Home Service Advisories Weekend work affecting 14 subway lines

Weekend work affecting 14 subway lines

by Benjamin Kabak

I’m calling this week a few hours early. Stay warm. Leave extra time for travel if you insist on going anywhere this weekend. As now, all of this work is planned as scheduled, but the MTA could choose to cancel some if the weather looks bad (though if this bone-chilling cold isn’t bad, only a blizzard can stop it now).

As an aside, this is a weekend where I wish the MTA still offered explanations of why these service changes are in place. Take a look at what the R is doing and try to figure out if it’s running via 63rd St. or simply not opening its doors at certain stations.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, South Ferry-bound 1 trains run express from 96 St to Times Sq-42 St. For service to 86 St, 79 St, 66 St, 59 St, and 50 St, take a South Ferry-bound 1 to 72 St or Times Sq-42 St and transfer to an uptown 1 or 2 local train. For service from these stations, take an uptown 1 or 2 train to 72 St or 96 St and transfer to a South Ferry-bound 1.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 11, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, January 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College bound 2 trains run express from 96 St to Times Sq-42 St.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 11, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, January 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, 3 service is extended to/from 34 St-Penn Station.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run local from Grand Central-42 St to 125 St.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, 5 service operates between Eastchester-Dyre Av and Bowling Green all weekend. 5 trains run local in Manhattan, replacing the 6.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, 6 trains are suspended in both directions between 125 St and Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall. Take the 5 instead. Transfer between 5 and 6 trains at 125 St.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from 3 Av-138 St to Hunts Point Av. To Brook Av, Cypress Av, E 143, E 149 St and Longwood Av take a Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 train to Hunts Point Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound 6. From these stations, take a Manhattan-bound 6 train to 3 Av-138 St and transfer to a Pelham Bay Park-bound 6.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 4:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, 7 trains are suspended in both directions between Flushing-Main St and Mets-Willets Point. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 11, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, January 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Queens-bound A trains run express from 59 St-Columbus Circle to Canal St.

From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, January 10, and Sunday, January 11, Euclid Av-bound C trains run express from 59 St-Columbus Circle to Canal St. C trains run every 15 minutes. Allow additional travel time.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, World Trade Center-bound E trains run express from 34 St-Penn Station to Canal St. To 23 St and Spring St, take the World Trade Center-bound E to 14 St or Canal St and transfer to an uptown A local, C or E train. From these stations, take an uptown A, C or E to W 4 St-Wash Sq or 34 St-Penn Station and transfer to a World Trade Center-bound E.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, E trains run local in both directions between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Jamaica-179 St bound F trains run express from W4 St-Wash Sq to 34 St-Herald Sq.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, F trains run local in both directions between 21 St-Queensbridge and Forest Hills-71 Av.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, N trains are suspended in both directions between Lexington Av-59 St and Queensboro Plaza. For service between Queens and Manhattan, take the 7. Transfer between trains at Times Sq-42 St and/or Queensboro Plaza.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, January 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, January 12, Q trains are suspended between 57 St-7 Av and Times Sq-42 St. Take the N or R instead.

From 5:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 10, and Sunday, January 11, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Sheepshead Bay.

From 5:15 a.m. to 12 midnight, Saturday, January 10 and Sunday, January 11 R trains skip 5 Av-59 St, Lexington Av-59 St, and Queens Plaza in both directions. E and F trains run local in Queens.

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Herb Lehman January 9, 2015 - 9:53 am

Signs in the stations seemed to indicate the R would run via 63rd St between 57 St/7 Av and Queens, with only the N servicing Fifth Avenue and Lexington Avenue (59 St).

Brooklynite January 9, 2015 - 10:50 am

The N and Q are both truncated (to 59th and 42nd respectively), which indicates that the R is going via 63rd. The fact that they are not even writing that any more is pretty sad though.

Lance January 9, 2015 - 3:23 pm

For whatever reason, whenever this service change occurs, they refuse to state that R trains are running via the F line or via 63rd Street on the service change headers. Perhaps it’s because there are no shared stations on both the F and R where they can state trains would be diverted to, but even that’s a weak excuse. It’s always in the descriptions, but something like that should be in the title for easier access. Then again, that’s been an ongoing problem with how the service advisories have been conveyed for some time now.

Brooklynite January 9, 2015 - 3:59 pm

To be honest, I can see where they are coming from with that. If they say “R trains via the F 57th St to 36th St”, it’s not immediately clear what stations the R is actually stopping at, because neither of those is served by the F. The descriptions are for the absolutely necessary information (R trains skip certain stations), and the information about additional service is in the description. They’re trying to avoid confusion, especially with tourists who don’t know the system.

Simon January 12, 2015 - 10:28 am

Exactly–for anyone without a track map handy (i.e. most of the riding public) it’s easier to understand that trains are skipping a few stations than that they’re running via 63 St.

Michael January 9, 2015 - 5:15 pm

In addition it seems that the N-train will terminate at 59th Street-Lexington Avenue so that those folks taking the #7 between Queens and Manhattan (since the N-train is traveling only between Queensboro Plaza and Astoria) have a round-about transfer to/from the #7 train.

The R-train will be using the 63rd Street tunnel to/from Queens. By having the N-train terminate at 59th Street-Lexington Avenue there is the possibility of usage of the free-out-of-system-transfer between the R-train and N-train.

The really interesting part is that those Queens Blvd riders using the R-train might have a really interesting time connecting to/from the Lexington Avenue line.


EN January 10, 2015 - 8:43 pm

The MTA website says it runs along the F.

Tower18 January 9, 2015 - 11:36 am

What’s with this C every 15 minutes business? I get that with the A, C, and E all sharing the express track, that could cause congestion, but surely it can handle 22tph (~8tph for A and E, 6tph for C)? Apparently 26tph pass through the single track at High St at rush, which includes switching at Hoyt and Canal.

I’m just grumbling because the C is my train and 15 minutes is a long time to wait during weekend mid-days (and I bet it’ll be more like 20 minutes in practice, as delays grow due to crowding).

sonicboy678 January 9, 2015 - 12:37 pm

Here’s what can be done: a handful of A trains (all Lefferts Boulevard trains) can run local in Brooklyn and north of Columbus Circle to replace the lost C trains. (Knowing the MTA, this would be inexplicably bungled.)

Brooklynite January 9, 2015 - 2:42 pm

Much simpler solution: suspend the C. Run the A local.

sonicboy678 January 11, 2015 - 3:56 pm

You could do that, but then why would you? Unless the semblance of express service really isn’t valuable in any sense for a long route (primarily the Far Rockaway A) and general boosts in service are worthless on weekends, it would be a highly counterproductive move.

Brooklynite January 11, 2015 - 11:17 pm

According to TripPlanner, the A saves 5 minutes between Euclid and Hoyt/Schermerhorn and 4 minutes between 168th and 59th. Hardly significant over the A’s 90-minute run. On the other hand, as it stands right now, on weekends CPW/Fulton see a 15-minute local service, which is truly pathetic for a subway. I would argue that ensuring a basic level of service (4tph doesn’t count…) trumps saving people four or five minutes.

All that is assuming, of course, that crowding won’t be a problem. Especially considering that the C is the lone line serving CPW, that’s a big if.

sonicboy678 January 12, 2015 - 12:41 am

This is essentially why I proposed having a few Lefferts Boulevard A trains run local instead of express (and why I said “semblance of”).

Alternatively, as it is daytime service, those local A trains could simply be called C trains between Lefferts Boulevard and 207 Street (as an extended route; hopefully, we will see regular C service to/from Lefferts Boulevard in the future, though not necessarily 207 Street).

Brooklynite January 12, 2015 - 11:13 am

Having C’s, local A’s, and express A’s will be confusing, and extending the C to replace the A only to Lefferts won’t make things much clearer. Furthermore, Far Rock service runs every 20 minutes, so we’re back where we started with inadequate frequencies. It is much simpler to run the A local and suspend the C, and what is happening will not be hard to understand for the average passenger.

sonicboy678 January 12, 2015 - 7:22 pm

Obviously, I wasn’t quite clear. The local A trains would be called C trains and run as local Lefferts Boulevard A trains; only a select number of trains would be affected. It’s really not difficult to understand short & long, whereas it’s considerably difficult to understand branching. The A and C share the former (the C is a short local A) and the A is notorious for the latter. The express service is not really necessary for a route that only saves an average of 9 minutes over its local and hardly deviates from it at all (seriously, both ends of the Lefferts A are ridiculously easy for the C to reach, as they are really not more than 5 miles away from the express/local ends). At some point in the future, I hope for the C to claim permanent stake at Lefferts Boulevard. This is the last time I want to make this specific statement about the future, as it’s deviating from the main point. Simply put: C trains between Lefferts Boulevard and 207 Street as local trains and A trains between Far Rockaway and 207 Street as express trains; if additional service is really necessary, either short-turn at Euclid Avenue or 168 Street (preferably the former).

Okay, yes, I did modify it, but your idea of having the A run local gave me the idea to simply combine Lefferts A and all C service.

Brooklynite January 12, 2015 - 8:27 pm

Leaving aside the future and focusing on these few weekends, your proposal leaves us back where we started, only worse. Currently, the C runs 4tph and the As combine to 8tph. If the C is morphed into a Lefferts Local, the Far Rock Express and Lefferts Local will each have 4tph unless service on one or the other is increased, and if we increase service (say, to 6tph which is the minimum by NYCT guidelines) we get to the regular weekend service pattern.

What I’m saying is that if there is some constraint on combined A+C service, which appears to be 12tph in this case, it is better to run everything local than come up with creative split patterns that make everybody wait so some people can save a few minutes.

I’ve tried to find out why this change is happening in the first place, and the only thing I found said that there is work happening in the Pitkin Yard leads that the C uses to relay. If this is true, the C should simply be extended to 80 St. Whether it runs in service for those two extra stops or not is irrelevant.

Tower18 January 13, 2015 - 11:23 am

It has to be work on the local tracks in Manhattan, as the C and E are both express. So I think the constraint is the two crossing moves (one at 59th for the C, and one at 34th for the E) onto a single express track.

Brooklynite January 13, 2015 - 11:57 am

The A (8), C (6), and E (8) combined is 22 tph. They can’t handle that on a single track? That’s pretty sad.

sonicboy678 January 14, 2015 - 12:04 am

To be fair, it does involve quite a bit of switching. Unlike Cranberry Street, two switches are involved on one end of the affected stretch and another is involved on the other end.

NJCoastExp January 13, 2015 - 4:36 pm

I know I am posting it late, but single track can’t handle 22 TPH when there is almost 1 mile long work zone set up.

Brooklynite January 13, 2015 - 5:22 pm

If they cared enough, they could set up barriers between the columns so workers couldn’t access the express track, thus removing the need for flagging.

Or, they could run the C via 6th Av.

Or, they could suspend the C and run the A local.

But to reduce a SUBWAY LINE to 15-minute intervals is laughable.

sonicboy678 January 13, 2015 - 6:08 pm

Please. There have been past setups with 24 minute intervals.

Brooklynite January 13, 2015 - 11:02 pm

Just because something even worse existed doesn’t make the present situation good. Just because the subway was filthier in the 80s doesn’t mean it’s not filthy now.

And besides, those 20-minute headways are either on the S or the outer reaches of the 6, F or L; never are they on the CORE that is used by MANY people. To be an urban mode of transportation that people can actually rely on, the subway can’t have 4tph lines.

sonicboy678 January 14, 2015 - 12:02 am

We already have 5 TPH routes (one train every 12 minutes, just barely more than the C during the disruption) on weekends serving the core and the only Manhattan stretch where this would really be a problem is between 59 and 145 Streets for obvious reasons. In the core, we have combined headway, so there would literally be very little difference if the C had been cut down to 15 minutes in the core. Outside of it, there would be a difference, but that ultimately depends on what is done. If anything, merging the Lefferts A and all C service would probably be more beneficial; if the A is so important as an express that it must retain something similar to the existing pattern, then service can be modified. Both routes operate at 6 TPH (combined 12 TPH from 207 Street, an increase from 8) and if it’s somehow too much for all E trains to fit comfortably, then select E trains follow the former V in Manhattan (the E has already gone to shit, anyway). Those two A trains can either terminate at Euclid Avenue or Howard Beach.

Brooklynite January 14, 2015 - 12:36 am

As far as I am aware, only the 2 and 3 run 5tph, and the only reason that’s somewhat acceptable is that they combine to 10tph everywhere meaningful in terms of crowding. It breaks the MTA’s own rules, but when have they followed those?

Running 4tph down CPW is a terrible idea, as I think we all agree. That said, extending the C to Lefferts/207 would either present problems with frequency or (if A&C are both bumped to 6tph) lead to very empty trains in the Rockaways and Inwood.

A simple question: what’s wrong with just suspending the C and running ALL A trains local?

sonicboy678 January 14, 2015 - 6:37 am

With such a long route (for Far Rockaway A trains) and the even stranger shift in service (suspending the C entirely increases the number of trains lost from 2 TPH to 6 TPH and the last thing the A needs is more potential crowding, especially since it’s slow even on the local track and only slower with the E when both are on said track), would it really make sense? There may not be much time saved on the express track, but Far Rockaway A trains need to be able to arrive at either end as soon as possible. Being a good distance shorter, Lefferts Boulevard A trains don’t really need the express service (it’s only a slightly longer run than the current C). I find it surprising you didn’t consider this earlier when you stated the standard weekend service levels.

Brooklynite January 14, 2015 - 10:37 am

The express run saves 10 minutes over its entire length. Going from a 90-minute run to a 100-minute run isn’t the end of the world. Passengers can also deal with a few extra minutes, it’s not the end of the world.

When there is a limit on service frequency, best practice is generally to consolidate to one more frequent service. Instead of an express every 15 minutes and a local every 15 minutes, it’s better to have a local every 7.5. And boosting service to have 6tph to both Lefferts and Far Rock costs money and is unnecessary. And if you have short-turns at Howard Beach, if you reroute those to Lefferts and truncate locals to Euclid you’re exactly where you started.

The C becoming a Lefferts-207 local is an interesting idea, I’ll admit. However, as I said before, consolidating services is generally preferred to provide a better frequency. MTA suspended the weekend C for years when the Chambers St project was going on; same thing can happen now.

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