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95% of Trains Are on Time? Riders Beg to Differ


Harry

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By official accounts, 2009 was a banner year for the commuter railroads that serve New York City. Of all the trains that ran last year, the railroads said, nearly 96 percent were on time — one of the best performances since they began keeping records.

 

But the reality, as nearly any rider would tell you, can be considerably different, and vastly more frustrating.

 

On weekday mornings, 1 in 10 trains entering Pennsylvania Station arrived late, two-thirds by 10 minutes or more. At the peak of the rush, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., about 25 percent of New Jersey Transit trains entering Manhattan arrived late; about 2 in 5 of the late trains were tardy by at least 15 minutes. (The trains’ scheduled runs are a little more than an hour on average.)

 

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/nyregion/27ontime.html?_r=1&ref=new_jersey_transit

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Here's a good reason for the disparity:

 

The statistic encompasses every trip a railroad makes. But only a third of those trips occur during rush hours, when the vast majority of riders use the trains. That means that quieter periods, when fewer trains are running and most trips go off without a hitch, lift the figures higher than what most commuters typically experience.

 

Adding to the disconnect is the fact that the railroads deem a train late only if it reaches its terminus more than 5 minutes 59 seconds after the scheduled arrival time.

 

It also doesn't help that the majority of passengers (from what it appears) are Penn Station bound, and they're competing with Amtrak (which is implied in the article is a factor in the majority of railroad delays) and LIRR.

 

Btw, a nice bit of humor:

 

The confusion between the views of rider and railroad seems to stretch back to the days when mass transit began. In 1955, The Times reported that the Long Island Rail Road had quit publishing its on-time performance statistics. The reason: “People just wouldn’t believe us.”
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By official accounts, 2009 was a banner year for the commuter railroads that serve New York City. Of all the trains that ran last year, the railroads said, nearly 96 percent were on time — one of the best performances since they began keeping records.

 

But the reality, as nearly any rider would tell you, can be considerably different, and vastly more frustrating.

 

On weekday mornings, 1 in 10 trains entering Pennsylvania Station arrived late, two-thirds by 10 minutes or more. At the peak of the rush, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., about 25 percent of New Jersey Transit trains entering Manhattan arrived late; about 2 in 5 of the late trains were tardy by at least 15 minutes. (The trains’ scheduled runs are a little more than an hour on average.)

 

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/nyregion/27ontime.html?_r=1&ref=new_jersey_transit

 

I wonder how they count cancelled trains.

On July 8th in rush hour Penn Station looked like this http://yfrog.com/j1pdznj

They probably just ignored such cases

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well people need to realize there is literally close to or over 1000 trains going in and out of Penn Station a day...three railroads are all trying to cram into a 21 track station with no more than 2 tunnels in and 2 tunnels out. The margin for error is so small...that the slightest switching problem or door problem will cause a ripple effect therefore making the trains late..

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I wonder how they count cancelled trains.

On July 8th in rush hour Penn Station looked like this http://yfrog.com/j1pdznj

They probably just ignored such cases

 

There was a wire and switch issue that day

 

 

well people need to realize there is literally close to or over 1000 trains going in and out of Penn Station a day...three railroads are all trying to cram into a 21 track station with no more than 2 tunnels in and 2 tunnels out. The margin for error is so small...that the slightest switching problem or door problem will cause a ripple effect therefore making the trains late..

 

Actually there are 2 north river tubes one track each, and under 6th ave where LIRR and Amtrak lines diverge, one set of tracks have overhead wires only and leads out to hell gate and beyond, one connects to the LIRR main.

 

The LIRR use tracks 14 to 21 and njt typically sticks to 1-9 the rest being used for Amtrak, however njt can use up to track 15 if memory serves. The only tracks without LIRR access are stub end tracks with no 3rd rail, those are 1-4. Empire service typically use track 5.

 

Also, LIRR does not interfere with NJT operations, but Amtrak does.

 

- A

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