With the new cameras going up on the platforms at Chambers (which I at first thought looked like new chandeliers!) it made me wonder when they are ever going to try to fix the station. If they did enough work to add those things, then it looks like that's all they ever plan to do.
I like the original symmetry the station must have had, but the outside platform on the west side was covered over. The usual explanation is that some sort of expansion of the adjacent IRT station necessitated the destruction of the original wall. But there are five doors in the new false wall, and years ago, I saw one of them opened (I believe the one on the southern end) and could see the original wall intact. So I imagine it must be only part of the wall that was demolished. Probably on the other end, where the passageway between stations from the north mezzanine is. You can even see the stairway for that descending into the false wall.
I wonder what work on the IRT station they did. Did they widen it or something? Since the platforms are in the middle, then they would have had to move the track over. Is that what they did?
In any case, another idea I thought of, is even if they did remove the wall, in places, why not still take the false wall down, and remove the IRT wall as well, so you could see between stations? Like make it into one huge eight track, four platform super-station, like basically an underground Stillwell! The IRT is about 12 feet higher than the BMT, but the BMT has the really high ceiling, so it really would have that effect, and you could still have some of the original tilework on the wall below the IRT track level. (I wonder if that was left, and they only broke through whatever was necessary, above the 12 feet level).
You can also see the tops of two stariways descending into the wall in the middle of the station, and on the other side, you can see the two stairways coming down around the same place on the other side platform, plus I believe one stairway in the middle platform. These go up to an area that has no stairways to the current passenger platforms. That area is probably apart of the Track dept. facility (And I was in there not too long ago, to exchange my radio, and for something else, and I wasn't even thinking of that then!)
If they ever redid the station into a "grand palace" design it has the capacity to become, they could reopen that space as well.
When I see all the rusty cave drippings all over the place, I think to really fix all of that, they would orobably have to gut much of the existing concrete and completely change the drainage system, basically rebuilding almost from scratch,a nd would need to close the station, if not cut all service through there for awhile. I imagine sometime, they could run it through, and create a temporary "tunnel box structure" with alumimum beam supports covered by wooden walls and ceilings, over the tracks, like they basically did at Cortlandt St. on the . Maybe the could at times get away with keeping the platforms and stairways open, but closing off everything else. Still, they might need some time with no service. would have to terminate at Essex in the middle. If extended into rush hourse, would have to terminate at Bwy-Jct, like when the bridge was closed. So this would be similr to that, but not as bad, as you're not being thrown onto buses at Marcy, but Essex instead. Still, riders would be encouraged to transfter at Bwy-Jct. or the to Bway-Laf, for the , or W4 for the . (Maybe that would also be a good motivation to connect nearby Prince to Bway Laf).
Canal could become a temporary terminal if a switch is added, and funny thing, whenever I see G.O. track diagrams for the area, they show a switch between Bowery and Canal that was never there! (There are two breaks on the curtain wall on the curve between those stations). I don't know if this is from some plan to put one there, or what.
Canal as a full time terminal would still be difficult, because you're dumping all those transferees onto the platforms, which serve as the transfer. Perhaps they would have to reopen the passageways that went parallel to the platforms between the and , if possible.
But they would probably have it so that there was at least rush hour service through, if nothing else.
So I wonder, with such a grand station like this, and under the "city center" basically, why they would allow it to stay that way. Is it because of the line that runs there? A like that goes mostly through poorer neighborhood, so don't carry many of the demographic of people who garner top-of-the-line service, or don't carry enough people in general? (Like the and Queens corridor). Or is it because it engineering -- too costly, or they don't even know how to fix it, since it is apprently built in a geological body of water?