-4th Avenue unless somehow new connections could be built that allow the respective lines to come in on the track opposite the current setup. This is simply a lesser evil in this case.

      (Q) moves to the West End Line and runs Coney Island to 96th/2nd that way, express on 4th Avenue and skipping DeKalb Avenue (except late nights)

      (R) moves to the Brighton Line and runs 24/7 between Coney Island and Astoria (this gives it CI yard and yes is the current (Q) route on weekdays).

      (W) runs Whitehall Street to 71st-Continental weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM). Late nights and weekends as noted, the (N) replaces the (W) this way, giving QB 24/7 service from Broadway.

      Again, far from perfect, but likely the other best option to deal with the current (R) setup in Brooklyn. The easiest would actually be to return the (R) to its pre-1987 (RR) routing of 95th Street-Ditmars Boulevard but then you have the issue of no direct yard for the (R) line, which is why I would use one of these two options.

      • Brooklynite says:

        Wally – you suggest these ideas on forum after forum after forum and each time you are told why this is suboptimal at best. There is no reason to be uprooting half the system when SAS opens, and your plans add loads of new crossing over and part-time routes, both of which are undesirable.

        And please… if you’re going to post proposals, make them new ones! Not the same ones we’ve all seen and critiqued a million times.

        • Walt Gekko says:

          The real problem quite frankly is the 60th Street tunnel was set up for one set of circumstances (one train to Astoria) whereas now you need two different lines to run to Astoria because of a huge jump in ridership there in recent years PLUS a second line to Queens Boulevard. Mergers have always been a problem and I was simply looking in this case for what is the least evil.

          If you didn’t have the yard issue, you could conceivably simply return the (R) to its former pre-1987 (RR) routing of 95th Street-Ditmars Boulevard, which was one reason why I noted the idea of extending the current (N) to The Bronx to where a yard could be built.

          What I suggested is more a case of making do with what you have and attempt to do what is the least disruptive. It more shows that some things were done not realizing shifts in areas and so forth would require a completely different set of things in later years.

          • Walt Gekko says:

            I neglected to note here in Scenario #1 in this version the (J) train would be truncated to Chambers at all times, terminating on the “express” track at Chambers EXCEPT for a limited number of (J) trains that would go to Broad during peak hours.

            (J) trains would continue in this format to Broad ONLY if they are not scheduled to meet a (Z) train at Chambers that would be beginning its route because in this format, no (Z) train would leave Chambers until the (J) coming from Jamaica Center arrives and allows passengers to cross over to transfer (not applicable to late nights and weekends when the (Z) would stop at ALL (J) stations from Myrtle Avenue going west/railroad south).

            • Gorski says:

              So, you’re eliminating skip-stop service on the Queens Broadway line and adding an extra transfer for financial district riders to go, max, an additional two stops. I don’t think that is going to fly.

              Not to mention that there’s a reason that Bay Ridge and Ridgewood are both served by shuttles late night and weekends, and adding the trains necessary to run frequent service would be needlessly expensive (even though, as a Ridgewood resident with friends in Bay Ridge, I would totally ride it).

              Just create a new K service that runs peak like the pre-2010 M and be done with it.

              • Walt Gekko says:

                I never said my service was perfect. It’s just a lesser evil:

                A better way of doing it would be to reconnect the Nassau line to the Manhattan Bridge (as it was prior to November 1967) via a new set of switches where such would meet the current Broadway connection that would allow the new version of the (Z) to operate as a Nassau Street Loop Line with the sole terminal being 95th Street (though for Railroad purposes, Chambers Street would be considered the northern terminal even though such trains would only stop there and go straight back to Brooklyn).

                In a loop line version of the (Z), this version would operate as a local between 95th Street and DeKalb Avenue before then going northbound VIA the tunnel with stops on the current Montague and Nassau Street branches (and ONLY going northbound) at Jay Street-Metrotech, Court Street, Broad Street, Fulton Street and Chambers Street before returning to DeKalb Avenue via the Manhattan Bridge and then running south to 95th Street (though in a snow situation like January 23-24, the (Z) would terminate at Chambers and turn around as noted above).

                Re-attaching the Nassau Street Line to the Manhattan Bridge would also have the side benefit in an emergency of allowing five-car trains (of 60-foot cars, or if rules were changed for that portion of the line ONLY, four-to-six car trains of 75 foot cars) on the other 4th Avenue Lines along with the Brighton Line and West End Line in an emergency and allow for more operational flexibility when needed.

          • AG says:

            Interesting idea… But where exactly would/could you build the yard?

            Speaking of building… In an unrelated transit issue. The EDC issued an RFP for a property in Hell’s Kitchen. What’s most interesting to me is that they state that the MTA PLANS on building a station at 41st and 10th. They stated that any winning bidder will have to work with the MTA to ensure that no impediment to the station will be built. Ben – did you hear any more details about that potential station?

            http://www.nycedc.com/system/f.....205924.pdf

            • Walt Gekko says:

              Not sure about where you can put a yard. That’s why I for now said somewhere.

              What I would want to do is have such an extension of the Astoria line to the Bronx go to at least Jacobi Medical Center as that is not served by trains at all at the moment.

          • Duke says:

            I question the seemingly accepted as gospel wisdom that it is necessary to run the R or any other train from Queens Blvd to Broadway. Ridership through there is not that great even at rush hour.

            Seems to me that if we want to undergo a service streamlining operation, removing the 11th Street cut from revenue service, thus eliminating any uptown interlining between BMT and IND services, would be a quite helpful thing to do.

            So, I would then have things running like this (post SAS phase 1 opening):
            – N and Q run via bridge and express up Broadway, terminating at 96th St, all day. Nights, N runs via Tunnel and terminates at Whitehall from the south.
            – R and W run local and terminate in Astoria, all day weekdays. Nights and weekends, R runs its full route, W does not run. Rush hours, W is extended through tunnel to Bay Parkway. Weekdays off-peak, W terminates at Whitehall from the north.
            – G is extended to 71-Continental to replace the missing R

            That at least is the basics that can stand on its own. Ideally this would be coupled with a deinterlining at DeKalb. And a swapping of the M and the F between 63rd and 53rd, although this would make it difficult to curtail late night QB service without terminating one of the routes in an awkward place.

            • Duke says:

              If you coupled this with a DeKalb deinterlining that swaps the B and the N, you could even axe nighttime N service entirely rather than terminating it at Whitehall since it wouldn’t be necessary as a Brighton express.
              With the B as the sole Sea Beach service you’d need to run it nights and weekends, but I suppose you could clip it to 36th late nights like the R shuttle currently does.

              • mister says:

                Ack!

                You do just realize that for every local Queens Boulevard rider between Queens Plaza and Roosevelt, you just gave them 2 options for east side service:

                1. Use the M through 63rd and make an awful out of system transfer at 63rd/Lex.

                2. Use the G and transfer at Queens Plaza.

                I know it’s super cool on here to remove as many merges as possible (and, admittedly, not a terrible idea), but the Queens Boulevard IND’s current configuration is actually a pretty decent setup. Having an express through 63rd is really useful for getting the crowds out of 53rd. The 60th street tunnel provides a good connection to the Lex express, giving some incentive to use the local. The Current M line gives local riders direct access to the 53rd st line.

                As for the south Brooklyn BMT changes you propose, this is a smaller concern, but under your proposal, Brighton Riders lose any kind of decent connection to the 6th avenue line. The transfer at Atlantic is not convenient at all.

                • Fred says:

                  the crowds are still extreme at 53 ST – Lex both way…. especially going downtown at the station on both the E & M

                • Duke says:

                  Speaking as someone who used to be one of those riders on a daily basis, I don’t think this is as big an issue as it might seem. Going from 53rd St to Queens I was almost always changing trains anyway since the E would usually come first. And even on days when the M came first, it would often get to Queens Plaza at roughly the same time as an R, thus creating delays. I would have not minded doing this knowing that switching trains would always be necessary so long as it were quick and easy to do. The only caveat is that you’d need to run full length G trains for this to work.

                  Meanwhile, this setup of needing to change trains to go from the local to 53rd existed for decades prior to the opening of the 63rd St connection in 2001, and people managed. Though I will concede that in that service pattern both locals went to Queens Plaza.

                  Another benefit to putting the F back in 53rd would be to help with crowding on the E. Since 63rd is not as popular a destination, there is a significant imbalance in passenger load between the E and the F.

                  Meanwhile the express is more heavily used than the local, it also makes sense from this perspective to send the express trains where people want to go.

                  • mister says:

                    The current configuration reduced crowding through 53rd (where trains exceeded guideline load), and E trains are less crowded than they were before.

                    When the G/R served local stations, local riders could take the R directly to 59th/Lex. If the G/M serves local stations, with the M via 63rd, it likely sends 53rd Street crowding soaring, since the Local M service now uses a route that doesn’t have a good connection to the east side IRT. This means that anyone who wants Lex now MUST take an E or F, before the R was an option too. It essentially takes a large chunk of 60th street’s ridership and sends it over to 53rd, and does the same with 63rd.

      • Mike says:

        This is absolutely NOT the best way to address the R train’s unreliable service! Wouldn’t it just be easier to extend the current J and Z service to Bay Ridge and truncate the R at Whitehall. I’m fully aware of the limited clearance in the Montague Tunnel that prevents R32 and R42 cars from running there, but that’s not going to be an issue forever and it’s one that can even be worked around short-term – if the MTA is really willing to do so.

        There are lots of flaws with your plan. First of all, you’re making the R an even longer local line AND you’re giving it yet another merge (with the B train) by sending it onto the Brighton Line. Yes, that would ensure the R will still have a close-by yard (Coney Island), but it already has one (Jamaica) and it would still be based out of that same yard, if it were to be truncated at Whitehall.

        Second of all, you’re making nearly everyone in south Brooklyn change their ridership patterns by rearranging the D, N, Q and R trains AND creating yet another merge at DeKalb by having the now-local N merge with the B at DeKalb in order to stop there.

        Third of all, you keep the N on Sea Beach, but move the D to 95th St. How is the D going to run express without crossing in front of the N? And vice versa for the N in order to go local? That’s even worse than a merge!

        Lastly, you want to turn Chambers St into the underground version of Chicago’s Howard St Terminal, by having J trains from the north and Z trains from the south both terminate and relay there, requiring everyone who wants to continue past the station to transfer to the other train. They’ve never had to do this before. Why should they now? Sounds more like an inconvenience than a service improvement.

        And what makes you so sure there are even enough ENY R160s to cover your proposed Z train at acceptable rush hour headways (as in more than 6 tph)?

        • Walt Gekko says:

          I never said it was perfect. As noted in another reply, to me the better solution is to re-connect the Nassau Street Line to the Manhattan Bridge via new switches where it would meet the current Broadway line to allow Nassau trains to access the Manny B with my version of the (Z) being a Nassau Street Loop line with 95th Street as the sole terminal and allowing other lines to access Nassau via the Bridge in an emergency.

    • N Broadway Local says:

      This so DAMN! complicated and EXPENSIVE! Look! what they should do is return the “V” to all its glory and put the “M” back on 4th Avenue to 95th Street (Weekdays 6a – 9p). See…. SIMPLE!!!

  3. Seems like the quickest and cheapest solution is to extend the rush hour Z down to 95 St. There aren’t a lot of good options given how many branches the 4th Ave Subway has. There is also need for express service on the West End Line which is the best place for additional express service so the Z could replicate the M pre-2010.

    The long term situation of the Broadway Line will require a new yard in Astoria along with an extension of the Astoria Line to LaGuardia Airport. A new yard would allow for the N and R to switch (N to Forest Hills, R to Ditmars) as they once ran and allow for the R train to have a dedicated yard. The N could then be rerouted through the 63rd St Tunnel. This alignment would allow for R trains to use the local tracks of the Broadway Line exclusively and keep the N express in Manhattan and local in Queens (Blvd). While this would no doubt cause some grumbling along the Lex at 59th St it would actually be beneficial as all it would segregate Queens transfers: Astoria Line transfers would happen at 59th/Lex while Queens Blvd Line transfers would happen at 51/Lex or 63/Lex.

    But as I said this would require a new train yard up past Astoria-Ditmars and that would require overcoming the NIMBY resistance that sunk the LaGuardia extension in the 90s.

    • Walt Gekko says:

      In that regard, perhaps what should be considered is instead of Astoria, maybe you look to extend the current (N) to the Bronx to a spot where you can create a yard.

      The line can include one new stop in Queens at 20th Avenue before going over new bridges, possibly including a stop on Rikers Island (that would be heavily secured for obvious reasons) before continuing to the Bronx with the first stop being Food Service Drive. From there, I’d be looking at a line that potentially could go to Jacobi Medical Center (which does NOT have subway service at the moment) and maybe do a nearby yard there or continue further north with a yard at wherever is the terminal.

    • Joe Steindam says:

      Boy oh boy do I like the R to Astoria/LaGuardia idea a lot. I see a few downsides (the loss of Broadway express service on the Astoria Line, having N trains switch west of Lex/63rd might negatively impact frequencies on both the F and the Q) but your plan moves the start of the Broadway express run from 34th Street up to 57th Street. It might actually create a time savings to transfer there to an express train if you’re heading south in Manhattan.

      It would require a massive increase in frequencies on the R, since the Astoria folks have pretty frequent service in the rush hour with the Q and N, and under this scenario it would be the only Broadway local. And if it actually serves LaGuardia, you could also make the argument that it needs decent frequencies all day. I wonder how many trains 95th Street can turn (also pertinent to the idea of sending the Z there in the rush), if that would require the extra frequency on the R to turn elsewhere (Whitehall Street, or Bay Parkway).

    • Phantom says:

      I like the idea of a rush hour Z to 95th Street and think that it might be successful, as various Bay Ridge to Chambers and beyond services once were successful.

      It would relieve some rush hour overcrowding all along the Fourth Avenue corridor in Brooklyn.

      The old M to Bay Parkway IMO was a flop in south Brooklyn as it duplicated already frequent D service down Fourth Avenue and West End.

      • Walt Gekko says:

        The (Z) as I would it would be that route BUT would run 24/7 and actually replace the (R) shuttle late nights and be extended to Metropolitan late nights and weekends to replace the current (M) shuttles on that end.

    • N Broadway Local says:

      Wait a minute! You can’t remove the “R” from 59 LEX. That is an extremely important transfer! Removing the “R” will make it more redundant than it already is! And at least unlike the 53 LEX it offer quick access to the Lex express and the transfer is less complicated. Also, the “R” can’t go back to ditmars and in no way they are going to build a yard in the middle of a built up residential neighborhood. Besides, the residence won’t even tolerate them extending the line to blocks to the Con Edison Plant, which I think is foolish, which will allow it to get to the airport.

  4. Brandon says:

    It sounds like the R mostly just needs countdown clocks. I’d love to see a map similar to the one in this article of systems that have countdown clocks throughout vs ones that don’t: http://www.thetransportpolitic.....-gangways/

    It’s time for us to make the investment in upgraded signalling for so many reasons. We should of course solve the staffing issue so that it can actually save us some money as well.

  5. Larry Littlefield says:

    I don’t see how these strutting asses have the nerve to even talk about the MTA, given that they have loaded it with debt and failed to fund the capital plan. They are whining about service, when the metro area transit system will be heading for collapse. Gentille probably expects to be collecting his public pension in Florida by then.

  6. BoerumHillScott says:

    The NYCT part of my commute is between Atlantic/Barclays and WTC every day.
    Depending on my son’s schedule, I either take the 2/3 or the R in the morning, leaving around 7:20.

    Around 80% of the time both me and my son can get adjacent seats on the R either at Atlantic or DeKalb. That compares to around 20% of the time when I can get a seat on the 2/3.

    While the R does not run as frequently as the 2/3, the loading shows there is no need for more service. There is no time when we have had to wait more than 10 minutes for the R, and I would guess that our average wait is right around the 4 minutes that the 8 minute scheduled headway would predict.

    The trains are just as clean as other trains, and the PA system works as well as any other train without automated announcements.

    In short, I don’t see the justification behind the complaining.

    • anon_coward says:

      know someone who takes the R from bay ridge. from what he told me, most people get off at 36st to take the express

      • Brandon says:

        Yeah but thats the case no matter what level of service. People do the same thing where the R runs with the M local in Queens to jam onto ridiculously overcrowded E and F trains.

      • Tower18 says:

        People will skip the Brooklyn-bound C to wait for an A to Jay St, lol. Because stopping at Spring takes so much time. Express train psychology is weird.

        • Walt Gekko says:

          Which is STUPID:

          Between Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Columbus Circle, the (A) skips THREE stations TOTAL (Spring, 23rd and 50th) and if you take an (E) from Chambers to Queens, you only have TWO extra stops. That adds at the most 2-3 minutes to your ride.

        • N Broadway Local says:

          I once ran from the “C” train I was sitting comfortably in to the “E” that was across the platform. Just so I could get to spring street. I knew the “E” was leaving first, so I did it in this special case.

  7. Herb Lehman says:

    My commute recently changed from taking the 4/5 at Bowling Green and then transferring to the 6, to taking the R at Whitehall. Knowing the R train’s reputation, I braced for the worst… and found that the reality is not terrible. In fact, when I commute at 8 am, on most mornings, it seems like the headways on the R are not worse than the headways were on the uptown 6. (The evening rush is a different story, but the train is more or less consistent, if not all that frequent.)

    Would I complain if the R service were improved? Absolutely not. It’s not great. And during off-hours and on weekends, it’s just awful. But for my commute, it’s nowhere near the disaster I feared it would be.

    (Maybe I’m just grateful that I don’t need to take the 6 anymore. Between the poor headways and the extreme crowding and, half the time, the train skipping my stop anyway to make up time, that was the absolute worst.)

    • Alex says:

      I agree that the R is pretty reliable in the morning, at least northbound until it merges with the N in Manhattan, if not terribly frequent. But I find it to be horribly unreliable for the evening rush heading south in Brooklyn. Waits can be as long as 15 minutes at rush hour and it’s nearly impossible to get on the train when that happens.

    • N Broadway Local says:

      I don’t care what anyone says here,AIN’T NO TRAIN RUN AS GOOD AS THE #6 EVEN ON A GOOD DAY. The #6 has the advantage of being two trains in one. Manhattanites only know of one. But Bronx riders have their service cut in half. The R is nothing like that. The #6 also has the advantage of running on a single track with no sharing with other lines. The “R” is the worse case scenario.

  8. Herb Lehman says:

    Also: Gentile is shooting himself in the foot by making strange arguments that are very easily dismissed.

    The train cars are fine. They haven’t run R32s on the R for many years.

    Giving the R “its own line” in Manhattan is a nonstarter unless there would be enough of an increase in R service to make up for the loss of the N — which there wouldn’t be, because half the R trains would be running to Chambers Street.

    Speaking of which, I don’t think anyone actually wants the 95th St-Chambers St special. That service was eliminated in the 1980s due to lack of interest. I took the M for awhile in 2008-09, which essentially used the same route. The train was always empty – every single time I took it.

  9. Rich B says:

    This has always raised questions regarding induced demand and chicken-and-egg problems. Can the MTA improve service and boost ridership by increasing service and improving reliability?

    I can attest to this personally. Off-peak, the headways are so atrocious that I will go out of my way to take anything but the R. Usually that means another subway line in Manhattan, but if I were in Brooklyn, it would mean another mode like Uber or Citibike. The loads are definitely light precisely because the service sucks.

    • SEAN says:

      With the R being the longest route, having reliable service can be a challenge. Would it make sence to break the R into two separate lines? Or perhaps reconfigure the N & R in some fashon.

      • Tower18 says:

        I would guess a lot of the off-peak R problems stem from the Queens Blvd work, where the E/F/R are all sharing track. This has been many weekends in the last ~6 months or so, and having 3 lines on one track between Forest Hills and Queens Plaza is going to have the R waiting…then it waits for an N past Queens Plaza.

    • mister says:

      Off-peak, the headways are no worse than many other B division lines. Whether the trains are operating close to that scheduled frequency is another story.

  10. AlexB says:

    I’ve been riding the R recently between Union St in Brooklyn and 23rd St in Flatiron for some mid-day work meetings. All the previously mentioned problems are correct, but I wanted to add that the train goes even slower than usual. The R has always been a slow local, but it’s gotten ridiculous. I’ve been timing my trips and comparing them to the schedule and they are consistently 5 minutes slower than scheduled over what should be about a 25-30 minute ride. It can take 4 minutes just to get from City Hall to Canal, and that’s where there’s no other trains on the tracks and there are no curves. It just doesn’t make any sense: it’s not rush hour, no one is holding the doors, there’s no other routes sharing this track creating merge delays, there’s not any construction anymore… Why publish a schedule at all if you aren’t going to make any effort to keep to it? It just feels so incompetent, lazy and disrespectful.

    • Rich B says:

      Yes! This, too! Was there a construction project and someone forgot to remove the work zone restrictions? Service is mysteriously, extremely slow there for no apparent reason. It’s weird.

    • Jeff says:

      This is so true. Not only from Brooklyn to Manhattan but also to Queens as well. The consistent merging in and out with so many different trains (more than any other local train in the system), sharp curves along the line, long route, and infrequent service all combine to give the line its reputation.

      I think the MTA should really look into those suggestions.

    • Alex says:

      Midday and weekend service on the R is abominable, no question. My wife works from home in Brooklyn and takes it to work meetings and appointments in Manhattan fairly regularly and has to budget at least an hour to get anywhere north of 14th St. The complaints are 100% valid on the front.

      AM rush isn’t too bad in Brooklyn because the R doesn’t mingle with any other lines. But the lack of frequency makes it hard to connect with other trains. The D that I ultimately need inevitably breezes by on the express tracks most days, but at least I know what to expect timing-wise.

      The evening rush, however, is terribly inconsistent and service isn’t anything close to what the schedule indicates. Given I ultimately need to switch anyway, I actually miss the Montague tube being closed because the R was actually very reliable in both directions during that time.

  11. Phantom says:

    I take the R train every day from Bay Ridge to Manhattan.

    The R is a lot less crowded than many other lines ( A, C, N, D, 2,3,4,5 and others ) and it runs just fine. My only ( minor ) complaint is that it runs only as a shuttle during late hours.

    I don’t complain that the line runs slow from Atlantic to Canal, since that’s how the tunnels were built, and that won’t change.

    I hate to say it, but a significant number of my neighbors in Bay Ridge, like a significant number of Staten Islanders, are crybabies who complain for the sake of complaining, even when there is no legitimate complaint.

    • JMB says:

      I’m a 77th to Cityhall daily rider. While the R is definitely less crowded than say the Lex, it seems its getting more loaded even outside of the rush hour.

      FWIW I would love an alternative service that went up Nassau rather than Broadway to offset current R loads.

      • Walt Gekko says:

        Which is why I thought of the a new (Z) that would all times run the old “Bankers Special” route between 95th Street and Chambers (eliminating the late-night (R) shuttle) and be extended late nights and weekends to Metropolitan to absorb the current (M) shuttles).

      • Mike says:

        I really think it may be best if they just split the Brooklyn portion of the R off from the Manhattan/Queens portion. To that end, I would prefer they make the Nassau routing the primary 4th Ave Local service by extending the J (and full rush hour Z) to 95th to replace the R, which would be truncated at Whitehall. If there is still a substantial demand for direct service from Brooklyn to the R stations below Canal, then extend the W to cover that demand. Part-time; no need for two full time 4th Avenue Locals.

        • adirondacker12800 says:

          Except for all those pesky pesky passengers who want to go to someplace other than the few stops the J and Z make in Manhattan.

          • Walt Gekko says:

            The idea of the (J) / (Z) split as I would do it is the main purpose would be to have the (Z) SUPPLEMENT, NOT REPLACE the (R) (except overnights when the (Z) would replace the current (R) shuttle and actually run to Metropolitan where late nights and weekends it would absorb the current (M) shuttles). This (Z) would be mainly for people at local stations on 4th Avenue to be able to get to express stations and other transfer points, which the routing to Chambers would accomplish with every line EXCEPT the (1) (E) (L) and (M) on weekdays (though the extended (Z) to Metropolitan would connect to the (L) on weekends and obviously replace the (M) between Essex and Metropolitan).

            Is the setup of having both the (J) and (Z) terminating from different directions at Chambers (save for a few (J) trains that would go to Broad at peak hours when it would be running more than the (Z) would be) perfect? No, and as said, a better way to do it would be to reconnect the Nassau Line to the Manhattan Bridge (via a new connection where it would meet the Broadway Line that current runs there) so the (Z) can run as a loop line from 95th Street via 4th Avenue Local and the tunnel to Manhattan (stopping at Jay-Metrotech, Court, Broad, Fulton and Chambers going northbound ONLY) and returning via the Bridge to DeKalb and then going back on the 4th Avenue Local to 95th Street.

          • Mike says:

            And which “pesky pesky passengers” would those be? The ones jumping off the R at 59th, 36th, Pacific or DeKalb in favor a Manhattan Bridge or IRT train? Or would it be the ones taking the express buses? They already have a one-seat ride to many of the places in Manhattan where the J and Z don’t go to, yet relatively few are using it.

            Whether well-deserved or not, the R has become quite notorious for its delays and long waits. Some say the R ran much better when the Montague Tunnel was closed and it ran in two section and that R service took a nosedive when Montague reopened. Yes, it’s so easy to dismiss that as just a bunch of people complaining. Or the MTA and the City could do the right thing and take a serious look at why the R performs the way it does and why these same complaints about its service keep coming up. Don’t forget, the R was called the “Rarely” long before Sandy came along, so this is nothing new.

            Splitting the Brooklyn portion of the R off from the rest and replacing it with the J is just one option. There are others. But “it’s fine just the way it is” shouldn’t be one of them. Because it’s not.

        • N Broadway Local says:

          Extending the “J” to 95 street would be dreadful for the conductor and train operator. The “J” routing is very long and slow and it just won’t work. Also, the “J” service can not be increase for the areas that it serves. It already over capacity as it is. Anymore frequency would remind me when the “E” was running every few minutes after 911 to Euclid Avenue. Any time savings on the “A” “Express” was quickly diminish by the Frequency of these “E” trains. So waiting for an “Express” that came normally, but you had to stand to wait and ride it did not compare to just sitting comfortably on an almost empty train that most likely would get there before the express. Although “J” passengers will welcome the less wait, the COST of providing this service there would mean reducing service in more important areas of the system.

          • Mike says:

            And you think the R in its CURRENT routing is so much shorter? Please. It already takes the R longer to get to Whitehall from 71st Ave than the J does to go to Broad St from Jamaica Center. The J not only has peak-direction J/Z skip-stop service at the peak of rush hour, but it also has peak-direction express service between Myrtle and Marcy Ave. The R has no such express or skip-stop service and it would not be possible to provide any such services as long as the R remains on its current route.

            • N Broadway Local says:

              You can not speak about the J and R in the same. The serve two different population and how they serve their population is very different. Plus, the J is really all that most people have. If delays happen on this line, there is ABSOLUTELY no alternative! So we can’t risk having this train extended. Besides the “M” would be better, because it northern route is much shorter.

              Anyway, the J “Express” is just a glorified skip stop service. The original plan of the J Express would have made it similar to the Queens Blvd line, but Nimby got in the way.

              The only way the “R” can be fixed is bringing back the “V” line and returning the “M” back to south Brooklyn. But the “M” would be extended to 95 Street Weekdays 6A to 9p.

              This is the best I can tell you, Mike.

  12. Michael549 says:

    To quote Rodney Dangerfield: “Local trains get no respect!”

    Transit fans and plenty of other folk LIKE “express” trains – compared to “slow local trains” – that is nothing new.

    Basic Facts: The R-train is an all-local route in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The R-train shares its tracks, and has “always” shared its tracks with other train lines. When the Second Avenue Stub-Way opens – the R-train will still be an all-local route in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

    There are several logical traps that have been created, that seem difficult now to get out of:

    a) Local train riders bail out of the local train at the first opportunity to take express trains. Either because the local does not go where those riders want to go, or that those express trains to get those destinations quicker than the local train.

    Measuring the amounts of riders on the trains to say that they are or not at “capacity” becomes interesting. How do we argue for increased local service if the riders are going to bail anyway?

    b) It was said that the “NOBODY” rode “Rush hours only Brown-R-Train”, where folks would bail at the first opportunity. It was said that due to the Montague Street Tunnel closing for 14 months – that Brooklyn-based R-train riders could “easily” transfer to other train lines to continue their journey. So now how to argue for increased local service if the riders can and are going to transfer anyway?

    c) For the past few decades the MTA has had what-ever route served Queens to be the local route on its Manhattan trunk line (there’s a long list of route letters).

    In Queens the R-train shares its tracks with the N & Q trains to/from Astoria, and the M local trains along Queens Blvd. The M-train is of course slotted to slip in between the streams of E-trains, F-trains and R-trains. Then there is the usual reports of a conga-line of local trains that terminate at the Forest Hills terminal, and the difficulties of handling the traffic of trains.

    How to argue to for FASTER service (meaning less train traffic ahead of the train) if by definition there will always be other traffic ahead?

    d) Over the long view the N-train has repeatedly switched between being an express along Broadway in Manhattan to being an local train, and back. Whether the N-train stops or does not stop at 5 local stations north of Canal Street, or if the N-train travels by the Montague Street Tunnel making all stops just changes all the time. In addition the switching or not switching of trains about 34th Street or Canal Street to/from the local tracks – all means one thing – the R-train there will be train traffic ahead!

    How to argue to for FASTER service (meaning less train traffic ahead of the train) if by definition there will always be other traffic ahead?

    e) At the DeKalb Avenue Complex there’s the usual calls from some transit fans to have D and N trains stop at that station on the weekends, instead of by-passing that station. By definition this means that D and N trains will be in the path of R-trains in both directions entering and leaving Brooklyn. The DeKalb Avenue station has often been the choke-point for the routes that serve the Fourth Avenue and Brighton lines, regardless of the route names. Basically there is almost no way to “tinker” with the various train lines without “tinkering” with other train lines.

    f) The midnight hour R-train shuttle has been problematic for years, with many riders experiencing long waits for the shuttle trains, and missing their late night bus connections to/from Staten Island. Logically a short shuttle operation should be easy – practical nightly experience shows that it is not. Staten Islanders are invisible when it comes to subway and transit needs, anyway.

    The Bottom Line:

    There are no easy obvious answers except to break out of the logic traps that have been created.

    Mike

  13. Demetria says:

    So…

    1. if nothing else, conduct an audit to find out just how bad the service is and exactly what is needed to alleviate the trouble.
    —Makes sense, but audits cost money and there are lines with far higher ridership that require this more (chicken and egg problem notwithstanding)

    2. add more and newer trains to the R route to increase frequency and decrease late arrivals of the R.

    —Which would necessarily mean taking newer trains away from another route, or increasing an order for rolling stock which would take many, many years.

    3. put the R train on its own line in Manhattan so that delays caused by waiting for other trains that run on the same line, such as the N, cease to happen.

    —The most ridiculous suggestion of all due to the disruption of service to riders on the N and Q who would either see reduced service (i.e. a local line turning express so no access to 23, 28, 8/NYU, Prince, 49) and would still require merging (the N needs to get from the express track to the local track to get to Astoria).

    4. speed up the installation of platform countdown clocks and add other amenities on the subway cars such as digital stop trackers. –

    –This applies to all letter lines and there are letter lines with significantly higher ridership which should be ahead of the R (think of the E or the F)

    5. if you do not replace the train cars entirely, at the very least add new audio systems that riders can actually hear and decipher in the event of an emergency or delay. Currently, a majority of the audio systems on the R train fleet are inaudible and/or incomprehensible.

    —I wholeheartedly agree

    6. Discontinue the late night R shuttle that forces riders heading into Bay Ridge at night to get off the train at 36th Street in Sunset Park and wait upwards of an additional 20-30 minutes for an R shuttle to arrive and complete their trip home.

    –Things do suck for certain 5, A, M and R riders – having to wait for a late night train to transfer to another late night train (or in the case of M riders often to ANOTHER late night train), can take hours though ultimately running extra trains costs extra dollars and these proposals rarely discuss new revenue streams, rather just ways of spending more money

    On a side note, whenever I get the R (be it from midtown to queens, or midtown to lower Manhattan), it is always much easier to get a seat primarily because there are more seats on the R46s and R68s than on the R143/R160. I would love it if my regular line (N) had the older trains – it would make my morning commute significantly nicer. Approx once per month the MTA runs an R68 up to Astoria and without fail its possible to get a seat on one a few stops down from Ditmars when there are almost never seats available on the R-160s.

    7. since the TA itself claims many delays on the R line result from the length of the entire line itself, I am advocating the creation of an R line rush hour special from 95th Street in Bay Ridge to Chambers Street and back. This special segmented line will address and alleviate some of the delays experienced by Bay Ridgeites who work in lower Manhattan.

    –It would be more logical that the delays are caused by either work sites or too many (or bunched) trains – adding another line would not necessarily alleviate this.

    • Alex says:

      It drives me nuts when perfectly reasonable requests are made alongside completely unreasonable ones.

      Complaining about “old cars” is nonsense. There are only so many new cars in the system and not every line can run them. Plus, the R46s are pretty decent. They’re fairly reliable given their age and have plenty of seats. This is nothing more than wanting something shiny and new without any legitimate reason. Upgrading the R46 PA and info systems is a much more sensible ask given they’ll be around for a while yet.

      And yes, everyone would like their line to have its own tracks so it doesn’t get slowed down by other trains. But again, this is nonsense and completely out of line with reality and just comes off as a pol stomping his feet yelling, “ME ME ME!”

      Asking for better, more consistent service and tech on the R is all completely justified. Why undermine the reasonable asks you’re making with outlandish or nonsensical requests?

      • Rich B says:

        Hear, hear!

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Walt Gekko says:

        You line Demetria is the old “Brown (R) Bankers Special” that ran through 1987 as a rush-hour only line between Chambers Street and 95th, to Manhattan in the morning and back in the evening.

        My new (Z) is that line, except my version is a 24/7 line that goes to Chambers at ALL TIMES (as noted already in other posts, INCLUDING late nights to replace the current (R) shuttle) and late nights and weekends is extended to Metropolitan Avenue to absorb the (M) shuttles that operate then.

  14. ben guthrie says:

    Just a quick note.If you want to split the R, do it at City Hall. There is an unused platform downstairs.

    • JMB says:

      Not really feasible anymore. Two of three tracks on the lower level are for midday storage and even the staircase to get down there was recently beefed up with additional security measures. I don’t foresee that level ever being used for revenue.

    • Joe Steindam says:

      In addition to JMB’s point, the lower level terminal at City Hall is oriented towards the north and Queens, there is no access to the lower level from Cortlandt Street and south, meaning the terminal has no use to trains from Brooklyn. I don’t think it’s possible to use both levels to terminate trains, because of switch locations, and I don’t think the lower level was designed for the size of trains we have today.

      • Michael549 says:

        The lower City Hall level was never completed – made ready for passenger usage – due to a change in plans and the granted use of the Manhattan Bridge during the time of construction in the early 1920’s. Yes, full-size trains do “fit” within the lower level. The train switch locations on those tracks have never been an issue – which can be clearly seen from an un-obstructed “rail-fan-window” when there are no trains stored on the center “express tracks”.

        As the information from the http://www.NYCSubway.org website says:

        “The lower level was never even finished; there are no wall tiles on the lower level and the steel beamwork has a decidedly rough look to it. The platforms are narrow, and only the west one has a finished top and stairways to the upper level platforms. Stairways on the eastern side platform don’t appear to ever have been “punched through” the floor on the upper level.

        The lower level tracks are used for train storage; north of City Hall the lower and upper level tracks rise into a typical four-track express/local configuration but the “express tracks” are really just tail tracks; there are crossovers just prior to entering Canal Street; the center tracks themselves dead end at concrete bumper blocks about 2/3rds of the way into Canal Street station.”

        Please note that there are photos of the lower level at the http://www.NYCSubway.Org website.

  15. Brian says:

    To keep it simple:

    The train that should run on the Broadway Line as the local should run to Astoria 24/7. Supplemental trains should run express on that line mirroring the local service, with the exception of running through the bridge. These trains should run daily until about 10 PM. The local should have headways of 2 – 4 minutes at peak times, and every 5 minutes otherwise until about 10 PM. That would mean:

    N – Local 24/7 through the tunnel. Increased headways and no trains switching onto its tracks would allow the N to be the sole Broadway Local.

    W – Daily express service 6 AM to 10 PM, alleviating the Astoria, Sea Beach, and 4th Avenue riders wishing for faster service.

    The trains running to Queens Blvd. should run express through Manhattan, preferably through the 63rd Street tunnel, so no switching occurs on the Broadway Line.

    R – runs express in Manhattan, through 63rd Street and runs through the bridge. The only switching that would occur is at 59th Street in Brooklyn.

    This allows the N train virtually free access throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn making all stops. The Q would run on the express tracks on Broadway without switching as it would run up to East Harlem.

    • Michael549 says:

      From a previous message:

      “The train that should run on the Broadway Line as the local should run to Astoria 24/7. Supplemental trains should run express on that line mirroring the local service, with the exception of running through the bridge.”

      “Supplemental trains should run express…” – I’m not understanding this statement.

      “W – Daily express service 6 AM to 10 PM, alleviating the Astoria, Sea Beach, and 4th Avenue riders wishing for faster service.”

      If this W-train is running express – then by definition your all-local N-train IS sharing its tracks with this W-train.

      “R – runs express in Manhattan, through 63rd Street and runs through the bridge. The only switching that would occur is at 59th Street in Brooklyn.”

      If you look at the track map of the 59th Street-Fourth Avenue station then you KNOW that your N-local trains and your R-express trains will be crossing paths in both directions at all times.

      It is implied that you would be having W-trains, Q-trains and R-train all sharing the express tracks, while your single N-train local would operate on the local tracks.

      ———-

      Bottom Line – Once you start tinkering …

      Mike

      • Brian says:

        Well the crossings at 59th Street and at 34th Street would be minimal compared to all the other possible routings that I have seen here.

        Also the headways of the N train would be more frequent than the other trains during the days, in particular during the peak hours.

      • Brian says:

        And as far as the N/W situation is concerned, yes the N and W would share tracks Queens and on the Sea Beach Line. The benefits of having the W as a part time express train running to Astoria and getting Sea Beach passengers quickly to Manhattan is good thing. Lower Manhattan will have one train they can depend on 24/7, and it runs to Astoria.

        The trains on the Broadway Line would have one area, instead of two in which trains would switch tracks and that would be around 34th Street, when W trains would switch over to the local tracks to continue to Astoria, and that would be about every 10 minutes or so.

        The Q and R would run about every 8 minutes during peak hours, and the N can run about every 2 to 5 minutes.

        Express service for Astoria residents is not really a big deal unless they are traveling to lower Manhattan, and they could always switch to the Q or R trains if that is the case. Brooklyn residents can wait for the W or switch at 59th, 35th, or Pacific for the R train.

        • aestrivex says:

          Parts of your proposal, such as sending an express line to bay Ridge, make a lot of sense (although that particular example would require the track configuration to be slightly adjusted). But What’s the purpose of routing the W along sea beach? Sea beach has no need of express service or additional capacity. It would make more sense to send it to bay Ridge, or short turn it at 9 Ave on the west end.

          • Brian says:

            More so to appease the Sea Beach rider for losing N express service.

            24/7 N Local service through the tunnel solves a lot of issues (i.e. for the whole downtown service needs a route to Astoria). People from the Sea Beach line would have a one seat ride like before at approximately the same headways as the W service before (which I believe was at minimum every 10 minutes).

            The configuration I made based on the following:

            1) Making sure local service was 24/7 by the same route, keeping things simple for anyone who ride those routes

            N – Main Broadway Local via tunnel solves that. Headways on the N would be increased to meet demand, eliminating the need for a second local. I proposed every 2 to 5 minutes throughout the day. Astoria residents would love that. You could short turn some trains at Whitehall Street if Brooklyn doesn’t need as many, but to help with the issues along the 4th Avenue Line, I would have them all run down to Coney Island.

            2) Having fewer switching issues in Manhattan on the Broadway Line (only one in my proposal instead of two)

            Q & R trains running express and no bridge local solves that problem.

            I would make the headways for the express trains every 9 or 10 minutes on those routes. Total headways for express service from 34th to Atlantic would be every 3.33 minutes peak.

            3) Giving Bay Ridge riders a quicker route to Manhattan

            R express solves that and benefits Forest Hills riders as well. An underground connection between 63rd and 60th on Lexington Avenue is something they should very much do, and that would completely solve the Lexington Avenue question.

            With the headways of the F, Q, and R trains as proposed, I would see little issue with the switching of the R trains from switching from Broadway / 2nd Avenue to Queens Blvd.

            If someone has a track map for 59th Street in Brooklyn, send the link, but I do believe Sea Beach trains have no problem with access to both the local (N) and express (W) tracks. The Bay Ridge (R) trains I believe have easy access to the express tracks as well, and with the proposed headways in an area where there is only two lines (N/W & R) serving that area shouldn’t be as much of an issue.

    • Mike says:

      There would be too much switching going on, which would negate much of the time saved by running the R express. I’m certainly open to the idea of making the R a Broadway Express via the Manhattan Bridge alongside the Q, but if you’re also going to make the W express, that could mess things up in a hurry with the merge at 34th.

      I think it would be simpler to run the N and W as the Broadway Locals via 60th St and the Q and R as the Broadway Expresses via 63rd. W trains would turn at Whitehall as they did from 2004-10. The N would enter Brooklyn via the Montague tunnel and the Q and R via the bridge. In Brooklyn, the R would remain local south of DeKalb and the N express. Two switches would be installed immediately south of DeKalb Ave, allowing 4th Avenue Express trains to enter northbound/leave southbound. This would also allow the N and R trains to remain on separate tracks the entire time they are in Brooklyn, which would be necessary because the R would already have to merge with the B and Q to stop at DeKalb (in order to skip DeKalb, the R would have to go express in Brooklyn).

      • Brian says:

        The W as an express train is only to possibly appease the Sea Beach riders who would lose direct express service, but I would also let them know they their service would be the most upgraded by having the N being a 24/7 Local through the tunnel, with increased headways, and a W train which would not operate as frequent as the N, but would still give them service.

        Also as far as the Astoria passenger, some N runs could be short turned at Whitehall if Brooklyn residents wouldn’t need as much N service, but I propose that the N should be upgraded to the point where it is the only Broadway / 4th Avenue Local, and more frequent service would help with that. Eight to ten minute headways on the 4th Avenue Local does not make sense for that area, with maybe the exception of weekends. Having 5 minute headways for that line provided by the N would.

        On Broadway I would have the N depending on the time of the day run every 2 to 5 minutes, with weekend service running 6 minutes during the day, that means on Broadway you are more likely to catch the N train than anything else; however the Q & R would have uninterrupted express service along Broadway stations, if passengers wanted to get from 57th to Atlantic Avenue. Most importantly it simplifies the whole what train goes where and at what time of the day issues that always goes on with the Broadway Line.

        • Mike says:

          Why can’t the N run via Montague, but still run express in Brooklyn? It did that for years, while the Manhattan Bridge south side tracks were shut down. I previously suggested a way to avoid a conflict with the R between Pacific and DeKalb, so that wouldn’t be an issue. Then the W wouldn’t be needed in Brooklyn and could provide the extra trains to Astoria without over-serving Sea Beach.

  16. Astoria Rider says:

    How about this:

    1. After Q trains are rerouted to the 2nd Avenue Subway, the N runs as a Broadway express all the way to 57 St. Then it goes on through the 63rd St tunnel, emerging as a Queens Blvd Express. with the F. N trains run to Jamaica Center, replacing the E.

    2. The R goes to Astoria, replacing the N. The W returns, running from Whitehall to Astoria, fully local. Now the Broadway locals and expresses are fully segregated.

    3. The E becomes a Queens Blvd local with the M, terminating at Forest Hills. For those needing access to 51/Lex, they will be forced to transfer at 74/Roosevelt if coming from expresses Forest Hills and beyond, hopefully distributing loads better from express to local. Now the Queens Blvd locals and expresses are fully segregated.

    4. The R needs access to a yard in Brooklyn. The R is rerouted to the West End line, ending at Bay Parkway. R remains a 4th ave local.

    5. The J takes over running to Bay Ridge, as a 4th Avenue local. Bay Ridge riders now have arguably better connections (Fulton St and Chambers/Brkln Bridge).

    • Walt Gekko says:

      As noted in another comment, my way of switching the lines around would be this:

      (R) is switched to Brighton and essentially replicates the (Q) on its current weekday route of Coney Island-Astoria, BUT as a 24/7 line going through the tunnel as it does now.

      (W) starts at Whitehall and replaces the (R) on weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM) to 71st-Continental.

      (Q) becomes the West End Line line and runs to 96th/2nd, express on 4th Avenue and Broadway and skipping DeKalb Avenue (except late nights when it would be local).

      (N) remains on Sea Beach, but becomes the 4th Avenue Local between 59th and DeKalb before going over the Bridge. Weekdays (5:30 AM-11:30 PM), this would be the second line to Astoria (running express in Manhattan through 57th Street, merging with the (R) and (W) north of 57th) while late nights (11:30 PM-5:30 AM) and weekends (11:30 PM Friday-5:30 AM Monday), this (N) would replace the (W) to 71st-Continental.

      (D) replaces the (R) along Bay Ridge, running express from 59th Street-4th Avenue (skipping DeKalb, again except late nights) and running as it otherwise currently does to 205.

      Yes, this does mean the (D) and (N) would have to switch tracks entering 59th Street that is NOT ideal, however, that is the lesser of all evils in this case.

      The problem with extending the (J) is a current ban on R32 and R42 cars in the Montauge Tunnel.

      • Astoria Rider says:

        The R42/32’s could be reserved for just Z trains. Maybe also trade out a few R160s from the M, if that still wouldn’t be enough.

      • Phantom says:

        There is a ” ban ” on those cars in the Montague tunnel ? For what possible reason?

        • Walt Gekko says:

          Yes, there is. It has to apparently with the tops of those cars being wider than the R46s and later cars that cause clearance issues. This has been the case since the Sandy repairs.

          • Phantom says:

            Was that an error in the reconstruction work or design?

            Why would you want the tunnel to be smaller?

            • Walt Gekko says:

              I believe it was some sort of error that made the tunnel too small at the top for the R32/R42. Those cars can only run to Whitehall on that branch coming south.

              • Phatom says:

                I am astonished that such an error could be made.

                The R42 and R32 won’t be around much longer ( I actually am fond of the R32 and will hate to see it go ) but still sounds like a rather basic, large, error that limits operational flexibility now, and in the future ( who’s to say if there is a good reason to have R32 dimensioned trains sometime in the future )

                Not to beat this to death, but is it known if this is an error on the part of the architect or did the contractor make the mistake when doing the work?

                You might think that there would be some level of oversight.

                Any likelihood of this being fixed?

                • Brooklynite says:

                  It is really an example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I believe (don’t quote me on this) that the dimensions for required clearances supplied by MTA didn’t take the 32s and 42s into account.

                  About the thing being fixed, it may interest you that the Nassau Cut (the connection from the Montague tube to the Nassau line) is still out of service. It was never fixed after Sandy. They’re going to have to get to it eventually…?

                  • Walt Gekko says:

                    They will have to get to it. Right now, there has not been a pressing need, but I think that segment will have to be fixed if for no other reason than to address the (R) situation.

                  • Phantom says:

                    I remain astonished that such an professional error could have been made. It certainly has not been reported very much.

                    How did they find out? They tried to run an R32 through the tunnel only to have it stuck like a tractor trailer at a Belt Parkway overpass?

                    Any idea of what it would cost to fix it?

                    So now this tunnel is of a different height dimension than the Cranberry and L train tunnels, etc.and no one at the MTA or contractor realized it until the work was done. That’s really great.

                    So, now R32s can’t go through this Montague tunnel at all and the R46s can’t do through the J and Z Nassau stretch because there are too many curves.

    • Michael549 says:

      Access to the Lexington Avenue line provided by the current R-train would be removed in your scheme of train routings.

      The access provided by the RR-train (and its later route cousins) at Lexington Avenue at 60th Street to the Queens Blvd line started in the mid-1950’s when the 11th Street Cut was activated.

      That ability to transfer to/from the Queens Blvd line and Lexington Avenue line predates by decades the transfer connections at 51/53rd Street-Lexington Avenue, 63rd Street sub-optimal street walking transfer, or the relatively recently uptown platform at the Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette station. Only the much further south connection at the Fulton Transfer Center connection is older and the only direct connection between the eastside IRT lines and the westside IND lines. Why are you reducing connections between the Lexington Avenue and IND lines?

      In your scheme transfer access to the Lexington Avenue line and 53rd Street Tunnel in your scheme remains the only viable method, at a severely over-crowded heavily used station. Is there a need to mention the history of this station and its history of severe over-crowding? Or the pushing deaths that occurred due to the over-crowded nature of the platforms?

      When you start tinkering …
      Mike

  17. Tom P says:

    I think this problem is more noticeable to my fellow R-train riders because of how GOOD service was along 4th Avenue during the Sandy closure. Even though you were guaranteed to have to make a transfer, the R along 4th Ave rarely had any delays because it was a totally closed system. Which meant the trains were 7-10 minutes apart and very regular.

    After the Sandy shutdown ended, everyone was forced to remember that the R coming from Queens sucks a lot more than the R coming from Court Street. This is, I think, what most folks complain about. Not so much the morning commute in to Manhattan (which is generally fine) but the interminable wait at 36th or 59th Street for a connection on the way home… which is bad at rush hour and interminable if you dare need to get on a train after 10 PM.

    It would be nice to see the W run from Astoria to Bay Ridge rather than terminating at Whitehall.

  18. mister says:

    The R provides service that meets the demand. I rode through Montague for quite a while: I could often find a seat on peak hour trains.

    The bigger issue is that the trains suffer from bunching. Perhaps, instead of expensive extensions of alternate services, MTA could institute gap trains during rush hour periods.

    Lastly, Mr Gentile proposes a number of ideas that are simply unfeasible or won’t fix the problem (95th-Chambers shuttle? What is this, 1985?). Maybe, instead of simply proposing what the MTA should do, he could scrape together the annual six figure budget that would be needed to add a gap train. Just a thought.

  19. Alistair says:

    I’m confused about all the people who seem to be saying ‘let’s get rid of the 11th Street Cut and send Queens Boulevard to Broadway trains via the 63rd Street Tunnel instead’.

    Just think of what happens today at Canal Street on the 8th Ave line. C trains have to switch between a track shared with the E and a track shared with the A. That leads to delays and a requirement that you just can’t run as many C trains as you’d like.

    Any Broadway trains running via 63rd St will have the same problem — they’ll be switching between a track shared with the F and a track shared with the Q. And for what? You free up some capacity in the 60th St Tunnel, and that’s valuable, but in return you lose access to a transfer at Queens Plaza station, you lose the easy transfer at 59th and Lex, and you lose the capability to stash a train on its own track in the cut (any train waiting to switch tracks will delay trains behind it on the other route, which the cut avoids).

    Is the more balanced capacity between 60th and 63rd really worth all that?

  20. Brooklynite says:

    I believe the problems of irregular service on the R should not be analyzed as one group, but instead broken into two groups: weekday service and weekend service.

    Weekdays
    The usual excuse for the poor service is the number of merges, although I don’t fully buy this excuse. After the southbound R leaves its terminal at 71st Av, it has a split from the M (which may have to wait for the E up ahead), has a merge with the N/Q coming out of Astoria (for a total of 22tph, which isn’t enough service to be causing too many delays), then a split with the Q (which shouldn’t cause delays) and with the N (which may need to wait for the Q). A conservative estimate of two minutes delay at each of the three junctions where delays are probable gives a total of 6 minutes delay.

    Since the headway between R trains is scheduled at ~8 minutes during the rush, that should give a maximum interval of 15 minutes between R trains. I don’t ride the R much during the rush but if gaps of >15 minutes are regularly observed then there’s more to it than all the merges. Ergo, rerouting the R to 63rd, sending it to Astoria, or magically giving the R an isolated route south of QP by giving the Astoria line some new connection to Manhattan won’t fix the issue(s). It would be very interesting to see some stats regarding what percentage of R trains leave each terminal on time.

    Weekends
    On the rare weekends without Queens track work, the R has one merge – with the N. Usually, though, the R either has a merge with the E/F either at the first stop (which should not affect OTP or headways because it’s the first stop) or at Roosevelt, a grand total of six stops away. Still, during such track work the E, F, and R each operate every 12 minutes, giving a merge with a grand total of 15tph. Flagging rules significantly delay trains and frequently create mile-long traffic jams, but it’s worth to note that such traffic jams affect all trains more or less equally. If one train is stuck in a ten-minute traffic jam the next will not zoom through. Therefore, Queens track work should not significantly affect headways on the R.

    If it’s not the merges (which would delay an R for a max of ~four minutes) and not the flagging (which should delay all trains about equally), what causes the 20+ minute gaps we all suffer on weekend R service? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s an organizational issue. Some stats would be very helpful here. Causes of train delay, % of trains leaving the terminal on time, etc. would be enlightening.

  21. Brooklynite says:

    Regarding de-interlining:

    I’m quite a fan of it in general. However, in this case it’s far from clear that it would actually help. The R has just one merge on weekdays and one (two with GOs) on weekends and its service completely sucks. Without investigating the causes of the delays, simply removing a merge or two won’t do much of anything.

  22. aestrivex says:

    I read with some interest, and some disinterest, the various proposals to alter lines to differently configure the broadway line trains.

    Here is an attempt to partly synthesize several of them. Of note, it requires a fairly simple cut at 59th street and 4th avenue, to send the local tracks along the sea beach branch without crossing the express track.

    The basic idea is a response to the 4th avenue line down to bay ridge having a paucity of service. Therefore this proposal sends two lines to bay ridge, both of which run express along 4th avenue. It also completely deinterlines the local and express service along Queens Blvd and Broadway, and does so partially along 4th avenue. It ensures every line has access to a yard, and to some extent keeps off-peak service patterns simplified.

    R – identical to some off-peak N service. Serves Astoria via 60th street tunnel, local on broadway, montague tunnel, 4th avenue local to sea beach line. The astoria line gets its yard.

    N – rerouted to serve 2nd avenue phase 1. From the 63rd street connection the N runs entirely express on Broadway and over the bridge, along 4th avenue as an express line, terminating at bay ridge.

    Q – rerouted as a queens blvd express to jamaica center, replacing the E. Uses the 63rd street tunnel and runs express on Broadway and over the bridge, along 4th avenue as an express, and along the west end line. This line should run off peak weekends and evenings, but during the middle of the night it can be eliminated; the E can be extended to serve jamaica center while the Q is cut to just covering the west end line.

    W – Runs from astoria to the brighton BMT, running local on broadway and via the montague tunnel. Merges from the 4th avenue line to the brighton line at dekalb avenue, and runs as the brighton express. Doesn’t run off peak at all. The astoria line gets its yard.

    B – instead of running as the brighton express, run as an express along 4th avenue to bay ridge. Doesn’t need to run off peak since bay ridge will have two lines terminating.

    D – returns to running as the brighton local as it did during the 1990s.

    If there is need, the J can be extended peak hours as an additional local service along 4th avenue. I think the best thing to do would be to short turn it at 9th avenue along the west end line; giving the bulk of the west end line additional service probably isn’t necessary.

    Also, I picked names somewhat arbitrarily. The names of these services all could be swapped, for instance to minimize differences with current service patterns in that the bay ridge service be called the R, the brighton service be called the Q, etc. What I did instead was keep the services all consistent within Manhattan; the N and Q are the express lines (running along 63rd street) and the R and W run local (and along 60th street, to astoria).

    If the current service pattern in queens is desired while still bolstering service to sunset park and bay ridge, this configuration could be altered to keep existing merges by having the N be the queens blvd local, and the E as the queens blvd express. This causes one merge at queens plaza (with the M) and one merge at 34th street, both of which exist in current service. In that case my suggested configuration doesn’t actually do any net deinterlining, but does increase the quality of service to 4th avenue.

    • Walt Gekko says:

      Some thoughts:

      I don’t see the (R) being accepted along the Sea Beach line. My plan puts the (R) on Brighton in part because that would replicate the old (M) line that WAS the the local (weekdays) on Brighton through 1986 and it keeps Broadway service as the main Brighton line, which is what passengers there want. This (R) is basically the current weekday (Q) EXCEPT this (R) would be 24/7 between Coney Island and Astoria AND would run via the tunnel to parts of lower Manhattan the (Q) does not serve. This gives the (R) Coney Island Yard.

      (Q) moves to the West End line and runs express on 4th Avenue and over the Bridge and in Manhattan, skipping DeKalb Avenue

      The (W) is revived, this time as a weekday line running Whitehall to 71st-Continental, which would give this line Jamaica Yard.

      (N) remains on Sea Beach, is the local on 4th Avenue (59th Street-DeKalb Avenue) as I noted (going back to running over the Bridge after DeKalb and running express on Broadway, merging north of 57th Street) and runs on weekdays to Astoria to supplement the (R) and late nights and weekends to 71st-Continental to replace the (W) as the QB local, giving QB 24/7 local service on Broadway (allowing the (E) to return to being express 24/7 OR give QB two locals late nights).

      (D) replaces the (R) at 95th Street and runs full-time between there and 205th Street (as the (D) has Concourse Yard). This (D) would run express from 59th-Atlantic Avenue on 4th Avenue and skip DeKalb and otherwise run as it does now.

      This does require the (D) and (N) to switch tracks before entering 59th Street, which could encounter delays, but that is the lesser of all evils in this case.

      • aestrivex says:

        Yes, I read your proposal the first time you posted it. It is interesting. I didn’t read it in the subsequent eight posts that you also posted it.

        Your proposal happens to also be different from my proposal. It doesn’t do the deinterlining along broadway or queens blvd, and it doesnt boost service as much along 4th avenue which was the whole point of my proposal.

        Regardless I don’t understand why you insist on posting it in response to everyone else’s comments.

  23. Frank B says:

    I think you mean “Perfectly Adequate”.

  24. N Broadway Local says:

    I could remember how awful the “R” was when I used it in the 90s. It seem like an hour before it arrived at 86th Bayridge. Then I had to stomach the transfer to the “N” which was worse at the time.

    I could also remember every time I enter Dekalb, the “M” would be picking up passengers. I called it the train that be avoided unless u had to use it. It was somewhat like a Brooklyn version of the “G” line. (The “W” too, but that line was so important to Manhattan Passengers, because of it lack of brooklyn connection) It ran slower because of the older cars, but at least it was there, although not as frequent as it could be.

    I could never understand why the M was taken from South Brooklyn, because that is where it is needed most. Cutting the “V” service had more to do with money, because except for that Delancey Street Connection, it really didn’t offer no benefit.

    I shall hope they find the money to return “V” service. Returning the “M” back to south Brooklyn. But instead of running the “M” via West End run it to 95th Street with the “R” Weekdays from 6a to 9p.

    Increasing the “R” frequency would mean reducing the frequency of more important lines that it share track space with.

    • aestrivex says:

      Even if the money came to resurrect the V it wouldn’t be altered because the service pattern on the M providing a connection from williamsburg to the sixth avenue line is incredibly popular.

      What you are talking about could still exist as J service extended at peak hours to bay ridge, perhaps as some people suggested just the Z could be extended to bay ridge while it operates.

    • Phantom says:

      Yes a replacement to the M to 95th would be good.

      And – the old M actually did more harm than good since there would always be a bit of a delay at 36th Street Brooklyn before it cut onto the ” express ” West End track

    • Mike says:

      If the old M was the train to “be avoided unless you had to use it,” then why would you want it back? If it’s so important for South Brooklyn to have it, then why did the old M have such low ridership in South Brooklyn? The current M service via 6th Ave and Queens Blvd is much too popular to take away and return to Nassau St and South Brooklyn.

      Perhaps resurrect the V as a new Nassau St line that would operate to/from 95th St with the R from 6am to 9pm if it really is going to be too much of a problem to replace the R with the J/Z.

  25. mrsman says:

    I propose:

    Q: 2 Av- Bwy Express – Bridge – Brighton
    R: Queens Blvd express – 63rd St – Bwy express – Bridge – 4 Av express to Bay Ridge
    W: Queens Blvd express – 63rd St – Bwy express – Bridge – 4 Av express to Sea Beach
    N: Astoria- 60th St – Bwy local – Mont Tunnel- 4 Av local – Sea Beach
    N shortline: Astoria- 60th St – Bwy local – Whitehall

    E: Forest Hills – Queens Blvd local – 53rd St – 8 Av local – WTC

    Essentially, an idea earlier proposed about keeping all Bwy locals and expresses separate in Manhattan. Here, the R line as a Queens-Bwy express will be split two ways in Brooklyn.

    [Similar to the way there are two A trains on the Queens end to Lefferts or Far Rockaway – the W and R are essentially the same train except for its end in Brooklyn.]

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