New York City Transit Planning

NYCPlanning

450px-MTA_NYC_Transit_services_mosaic

New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority

This is the pubic authority that runs public transit in New York City area. It co-exists with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which runs airports and the physical port of New York & New Jersey.

The New York City Transit Authority (also known as NYCTAThe TAor simply Transit, and branded as MTA New York City Transit) is a public authority in the U.S. state of New York that operates public transportation in New York City. Part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the busiest and largest transit system in North America, the NYCTA has a daily ridership of 7 million trips (over 2 billion annually).

The NYCTA operates the following systems:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the U.S. state of New York, serving 12 counties in Downstate New York, along with two counties in southwestern Connecticut under contract to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide, and over 800,000 vehicles on its seven toll bridges and two tunnels per weekday. MTA is the largest public transit authority in the United States.

As part of establishing a common corporate identity, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1994 assigned popular names to each of its subsidiaries and affiliates.  The New York City Transit Authority is now known popularly as MTA New York City Transit (NYCT), (or more specifically on the vehicles, MTA New York City Bus and MTA New York City Subway), though the former remains its legal name for documents and contracts. Newer contracts and RFPs, however, have also used the popular name.

Chartered by the New York State Legislature in 1965 as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA), it was initially created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to purchase and operate the bankrupt Long Island Rail Road. The MCTA dropped the word “Commuter” from its name and became the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on March 1, 1968 when it took over operations of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) (now MTA New York City Transit (NYCT)) and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) (now MTA Bridges and Tunnels (B&T)). The construction of two bridges over the Long Island Sound was put under the jurisdiction of the MTA.

The agency also entered into a long-term lease of the Penn Central Transportation‘s HudsonHarlem, and New Haven commuter rail lines, contracting their subsidized operation to Penn Central, until that company’s operations were folded into Conrail in 1976. The MTA took over full operations in 1983, as the Metro-North Commuter RailroadGovernor Rockefeller appointed his top aide, Dr. William J. Ronan, as chairman and chief executive officer. Dr. Ronan served in this post until 1974.

New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority

This is the pubic authority that runs public transit in New York City area. It co-exists with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which runs airports and the physical port of New York & New Jersey.

The New York City Transit Authority (also known as NYCTAThe TA or simply Transit, and branded as MTA New York City Transit) is a public authority in the U.S. state of New York that operates public transportation in New York City. Part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the busiest and largest transit system in North America, the NYCTA has a daily ridership of 7 million trips (over 2 billion annually).

The NYCTA operates the following systems:

Management structure

The Chairman and Members of the MTA, by statute, also serve as the Chairman and Members of the Transit Authority, and serve as the Directors of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority. The Executive Director of the MTA is, ex officio, Executive Director of the Transit Authority.

The Transit Authority has its own management structure which is responsible for its day-to-day operations, with executive personnel reporting to the agency president. Andy Byford is the current  President of the New York City Transit Authority.

History

The subway system today is composed of what once were three separate systems in competition with one another. Two of them were built and operated by private companies: August Belmont‘s Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT). The third, the public Independent Subway System (IND) was owned and operated by the City of New York. The IRT and BMT systems were acquired by the city on June 1, 1940 for $317,000,000 and consolidated with the IND into the New York City Board of Transportation (NYCBOT).

The buses on Staten Island had been operated by a private company operating under a franchise that expired in 1946. When it became known that the company would not renew its franchise, a group of residents in the borough organized the Isle Transportation Company, to continue operation. This group ran into financial difficulties and the city took over the company on February 23, 1947. The city then controlled all of the bus routes on Staten Island. On March 30, 1947, the City took over the bus lines of the North Shore Bus Company, which comprised half of the privately owned lines in Queens, after that company went into financial troubles. On September 24, 1948, the City acquired five bus lines in Manhattan for similar reasons.

The surface operation of the BOT was a costly operation, resulting from the various equipment that was required, including trolley cars, trolley coaches, gasoline and diesel buses, of which many were obsolete and in need of replacement.

During World War II, the New York City Transit System showed an operating surplus on the five-cent fare, because gasoline was rationed and auto riders had to abandon their cars for subway and bus travel. Factories began to work around the clock, and therefore business boomed. Transit repairs were kept at a minimum as basic materials were in short supply for civilian use. Operating revenues were raised and maintenance costs were reduced, but as a result, the future problems of deferred maintenance and falling ridership. In 1946, costs rose and profits turned to losses, and to obtain needed funds, the fare was raised in 1948 to ten cents on the subways and elevated, and to seven cents on the surface lines. This increase only produced a revenue surplus for a single year. In 1951 a uniform ten-cent fare was established on both the rapid transit and surface lines. Operating deficits continued to add up and public dissatisfaction with the transit system grew, as equipment was deteriorating, and train schedules being difficult to abide by.

Formation of the TA

 In March 1953, the Board of Transportation was abolished, and was replaced by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). The NYCTA formally succeeded the BOT on June 15, 1953, being composed of five unsalaried members. Hugh Casey was elected as the agency’s chairman at the authority’s first meeting. The new Transit Authority was modeled after the existing Port of New York Authority which now calls itself the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the latter of which is also now part of the MTA. At this time, the city government leased the IRT, BMT, and IND subway lines and the surface system (buses and, until 1956 street cars). A major goal of the formation of the NYCTA was to remove transit policy, and especially the setting of the transit fare, from City politics. The fare was increased to fifteen cents on July 25, 1953, and a token was introduced for paying subway and elevated fares. Bus and trolley fares continued to be paid by cash only.

In July 1953, the NYCTA proposed spending $1,065,000,000 over six years, expanding the city’s subway system through new lines and connections between the IND and BMT Divisions. The most important new lines were a Second Avenue subway, including a Chrystie Street connection to the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridge and a rebuilt DeKalb Avenue junction in Brooklyn, IRT Utica Avenue and Nostrand Avenue extensions into southeast Brooklyn, and the extension of subway service to the Rockaway Peninsula using the Long Island Railroad’s Rockaway Beach Branch. Only the Chrystie Street connection, the rebuilt DeKalb Avenue Junction, and the Rockaway Line were built between 1954 and 1967.

One provision in the 1953 law that created NYCTA demanded that by July 1955, the agency create a plan to sell its bus and trolley routes to private operators. In the beginning of 1955, it was reported that the NYCTA’s surface operations cost seven million dollars more to operate annually than it collected in revenue from the fare box. By privatizing the surface operations, and as a result focusing on subways, the NYCTA could then meet its operating costs. Two Manhattan private operators, New York City Omnibus and Surface Transportation, in March 1955, expressed interest in taking control of the five-route NYCTA bus operation in that borough. In the other boroughs there was no interest in taking over the routes in Brooklyn and Staten Island, and there was little interest in Queens. In April 1955, laws were passed by the New York State legislature to change the NYCTA into a three-member salaried panel to become in effect on July 1, 1955. This allowed its members to devote their full-time to managing New York’s transit system. As part of this law, the provision that required surface operations to be sold was removed. The Chairman of the NYCTA then became Charles Patterson.

One major problem that the NYCTA inherited from the Board of Transportation was the age of the subway cars from the IRT and BMT. The first new cars were the R16s, numbered 200, which first appeared in January 1955 being put in service on the J train. These cars were introduced with automatic thermostats and dampers to control the heat and ventilation systems based on the air temperature outside. Additional subway cars were also ordered and delivered between 1960 and 1965; the R27s, the R30s and R32s for the IND/BMT lines, and R29s, R33s and R36s for the IRT (2,350 cars). Between 1966 and 1969, an additional 1,000 cars, split between the R38, R40, and R42 orders, were placed into service.  The last of the original BMT Standard stock was retired by 1969, along with the last prewar IRT equipment.

On July 5, 1966, the fare was increased to twenty cents.

Today, all of the subways are owned by New York City and leased to the Transit Authority for operation.

As with all mass transit in the United States the TA requires assistance for its capital costs and to cover operational needs, however, the very high ridership of New York City’s subway system has enabled it to pay 67% of its operating costs from fares and advertising. Historically, the TA’s capital requirements were met by the city and state jointly, but this support was withdrawn, primarily by Governor Rockefeller, in the 1960s.

In 1965, mayoral candidate John Lindsay pledged to use the toll revenues from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) to offset the NYCTA’s deficits. In January 1966, New York State, with the help of Governor Nelson Rockefeller. purchased the Long Island Rail Road, from it corporate parent, the Pennsylvania Railroad, becoming part of the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA). Rockefeller saw the difficulty that John Lindsey, who had since won the mayoral election, had in his plan to use the TBTA surpluses for the NYCTA, and decided to expand the MCTA to give it oversight to the NYCTA and the TBTA. The MCTA would be renamed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Tied to a bill with the creation of the MTA was a $2.5 billion bond issue that would be approved or disapproved by voters in November 1967. A majority of the bonds would go to the state’s mass transit systems, with a majority going to New York City, and to Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, and Orange Counties. The day prior to the election, two brand new R40 cars were displayed on the IND Sixth Avenue Line at Herald Square. The bond issue passed, and the MTA was set to take over the NYCTA in 1968. The night before December 31, 1967, the NYCTA and the TWU made an agreement to avoid a strike. The deal gave NYCTA workers the ability to retire with about half-pay after twenty years if the employee was over fifty years old. This would later cause problems, as large numbers of transit workers would retire to take advantage of these benefits On March 1, 1968 the NYCTA, and its subsidiary, the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority(MaBSTOA), were placed under the control of, and are now affiliates of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

 

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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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A New Hudson Bridge, Revived Beacon Line, HYPERLOOP and More

The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers.

If one looks at the most popular Pages on our WebSite, over half directly reference the Maybrook Line. Lot’s of folks have an interest in it. The “Maybrook Line” was important to New England before the advent of Penn Central and before the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned. This piece of the railroad carried freight from Maybrook Yard, across the Poughkeepsie Bridge to Hopewell Junction where it joined a line from Beacon. The railroad then went to Brewster, then Danbury, and finally to Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven.

WHY and How To Fix The “MAYBROOK LINE”?

Container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge

The construction of a railroad bridge between New Hamburg and Marlboro is likely the least expensive place to build a Hudson River crossing between Manhattan and Albany.    The stone for ramps, sand and gravel for concrete and a steel beam assembly and storage area would be right on sight.  All materials and equipment could be transported by barge or boat.  The bridge itself would have only four or five piers (the most costly part to build) since the Hudson River is about the same width as it is in Poughkeepsie.

The Hudson River component connects Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties to the world economy (finished goods, spare parts, components parts, raw materials, food stuffs) and the railroad and interstate road components connect these NY counties to the rest of North America (US, Mexico, Canada).

With the container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge, the flow in and out of raw materials, spare parts, partially finished goods, foodstuffs and components will allow for new industries and businesses to locate near this facility and add to the tax base of these three NY counties: Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.

Although the Dutchess County Airport is a tiny regional airport with a 5,000 foot runway, it has some big potential. The airport land extends a mile Northeast of the present runway end at New Hackensack Road and borders on the former New Haven Maybrook Line/Dutchess Rail Trail. As the NY Air National Guard gets crowded out by international air traffic at Stewart International Airport their operation could be moved over to Dutchess Airport without disrupting the lives of the guard members and their families through forced relocation.

Beacon itself is exploding with “developer” activity, and it needs a trolley or light rail for the city only to transform back into a pedestrian oriented city.

Other activities include: Solidization of rail links in Connecticut to handle increased traffic; a possible HYPERLINK for improved service along the Beacon Line and in/out of New York City 

Now you are going to ask. What does the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority have to do with the “BEACON LINE”? IT OWNS IT! Must realize that NYCMTA is a “regional” organization. With all that went on with Penn-Central and CONRAIL somebody had to own it!

So what would a “revised” rail line look like?

To begin with, the line from Maybrook to the Hudson River is gone. Railroads that previously entered Maybrook can reach the Hudson River and head up the old West Shore to the proposed bridge at New Hamburg. But the old Poughkeepsie Bridge is no longer in service, as well as the tracks to Hopewell Junction. At Marlboro, trains would take the old New York Central Hudson Division to Beacon, New York. Yes, with both Metro North and Amtrak using the Hudson Line, it may require an additional track.

From Beacon trains would travel the Beacon Line over the Housatonic Railroad to Derby-Shelton, Connecticut. Trains would go to Cedar Hill Yard. Some traffic may go to Long Island. With traffic revitalized, other trains will even go to Waterbury!

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A great, great WebSite about HUDSON VALLEY RAILROADS

No, it is not ours! It is very comprehensive and professional.

http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/library/pdfs/Railroads.pdf

It is written by professionals, not railfans. Lots of really neat stories about the old railroads. Lots of great links too!

http://walkway.org

All about the Walkway Over The Hudson (old bridge from Maybrook to Beacon)

http://web.mta.info/mnr

All about Metro-North Railroad

From their biblioraphy:

“New York Central Railroad and New York State Railroads.” GOURMET MOIST / Kingly Heirs. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. . This website talks about the different railroads that eventually merged to form the New York Central Railroad. It also discusses where the railroads runs to and from.”

Since 2010, it has become a part of our WebSite:

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/new-york-state-railroads-and-ny-central-railroad/

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Important Link: “What Railroads Connected At Maybrook?

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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)

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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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Read More On Transit Plannning From Penney Vanderbilt’s Blog

THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

PreWorldsFairSubwayCar

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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