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F Express Plan on the tracks to nowhere

by Benjamin Kabak

Via Gary comes an update to the F Express Plan, seemingly the official pet project of Second Ave. Sagas.

As we’ve heard for some time now, due to work on the Culver Viaduct, the F Express train won’t be a feasible alternative until 2012 or thereabouts. While the MTA has noted that, should delays befall the rehabiliation, F express service could happen next year, that reality is slowly slipping away. As Michael Rundle reported in Metro this morning, the MTA has now said that the F express train won’t be on the table until mid-2012 at the earliest.

Rundle delivers the bad news:

In a presentation to an MTA committee yesterday, [Connie] Crawford, senior vice president of capital program management at NYC Transit, laid out all the hurdles…

“The deck has essentially failed,” said Crawford, who expects work to start late next year. “Water is streaming through the deck and destroying the steel underneath.”

Crawford said the project will not only include a full deck slab replacement — “pretty intense work” — but station rehabs on the F line, tunnel lighting and the installation of new tracks, switches and signals. One area will be set aside to test different vendors of automated Communications-Based Train Control equipment.

In addition to the poor state of the viaduct, the tracks, sitting unused since the 1970s, are in bad shape as well. “It’s never been upgraded in the elevated section,” she said. “You can barely run trains over that section. Very slowly can they go through, because the track is so old.” Anyone who’s ridden on some of the re-routed trains on the express tracks this fall can attest to that fact.

So what is the MTA to do? Right now, all they can do is sit back and study the problem. The population along the F train is booming, and with the development of Coney Island on tap, the train will continue to suffer from overcrowding.

If the MTA isn’t willing to – or simply cannot yet – run some combination of V local/F express service past Second Ave. and into Brooklyn, they should do the next best thing and increase capacity along the F and G trains. It’s far from ideal, but it sounds like those of us supporting this F Express plan should think in the short term. Even if we have to wait for the express service, the area along the Culver line needs more train service. That is a very realistic goal.

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eric the beehivehairdresser October 23, 2007 - 3:06 pm

Anything that could get the crowds of F train people who jump onto an already crowded D train each morning thereby making the D train slower than the local will be a good thing in my eyes.

Pjason325 October 23, 2007 - 5:30 pm

Time for Plan B. The MTA must to everything they can to extend both the G and V trains to Church Ave to help ease overcrowding. At least this step will help during the construction project. If the express tracks from Bergen Street to Ditmas needs repairs, include that in the project. By the way, the lower level of Bergen Street needs repairs too.

Benjamin Kabak October 23, 2007 - 5:33 pm

The lower level at Bergen is in a state of disrepair. Whether or not those are needed repairs is a point we’ve debated a lot here. I don’t think the F express trains should at Bergen. If the point is to run express stopping at Jay St. and then Bergen just seems like a waste to me.

Todd October 23, 2007 - 6:59 pm

The F train stations are very much in need a repair. I also agree with the need for an increase in service. If the F doesn’t get an “F” on its survey, I’m calling ‘bullshit’ on the entire thing.

ABG October 23, 2007 - 7:32 pm

“Very slowly can they go through, because the track is so old.”

…and weak is the Force in these trains.

Seriously, it’d be nice if they at least gave a ballpark figure on the time and expense of bringing the tracks up to standard.

Marc Shepherd October 24, 2007 - 3:29 pm

I think they gave a ballpark figure, at least as to the date: 2012. The dollars, I’m sure, will be forthcoming.

Marc Shepherd October 24, 2007 - 5:28 pm

Time for Plan B. The MTA must to everything they can to extend both the G and V trains to Church Ave to help ease overcrowding.

That won’t work. The problem is that, while the Culver Viaduct is being repaired, they will need to take one set of tracks out of service for lengthy periods of time. That would require the F, G, and V to run on the same tracks, which isn’t possible. I do believe they are planning to extend the G to Church Ave, but they can’t operate three Culver services until the express tracks are available.

Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » NYCT plans years of ‘F’-ing construction on Culver Viaduct November 26, 2007 - 12:30 am

[…] both centered around things we already knew. As I’ve reported in the past, the F Express Plan won’t come to fruition until this viaduct work is completed, but that’s bad news only in the abstract. Worse is the […]


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