Home Second Avenue Subway MTA Board to approve W train resurrection as 2nd Ave. Subway operations come into view

MTA Board to approve W train resurrection as 2nd Ave. Subway operations come into view

by Benjamin Kabak
Come December (or so), the W train will return to the subway map. (Via MTA)

Come December (or so), the W train will return to the subway map. (Via MTA)

Were I an excitable tabloid headline writer, I would have put something shocking atop this post — perhaps along the lines of “MTA report recommends against running trains underneath Second Avenue.” You see, as part of the presentation to the MTA Board today regarding the revival of the W train, New York City Transit’s subway ops team has prepared a list of alternatives should the Board, for some reason, vote against the W train, and one of those options is the so-called “no-build” analysis. When MTA Capital Construction hands over control of the Second Ave. Subway to New York City Transit, New York City Transit could “do nothing,” the report notes, continuing somewhat tongue-in-cheek:

Not implementing service on Second Avenue would not allow riders to benefit from the significant capital investments made to construct the Second Avenue Subway line.

Of course, the MTA isn’t going to not implement subway service on Second Avenue when Phase 1 opens over the next few months, but the inclusion of the “do nothing” option certainly highlights the absurdity of alternatives analysis. While one of the other alternatives — simply increase N train capacity to Astoria (and, by extension, along the Sea Beach and 4th Ave. lines in Brooklyn) — had its proponents during the April public hearings on the W train, the MTA noted this option isn’t feasible due to the availability of rolling stock on hand and track capacity concerns. Some N train service would have to terminate at Whitehall St. anyway, and having the same route designation for two different services would create passenger confusion.

So ultimately, as the MTA Board’s Transit Committee voted this morning, New York City Transit will bring back the W train in November, the next pick for its workers prior to the expected revenue start date for the Second Ave. Subway. The W will run local from Whitehall St. to Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard as a weekday-only service operating from around 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., thus maintaining current service between Queens and Manhattan. The Q will no longer stop at 49th St., eliminating an unnecessary choke-point between 34th St.-Herald Square and 57th St., and when the Second Ave. Subway opens, the Q will run from 57th St. to 63rd St./Lexington, 72nd St., and 86th St. before terminating at 96th St. and 2nd Ave. The Upper East Side won’t know what hit them.

But there’s a rub, and in a way, I’ve buried the lede again. The Upper East Side may be thrilled with the subway, but they’ll be less thrilled with the headways on the Second Ave. Subway which threaten to be the longest in the city for peak-hour service. During the public hearings on the W train proposal, one person asked the MTA to disclose headways on the Second Ave. Subway, and the answer is in these tables:



As you can see, the MTA isn’t really revising the Q train schedule to respond to shifting demand. Currently, Q trains are relatively empty crossing the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn in the morning and vice versa in the evening. When the Second Ave. Subway opens, while the Manhattan Bridge ridership likely won’t change, Q train demand south from 96th St. to parts south in Manhattan will spike, but the MTA is planning to run trains at eight-minute headways. Only weekend, midday and evening Q service will see improvements when the Second Ave. Subway opens, and Upper East Siders are going to be shocked at the long waits, especially when compared with the peak-hour frequencies on the 4, 5 and 6.

Immediately, you may be wondering if 7.5 trains per hour for the Upper East Side is sufficient to meet projected ridership, and it’s not entirely clearly it will be. Based on ridership expectations and current travel patterns, the MTA may expect around 60,000 riders during the morning commute on the Second Ave. stops, but the eight-minute headways allow for service that can carry a bit under 45,000 over three hours. Trains will be very crowded and waits far longer than many expect. That’s due in part to available rolling stock and in part due to capacity concerns over the Manhattan Bridge and through the DeKalb Interlocking. As the Second Ave. Subway gears up for its grand unveiling, crowds and service frequency is a story worth watching.

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newyorkmets May 23, 2016 - 2:41 pm

Won’t the choke-point at 34th St – Herald Square still be an issue as the N train will be a Broadway Express and still stop at 49th Street, so it will need to cross over?

Mike from Whitestone May 23, 2016 - 7:50 pm

True, but the choke point at Prince St will no longer be an issue because weekday N trains will no longer be switching to the local tracks there. Only one set of switches will be used at a time – 34th on weekdays and Prince on weekends/late nights.

Alex May 23, 2016 - 8:42 pm

They’re basically reverting back to pre-2010 service patterns, plus a few extra stops for the Q. Since you still have the same number of trains switching over, it’s largely the same as it is now in terms of how much that switch is a bottleneck.

Chris May 27, 2016 - 10:22 am

Speaking of 7th avenue and Lexington avenue lines no merging from express to local; well they exist smooth service; so make it smooth service for Broadway lines; Why the N train after 34th Street needs to be merge but the Q train will going to second avenue line. Compare to 7th Avenue and Lexington Avenue even weekends running smooth; two express and one local; even W train will be fine without second service for Astoria and it’s not far to midtown commute that’s exaggeration and sufficient service at 49th Street for R and W.

SEAN May 23, 2016 - 3:26 pm

I don’t remember if the R-179’s & R-211’s were ment to be replacements or additions to the subway fleet. I ask because if they were additions, it would help tremendously for the SAS.

Roadgeek Adam May 23, 2016 - 7:23 pm

The R32s won’t last forever.

Dj Hammers May 23, 2016 - 7:33 pm

I recall hearing that the car bodies themselves were rated for another 20 years of service. Just like the R62-68A fleet, the under car mechanicals can be modernized.

Michael T Greene May 24, 2016 - 1:36 am

They may need them to last a while longer…some of them may need to run to 96th and 2nd. (I hope that NYCT did build the line with proper clearances…perhaps a Nostalgia Train might run there.)

John-2 May 24, 2016 - 5:54 am

The MTA originally was talking about the R-179s as replacements, then came back earlier this year and said the R-32s might have to last until 2022. That was in part due to Bombardier’s problems, but it may also be they’ve decided the growth in ridership means the 179s will end up mainly as an augmenting order (even if the 50 remaining R-42s go to the scrapper), while the R-211s will be the replacement order, both for the R-32s and the R-46s (and since they’re going to be 60-foot cars like the 32s, they can be assigned anywhere on the B Division).

Avi April 12, 2017 - 10:53 pm

SEAN they’re both i’m pretty sure . And it would help tremendously for the SAS (it is still possible even though it opened because those 2 car models didn’t open yet.)

Peter May 23, 2016 - 3:34 pm

To improve AM peak service could you add a few southbound Q trains and short-turn them at Whitehall? This would alleviate the capacity concerns at Manhattan Br/DeKalb. You could do the reverse in the PM. Aren’t there some pocket tracks near Canal or Prince that might also be useful for such a purpose?

Sam May 23, 2016 - 3:43 pm

If capacity along the Bridge and at DeKalb are a problem, there are plenty of other options the MTA could consider once they obtain more rolling stock (which I suspect is the main culprit here). Here are some potential solutions that might be too creative for the MTA:

– A special rush-hour service starting at 96th/2nd, running via 6th ave local, terminating at 2nd avenue. Could designate it an orange Q, S or V.
– Terminate some rush hour Q trains at Canal St (utilizing the switch south of Prince St), turn them at/before City Hall. I can’t imagine this being too much of a problem for the R/W if it’s just 1 to 3 trains per hour.
– Increase F service in Brooklyn, have a few trains run up to 96th/2nd.

Dj Hammers May 23, 2016 - 7:34 pm

I agree with the third option, have another service running between Kings highway and 96 street, local the entire way. This also solves the F express problem by providing additional local service in Brooklyn

Sam May 24, 2016 - 7:00 pm

Probably the best option. Win-win for everyone.

As a side note, it’s a real shame the BMT completely split the two express tracks segments at Canal St when they decided to route trains to the Manhattan Bridge instead of engineering a fly-under. An extra southern terminal in Manhattan would be perfect for solving problems like this.

Panthers May 25, 2016 - 6:22 pm

A better solution would be to dedicate a true rush-hour service on the Brooklyn Broadway line.

M: 6th Ave local – makes all stops between Myrtle/Bway and Delancey/Essex
J: “Express” Myrtle/Bway to Marcy Avenue
Z: “True Brooklyn/Bway express”

Z stops: Myrtle/Bway; Delancey/Essex; Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall (skips Marcy Avenue, and uses walled off tracks at Bowery and Canal to skip those stops)

Sam May 25, 2016 - 7:36 pm

I meant the Broadway BMT tracks, not the Nassau tracks. I’m not sure how changing service on Nassau St would solve the SAS frequency problem unlese we’re talking about the Nassau St alignment option for Phase 4. But that’s decades away.

mister May 25, 2016 - 7:22 pm

The chokepoint for adding F service is the 6th avenue local tracks, which presently host 15 F trains and 10 M trains at peak times, leaving little room for any additional service.

Terrell May 23, 2016 - 11:11 pm

The only issue I see with the third option is that the MTA is already saying that increasing F’s headways won’t really work out due to track capacity on 6 Av and Queens Blvd., but the service pattern would be something to see.

Mike from Whitestone May 24, 2016 - 12:08 am

The extra trains would run on the Culver Line and the 6th Ave local, but they would not run on the Queens Blvd Line, so they wouldn’t be subjected to the capacity constraints of Queens Blvd. You don’t even have to call them F trains. You could use a different letter like T or even V.

James June 5, 2016 - 3:04 pm

Good idea

Rick May 23, 2016 - 3:40 pm

The under service on 2nd Av can be solved (along with the F express conumdrum) by running more F trains and terminating some of them at 96th St-2nd Av. To make room room on 6th Av for the additional F’s, some M’s would need to run to Broad Street. This would create new capacity on the Queens IND, which could be used to run G trains all the way to Forest hills or 179th St. So there you have it — the trifecta: adequate Second Av service; F express in Brooklyn without reducing service to the brownstone Brooklyn stations; and a G train alternative to the L train for those heading to Midtown.

Sam May 23, 2016 - 3:46 pm

The problem with taking F trains away from the Queens Blvd IND is that you are still left with a bunch of passengers who need to get to Manhattan. With less F service and less M service, they’d all cram onto the E (already bursting at the seams) or the R. The G doesn’t go where they need to go. Would create more problems than it solves.

John Doe Smith May 23, 2016 - 4:36 pm

The idea of sending limited rush hour Fs up 2nd Ave is to complement existing services.
It wouldn’t take from Queens Blvd at all.

Rick May 23, 2016 - 4:54 pm

Yes, that’s right. The F service to 96th-2nd Av is in addition to the existing Queens Blvd service. These additional F trains would run express in Brooklyn, complementing Brooklyn’s existing F local service. Because of the additional F trains on 6th Av, some M trains will have to be diverted to Broad Street. But those few M train riders who have to switch at Delancey for F train service will get greater frequency F train service than they ever had before.

John-2 May 23, 2016 - 6:11 pm

They might be able to do that, but only after the repairs are done to the 14th Street tunnel, due to the number of people using the L right now to get to Midtown who’ll be piling onto the M train.

Those current five available rush hour slots along Sixth Avenue will be reserved for the M, and it would be more grief for the MTA to institute an F to 96th Street service in 2017 and then take it away in late 2018 or early 2019 (you could still hypothetically send those extra M to be added down to Chambers or Broad, but you’d face the wrath of North Brooklyn over adding Ms and then sending them in the wrong direction, even if they could switch to the BMT or IRT uptown routes at Canal or Chambers).

Walt Gekko May 24, 2016 - 2:09 am

My plan there as noted before is to split the (M) into the (M) and (T):

(M) as it is now on weekdays only.

(T) at all times to 96th/2nd (as the (T) absorbs the late-night and weekend (M) shuttles).

The full setup is in my other post towards the bottom.

Avi December 28, 2016 - 11:40 am

Sorry I like the plan but we can’t do it, you know why? because the 63rd st line is 2 separate lines. 1. the IND 63 st line 2. The BMT 63 st line .
The IND line goes from the 6 ave line to the queens Blvd line.
the BMT line goes from the Broadway line to the 2 ave line.
So the MTA would have to delay the opening of the 2 ave line in order to create a track connection between the 2 lines . And nobody wants to delay the opening of the second ave line right? makes sense?

Terrell December 28, 2016 - 1:41 pm

IIRC theres a diamond crossover in both directions just west of Lexington-63 between the IND and BMT lines, hence why they occasionally run Rs via 63 St when things go wrong around Lex-59/for service changes… unless I’m mistaken and that crossover isn’t diamond…

Avi Mogilyansky December 28, 2016 - 2:22 pm

Terrell you’re a little mistaken. You’re right there’s a crossover from the BMT line to the Ind line but there’s no crossover from the Ind line to the BMT line.

Dj Hammers May 23, 2016 - 7:35 pm

The sixth Avenue corridor already has spare capacity, and will have even more after the W. 4th St. interlocking modernization

mister May 25, 2016 - 7:32 pm

It doesn’t though. 5 extra trains per hour is not enough to add additional service.

Don’t understand why you wouldn’t just add more Q trains…

Sam May 26, 2016 - 9:29 am

Q = ~9tph at 6.5 min headways

Adding 5tph reduces headways to 4.3 minutes, a 35% increase in service. Why do you think that’s not a significant increase in capacity?

mister May 26, 2016 - 6:45 pm

Adding 5 additional trains to the Q line would absolutely be an acceptable increase in capacity. It would result in a level of service nearly identical to what was proposed way back, when the FEIS was published.

What would NOT be acceptable would be adding 5 trains per hour as a discrete service. Passengers bound for 6th avenue would pile onto trains operating less frequently, and even IF you could find a way to make it work going Southbound,(assuming passengers would take whichever train arrived first and then walk from whatever trunk line they ended up on) you absolutely could not make it work going northbound, where passengers have to choose their trunk line to begin with.

Everyone wants to plan all these wacky routings when there’s no need. People are insisting that extra service be provided going down the 6th Ave local tracks, a line with only 5 spare tph, but the Q line itself has plenty of additional capacity through the Broadway line. Run the trains where you’ve got the room and be done with it.

John-2 May 26, 2016 - 9:08 pm

I think the mitigating factor with a supplemental diamond F service for the Q would be that from 63rd to Houston streets, the Broadway and Sixth Avenue routes are relatively close to each other, to the point that unless you want a local station like 28th or 23rd Street that the Q doesn’t serve, most people will probably just take the first train that comes along (and since any supplemental F service wouldn’t arrive until the 14th Street tunnels are repaired, the MTA by then will have several years to gauge whether or not Q service alone is enough to handle the Second Avenue crowds.

Walt Gekko May 23, 2016 - 8:44 pm

You can’t do that with the F due to the need for as many F trains as possible on Queens Boulevard. Also, you have the impending L tunnel shutdown in Brooklyn in 2019, which is why I proposed the split of the (M) into (M) and (T) services (M on its current route weekdays only, T running Metropolitan Avenue to 96th Street-2nd Avenue at all times) with that beginning in 2018 after work on the Myrtle Avenue EL portion of the (M) in Brooklyn is complete.

MIXXD May 23, 2016 - 11:52 pm

Why not send those extra M trains up 2 Avenue?

Mike from Whitestone May 24, 2016 - 12:02 am

That is what he’s proposing. The extra M trains would use the letter T.

Walt Gekko May 24, 2016 - 2:07 am


The (T) is the (M) train with a different letter because it would be going to 96th/2nd instead of 71-Continental.

Full details of how this would work are in my other post downthread.

Mike from Whitestone May 26, 2016 - 2:01 pm

That only adds service on 2nd Ave. It won’t solve the potential crowding that will result at Court Square from displaced L line riders transferring to the E, M and 7 lines (admittedly, it may help out at Myrtle-Wyckoff, where there will likely be plenty of displaced L riders transferring to the M during the shutdown). It also won’t solve the problem presented by running half the F trains express in Brooklyn between Church Ave and Jay St.

AlexB May 23, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Add a V train at 6 trains per hour between 96th & 2nd to Coney Island via 6th Ave local and Culver Express.

Jeff May 23, 2016 - 7:33 pm

Probably can bring that up to seven or eight tbh if they want. Though the rolling stock constraints will be an issue for succ a long line.

They need to step it up with the rolling stock purchases.

Jeff May 23, 2016 - 7:49 pm

I guess they can also cut F trains short at Church and G trains back to Smith-9th to make up for the Rollin stock differences.

Alex May 23, 2016 - 8:56 pm

G riders fought pretty hard to keep the G to Church once work on the Culver Viaduct tracks wrapped. I can’t imagine they’d be too happy with that arrangement, especially if it’s in tandem with the F express plan.

AMH May 24, 2016 - 10:22 am

Can’t turn G trains on the express tracks at Smith-9th if the F is using them.

AlexB May 24, 2016 - 10:53 am

You can turn the local G train at Church even if there are other trains using the express and local tracks for through service. The V express to 96th would include making no changes to current F, M or G service, except maybe adjusting schedules a bit to minimize conflicts.

Jeff May 24, 2016 - 12:52 pm

Again, there’s the issue with lack of train sets to accommodate this extra service level, which is system-wide. Something would have to give. Cutting the F train back would free up a bunch of trains, though inconvenient the Soutb Brooklyn folks (but they’d be getting an express, and the more political influential Park Slopers wouldn’t see a decrease in service)

Chris May 23, 2016 - 4:07 pm

Why the N train has still to be stop at W49th Street; Because have a W train restoration will stop here and Q will no longer terminated at W57th Street; it will be going to 96th Street and 2nd Avenue; This is the old service between 2004 and 2010; Well it doesn’t make sense; Its not upgraded service.

John Doe Smith May 23, 2016 - 4:38 pm

When you look at 49 St ridership numbers, it makes perfect sense to have the N stop at 49 St.

Tower18 May 23, 2016 - 7:16 pm

Anything using 60th St tunnel needs to stop at 49th St. I don’t know why they can’t just fix this after all these years, but it’s the truth. Has to do with there being no way for trains to identify themselves at 5th Ave-59th…the system has no way to know what train from Queens is arriving at 57th St. So, anything from Queens enters 57th on the local track and can change at the 34th St interlocking. That’s southbound, and then if you have to run a certain pattern southbound, no sense running something different northbound.

Same as how an uptown C train at Chambers will close the doors and pull forward 50 feet, come to a full stop (or slow if the TO is good), and then move again. The punchbox is not aligned with the C train’s stopping position, lol.

Brooklyn Cowbell Guy May 24, 2016 - 3:35 pm

It wouldn’t be the worst idea to have the C trains stop a little closer to the Punchbox. It’s a 480′ train using a 600′ platform.

Chris May 23, 2016 - 4:26 pm

This past years has been doing some peak service N train skipping W49 Street without W train; is it does make sense? Why not have to skip it. We have W train coming back.

Max Roberts May 23, 2016 - 4:29 pm

SAS will be running at less than half potential capacity for how many years? That’s very expensive engineering to under-utilise. Sort of like building 50 schools when you only need 25.

OK, you can’t really build half a subway, but that under-use of capacity has to be addressed as soon as possible so that all that investment can be made to earn its keep quickly.

Alex May 23, 2016 - 9:02 pm

I wonder if the MTA is taking “see how it goes” approach. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a lot of angry UESers cramming onto Q trains and crowded platforms and exits. Might force them to make adjustments pretty quickly.

Pi Guy May 23, 2016 - 4:31 pm

While this does little to help with F Express, the following plan might make the most sense once rolling stock becomes adequate:

1) Reroute the Q and resurrect the W as proposed.
2) Keep the N train on the express tracks past 49th street, then reroute all N trains to 96th/2nd to increase service frequencies along 2nd Ave.
3) Deactivate the 11th Street Cut, except to allow non-revenue R trains access to the yards, and reroute R trains to Astoria to replace the N. (Yes, this leaves the R without a yard along its route, but honestly capacity to 2nd Ave is a much bigger concern.)
4) Reroute all M trains through the 63rd Street tunnel.
5) Create a new weekday “K” train to replace the R in Queens. The train will start at Forest Hills and run local along Queens Blvd. It will then merge with the E (using the newly freed up capacity in the 53rd Street tunnel) until 50th St/8 Av. From there, it will switch to the 8th Av express tracks, which have unused capacity, and run to Canal Street, after which it can terminate in the center relay tracks.

In Manhattan, the “K” will stop at 53rd/Lex, 53rd/5th, 53rd/7th, 50th St, Times Square, 34th St, 14th St, W 4th St, and Canal St.

This service pattern will double service to 2nd Ave, significantly reduce interlining, and avoid the operational headache of 3 trains sharing a track through the 60th St tunnel.

Rick May 23, 2016 - 5:06 pm

Yes! Good plan! But, as you say, that it leaves the F express problem unsolved.. It would definitely solve the Second Av problem. Burgeoning Long Island City would probably not be very happy with the loss of direct access from Court Sq-23rd St to the 6th Av line. But who’s really happy?

Michael549 May 24, 2016 - 12:51 pm

So to “improve” access to and from Queens Blvd, you would cut off the R-train from the Queens Blvd line, and send those trains up the Astoria line, while leaving Queens Blvd riders with only the choices of Sixth Avenue or Eighth Avenue service. Beyond the issues of R-train access to a train yard, the 11th Street Cut was created to provide another access to/from Queens beyond the Eighth Avenue and Sixth Avenue lines, and much better connections to the number lines – because the original IND lines had (and still have) so few.

The current R-train provides easy access to the Lexington Avenue line (1 stop!) – but you’d get rid of that in favor of the 51st/53rd Street transfer (Yikes!), and the out-of-system transfer of the 63rd Street station (Which sucks!). And with a straight face you imply that will improve service? (Ha! Ha! Ha!)

Somehow, somehow your proposed “K service” will have to fit on the 8th Avenue express train, terminating and relaying at the Canal Street station – all of the while NOT interfering with the A and C train service to/from Brooklyn and Queens. Plus on top of that, you’d have your “K service” joining/departing the Eighth Avenue express tracks about the 42nd Street station – reducing the flexibility for the A-train.



Rick May 24, 2016 - 3:55 pm

I think PI Guy’s plan is excellent. ALL that is lost is the 59th-Lex transfer for Queens IND riders. And look and all that’s gained. (BTW, E trains used to transfer to the A express track at 42nd Street — no big deal.)

Now, don’t laugh, but by freeing up the 11th Street Cut, PI Guy’s plan offers a real solution to the L crisis. With a minimum of digging, the G train could be connected, just above Court Sq, to the BMT cut and sent into Manhattan. Look, it took fonly our years to build the entire original IRT. Why, on an emergency basis, can’t we make that connection before beginning the L tunnel work? As it is, the L tunnel work isn’t scheduled to begin until 2019. Surely the species that was able to land a man on the moon could make that G-BMT connection in three years of day and night construction. The G would share the 60th St tunnel only with the Astoria trains. It could terminate at Whitehall Street, or even at the abandoned station under the in-use level of the City Hall Station. This is the only way closing the 14th Street tunnels isn’t a complete disaster.

Michael549 May 25, 2016 - 2:29 pm

No – PI Guy’s plan SUCKS!

The transfer the 59th Street/Lexington Avenue station between #4, #5 and #6 trains the R-train to/from the Queens Blvd line is not just for “IND riders”.

Sorry – there is simply NO WAY for the G-train to ever be sent to Manhattan via the 60th Street Tunnel! I know that is a current dream of some transit foamers but that’s not going to happen – in addition to the fact that the G-train tunnels are oriented in the wrong direction.

Besides – the transit dreamers that really, really want the G-train to return to the Queens Blvd line to either Forest Hills or 179th Street would be very, very upset!

Rick says – “This is the only way closing the 14th Street tunnels isn’t a complete disaster.”

Mike says – “No, it is not!” A combination of bus shuttles, transfers to other train lines, and better connections to buses along 14th Street and 23rd Street in Manhattan will really help L-train riders during the closure of the 14th Street tunnel.

The un-realistic “pie in the sky” transit dreamers just have to stop with the silly-ness! The amount of construction engineering work in the area, as well as the trackage for the LIRR Eastside Access project complicates the work. Just where will the millions or billion needed for this project come from? In transit policy money talks and the bull-crap walks!

The MTA is simply not going to be shutting down the R-train’s 11th Avenue Cut. PI Guy’s Plan does not actually solve real day to day transit rider problems, but makes the trips worse for thousands daily.

Rick May 25, 2016 - 2:57 pm

Billions just to hook the G-train tracks to the 11th St Cut? We have become pathetic.

will May 25, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Thanks Mike. These transit dreamer are the most unrealistic people on these comment boards. They don’t know squat of politics, funding, and what it takes to build subway lines in a city that is desperate for some but don’t have the politic will and fight to get it done. How about fight MTA with thier stupid policy or Albany for not funding the largest transportation on the western. Russia and China our laughing at us and JFK and LBJ are rolling in thier graves

will May 25, 2016 - 3:38 pm

Hemisphere *

Walt Gekko May 28, 2016 - 12:15 am


My ideas are not always well-received, but they are grounded at least within what the system can actually do.

It would be nice if you could somehow connect the (G) to 60th Street, but that would be difficult unless you found a way to have it so the (G) could connect to the current N/Q tracks at Queensboro Plaza. That to me is the only realistic way that could be done, otherwise, forget it.

Rick May 29, 2016 - 10:51 am

Of course a way can be found to connect the G to the 60th street tunnel. The 11 Street Cut can easily be vacated for these purposes. The R can become the Astoria train (along with the W). The N can run express in Manhattan and local on the Queens Boulevard line through the 63rd Street tunnel. (This would eliminate the Broadway BMT bottleneck south of 42nd Street.) The G can then be connected to the 11th Street Cut. Since both the G tracks and the 11th Street Street Cut tracks converge just south of Queens Plaza, a point can be found nearby where, with a minimum of excavation, the G tracks could be turned (yes, 135 degrees — big deal) into the 11 Street Cut. The G, then, would become the third train using the 60th St tunnel, just as three trains use it now. If a serious effort is made, this construction could be completed before it is necessary to begin the L tunnel construction. Again, remember, the ENTIRE original IRT was built in less than four years. We must treat the closure of the L street tunnel as the potential economic and human nightmare that it is.

Walt Gekko May 29, 2016 - 6:33 pm

I like the idea, but that may not be realistic, plus there likely would be opposition.

There would be too much bureaucratic red tape and liabilities in that case.

This also was why I proposed splitting the (M) into (M) and (T), with the (M) running as it does now and the (T) running to 96th Street-2nd Avenue as a supplement to the (M) on weekdays and replacing the (M) late nights and weekends.

The only way I can see the (G) working would be to have it go above ground after Court Square, possibly making a stop at a new elevated Queens Plaza Station before joining the (N) and (W) at Queensboro Plaza (or R/W in your proposal).

Rick May 30, 2016 - 8:50 pm

I think you’re more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am Walt. So, OK, if it’s really necessary, I say bring the G tracks out of the ground near Queens Plaza, turn them west, and merge them into the BMT tracks heading into the 60th tunnel. Seems like an unnecessary eyesore, especially if the 11th Street Cut will go unused for revenue service. But if this is the only practical way to get that G train into Manhattan, I’d do it sooner than abandon all those L train riders to an unspeakable fate..

Adirondacker12800 May 30, 2016 - 9:33 pm

Getting on a bus is not an unspeakable fate.

Avi Mogilyansky December 8, 2016 - 4:11 pm

I like the idea but there would likely be opposition . It’s just not realistic as Walt Gekko said. the only 2 ways it would work would be: 1. Connect the G on the existing but unused connection to the Queens Blvd line and stop at queens plAza and then somehow make a U turn and go through the 11th st cut. 2. Return it to queens Blvd all the way to forest hills 71st ave going local & then sharply turn left & go on a new crosstown line & stop at the junction Blvd 7 station at a new platform then stop at a new station at laguardia airport then continue along Astoria Blvd to 36th st. Stop at a new station Called Astoria Blvd-36th st. Then turn right onto 36th st. Then turn left on ditmars Blvd and join the Astoria line at ditmars Blvd and head into Manhattan. The first option would exist all times except late night when it would continue its current route. Option two would exist during mid days, rush hours and evenings. In option 2 to allow the g train to return to queens Blvd the m would be cut back to the 57th st F station during middays and rush hours. During evenings the e f g r and m will all serve the queens Blvd line as there were five trains serving the queens Blvd line Before the 2010 service change. The g wouldn’t have any terminal. It would run through the montague st tunnel and then on either the Brighton line west end line or sea beach line to Coney Island where it would switch to the culver line and finally back to church ave and then continue and keep looping In that pattern with no last stop. Sorry for the long post.

Avi November 25, 2016 - 10:07 am

Pi Guy’s plAn is fine. You said the Lexington 59th st transfer isn’t only for IND riders. What else is it for? I’m interested to hear your answer. I wish people were still posting on this site. The combination of bus shuttles, transfers to other train lines and better connections along 14th St and 23rd st won’t help L train riders during the closure of the 14th st tunnel. You’re wrong about that. Also the same morning I wrote this message, there are really bad switch problems at West 4th St. Bad enough that the E trains had to switch to the express track at port authority and Pi Guy’s proposed K train that he wants to switch to the express track is not a big deal then. Avi.

Avi Mogilyansky November 19, 2016 - 11:24 am

I think Pi Guy’s plan is excellent. Rick is right that all that is lost is the Lexington and 59th st transfer for queens IND riders. In one if your letters, you said for Pi Guy and Rick to stop the silliness. It is not silliness. You need to stop the silliness! Every track that Pi Guy plans to abandon or deactivate has very low ridership. I completely agree with Rick and Pi Guy!

mister May 25, 2016 - 7:38 pm

Your plan assumes that you can discharge and relay trains at Canal Street during the middle of rush hour, and that 18 A trains, 8 C trains and ?? K trains can all share tracks at Canal – They cannot.

Your plan also provides poorer connectivity to Queens Riders bound for the east side.

Avi Mogilyansky November 11, 2016 - 10:18 am

Good plan! The only reason we can’t do it is because this would leave the R without a yard along its route. As soon as they build a yard north of Astoria or south of bay ridge, it’d be an excellent idea. It just leaves the F express problem unsolved. It only solves the 2nd Ave. problem.

Chris May 23, 2016 - 4:40 pm

R and W train is here.

BenS May 23, 2016 - 5:21 pm

The obvious solution is to disentangle the DeKalb Junction, switching the destinations of the B and the N in Brooklyn. They already have a junction at Atlantic Avenue, and their destinations in Manhattan are close enough that few commutes would be truly impacted.

Tower18 May 23, 2016 - 7:21 pm

That leaves Brighton over-served and Sea Beach with only part-time service.

bens May 25, 2016 - 2:43 pm

So you switch the operating hours of the N and the B also. Non-issue. Both are totally redundant with other services anyway (at least, once the W is resurrected with SAS–would of course have to run on weekends to replace the N in Astoria).

Mike from Whitestone May 23, 2016 - 11:54 pm

But then the B and N would also have to switch hours of operation and the W would have to run 24/7 to make up for the loss of the N on weekends and overnight hours.

BenS May 25, 2016 - 2:49 pm

No idea why this is an issue. They have the same headways now, so it’s just a matter of weekends for the N, which are covered by the W as you said.

Keon Morris May 24, 2016 - 9:47 am

This is a TERRIBLE idea, I’ve seen it proposed in the comments on other articles in the past.

1. The transfer at Atlantic is absolutely dreadful. Most people would rather have both Broadway and 6th Ave access and deal with the occasional choke point dela as Dekalb. I can already see older folks and lazy people such as myself protesting this haha.

2. This would simply over crowd express service. If the N pulls in to Church Ave or Newkirk Ave local at the same time an Express Q rolls in then 90% of that N train will try to cram onto the express Q to save time as the major stops of Atlantic, 14th St, 34th St, 42nd St are where most are going anyway. There is greater balance now as when a B rolls in only people who need access to the Downtown Brooklyn stops or 34th St run over to transfer.

BenS May 25, 2016 - 2:48 pm

No one needs to transfer between the B and the N anyway. The Broadway and 6th Avenue lines are within a single avenue block or a few short downtown blocks of each other for their entire run all the way until the high-50s. There is no issue with forcing people on the Brighton Line to go up Broadway, or people on the Sea Beach Line to go up 6th Avenue.

Also, N would be express in that circumstance and Q local. There are enough local stops on Brighton that this would not be an issue. Right now the local Q is much more crowded than the express B anyway.

Keon Morris May 25, 2016 - 3:56 pm

The point remains. Everyone would simply jump on the N express train then. Again, no one will ever go for this. The express would be over crowded and people in the outer boroughs are better served having two lines that go in different directions in Manhattan. The Dekalb Avenue choke point isn’t bad enough to warrant this. The transfer at Atlantic is a nightmare, up stairs, down a long hallway dodging LIRR, 2/3/4/5 train commuters, up stairs, another hall, then down stairs again. Too much foot traffic just begging for accidents as people run from one end to the other. Even worse for older and slower folks or people with strollers, etc. Given the choice most people will keep it as is. I take you you must not ride this line that often.

Chris May 25, 2016 - 5:40 pm

This is what they says accoding from straphanger website for the future extension SAS if will happen the Phase 2 to 125th Street Harlem;This is very smooth efficient service.
Actually, the plan belongs to Broadway Lion from Subchat. Nevertheless, it’s a plan with few cons.
This plan will only work if the first two phases (though only Phase I can work) of the SAS are opened.
Rush Hour Service
(N) 125th Street to Coney Island
via Broadway Exp. and Sea Beach
(same route, but after 57th the route goes uptown)
Runs every 6 minutes, or 10TPH
(currently runs every 7 minutes, 8 in the PM)
(Q) 125th Street to Coney Island
via Broadway Exp. and Brighton Lcl.
(this is the proposed route of the Q currently)
Runs every 5 minutes, or 12TPH
(currently runs every 6 minutes)
(R) Forest Hills to Bay Ridge
via current route
Runs every 6 minutes, or 10TPH (current headway)
(W) Ditmars Blvd. to Whitehall St.
Alternate trains continue to 9th Ave., Brooklyn
Runs every 5 minutes, or 12TPH
Explanation (scroll to bottom if too confusing or too lazy to read)
First, you may be thinking that I’m changing quite a few routes. Really, I’m not. This is really all I’m changing: The N goes to 125th instead of Astoria, and some W trains continue to 9th Ave.
What is wrong with this guy? He wants to change the N’s terminal and leave Astoria with the W? The answer is yes. W service will be added so that Astoria riders get the same level of service as they do now with both the N and the W.
Let me say it like this: The goal of this plan is to have as few merges on the Broadway line as possible for maximized service.
Let me show you why this plan works in terms of track capacity. If you notice, I’m not decreasing service on any line either or removing service (Astoria line riders lose the N but get double the W).
Max track capacity is 30TPH. For the sake of incorporating outside forces, max capacity is 24TPH.
Now, the W will run 12TPH along Astoria, which will merge with 10TPH in the 60th St. tunnel. That’s 22 TPH all along the Broadway local until Whitehall Street, with no other merges. 22 < 24. Whitehall st. can turn about 6TPH (current W train TPH), so the other 6 W trains continue to 9th Ave. in Brooklyn on the West End. 6TPH can hardly interfere with other operations in Brooklyn. Montague tunnel traffic will be 12 TPH. 12 < 24.
Now for the Broadway Express. Both the N and Q start at 125. N has 10 TPH, Q has 12TPH. 22 < 24. 22TPH all along the Broadway Express in Manhattan and into Brooklyn. At this point I should mention that if you don't know already, SAS is being planned with CBTC. Let's boost the SAS segment capacity to 34TPH because now we can. Optimal CBTC track capacity is 40TPH. However, service remains 22TPH.
Why This Plan Works
"Riders will be too confused if their W goes to Brooklyn or not. Riders in Brookyln will wait too long for a W."
Mind you, this is EXACTLY what the MTA is planning for extending the Q in Queens to replace the W. Q trains run to Astoria every 12 minutes, when normal headway terminating at 57th is 6 mins. Also, riders can just take the R along 4th Ave. in Brookyln.
"Astoria Riders lose their one-seat express in Broadway."
One of the great things about this system is that good local service often appeals to riders better than express service every 10 minutes.
"I'm confused. This plan is too confusing."
The only things changing are that the N changes terminals to 125th St. and some W trains go to 9th Ave. The only three merges in the VICINITY are DeKalb Ave, 60th St., and Second Ave. with the T and the N/Q. None of them are problems and are under the max track capacity.
"What about CBTC?"
Since the SAS will be all CBTC, and there are no merges in Manhattan on the Bway Exp., CBTC can be equipped on the Bway Exp. until Brooklyn.
Max track capacity = 24TPH
Broadway Local track capacity under this plan: 22TPH
Express track capacity: 22 TPH
What does everyone think? BTW, sorry for the long post.
EDIT- BTW, during all other times the W runs to Whitehall St. only since the decreased TPH during all other times means that all trains can be turned at Whitehall.

BruceNY May 25, 2016 - 8:57 pm

It’s actually fairly simple and straightforward. Just having the Q go up 2nd Ave. is not going to cut it, adding the N makes sense. And extending some W’s to Brooklyn will improve the lives of 4th Avenue local riders.

Walt Gekko May 29, 2016 - 6:50 pm

My plan has it where you have beef up the (M) (after that line returns to Metropolitan Avenue after construction work on the Myrtle Avenue El is complete in early 2018) where the (M) is split into (M) and (T) as noted in other posts here.

Buck December 28, 2016 - 1:17 pm

This is a much more thought out version of my proposal. The only problem I can think of with it is what happens when (T) service arrives on 2nd Avenue with Phase 3? What happens to the (N)? I think at that point the (N) should be rerouted through the 63rd street tunnel and a pair of tail tracks should be built east of 21st Street Queensbridge station going into the Sunnyside Yards. This would allow service levels to be maintained on Broadway and would put in place a provision for Queens Blvd Super Express Service as proposed in the 70s.

Brooklyn Cowbell Guy May 24, 2016 - 3:40 pm

I would swap the D & the Q in Brooklyn.

To go from the Brighton Line to 6th Ave on a weekend is awful. Either you walk in Atlantic Ave or Herald Sq.

If the D ran on the Brighton line, those needing BWay could simply switch to the R.

Mike from Whitestone May 26, 2016 - 2:05 pm

Don’t Brighton riders prefer the Broadway Line over the 6th Ave Line? If so, you’re going to have a ton of riders transferring at DeKalb and Atlantic to get the N, Q or R train (or just the R at DeKalb).

Avi Mogilyansky November 24, 2016 - 4:29 pm

This is not a good idea. I agree with Keon Morris. Losing direct access from the 6th ave line to dekalb ave. it would eliminate the 1 stop access from canal st to Atlantic ave Barclay center. The W would have to run 24-7 seven days a week to replace the loss of the N late nights and weekends. How would that improve service? It isn’t true no one needs to transfer between B and N. In addition, it doesn’t solve the second ave problem and/or the f express problem.

Stan May 23, 2016 - 5:30 pm

Actually, the projected Service levels can be increased without the addition of new rolling stock, but through the use of existing rolling stock.

1. The restored Broadway Express N train will require one less train set than what it needs now
2. The restored Broadway Local W train will need 10-11 trains for service
3. The rerouted Q train will likely use the spare R68/R68A cars and a slight reduction in the car’s spare factor will allow the Q to operate physically the same number of train sets during AM/PM Rush Hours. Note that the 10-car R179 trains (when they finally get here) will free up some of the R160s needed to boost the fleet for the N Q and W lines.

A. Note that the two track segment of the Broadway Line between 34 St-Herald Sq and Queensboro Plaza can only handle 24 trains per hour (maybe 25) on the N R and W trains. This means that during the peak portion of the AM Rush Hour, not every N train can go to Astoria, but will have to terminate in Manhattan, like it has done since February 2004. Those N trains can be diverted to 96 St and reverse downtown as spare Q trains. There, headways on the downtown Q trains during the AM Rush Hours can be closer to 5 minutes than the posted 8 minutes, by using the spare N trains that would go out of service.

B. If you check the current N train schedule or find the old 2009 N train schedule, you’ll notice that there are quite a few N trains that terminate in Manhattan, so the changing of a few N trains to Q trains after reaching 96 St is possible. The same can be done in the opposite direction during the PM Rush Hour.

Breaking down the math much simpler; (Northbound)

Total Track capacity AM Rush Hours: 24TPH
total N trains AM Rush Hour: 10 TPH
Total R trains AM Rush Hour: 10 TPH
Total propsed W trains AM Rush Hour: 6TPH
10+10+6 = 26
26>24, so this doesn’t work.

Total Astoria N trains AM Rush: 8TPH
Total Short-turn N trains AM Rush: 2TPH
Total R trains AM Rush: 10TPH
Total W trains AM Rush: 6 TPH
8* + 10 + 6 = 24

The two remaining N trains can be used as southbound Q trains (or southbound special N trains if its too much of an issue) and then be removed from service in Coney Island

Southbound capacity: AM Rush
Southbound N from Astoria: 7.5 TPH
Southbound Q: 12 TPH (after doing the math above)
Southbound R: 10 TPH
Southbound W: 7.5 TPH

7.5 + 12 = 19.5
19.5 TPH seems acceptable to pass through the Manhattan Bridge,even if the train is just going to finish its run when it gets to Coney Island and then go to the yard.

*Also note that if the Q train heading northbound is available at 6 minute headways, all those trains should be available southbound because 96 St will be the only north Q train terminal.

Walt Gekko May 23, 2016 - 8:14 pm

I suspect you will see much heavier ridership on the (Q) from both those who live where getting to Lexington can be a half-mile or more as well as those tired from having to deal with the crush-loads of the 4/5/6.

With the impending tunnel shutdown on the (L) between Brooklyn and Manhattan in 2019, this was one of the reasons I had proposed actually starting in 2018 after work on the Myrtle Avenue EL section of the (M) is complete that would split the (M) into two lines:

The (M) as it is now between Metropolitan Avenue and 71st-Continental. This would be at its current rate of six to eight trains per hour on weekdays only.

A new (T) train running between Metropolitan Avenue and 96th Street-2nd Avenue that would be running at all times (24/7) in the following manner:

Weekdays (including peak hours): Five trains per hour (maximum additional capacity between the Broadway-Brooklyn and 6th Avenue local that can be added right now).

Weekends: 6-9 TPH depending on demand as it would be during those times the sole line operating from Metropolitan along 6th Avenue. This would be a rare case of a line actually having more service on weekends than weekdays.

Late Nights: 3-4 TPH depending on demand. This can be increased to 4-5 TPH late Friday and Saturday nights (Midnight-4:00 AM) if warranted by demand.

This would in addition to providing those along Broadway-Brooklyn access to the upper east side, it would also give UES residents at least twice as much late night and weekend service in what arguably is the most densely populated area of the entire country. It also would give UES residents direct 6th Avenue service, which helps especially for those going to areas where they can either use 6th Avenue or the Broadway line for instance.

Larry Littlefield May 24, 2016 - 7:34 am

I think this shows what the real service constraint is. It isn’t track capacity. It is the past costs of Generation Greed, and money transferred to the LIRR.

Here is a new terminal. They want to run the F Express. So why not just run a few more F trains up to 96th Street? Money. They’ll be cutting service soon, despite the crush.

Eric May 24, 2016 - 9:05 am

There’s plenty of money available. It is just being spent on things like the unnecessary Tappan Zee bridge replacement ($6 billion), rather than new train cars. It’s a question of priorities.

Adirondacker12800 May 24, 2016 - 11:45 am

The Tappan Zee is projected to cost 4 billion.

BruceNY May 24, 2016 - 1:45 pm

…because they eliminated the rail option.

Adirondacker12800 May 24, 2016 - 2:55 pm

Because it wouldn’t be very well used.
Most people in Rockland and Orange counties work in Rockland or Orange. The last American Community Survey I looked at the destination Orange and Rocklanders commute to is Manhattan. They don’t need to cross the Tappan Zee to do that. The next most popular is Bergen County New Jersey. Which is on their side of the Tappan Zee. Then Westchester. If all of them took the train… there isn’t enough of them to spend all of the money it would take. All of them wouldn’t take the train because taking a shuttle to the train station and then a train across the river to get on another shuttle bus would take too long. Or there wouldn’t even be a shuttle. Or they work odd hours when there isn’t much traffic and the train would be infrequent.

Tower18 May 24, 2016 - 3:19 pm

I’m confused, all those commuters crossing the Tappan Zee are “enough” to build a car bridge, but wouldn’t be “enough” for rail?

Adirondacker12800 May 24, 2016 - 4:10 pm

They allow people other than commuters to use the bridge.
Silly people in New England, Upstate etc. Commuters are a small part of the traffic across the bridge.

BruceNY May 24, 2016 - 7:44 pm

Could you provide statistics to define how “small” the group of commuters is?

Adirondacker12800 May 24, 2016 - 8:17 pm

Last time I looked, overwhelmed by non-commuters. Feel free to go look up a current American Community Survey… to find out it hasn’t changed much if at all.
They don’t need the Tappan Zee Bridge to go to Manhattan. Or Bergen County.
Or Passaic County. Or Hudson County…

Nathanael May 31, 2016 - 10:28 pm

The Tappan Zee Bridge has no real function whatsoever. It should really just have been demolished.

Adirondacker12800 June 1, 2016 - 12:16 am

How many refugees from New England are you will to have come live with you? Since freight won’t be able to get to New England anymore and they decide to live west of the Hudson.

Eric May 24, 2016 - 5:05 pm

Wikipedia says “Project costs are estimated at $5 to $6 billion.” I went by that. Assumed the upper end because megaprojects usually overrun their projections.

Adirondacker12800 May 24, 2016 - 5:32 pm

The official page say 3.98 billion. In theory, since it’s design-build, it’s going to cost 3.98 billion.


smotri May 24, 2016 - 10:51 am

Decades and decades go by, billions and billions are spent, three stations are finally constructed…all for what? The 2nd Avenue Subway underwhelms.

Larry Littlefield May 24, 2016 - 12:58 pm

Question: what would be the number of trains per hour and expected crowding on the Astoria Line without the W?

And how does that compare with the proposed F local?

See the difference here? My guess is they would have 8-10 tph without the W. And the N train seats wouldn’t already be completely filled at Ditmars, as they are proposed to be on the F local.

Andrew May 24, 2016 - 7:59 pm

Question: what would be the number of trains per hour and expected crowding on the Astoria Line without the W?

Based on http://newyorkyimby.com/wp-con.....owding.jpg – the N/Q combined were at 89% of maximum peak guideline capacity in September 2014. Eliminating half the service would double that, to 178% of maximum peak guideline capacity, which is obviously beyond absurd. (The most crowded line was the Lex express, at 104% – if Astoria loads per train increased by merely 17%, the Astoria line would replace the Lex express as most crowded in the system.)

And how does that compare with the proposed F local?


The Brooklyn F is currently at 71%. The projected local/express split is 58%/80%.

See the difference here?

Yes. The Astoria line is significantly more crowded than the Culver line, and it is more crowded than both the express and the local if the proposed F express is implemented (and the express would be the more crowded of the two).

My guess is they would have 8-10 tph without the W.

Even at a generous 10 tph, the N alone would be at 133% of maximum peak guideline capacity – 28% more crowded than the Lex express.

And the N train seats wouldn’t already be completely filled at Ditmars, as they are proposed to be on the F local.

This is nonsensical. Why would one expect the N train seats to be completely filled at the very first stop, when there are several heavy ridership stops and a major transfer point south of there? Who has proposed that the F train seats would be completely filled at a stop not served by the F?

On an R160, a seated load is about 30% of maximum peak guideline capacity (42-44 seats per car out of a guideline capacity of 145). So based on the table in the report, the current F on average reaches a seated load at Church (in the AM peak hour), while with the proposed express service, the express will reach a seated load at Kings Highway while the local will reach a seated load at 7th Avenue, on average, if the projections are correct.

Larry Littlefield May 25, 2016 - 6:52 am

“The projected local/express split is 58%/80%.”

The MTA express local split numbers don’t make sense.

They plan to run the local in service with the express from Avenue X to Church, but seem to assume it will leave Church empty. If there will be no people on the local train, why have it stop at all the stations?

I expect the reason is Greenfield etc. wanted those south of Church to have more frequent service and the option of a seat.

So the seats will be filled. More than half of all riders are at local stations inbound of Church. Although some of them take the G, how will less than half the people be on the local when some of those outbound of Church will be on the local as well?

Andrew May 25, 2016 - 7:24 am

The MTA express local split numbers don’t make sense.

They make sense to me. The express saves 7.3 minutes over the local northbound. Since the express would only run when the combined headway is 5 minutes or better (10 minutes for each service), every express should pass a local. So every express will pass a local, and anybody boarding south of Church and going to Manhattan is best off waiting for an express, even if a local comes first.

They plan to run the local in service with the express from Avenue X to Church, but seem to assume it will leave Church empty. If there will be no people on the local train, why have it stop at all the stations?

Empty? Did you look at the table I linked to? The local would leave Church 16% loaded, compared to 58% on the express – the local would carry about 22% of the ridership at that point, presumably primarily those riders going to local stations between Church and Bergen – not everybody commutes to Manhattan, after all.

The paper (which you apparently didn’t read before objecting to it!) explains why the locals would run south of Church: “The ability of Church Av to operate as a terminal for 7 F trains in addition to all G trains (currently, 9 trains in the peak hour) would need to be investigated, as a recent signal and track modernization project changed the track configuration of the “tail tracks” where G trains currently terminate south of Church Av and where local F trains would also terminate. However, because this configuration would require an extra transfer for passengers traveling between stations south of Church Av and local stations north of Church Av and possibly lead to uneven loading, it was not studied as part of this report.”

I expect the reason is Greenfield etc. wanted those south of Church to have more frequent service and the option of a seat.

I doubt Greenfield knows enough to care.

So the seats will be filled. More than half of all riders are at local stations inbound of Church. Although some of them take the G, how will less than half the people be on the local when some of those outbound of Church will be on the local as well?

Church itself is a busy station and will primarily feed the express. Some riders from Fort Hamilton and 15th will transfer to the express at 7th (especially those who happen to get picked up by a G). And 7th again is a pretty busy station that will feed mostly the express. It’s only the four stations north of that point – and two of them aren’t terribly busy – that will only have access to the local.

Most of those who boarded the local south of Church will be getting off prior to Jay – otherwise they would have waited for the express!

In any case, even if the ridership projections are way off (projections are rarely perfect), why would you propose slashing service by a third or more on a line that carries 89% of maximum peak guideline capacity in order to increase service on a line that carries 71% of maximum peak guideline capacity?

Larry Littlefield May 25, 2016 - 2:28 pm

I read the paper. Most of the inbound AM locals would be coming out of the yard, and they’d be heading to the yard PM.

There is nothing stopping the MTA from putting them in service at Church and taking them out, just running them down the middle track.

The MTA numbers don’t match my experience. Since they changed the capacity guidelines, perhaps they use different guidelines on different lines.

The real disaster, however, will be homeward bound between 6 and 7 pm, when there will be just 4 locals (15 minute headways).

mister May 25, 2016 - 7:53 pm

In the event of an express service implementation, F service would not serve local stations with only 4 trains between 6-7pm. Service would be rebalanced; likely some Stillwell trains would be shifted to the local tracks during that time period.

Though many locals at the beginning and end of the peak hour do in fact go to Ave X yard, it would make sense for many of the trips in between to terminate at either Church or 18th avenue instead. This guarantees trains are empty going through the local section, and also saves additional trainsets.

Ideally, at some point in the future, we could return the Bergen St LL station to service. This would enable local riders to use the G. Kind of a bother in the AM peak (you would have people crammed near the stairs waiting to see which F came first), but would work quite well in the PM (local riders who ended up on an express would disembark at Bergen LL and walk upstairs to take whichever train arrived first).

Andrew May 25, 2016 - 9:23 pm

Some of the locals would be coming out of the yard or going back into the yard. Others would be turning on the middle track at Kings Highway – there are lots of trains that do that now, especially in the PM but also in the AM. But for trains that have to run from and to the yard anyway, what’s the benefit in running them nonstop to and from Church? Same train requirement, same mileage, possibly a savings of a few minutes of crew time – and in exchange for this negligible benefit, you’ve forced a transfer onto everybody from the south who needs to go to a local station north of Church, and you’ve driven up loads on the express, which would already have heavier loads than the local.

Every rush hour rider perceives his or her line as crowded, but that doesn’t mean that other lines aren’t significantly more crowded. That’s why frequencies are based on impartially collected data. If you ride the F out of Brooklyn every morning, you probably don’t ride the N/Q out of Astoria or the 4/5 out of the Bronx or Upper East Side every morning (or any of the other lines significantly more crowded than the Brooklyn F), so you can’t say based on your own commute that the F is more crowded than those other lines.

Rush hour loading guidelines have been untouched since the 1980’s. Only the off-peak guidelines changed in 2010. Here are the guidelines (60 foot cars on this page; scroll up or down for other equipment).

As for your last paragraph – I guess you missed this section of the report: “NYCT Rapid Transit Service and Loading Guidelines require a maximum of 10-minute headways, on average, on each service during weekdays. This limits the potential span of Brooklyn express service to times when the F is currently scheduled for a maximum of 5-minute headways or a minimum of 12 trains per hour.” Whatever proposal you’re objecting to, it isn’t anything like the one proposed by the MTA.

Larry Littlefield May 26, 2016 - 11:19 am

There aren’t 12 trains per hour outside the rush hour now. If the MTA was going to guarantee 12 trains per hour from 4 pm to 8 pm, I think they would have made a point of saying so. Right now it goes down to 7 minute headways (8.5 trains per hour) very quickly, and that would be 14 minute headways for local stops.

My guess is they will count the G with regard to the local stops, if not initially then as soon as the current real estate bubble and their real estate transfer tax revenues drop again.

Andrew May 26, 2016 - 9:22 pm

Here’s a precise schedule lookup tool. (Each station is listed twice – you’ll want the southbound one.) Count trips.

I counted at Bergen (feel free to choose a different station) and came up with 11 trips in the 5 PM hour, 13 trips in the 6 PM hour, and 12 trips in the 7 PM hour. (The 4 PM and 8 PM hours each have only 10.) By shifting one trip from the 6 PM hour to the 5 PM hour, we’re at a steady 12 per hour.

That is perfectly consistent with the statement in the study that service is frequent enough for an express-local split from 5 to 8 PM. No G’s are being counted.

Enough with the paranoia. I don’t like the proposal either, but I’m not going to argue with the facts.

Larry Littlefield May 27, 2016 - 11:42 am

If this is correct, then they jacked up the service levels with the last pick. Because I can tell you that 15 minute plus waits were common at Jay Street through the fall and winter, and the official schedule as posted says 5 to 7 minutes.

Tower18 May 27, 2016 - 12:19 pm

Yeah I spent 4 long years transferring between the A/C and F at Jay St, and I can definitely say more often than not, waits at Jay St in the height of the rush hour (5:30-7:00 pm at Jay), the wait for F trains was often 10+ minutes…meanwhile 4-6 A trains go by.

I do believe they supposedly schedule that number of F trains, because 25% of the time, you do get a quick transfer. But 75% of the time, it definitely doesn’t work as planned. But the MTA knows that.

Bronx Resident May 24, 2016 - 1:33 pm

Does anyone know when the street will be repaired? That’s dicey area to walk, bike, drive.

Brooklyn Cowbell Guy May 24, 2016 - 3:48 pm

The Q going to 2nd Ave will make it even more crowded, especially on weekends.

When I go to Coney Island in the summer for baseball games, it’s impossible to get a seat on the Q on a weekend, compared to a weekday Rush Hour.

Alain May 25, 2016 - 3:15 am

All these complex puzzles only show the need for Phase 3 of the SAS. That would offer (lots of) additional capacity to the Houston St terminal.

Astoria rider May 25, 2016 - 2:17 pm

Anyone know how many tph 96 st is capable of?

mister May 25, 2016 - 8:22 pm

Here’s a document everyone should be looking at:

FEIS Table 5B-8 from back in 2003.

Tom May 27, 2016 - 11:31 am

This is a great point. I think they are legally obligated to run the service they promised in the FEIS. They are running only a little more than half of the service they promised!

Nathanael May 31, 2016 - 10:30 pm

You’re right. They need to run 14 tph on the Second Avenue Subway. If they don’t, they need to prepare a supplemental EIS,….

Chris May 27, 2016 - 10:33 am

N train for Astoria must take it off on that line increase W trains running service; unlike 1 and 6 trains only between Manhattan and the Bronx; But W train only Manhattan and Queens.

Chris May 27, 2016 - 10:37 am

Please Broadway line make it smooth service.

Spendmore Wastemor May 27, 2016 - 1:53 pm

K, I may have missed something obvious. but why not:

Create a new 2nd ave service, which starts at 96th, then short turns as soon as the train is on average about half full? Say, 96th to the Financial District and turn.
Add to that a less frequent existing service, such as the Q train.

Chris June 2, 2016 - 11:40 am

This is nothing new about restoration of W train don’t you think the public doesn’t remember but the thing why the N train has still to be stopped at 49th Street and this is the old pattern service since 2010 and the Q train will go up the 96th street and no longer terminal 57th Street.

Chris June 2, 2016 - 11:43 am

Astoria riders will survive with W train only and it’s not far to Midtown 34th Street for crying out loud.

Chris June 2, 2016 - 11:56 am

This is not upgraded service about the N train express. Because will be merging after 34th Street with the R and W train.

Rick June 2, 2016 - 1:40 pm

Make the R the Astoria train and the N the Queens Blvd local train. Send the N through the 63rd Street tunnel instead of the 11th Street Cut. No more bottleneck north of 34th St.

sonicboy678 July 6, 2016 - 7:49 pm

There’s a reason why R service to Astoria was discontinued…or have you not realized the detrimental effects the reversion would have on equipment?

Rick July 7, 2016 - 12:46 am

No, I’m not aware of it. What is the detrimental effect? Is the idea of the current arrangement to keep the R equipment entirely underground?

Terrell July 7, 2016 - 1:09 am

Yard access if I’m not mistaken. R to Forest Hills has Jamaica Yard, R to Astoria doesn’t have enough yard access to reasonably support the service without deadheading from somewhere like CI.

Rick July 7, 2016 - 1:22 am

Same for the new W — right?

Al August 19, 2016 - 1:13 pm

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE!! Everyone is focused on alleviating the 4/5/6 crowding but no one realizes how much it will create crowding on the Q train. Apparently the plan is see how it goes then maybe adjust down the road.

WHY NOT REOPEN THE W LINE INSTEAD of the Q on 2nd avenue? Seems to make much more sense as the Q line could continue its current service while the W train could more easily accommodate the new ridership instead of adding ridership to an existing line.

This ruins my commute to work.

Avi Mogilyansky November 12, 2016 - 11:18 am

I got a good idea to solve the F express problem. (F) Jamaica 179th street to Coney Island via current route. (G) During rush hours it would run from Court Square to Coney Island via crosstown local and Culver express. During middays it would run from Court Square to Kings Highway via crosstown local and Culver express. During evenings it would run from Court Square to Avenue X via crosstown local and Culver local. On weekends it would run from Court square to Church ave via crosstown local and Culver express. During late nights it would run from Court square to church ave via crosstown local and Culver local. I am 7 years old and I know the subway very well

Avi Mogilyansky November 13, 2016 - 10:00 pm

Here is the obvious solution: there is a crossover from the dekalb ave bypass to the Brighton line and I think the q should use that and in order to replace service from the Brighton line to dekalb ave, the b should start running at all times.

Avi Mogilyansky November 29, 2016 - 6:12 pm

They’re testing escalators, elevators and fire alarm systems at 72nd st so they have two options to allow them to continue testing. 1) Delay the opening of the second ave subway to sometime in 2017 2)open the subway on time with trains temporarily bypassing 72nd till testing is complete. Which option do you prefer? I vote option 2.

Jim December 19, 2016 - 4:02 am

I’m with you bro. Cuomo just announced New Years as the day.

Avi Mogilyansky December 2, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Has anyone heard of the secret lower level track in city hall?

Avi December 12, 2016 - 8:14 pm

My plan to solve the queens Blvd problem would be: have the m run to 71av 24/7
And have the m run on 63 st the f run on 53 street and the g run to 179 st which would be a 24/7 pattern

Buck December 14, 2016 - 6:23 pm

I know this will be a controversial idea but, what if:
-W trains are made a full time service
-N trains stop serving Astoria and either terminate at 57th Street or on 2nd Avenue
-All broadway line trains are increased to 4 minute headways during rush hours. This would be possible because this plan frees up all the tracks by ensuring that no section of track has more than two services because the express and local tracks would be fully segregated like on Lexington Ave and 7th Ave.
It doesn’t meddle with Queens Blvd and it certainly doesn’t require any construction. The only change is that Astoria riders would have to transfer at 57th St if they want express service but since they would have more frequent service, this wouldn’t be that big a concern.

Avi December 18, 2016 - 9:53 am

The problem with adding the n without any other service changes would be it would leave Astoria with the w which is why they brought it back. otherwise good plan.

Rick December 18, 2016 - 1:41 pm

Send the R to Astoria via 60th St and the N to Queens Blvd via 63rd St, and the problem is solved.

Avi mogilyansky March 5, 2017 - 9:10 pm

Rick, on feb 26 the mta announced a similar plan. It had exactly your suggestion and in addition to that the r and w would have skip stop service on the BMT Astoria line.

Avi December 18, 2016 - 4:29 pm

I told an Mta member as I got of the holiday nostalgia train about pi guy’s plan and the person said that he wants to do the plan!!!!! Whoever likes the plan is in luck!

Avi mogilyansky December 18, 2016 - 4:38 pm

I told an Mta member as I got of the holiday nostalgia train about pi guy’s plan and the person said that he wants to do the plan!!!!! Whoever likes the plan is in luck!

Avi m December 22, 2016 - 10:39 am

Here’s a Wikipedia link to check out. Scroll to where it says subway tracks till proposed I-478 designation

BillMac December 22, 2016 - 11:56 am

Why didn’t the MTA just resurrect the “W” train and have that run the route of the proposed “Q” train so that the “Q” train could continue to run to “Q”ueens.

the “B” Train serves the “B”ronx and “B”rooklyn. The “M” train comes through “M”anhattan and as odd as it is that there aren’t many words that begin with the letter “Q” anyway — I think it is kind of like a nostaglic thought that the “Q” train would represent “Q”ueens…..

Avi January 2, 2017 - 11:04 am

people were really mad at the Mta when the connector from the Ind 63 Rd st line
And the ind queens Blvd line opened and stated last week there were 2 express trains running along queens Blvd to 53rd st and Lexington ave, the station where many people catch the crowded lex ave line now there’s only one express & the local going to that populAr Stn & the other express goes on a stupid detour to a less popular Stn where you can’t get to the crowded lex ave line without walking outside a few blocks so the questions being asked privately & sometimes publicly, do I take a train not going where I’m going and Gd forbid transfer? Do I take a relatively uncrowded train that goes where I’m going but that gives me the scenic tour of subterranean queens? people were also angry that the g was taken away from queens Blvd. which was why I proposed having the m running via 63rd and running to forest hills 24-7 and having the f run via 53rd st which would return two express trains running along queens Blvd & extend the g at all times to 179th st by adding extra capacity on the queens Blvd line. This plan would return the g to queens Blvd & return 2 express trains running from queens Blvd to the 53rd st tunnel as they hope but would keep the connector from the 63rd st line to the queens Blvd line so a lot of people should like this plan, hopefully the commenters here too.

mrsman January 6, 2017 - 3:30 pm

What wonderful ideas. I think that anything that can help to increase the capacity of the Bwy line would be needed. Piguy’s plan seems very good because it separates the expresses from the locals. All Bwy express trains to 2Av/96 all Bwy locals to Astoria.

If one were to take the aversion to interlining even further, you can run more trains all over the B division:

A W Hts-8Av express-Cranberry Tunnel-Fulton express to Lefferts or Far Rockaway

C 168th St – 8 Av local- Cranberry Tunnel- Fulton local to Euclid

E J Ctr – Qns exp – 53rd St tunnel – 8 Av local to WTC

K 179 St- Qns local – 53rd St tunnel – 8 Av exp to Canal Street

B Concourse (or 145th) – CPW local – 6 Av exp – M Bridge – Sea Beach

D Concourse – CPW exp- 6 Av exp- M Bridge – West End

F 179 St- Qns exp- 63rd tunnel – 6 Av local – Culver

M 71/Cotinental – Qns local- 63rd st tunnel- 6 Av local – W Br – Metropolitan Av

N 2 Av – Bwy exp – Brighton exp

R Astoria – Bwy local – Montague tunnel – Bay Ridge

Q 2 Av – Bwy exp – Brighton local

W Astoria – Bwy local – Montague Tunnel – to 9 Av station on West End line

Avi Mogilyansky January 7, 2017 - 10:37 pm

Great plan. This would definitely help the 2nd Ave problem. All you’re changing in the idea is switching the destination of the b and n in Bklyn as someone proposed & doing Pi guys plan having the proposed k train terminating at 179th st instead of forest hills. Once again all that is lost is the lex 59th st transfer for queens Blvd ind riders as Rick said. This would definitely help. Love the plan!

Sg January 11, 2017 - 10:29 pm

Wow. I can’t believe how much people here know about the subway. Does anyone know if they intend to finish
The next phase of the SAS in the next 5 years. It affects a real estate purchase I’m considering. Thanks.

Rick January 12, 2017 - 12:39 am

There’s no reason that the two planned East harlem stations, 106th St and 116th St, couldn’t be built in five years, since the tunnel work from 99th St to 105th St and from 110th St to 120th St was completed 40 years ago. But this is New York, where nothing can ever happen in five years.

Avi January 20, 2017 - 6:55 pm

Here’s a quick solution for the L train crisis & the second AV problem: Have some L trains run as a shuttle from Canarsie rockaway pkwy to Bedford ave w a shuttle bus to Delancey st Essex st that would stop at Marcy AV (as is currently planned). And some would use the unused connection to the Jamaica line at bway jct coming from Canarsie rockaway pkwy & increase capacity on the local tracks on the Jamaica & 6th ave lines and have these L trains run along Jamaica local & 6th av local and second AV subway to 96th/2nd.

Avi mogilyansky March 31, 2017 - 9:26 pm

This plan was proposed in the 80’s by the MTA. I think it’s a great plan.
1) restore the JFK express. Instead of starting at 21 st queensbridge, it would start at 96th and 2nd. Would be extended from Howard beach JFK airport to rockaway pk beach 116th st. 2) The C would run rush hours only from Bedford park Blvd via the current B route to 145th st & then normal route to Euclid Ave. 3) the q would run rush hours only. B would be moved to the west end line and now would run 24-7 and run local on the 8th Ave line to 168th st. 4)a new H train would run from 96th and 2nd local via the 6th and 8th Ave lines to WTC. 5) the d would be moved to the Brighton line running local during all times except rush hours when it would run express.

Avi June 10, 2017 - 11:12 pm

how about this plan ? 1. W:96 to Coney Island via broadway local and montague st tunnel and Brighton local running 24/7 . R :forest hills to bay ridge via queens Blvd local broadway local manhattan bridge and fourth Ave express at all times except late nights when it would run local on all lines via the montague tunnel Q: weekdays only from Astoria to herald sq there used to be a shuttle that terminated at herald sq so the q could terminate however that shuttle did. N: Astoria to Coney Island via Astoria local broadway express manhattan bridge 4th Ave local and sea beach local.
The idea is bc phase 3 and 4 of the SAS might not be constructed so this allows the SAS to run to lower manhattan and bklyn with already constructed tracks so it’d cost less money. Also people really wish the G will come back to queens Blvd but the MTA doesn’t think that’s possible so it’ll once again be 2 local trains on queens Blvd as before the G was removed from Queens Blvd.


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