New York City Transit Planning

NYCPlanning

Sometimes it appears New York City never had a bit of transit planning. Where else can one find a city with its major airports poorly served by rail, its major convention center without a rail connection, and block upon block of the city served only by busses.

Add to this list the South Street Seaport, United Nations and the Meadowlands sports complex in New Jersey. The East Side absence of rapid transit might not have been as great if the Second Avenue subway had been built. The West Side’s gap has a ready answer – the old New York Central Freight Line. The northern portion is being restored as an AMTRAK connection but the southern portion is a rusty strip.

Many, many plans (good and bad) have been presented over the years but few accepted. One reject was “A complete Rapid Transit System for Greater New York” which was prepared by Beauvais B. Fox, Jr. in 1941. It expanded on the July 16, 1940 proposal to the City Planning Commission by the Board of Transportation.

In this plan, Staten Island would be linked to the rest of the city by tunnel. Local trains would be intraborough while expresses would be interborough.

All lines on the system would be either 2, 3 or 4 track. Certain lines would be expanded beyond this limit but would act as separate lines. For instance, a 6 or 8 track line would operate as two 4 track or a 4 and a 2. Fifth tracks would be added in several areas with this track utilized as a peak period express track (travel in direction of prevailing flow). In non-rush periods, it would be utilized as a storage track.

The capacity of most subway lines is 30 trains per hour, with some capable of 40. At this rate, a train passes a station once every 90 seconds. The capacity of most tunnels is 80 trains per hour.

Fox’s plan advocated the development of interline transfers.

NY, Westchester & Boston routes in the city would be taken over and Westchester County would be encouraged and aided in the development of a corporation to take over the rest of their lines.

Finally, the plan included integration of subways into Grand Central Terminal to alleviate congestion.

It isn’t just New York City that ignored public transportation in its planning. A 1962 report by the Greater Bridgeport (Connecticut) Regional Planning Commission gave absolutely no recognition that trains (or even busses) played a part in a regional transportation policy. The answer was roads, roads and more roads. This region had a 1960 population of 280,000 people and was projected to grow to 550,000 by the Year 2000.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) thinks that for a little over $50 billion it could correct many of the region’s problems.
Some of their proposals include:

* Completing the 2nd Avenue Subway.

* Building a transfer between the subway system and the Long Island Railroad at Queens Plaza.

* Connecting Grand Central Terminal with New Jersey. (an old idea revisited)

* A cross-Westchester route (see below).

* Extending the IRT “7” Flushing Line to Javits Center (DONE) and the New Jersey Meadowlands.

* Rail access between Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports with connection to Manhattan.

Recently, Metro North Railroad, an arm of the MTA, has proposed a rail line crossing Westchester County along the same route that Interstate Highway 287 passes. In other words, it would go from Port Chester on the New Haven Line, through White Plains (Harlem Line), cross the Hudson River (connect with Hudson Line) and end up in Suffern with interchanges to the Port Jervis branch and hopefully restored service on the West Shore (CONRAIL’s River Division). Concurrently, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) is exploring light rail in the same area.

The Metro-North option would cross the Hudson by either bridge or tunnel and would link New Jersey to New York City as well as permitting direct rail service to Stewart Airport near Newburgh. Some of the problems are how to build through already-populated areas, how to connect with the Hudson line (a physical “altitude” problem), and how to serve dispersed work locations along the corridor.

Rail advocate groups and the Regional Plan Association have surfaced several other options recently. One of the most popular is extension of the Hudson Line of Metro-North to Hyde Park and even on to Rhinecliff. Other ideas for New York State east of the Hudson are: Jamaica (Long Island) to New Rochelle (New Haven Line) and Penn Station to New Rochelle with several intermediate stops; Yonkers to Penn Station (when AMTRAK connection opens); Danbury – Brewster – Hopewell Junction – Beacon; and extension of the Harlem Line to Millerton.

The Hudson Valley will have at least 10,000 additional commuters by the year 2005. Most of these will be west of the Hudson. West of the Hudson ideas include extension of the Pascack Valley service to Suffern; service on Conrail’s River Line to Newburgh and Kingston; service to the Catskill Mountain resort area; and, of course, additional bridges/tunnels across the river. Eventually, growth will dictate extension of the Port Jervis Line to Honesdale and new service from Campbell Hall to New Paltz.

Connecticut service advocates wish list includes extension of the Danbury Branch to New Milford; use of the line between Danbury and Derby and on to New Haven; and service between Waterbury and Hartford.

New Jersey, with almost 200,000 commuters into the city has not kept pace. Its only recent improvement was the North Jersey coast electrification. Service to Toms River and Sandy Hook, including several intermediate points, would help many commuters. Some of the other service improvements might be: increased service on the Raritan Valley Line and extension to Allentown PA; extending the Boonton Line to Washington NJ; rail service to Flemington, Stroudsburg/Scranton via the Lackawanna Cutoff; and Susquehanna service to Warwick NY. But New Jersey’s biggest problem is absence of suburb-to-suburb commuting and poor interline connections.

The biggest problem remains the New York City airports. The next biggest problem is connecting the existing lines and handling cross-suburb commutes. This situation would be alleviated if the Long Island and NJTransit were linked with the New Haven via Hell’s Gate; the LIRR and NJTransit were linked with the Hudson Line via the Westside Connection and also via the lower level of the 63rd St. tunnel.

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Suburbs to Grand Central

New York depends more than any other city on the suburban rail services linking its suburbs to its central business district. Before public takeover, most of the railroads serving New York had been losing money for years by conventional railroad accounting criteria; most of the railroads had sought release from the responsibility for continuing services; and a few lines had been discontinued (Putnam branch and Hudson River ferry/West Shore were examples).

Despite relief in the form of tax abatement, loans, subsidies and other measures, the rail suburban services had continued to lose money. This situation had stimulated numerous proposals to set up separate commuter service agencies to operate rail commuter service into New York City. Most of these proposals involved separating commuter services from ordinary railroad operations; a few recommended physical separation by reserving separate tracks of existing rail lines for publicly operated commuter services. In 1963 the New York Central and the New York, New Haven & Hartford hauled about 60,000 commuters from the northern suburbs to Manhattan’s central business district. This figure represented a decline from the post-World War II period. As you know, this number has increased dramatically in the last 25 years to about 95,000. Experts disagreed on the definition and the amount of the losses, but if the New York Central had not had to operate its suburban service, its 1961 operating deficit would have been $7.6 million less. Similarly, the New Haven would have had a $3.7 million smaller deficit.

A study was financed by the Ford Foundation, following a proposal submitted by the Institute of Public Administration in 1961 for: “…a study of the feasibility of setting up an agency or agencies to take responsibility for rail commuter service in the New York metropolitan region. The study would concentrate on the New Haven and New York Central Railroads; findings could be applied to other commuter railroads in the region and elsewhere.” This report focused on what is popularly called commuter travel, a term which applies to frequent and regular trips of any considerable length, ordinarily for work purposes. The term arose from the early railroad practice of granting reduced, or “commuted” fares for regular trips between outlying towns and their city terminals, originally for the purpose of increasing traffic on intercity trains. In 1963, about 18 percent of the employees of Manhattan’s central business district (south of 60th Street) were commuters from out of town; of these, about 50 percent used suburban rail service for at least part of their trip.

Most of the commuter travel was concentrated (and still is) in two peak morning and evening hours, though a few commuters travel at off-peak hours. In addition, there has always been casual travel between the suburbs and the central city. Most rail commuters from the northern sector were served by the equipment devoted exclusively to suburban service, though about 7 percent traveled on intercity trains. This figure would hold up today as suburban service stops at New Haven and Poughkeepsie while commuters have migrated to places like Rhinecliff, Hudson, Hartford and Old Saybrook which are currently only served by AMTRAK. Suburban rail service has always been different from mass transit rail services in terms of equipment, operating techniques, fare structure and techniques of fare collection. Public support to keep rail services operating appears to be justified on two grounds: first, large scale diversion of travel from rail to other modes is likely to be even more costly to the public than rail support; and second, suburban rail service, particularly for purposes of work trips, is an important factor in the economic health of both the suburban towns and the central business district of Manhattan. The degree of public financial support required depends partly upon the fare levels, and these in turn affect the volume of suburban rail travel.

Getting back to the Ford Foundation-sponsored study, one issue that was explored was the need for cooperation between the railroads and a commuter service agency. At this point, of course, railroads were still running intercity trains and an issue was fitting the two schedules together. Alternatives were explored like routing intercity trains into Pennsylvania Station (in 1963 it was still the “old” one). New Haven trains would go via the Hell Gate Bridge (like AMTRAK does now) and New York Central trains would use the West Side Freight Line, which was still operational then. A short connector, which could have been much more easily built than the major project AMTRAK now has underway, would have been required. Another issue that was explored was the advisability of a complete separation of commuter operations by placing them on reserved tracks. This would then focus responsibility for service quality on the operating agency. The conclusion was that this physical separation would sacrifice operational flexibility and economy. For example, there are four tracks between Grand Central and Mott Haven Junction. Two tracks, at a minimum, would be required for other rail operations, leaving two for commuter operations.

Rush hour commuter traffic requires three in the dominant direction. Moreover, if only one track in each direction were available for suburban traffic, there would be no way for express trains to pass locals; scheduling problems would be increased; and it would be difficult or impossible to maintain the quality of service possible on four tracks. A limit of two tracks is what now prevents faster times on the Harlem Division.

 

Two of the most promising possibilities which surfaced were automatic fare collection and automatic doors which would make possible the reduction of personnel required for fare collection and train operation.

Two alternative plans were examined in the report. The first involved maintaining the existing pattern of service between the suburbs and 125th Street and Grand Central Terminal. The second contemplated a somewhat radical change, under which commuter rail service would terminate in the lower Bronx and suburban passengers would transfer to rapid transit for the trip downtown. The tracks between the lower Bronx and Grand Central Terminal would be converted to a transit operation, which would considerably increase the capacity of the track and serve the double purpose of carrying out of town commuters and relieving overcrowded subway lines into the Grand Central area. Under this arrangement, a commuter rail service would be terminated at the junction of the Harlem and the New Haven in the lower Bronx (Wakefield); suburban passengers would transfer to rail transit at that point. The transit system would operate conventional transit equipment over the Central’s tracks between Wakefield Station, Mott Haven and Grand Central Terminal. Hudson Division trains would terminate at Mott Haven. The arrangement would make possible greater efficiency of operation — for instance, the shorter runs would allow some trains to make two trips. Although service to Grand Central would not be as good under this arrangement, it would have advantages: (1) passengers could go immediately to the street level at 46th Street and at 59th Street (a new subway station would be contemplated at 59th Street connecting to the BMT); (2) commuters with West Side destinations between Worth and 110th Streets would have available more subway routes without the need for a separate connection at 42nd Street (for instance, connecting with the IND and IRT at 149th Street in the Bronx). This would assume that a direct link to the existing subway system (Lexington Avenue) was built at Grand Central. Although not specifically mentioned, 1963 was the era of “bulldoze and build” so what was the reason to keep Grand Central Terminal??? One possible formula for allocating the burden of public support was suggested by the report, whereby the contribution of each jurisdiction (state and local) would be in proportion to the cost of serving commuters in that jurisdiction.

The possibility of federal government aid was as much an unknown in 1963 as it is today. It was hoped that pending legislation would provide grants contributing toward the cost of needed capital equipment. In a 1963 article in the “American Economic Review”, Professor William Vickrey of Columbia University discussed the issue of how pricing might be used to improve utilization of transportation facilities. He concluded that the current pricing policy for public mass transportation and for the use of streets was not only cumbersome but wrong in that it tended to stimulate use at the most expensive time of day. His idea called for the introduction of automatic equipment for fare collection (similar to the current systems in Washington and San Francisco). More importantly, he felt automatic equipment should be expanded into automobile toll collection. By charging realistic tolls to center city automobiles, Vickrey felt off-peak motorists would not have to subsidize peak-hour motorists. In 1963 dollars, a man who bought a $3,000 car for the purpose of driving to work was asking the community, in effect, to invest $23,000 (the additional investment required for an additional car to drive downtown during prime hours). The impact of street use pricing would be economic allocation of traffic amongst the most efficient means – mass transportation.

EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR A 1963 COMMUTER SERVICE AGENCY
(Assumption of Existing Equipment)
LOCOMOTIVES:

Division Type Horse Power Number
Central Yard Diesel 1200 15
New Haven Yard Diesel 1500 21
Central Road Switcher 1500 21
Central T-Motor 1905 11
Central P-Motor 4250 11
New Haven FL-9 1800 13 -a)



75

(a-Shared with New Haven and allocated on a mileage basis.

MU CARS

Division Seats Built Number
Central 130 1962 53
Central 130 1951 100
Central 95 1925-6 111
New Haven 120 1954 100
New Haven 120 1926-1931 38 (motors)
New Haven 120 1926-1931 61 (trailers)



453

Also acquired would be 7 rail diesel cars and 379 coaches

HOW MANY PEOPLE RODE THE TRAINS?
(Based on 1962 Trainmen’s count)

 


Miles from GCT Hudson Harlem Stamford New Haven
GCT 0 13,800 23,000 13,500 6,200
138th Street 8 14,300 24,000 13,500 n/a
Spuyten Duyvil 10 1,100 n/a n/a n/a
Woodlawn 12 n/a n/a 12,500 6,200
Wakefield 13 n/a 23,500 n/a n/a
Scarsdale 19 n/a 14,500 n/a n/a
Larchmont 19 n/a n/a 6,500 6,200
White Plains North 24 n/a 5,000 n/a n/a
Tarrytown 25 6,500 n/a n/a n/a
Stamford 33 n/a n/a 2,800 5,000
Harmon 33 3,200 n/a n/a n/a
Mt Kisco 37 n/a 2,000 n/a n/a
Peekskill 41 1,800 n/a n/a n/a
Westport 44 n/a n/a n/a 1,500
Brewster 52 n/a 700 n/a n/a
Pawling 64 n/a 75 n/a n/a
New Haven 72 n/a n/a n/a 500
Poughkeepsie 73 200 n/a n/a n/a

New York depends more than any other city on the suburban rail services linking its suburbs to its central business district. Before public takeover, most of the railroads serving New York had been losing money for years by conventional railroad accounting criteria; most of the railroads had sought release from the responsibility for continuing services; and a few lines had been discontinued (Putnam branch and Hudson River ferry/West Shore were examples).

Despite relief in the form of tax abatement, loans, subsidies and other measures, the rail suburban services had continued to lose money. This situation had stimulated numerous proposals to set up separate commuter service agencies to operate rail commuter service into New York City. Most of these proposals involved separating commuter services from ordinary railroad operations; a few recommended physical separation by reserving separate tracks of existing rail lines for publicly operated commuter services. In 1963 the New York Central and the New York, New Haven & Hartford hauled about 60,000 commuters from the northern suburbs to Manhattan’s central business district. This figure represented a decline from the post-World War II period. As you know, this number has increased dramatically in the last 25 years to about 95,000. Experts disagreed on the definition and the amount of the losses, but if the New York Central had not had to operate its suburban service, its 1961 operating deficit would have been $7.6 million less. Similarly, the New Haven would have had a $3.7 million smaller deficit.

A study was financed by the Ford Foundation, following a proposal submitted by the Institute of Public Administration in 1961 for: “…a study of the feasibility of setting up an agency or agencies to take responsibility for rail commuter service in the New York metropolitan region. The study would concentrate on the New Haven and New York Central Railroads; findings could be applied to other commuter railroads in the region and elsewhere.” This report focused on what is popularly called commuter travel, a term which applies to frequent and regular trips of any considerable length, ordinarily for work purposes. The term arose from the early railroad practice of granting reduced, or “commuted” fares for regular trips between outlying towns and their city terminals, originally for the purpose of increasing traffic on intercity trains. In 1963, about 18 percent of the employees of Manhattan’s central business district (south of 60th Street) were commuters from out of town; of these, about 50 percent used suburban rail service for at least part of their trip.

Most of the commuter travel was concentrated (and still is) in two peak morning and evening hours, though a few commuters travel at off-peak hours. In addition, there has always been casual travel between the suburbs and the central city. Most rail commuters from the northern sector were served by the equipment devoted exclusively to suburban service, though about 7 percent traveled on intercity trains. This figure would hold up today as suburban service stops at New Haven and Poughkeepsie while commuters have migrated to places like Rhinecliff, Hudson, Hartford and Old Saybrook which are currently only served by AMTRAK. Suburban rail service has always been different from mass transit rail services in terms of equipment, operating techniques, fare structure and techniques of fare collection. Public support to keep rail services operating appears to be justified on two grounds: first, large scale diversion of travel from rail to other modes is likely to be even more costly to the public than rail support; and second, suburban rail service, particularly for purposes of work trips, is an important factor in the economic health of both the suburban towns and the central business district of Manhattan. The degree of public financial support required depends partly upon the fare levels, and these in turn affect the volume of suburban rail travel.

The plan called for the disposition of the existing stations as follows:

(1) junction stations such as Grand Central, New Haven and Poughkeepsie would remain under railroad control and the commuter service agency would lease space;

(2) joint stations such as Bridgeport, Harmon and Stamford would be operated by the commuter service agency, with the railroads leasing space for long distance trains; and

(3) all other stations would be operated by the commuter service agency.

Two of the most promising possibilities which surfaced were automatic fare collection and automatic doors which would make possible the reduction of personnel required for fare collection and train operation.

Two alternative plans were examined in the report. The first involved maintaining the existing pattern of service between the suburbs and 125th Street and Grand Central Terminal. The second contemplated a somewhat radical change, under which commuter rail service would terminate in the lower Bronx and suburban passengers would transfer to rapid transit for the trip downtown. The tracks between the lower Bronx and Grand Central Terminal would be converted to a transit operation, which would considerably increase the capacity of the track and serve the double purpose of carrying out of town commuters and relieving overcrowded subway lines into the Grand Central area. Under this arrangement, a commuter rail service would be terminated at the junction of the Harlem and the New Haven in the lower Bronx (Wakefield); suburban passengers would transfer to rail transit at that point. The transit system would operate conventional transit equipment over the Central’s tracks between Wakefield Station, Mott Haven and Grand Central Terminal. Hudson Division trains would terminate at Mott Haven. The arrangement would make possible greater efficiency of operation — for instance, the shorter runs would allow some trains to make two trips. Although service to Grand Central would not be as good under this arrangement, it would have advantages: (1) passengers could go immediately to the street level at 46th Street and at 59th Street (a new subway station would be contemplated at 59th Street connecting to the BMT); (2) commuters with West Side destinations between Worth and 110th Streets would have available more subway routes without the need for a separate connection at 42nd Street (for instance, connecting with the IND and IRT at 149th Street in the Bronx). This would assume that a direct link to the existing subway system (Lexington Avenue) was built at Grand Central. Although not specifically mentioned, 1963 was the era of “bulldoze and build” so what was the reason to keep Grand Central Terminal??? One possible formula for allocating the burden of public support was suggested by the report, whereby the contribution of each jurisdiction (state and local) would be in proportion to the cost of serving commuters in that jurisdiction.

The possibility of federal government aid was as much an unknown in 1963 as it is today. It was hoped that pending legislation would provide grants contributing toward the cost of needed capital equipment. In a 1963 article in the “American Economic Review”, Professor William Vickrey of Columbia University discussed the issue of how pricing might be used to improve utilization of transportation facilities. He concluded that the current pricing policy for public mass transportation and for the use of streets was not only cumbersome but wrong in that it tended to stimulate use at the most expensive time of day. His idea called for the introduction of automatic equipment for fare collection (similar to the current systems in Washington and San Francisco). More importantly, he felt automatic equipment should be expanded into automobile toll collection. By charging realistic tolls to center city automobiles, Vickrey felt off-peak motorists would not have to subsidize peak-hour motorists. In 1963 dollars, a man who bought a $3,000 car for the purpose of driving to work was asking the community, in effect, to invest $23,000 (the additional investment required for an additional car to drive downtown during prime hours). The impact of street use pricing would be economic allocation of traffic amongst the most efficient means – mass transportation.

EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR A 1963 COMMUTER SERVICE AGENCY
(Assumption of Existing Equipment)
LOCOMOTIVES:

Division Type Horse Power Number
Central Yard Diesel 1200 15
New Haven Yard Diesel 1500 21
Central Road Switcher 1500 21
Central T-Motor 1905 11
Central P-Motor 4250 11
New Haven FL-9 1800 13 -a)



75

(a-Shared with New Haven and allocated on a mileage basis.

MU CARS

Division Seats Built Number
Central 130 1962 53
Central 130 1951 100
Central 95 1925-6 111
New Haven 120 1954 100
New Haven 120 1926-1931 38 (motors)
New Haven 120 1926-1931 61 (trailers)



453

Also acquired would be 7 rail diesel cars and 379 coaches

HOW MANY PEOPLE RODE THE TRAINS?
(Based on 1962 Trainmen’s count)

**********

MetroNorthGrandCentral

Metro North Train in Grand Central Terminal. Metro North is one of the components of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Grand Central Terminal (not Grand Central STATION, that is an old-time radio show), is one of the most famous buildings in the World. It served the New York Central Railroad and the New Haven Railroad. Lots about it, start with the mystery of Track 61.

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Airports: More on Trains to the Plane

By nature, airports create a lot of ground traffic. Unlike most European cities, this means cars in New York City. Developed early on in the history of aviation, JFK International, LaGuardia and Newark airports were intended to only be accessed by automobile. In the 1929-1948 period, who would have thought that an “old-fashioned” train would ever be the most efficient way to get to the airport. Anti-rail, pro-highway Robert Moses directed most of the traffic/transit planning in those days. Now that the land around the airports has become more heavily populated and there are more cars on the road, highways are less and less the answer. New York and New Jersey transportation departments still don’t believe rail is a better alternative than just widening highways. Several plans for a rail link to the airports have fizzled in the last thirty years.

A current $3 per passenger departure tax is intended for airport-related projects and could be used to fund a connection. Will the traditionally anti-rail Port Authority go through with such a connection? They have until 1994 to prepare a comprehensive plan or the tax will expire. A big obstacle is that the various agencies don’t work together very well. The Port Authority doesn’t seem inclined to work with either the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Long Island Rail Road, Metro North or NYC Transit Authority) or New Jersey Department of Transportation.

JFK has 80 percent of the region’s international travelers but the worst ground transportation in the unreliable and badly overloaded Van Wyck Expressway. About 10 percent of the travelers use the subway “A” train to the edge of the airport at Howard Beach followed by a 4-mile bus shuttle. Ignoring other options including the former LIRR Rockaway branch, the Port Authority is talking about a $3 billion Queens-Manhattan transit link. This 20-mile “grand tour” elevated transitway would also serve LaGuardia Airport but seems guaranteed to fail because of length, community objections, a congested Manhattan terminus and “non-standard” equipment.

“Transportation Alternatives”, a New York City organization, has put forward its own alternatives. The Rockaway branch leaves the LIRR main at a high-speed junction in Rego Park and runs over five miles on an almost straight line south to the western boundary of JFK. Except for a short span over the LIRR’s Montauk division, all underpasses and bridges are serviceable. It would be necessary to build connecting tracks entirely on airport property from near Howard Beach to the JFK terminal area (same route as the current Port Authority plan). Including restoration of the track and signals, the cost would be far less than the Port Authority proposal. Airport trains would run on LIRR tracks from Rego Park to Manhattan’s Penn Station. Another ongoing project to connect the LIRR to Grand Central via the 63rd St. tunnel would be a plus.

The biggest obstacle is political: the Port Authority contends that using the $3 airport passenger tax to restore the Rockaway line is inappropriate, since people not headed for the airport might benefit from it. Another drawback of the Rockaway idea is that the line goes through busy Jamaica Station and downtown Jamaica. Several options are available to deal with this.

Trains on the Rockaway route were already running before most homes on the route were built, but after thirty years of no service, abutting residents (approximately 300 families) are concerned about high speed trains in their back yards. Quieter trains and noise barriers would need to be incorporated in the plan.

Newark Airport is visible from Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor but there is no easy way to get from one to the other. When the current terminal area was rebuilt, space was left for an inter-terminal train or “people mover”. While a COMPLEX HIGHWAY INTERCHANGE WAS BUILT, NOBODY EVER INTENDED FOR A RAIL CONNECTION.

Around 1990, the Port Authority proposed a people mover to the parking lots. Some New Jersey officials also suggested a connection with a proposed connection between Newark and Elizabeth. The economy seems to have halted this idea. Best solution could be provided by NJ Transit commuter rail service that passes near the airport.

Many people feel LaGuardia Airport should not be included in longterm plans and should instead be closed. It is small and has hazardously short runways. Financially strapped airlines could concentrate on fewer larger, more efficient planes at JFK and Newark. Much of its traffic is short haul air trips which might better serve the public if they were diverted to an improved Northeast Corridor rail service.

When the Long Island Rail Road operated through Howard Beach (before 1956) where the NYC Transit Authority now operates, the station consisted of ground level shelters on each side of the tracks. The north end of the station had a steel signal bridge with a crosswalk. This accommodated people from the long-gone community of South Aqueduct (now part of the Aqueduct Race Track parking lot). Shopping for groceries required the residents to cross the tracks or else take a circuitous drive. As well as a safe crossing, it was a great place to watch trains.

Few freights moved through Howard Beach. Those that did were hauled by a DD-1. Freight service to the Ozone Park team yard used DD-1’s. Alco S-1 power was used to deliver horses to Aqueduct. The team yard third rail still remains.

In 1903 actual construction started on a plan to electrify from Flatbush Avenue over the Atlantic Division to Belmont Park; from Woodhaven Junction to Rockaway Park and from Jamaica through Locust Avenue to Valley Stream, Far Rockaway and back to Hammels (where the Jamaica Bay trestle joins the Rockaway Peninsula). Ground was broken for a power house in Long Island City. 1904 saw an order being placed for MP-41 electrics. 1905 saw electric service between Flatbush Ave. and Rockaway Park, the first electric train to Jamaica and the extension of electrification to Valley Stream and to Belmont Park. By 1908 electrification reached Hemstead, Long Beach, and into New York’s Penn Station by 1910. The project was completed in 1912 when Whitestone Landing was electrified.

**********

LexingtonAvenue63rdStreet

Lexington Avenue-63rd Street Station · Opened 10/29/1989

Two levels, one side platform and one track on each level. Queens-bound trains use the lower level (approx. 100 feet below street level), and Manhattan-bound trains use the upper level (approx. 80 feet below street level). Behind the platform wall on each level is a second track intended for future connection to the proposed Second Ave. subway line. The platform walls features orange tile laid vertically. From the upper level platform there are three long escalators and intermediate levels before we reach the fare control. All of the intermediate levels feature soaring high ceiling design. At the south end of the fare control are two very long escalators to the lowest intermediate level. This station has full elevator access to all platforms and the street. From here, the 63rd St. tunnel line splits and has access to the 6th Ave. IND, as well as the BMT Broadway line. It is possible that some future service from 63rd St./Queens Boulevard might use the Broadway Line instead of the 6th Avenue line.

**********

WHOOAA

Before this WebSite is done we need to do:

Add a fantastic photo gallery

Add a summary of transit rail in North America

Add more on commuter rail over the years

**********

A “new” idea: A FOURTH airport for New York City.

Stewart Airport is now receiving international flights from air carrier using the Airbus A360 with 600 passengers per plane.   Buses are logistically challenged to bring tourists from Stewart to Manhattan.  Newark International and JFK Queens NY cannot accommodate a wave of Airbus A360s and Boeing Dreamliners from China.  A passenger rail connection with a ramp at Salisbury Mills (Port Jervis Line) and the return of  passenger service to the CSX River Line (New York Central West Shore) at Cornwall-on-Hudson is needed.  Metro North Railroad is investigating the possibility of a station at Bear Mt. State Park and at Manitou, NY in Westchester County connecting the River Line and the Hudson Line across the Bear Mt. Bridge.

(Thanks to Bill Ferris June 17, 2017)

**********

 

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>>>My last ride on the JFK Express subway in April 1990

>>>Chicago Bypass

>>>Van Sweringen Brothers, Nickel Plate and Other Ohio Railroads

>>>New York City Transit Planning

>>>Tahawus: Railroad to a Mine

>>>Chicago Rail Fair

>>>Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid

>>>Abandoned Railroads

>>>Amtrak’s Secret Business

>>>Alphabet Routes

>>>EMD Model 40

>>>Budd RDC

>>>Benton Harbor – Once A Rail Center

Central New England Railway

>>>>>>The Central New England In Connecticut

>>>>>>New York and New England Railroad

>>>>>>1937 Fan Trip

>>>Central New England Railway In New York State

>>>The Railroads Of Pine Plains

>>>CNE in Hopewell Junction

>>>The Maybrook Line Across Dutchess County

>>>The Great Bridge At Poughkeepsie

>>>Poughkeepsie Bridge After The Fire

>>>The Rhinebeck & Connecticut Railroad

>>>Central New England Railway Connecticut Connection

>>>Maybrook Yard

>>>>>>Maybrook Yard 1940’s (Maybrook Journal)

>>>Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad (ND&C)

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Dutchess Junction and Matteawan

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Glenham to Hopewell Junction

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Hopewell Junction to Millbrook

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Bangall and Pine Plains

>>>>>>CNE/ND&C between Pine Plains and Millerton

>>>Fishkill Landing

>>>>>>The First Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing 

>>>>>>The Second Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing

>>>>>>The Final Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing

>>>Poughkeepsie & Eastern in the Poughkeepsie Area

>>>Poughkeepsie & Eastern North from Poughkeepsie

>>>One of the railroads that made up the CNE Railway was the Poughkeepsie & Connecticut

Environment

>>>WEATHERTOPIA

Supply Chain Management

>>>Supply Chain Synchronization

Vacation French Riviera

>>>Castillon

>>>Menton

New Haven Railroad

>>>George Alpert, Last New Haven President

>>>Essex Steam Train

>>>Newport and Rhode Island Railroads

>>>Railroads To Cape Cod

>>>Cedar Hill Railroad Yard In New Haven

>>>Housatonic Railroad

>>>Manufacturers Street Railway in New Haven

>>>Train Stations Of Connecticut

>>>Boston and New England Railroads

>>>New Haven RR Signal Stations

>>>Connecticut Railfan

>>>Connecticut Freight Railroads

>>>Shoreline Bridges Of The New Haven Railroad

>>>Old Railroads Of Connecticut

>>>The Trolley In Connecticut

>>>The Shepaug Valley Railroad

>>>What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen

New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Shops At Harmon

>>>More On The West Shore

>>>Conrail

>>>Troy & Schenectady Railroad

>>>Railroader Biographies

>>>Webb’s Wilderness Railroad

>>>Who Owns Grand Central and What Is Track 61

>>>Catskill Mountain Branch

>>>West Side Freight Line

>>>Grand Central Terminal

>>>20th Century Limited

>>>Peoria & Eastern Railway

>>>Chicago River & Indiana Railroad

           The Indiana Harbor Belt

>>>NY Central Harlem Division

>>>Castleton, Selkirk and Hudson Valley

>>>Robert R. Young

>>>PENN CENTRAL: A WRECK OF A RAILROAD

>>>Original New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Hudson Division

>>>Putnam Division Of The NY Central

>>>Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company

>>>Dekalb Junction to Ogdensburgh

>>>New Jersey Junction Railroad

>>>What If No Penn Central?

>>>Boston & Albany Railroad

>>>New York Central Lines Magazine

>>>>>>NY Central 1919-1925

>>>>>>NY Central 1925-1931

>>>>>>NY Central Locomotive 999

>>>>>>NY Central Annual Meetings

>>>>>>NY Central Joliet Cutoff

>>>>>>NY Central Pullman Lettering

>>>>>>NY Central RW&O Chronicals

>>>>>>NY Central GCT #1 Wrecker

>>>>>>NY Central 1921 Transportaton World

>>>>>>NY Central Health & Pleasure

>>>>>>NY Central Ken Knapp

>>>POTUS: Lincoln and Trains

>>>The New York Central Railroad in 1950

>>>More About The New York Central Railroad

>>>New York Central Song