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About Trainmaster5

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    Retired Motorman

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    New York, North Carolina
  1. BUS - Random Thoughts Thread

    I have a few questions about bus service in the outer boroughs and I figured that you folks could help me understand things a little better. For those who don't know me I'm an old Brooklynite who grew up in Brownsville and Flatbush way back in the 50's and 60's. Mass transit has always been my mode of transport around NYC. Started out with a bus/train pass in the sixth grade and I've been an explorer since then. My questions to you posters is what is the primary function of local bus routes? I'm not trying to be funny or anything but perhaps BrooklynBus or Interested Rider would understand my question a little better. When I grew up I always thought bus service had two functions. It took you to a shopping district like Pitkin Avenue, the Church and Flatbush area, Broadway under the el, or the big one in Downtown Brooklyn. Function two involved commuting. I used to ride the B14 from Sutter Avenue to Utica-Eastern Parkway 5 days a week on my way to school. The bus intersected with the B60, B7, B12 and B10 traveling w/b. At Utica there were transfers to the B46 and the B17 as well as the IRT subway. I don't recall speed being a major function of that run. At Utica I'd transfer to a s/b B46 down to Clarkson or Winthrop St where my schools were located. Again speed wasn't an overriding concern. The n/b B46's served a different function as far as I could determine. Whether they originated at Avenue N, Avenue H, or Snyder Avenue those were rush hour runs to the subway. Heck, there was a bus dispatcher with a portable farebox located at Church Avenue who collected fares at the back door. Yeah, you SBS snobs are about sixty years too late with your offboard payment, lol. Met him one day when I tried my B35 to Utica experiment one morning. I recall B46's to Eastern Parkway, DeKalb, Bridge Plaza, and IIRC there was one or two to Fulton St. Again, speed did not appear to be a primary function. When I moved to Prospect-Lefferts and reversed my commute the only difference was I now took the B12 e/b from Parkside to Utica and East New York Avenue. Again speed did not appear to be a big factor. We picked up a few people at Nostrand heading for Kings County Hospital and then some commuters along Albany Avenue. Of course by that time my home was bracketed by the B41, B49, and B44 from west to east before Rogers and Nostrand became one-way. Here's where I begin to question the role of local bus service. The stops along Rogers and/or Nostrand were usually no more than three blocks apart. On adjacent bi-directional streets one would never have to travel too far in either direction to catch a bus. Obviously there weren't as many two car families back then so the bus stops were a convenience. From what some posters are complaining about it seems that they think the buses are making too many stops these days. Obviously there's been a sea change in what people think a bus is supposed to do. There's no one size fits all but , IMO, if you eliminate stops in an arbitrary manner ( every 5 blocks instead of 3 for example) bus ridership should automatically decline and it shouldn't be a surprise. As I pointed out earlier speed was never a major factor in bus usage back then. Convenience was. On the n/b B49 for example there might have been 5 stops between Winthrop St and Empire Blvd but normally a bus would stop twice. On a route with a local and a limited I could see the reasoning and both could coexist. On a street like Rogers with the B49 and the B44SBS if you stretch out the B49 stops the potential catchment area is decreased and the Camry or SUV gets cranked up because the convenience factor is eliminated. The city, the or the riders can't complain about congestion when it appears, at least to me, that the things you claim to want like decreased traffic and increased speed don't seem to have a middle ground. On one hand there's too much congestion and the buses creep along their routes meanwhile Joe and Jane Commuter are in a hurry and don't have the time to waste on slow buses or trains so they're gonna use their personal vehicle, a cab, or Uber/Lyft, to get around. Meanwhile bus ridership is tanking because it's slow ? Maybe it's a generational thing ? I really don't know. Those of us who grew up in Prospect-Lefferts in the 60's and 70's took the B41 bus to Downtown Brooklyn even though we had the Brighton Line and the Nostrand Avenue line within walking distance. It wasn't about speed. It's my personal opinion that it's the mismanagement of surface transportation, at least in Brooklyn, that's contributed to the reliability issues and the loss of potential ridership. Just my opinion though. Carry on.
  2. SUBWAY - Random Thoughts Topic

    Before I retired my C/R and I were sent s/b from Dyre on the"express" track a few times. One time I had a TSS in my cab and he waited to see what I would do at Pelham Parkway. Trains don't normally stop there because there was no indication board for the conductor.I made a station stop and enabled the doors for my partner. After we started moving again he asked me why I stopped and why my C/R opened the doors because there was no conductor indication board there. I told him that the General Supt. asked me the same thing weeks before and I told the superintendent to look at the station the next time he was in the area and he'd see what I had known for 25+ years. If you look across the platform at the normal local track and see the conductor indication board and point to it as per rules the express track is in the exact same spot. In other words you are properly aligned to open the doors. Since all the line TSS were afraid of the General Supt and my partner and I were not we were able to get away with bending the rules from time to time. I told that particular TSS that there was no reason to leave a platform full of people standing there and if we bypassed them they would have to take a train and travel three stops in the opposite direction to catch a train going in my direction. He agreed with me hesitantly because he, not I, was supposed to be in charge. It's always bothered me wherever I was employed that no matter how well I was trained some supervisory personnel were to afraid to do their jobs. My Rabbi in transit told me to stop, think, and take action because down in the subway hesitation and/or inaction can be very dangerous. As he put it a G2 (report) showing no action taken by the writer meant the writer wasn't necessary either. I remember being asked by another chicken hearted TSS if I would open the doors at Rockaway Avenue on the line if there was no conductor indication board present. The General Supt was standing next to him when I smiled at them and said yes. The TSS said that if I did that as a C/R I would fail the integrity test they give conductors. I told him, in front of the General Supt, that he would fail my test. Everyone in the room laughed when I pointed out that the indication board on the s/b platform was located equidistant between the two staircases and unless those staircases were removed the spot to be safely berthed in the station wouldn't change. Rules are rules but common sense should prevail IMO. Just my musings. Carry on.
  3. SUBWAY - Random Thoughts Topic

    A supplement is basically a deviation from the basic schedule. They are used when trains are running during scheduled General Orders. Maybe there's something like trackwork being done on a line and one track is out of service. The supplement may have half the number of regularly scheduled trains operating in a localized area. There are also emergency supplements that may be used for switch or broken rail situations and the like. Supplements are printed up when new picks go in effect. Depending on the line there might be twenty different supplements available for use depending on the situation at hand. Supplements were supposed to be used for a maximum of 30 days before being replaced by a new one or a reversion to the regular schedule and timetable. An emergency G.O. and supplement are just that and aren't subject to those limitations. Hope that helps. Carry on.
  4. SUBWAY - Random Thoughts Topic

    I have a question for the Lexington Avenue riders. Since the Second Avenue line started running has there been a noticeable difference in ridership on the Upper Lex corridor ? I believe I asked this before but I don't remember if it was answered. What I'm trying to find out is, with the advent of the up there, has the crowding on the from 96th St down to 59th St diminished any ? I direct the same question to the surface riders up there. The reason I'm asking this particular way is because supposedly the would siphon off some of the crowds from the and the buses up there. Is this in fact happening ? Knowing how the does things it would not surprise me if Operations and Planning instituted a new schedule (supplement) on the line in particular because theoretically there wouldn't be a need for as many trains on the line because the would siphon off some of the folks who'd normally ride the Lex. I've been following the posts of VG8 and some others and I don't ever recall the operating so poorly. The sure, but not the in my experience. I'd like to hear from our Surface contingent too. Something ain't right up there IMO. Carry on.
  5. Metrocard Phase Out

    Read the post from RR503 directly above yours.
  6. Rockaway Beach Branch

    Gotta slip this in about the present day Dyre line. The line was a railroad line, basically a New Haven offshoot, that ran south from Westchester county to the South Bronx. It wasn't low density and it had a ridership base. The Depression and the New Haven bankruptcy is what made the line available for NYC to purchase. It was a cheaper alternative than extending the Concourse line eastward. Remember the line only ran between Dyre and EAST 180th Street after the line was purchased and before the connection was built. The RBB was a remnant of the bankrupt LIRR . While the southern end was connected to the subway system the present day RBB suffered from low ridership from Ozone Park station north to the mainline LIRR at Whitepot junction. Even the Woodhaven stations on the RBB and Atlantic branches weren't utilized enough to stay open. To compare Dyre and RBB is fallacy IMO. Completely different situations after the parent railroads bankruptcies. My opinion though. Yours may be different. Carry on.
  7. SUBWAY - Random Thoughts Topic

    In my experience ridership entering either station is heading toward Hoyt-Schermerhorn overwhelmingly. Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan for the most part. After rush hour, especially on the , what major destination is there heading towards LIC ? As you pointed out the catchment area is the same so why not use the more frequent train. Actually the more populated side of the area is on the side of Fulton Street if my memory is correct. Carry on.
  8. MTA Conductors Spill 10 Secrets of the NYC Subway System

    Rail Run and VG8 I'm glad you both realize that education is the key. Leaving aside the technology things I'd wager that what BrooklynBus, Interested Rider, and myself learned before we entered high school is more than most HS and some college grads brag about today. That's the underlying problem in America today. I had a conversation with a " bigwig " in NC politics before Christmas. He's a graduate of a local university down there. He says that the problem with us New Yorkers is that we think we know it all. My cousin, his fellow classmate and graduate, told him that what they passed in college some of us learned in junior high school.
  9. MTA Conductors Spill 10 Secrets of the NYC Subway System

    That's a slippery slope to travel on when the present POTUS can't see fit to hire American born people to work on many of the properties his name adorns.
  10. MTA Conductors Spill 10 Secrets of the NYC Subway System

    Most economists see protectionism as a negative in the long term. Whether it's an American, EU, Chinese, or Korean machine matters little to the American who lost his job. The job ain't gonna come back. Automation doesn't respect national boundaries and as long as the machine is owned by the multinational corporations the job and profits ain't American either. Carry on.
  11. I’m trying to see the correlation between timers and a 12-9. I pounded the road for many years but I don’t recall any mention of timers in a 12-9 investigation. That’s not to say it never happened. I knew a brother who had 3 12-9s and he figured a change of scenery might help. He picked a job on the and left Dyre. I’m sure you can guess what happened. Some nut job killed her baby. She runs away from the scene, up to the elevated station and commits suicide by jumping in front of his train. My man was so shaken up that they agreed to let him become a Property Protection Agent. He used to tell me that the OT was good as an agent but because he was an outsider with no seniority he’d be sent to Staten Island or Coney Island at some ridiculous reporting times. That’s a far cry from being able to pick your RTO job, days off, and vacation. Last time I saw him he had fallen ill and was going to retire, possibly on disability, because of his job experience. A 12-9 or any other fatality is something that 95% of the workplace folks will never encounter . Police , EMS, or military service people in combat come closest IMO to seeing the deaths up close . Years ago we had a motor instructor who would come to different locations and show us photos taken at the scene of 12-9s. I remember people becoming physically ill after viewing the pictures. IIRC he only came to train yards because the workers there had seniority and many of them had jobs where they never went down the road in passenger service. Maybe the person operating your train has been through a traumatic experience before and that’s why they operate at the speed they do and not like a bat out of hell 👆. Ask an RTO employee in the IRT about the man called “ Rolling Thunder “ . Carry on.
  12. Unplanned Subway Service Changes

    There were probably no trains behind you. In cases like that the train will be “ gapped “ to even out the spacing between trains. If your train went express to Burnside and dropped out think about the number of stations that wouldn’t have any service from 149th St to Woodlawn. Without knowing the specifics of the big picture the procedure was the correct one.
  13. Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    Over the years I've seen posters talking about tourists being confused about the various services serving Queens and the JFK airport. Obviously my experience with the Fulton Street line goes way back but the tourist argument seems overblown, at least in my opinion. I used to travel from the Nostrand Avenue or the Broadway Junction stop to Rockaway Playland back when the subway took over from the LIRR. Back when the Far Rock train terminal was at Wavecrest. Back when everything was a two fare zone below Broad Channel. I've seen residents, workers, amusement park daytrippers, and the fishermen use the Rockaway branches. I've seen people disembark at Howard Beach through the years but my guess is that those people were Idewild/JFK workers because they didn't have luggage that I can remember. Heck, the old JFK express service carried air which is why it bit the dust. Has ridership increased by that much since the Train to the Plane made it's last trip? There was a time when the passengers at Howard Beach were either airport workers or people going to Aqueduct. Even today it appears that most people use taxis or the LIRR -Airtrain combination over the subway trip. As far as tourist confusion goes from my personal experience they're smarter than some posters give them credit for. They can read, they're good listeners, they're polite, and whether they want to go to Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx Zoo, Harlem, Citifield, or Coney Island, they seem to get around better than some residents of the city do. Isn't the confusion argument a straw man? Just asking. Carry on.
  14. How the MTA Is Like an Alcoholic

    Some of us inside and outside the system have known about the problems in the subways for years. We have tried to discuss the situation in various posts over the years. Go back and look at the most commented on threads and you're going to find that the popular ones focus on the cosmetics. New cars, countdown clocks, routing proposals. I guess the real nuts and bolts aren't sexy enough for some posters and some in management. I can excuse the posters but there's no excuse for upper management to be so inept. People fawning over what the press releases or the governor's office publicist said while ignoring the underlying problems. I don't pretend to know about Surface but it wouldn't be a surprise to me that the same problems exist over there too. Just my thoughts. Carry on.
  15. Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    Well it looks like everyone has their own opinion on speeding up subway service with solutions that cover the gamut of ideas. New car acquisition, major construction projects that would redo junctions that create choke points and new routing for existing lines. I make no secret of my disdain for one Bronx IRT proposal which stems from my own work experience over a 30 year period. Bear with me please. I was a C/R and a M/M on what was called the Lenox division of the IRT for over 25 years. That's what the , and the were called. You could only pick jobs on those three lines. As a rookie you'd probably be stuck on the Beast, the , 241st to New Lots most of the time. Gaining seniority meant a chance to work the Lenox or the Dyre . Real seniority to me meant picking a steady 5 days a week job out of Brooklyn. I normally worked PM tour but back in the day the had overtime jobs in the AM. That experience with the AM is why I am so against the Lexington Avenue-Woodlawn combo proposal. Regular riders and Bronx railfans who know the 149th Street- Grand Concourse station can already see the picture. Under my understanding of the situation all s/b trains on the lower level would be 7th Avenue bound, correct? All Lexington trains would be two levels up. Transferring between levels is problematic as it is during rush hours with s/b riders and some n/b riders too trying to get to 7th Avenue service as well as the reverse commuter. If you focus on the existing plant (station) , it's means of accessing the platform levels and the lack of sufficient staircases IMO you're going to have people backed up trying to get to the Lexington and Woodlawn trains upstairs. It happens during midday G.O.s now.I've been rerouted down the 7th Avenue line and discharged most people enough times and worked jobs when the started on the upper level and saw the conditions first hand. I am doubtful that forcing most Dyre riders and almost all present Nereid ridership to change trains at the Concourse speeds up their commute time and it's probably gonna slow down the s/b 7th Avenue bound trains too. The Lexington line is the slowest and most congested line yet we're going to speed up 7th Avenue service and extend the SAS westward along 125th and ignoring the Bronx folks who want East Side service. Wow. BTW does anyone believe that phase 3 or 4 of the SAS will ever see the light of day? I thought about the transit system a while back and I I realized that in my lifetime we've lost more services while gaining some improvements. Manhattan and Bronx Third Avenue El , Polo Ground Shuttle to Jerome, Lexington, Myrtle, Fulton, and Culver El service, outer end of the Jamaica line and Brighton-Franklin. All gone. As a Brooklynite we got full time IND express service along Fulton Street and full time IRT express service in the borough. We got subway service to the Rockaways and parts of the Plan for Action. We got new rolling stock throughout the system and AC too. Somehow even though things have changed we argue about train throughput, that's O&P territory, but have things really improved ? I think we're at a crossroads where technology and finance will determine the best way forward. A system with no dedicated stream of finance stands on shakey ground. Carry on.


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