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Why is 'el' below the subway?


traildriver

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I was recently at the Parsons/Archer station, and it occured to me as strange that when they built this extension, they took an elevated route, the "J" train down below the already subway level "E" train.

 

Anyone know the history of this planning, and was it done for engineering reasons, or perhaps just to give the shorter walk from street to what was perceived to be the busier route?

One possible reason could be that J line was rerouted after the E was built or planned?

 

Also strange that they did not include an opportunity to connect trains, even if only a work train, from one line to the other.

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The original (J) went to 168 St & Jamaica Av and the original (E) went to 179 St. IIRC, there was some sort of fire so they built an extension past the 121 St Station for the (J) and an extenstion past Van Wyck Blvd for the (E) to the current formation. It opened in December of 1988 (around the same time the B22 became the current Q24 and the B55, B56 & B58 became the Q55, Q56 & Q58 respectively). Also around that time, the Q4, Q5, & Q85 came to Jamaica Center.

They did have plans to ehtend both of those lines deeper into Queens but that plan fell through.

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I think a reason for this is that, originally, the (E) and (J)(Z) trains were to extend beyond Jamaica Center (Parsons Boulevard/Archer Avenue) - the (E) to Springfield Gardens and the (J)(Z) farther out Archer Avenue to Hollis.

 

IIRC, the (E) tracks extend beyond Jamaica Center by at least 1,000 feet to a wall and the (J)(Z) tracks by at least 500 feet to a wall.

 

It would've been nice if the Archer Avenue Line could've been built to at least Merrick Boulevard - this would've restored service to the 168th Street area.

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But why not put the el higher up, since the (E) is subway already and the (J) is not?

 

I'm guessing that since the (E)'s Jamaica - Van Wyck station is right next to the expressway it was done for grade reasons.

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The Original (J) & (Z) ran to 168th st (stated before)

from nycsubway.org-

It is said that the businesses who pushed for the demolition of the end of the Jamaica Ave. El lost a lot of business after the El was demolished.

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That sucks. What goes around comes around in that situation.

 

To be fair, they expected the El to be rebuilt along Archer Av as a surface line. But that never happened because of the early-90s recession, and by the time the economy picked up in 1994-95 the MTA was focused on improvements to the Manhattan Bridge crossing.

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Anyone know the history of this planning, and was it done for engineering reasons, or perhaps just to give the shorter walk from street to what was perceived to be the busier route?

One possible reason could be that J line was rerouted after the E was built or planned?

 

Well I don't know about that, but it was intended that the upper level (IND) was to go all the way out to Springfield Gardens, parallel with the LIRR trackage, as I had once recall from the original planning. Right now, the tracks do continue further and curves, and ends where at the stub end that a provision for a portal to go outside would have built.

 

The lower level (BMT) has the trackage all the way for the provision of a diamond crossover switch at the end (circa 160th Street), and perhaps extending into a possible terminal station at Merrick Boulevard. In any case, as right now, a train could be easily stored as layups on each track on both levels at each ends.

 

Before Archer Ave. opened, the F ran at 18 TPH headways. The E ran at 12. Capacity at JC is (and was) set at 12 TPH due to the boneheaded placement of the crossover. Logically, it was the E and not the F which was chosen to run here. Originally, it was the G and N, be thankful that never panned out.

 

In the mid 1980's there were signs on the northbound platform at Union Turnpike denoting just that kind of service. IIRC, the (G) and (N) were to have originally served Archer Ave, with a special "G" shuttle operating from Jamaica Center to Van Wyk Blvd at night. What a disaster that service plan would have been.

 

The (G) and (N) were to have served Archer Ave, not the (E), in it's original service plan.

 

 

Also strange that they did not include an opportunity to connect trains, even if only a work train, from one line to the other.

 

There was never a plan to connect the upper IND level and the lower BMT level of the Archer Avenue subway.

 

Or perhaps the original planning was for the 'E' to surface further out

 

The original service plan was the (G) and (N) train to serve the Archer Avenue Subway, not the (E).

 

Signage as to how the service would have run was up at Union Tpke in 1986 (wish I had a camera!). Here's what was planned:

 

G: Parson/Archer to Smith/9th, evenings & weekends

 

N: Parson/Archer to CI or Whitehall, weekdays

 

G: Shuttle from Parsons/Archer to Van Wyck (Briarwood), nights only

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Wouldn't it have been 'cheaper' to just strenghten the el than to knock it down and rebuild from scratch?

 

I agree! That was really rediculous.

 

When I was younger, one of my greatest fears was that the el would keep getting cut back. When I was 17, it was cut to Queens Blvd. When I was 25, it was cut to 121st. It wasn't until then that I learned about the Archer Ave extension. Given the way the J line was treated, I was sure it's days were numbered.

 

By 1985, the turnoff down to Archer was visable around 125th St, so I got a good impression on what was going to happen. Originally I thought all 5 of the demolished stations would be recreated underground (LOL) and I had no idea about the connection with the IND (I assumed it was going to be with the LIRR).

 

I didn't learn of the full extend of the connection until I had a conversation with a train operator in 1986, who explained what was going to happen to the J line east of 121st St.

 

I remember riding the Archer extention for the first time at the railfan window in Dec 1988 (between Christmas and New Years), and remember seeing the sad, dilapidated Metropolitan Ave station sitting there in the distance at the curve. I think it was torn down a year or two later.

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I know but the (G) still runs on as displayed on the map below to the Rockaways. If most of the services on the map was built there would have been use to extend most of today's lines. Thus therefore the El runs below to continue with other lines to extend the subway to unreached places.

 

1939_IND_Second_System.jpg

 

You know one thing the map tells me. The (G) was supposed to run from the Rockaways run through Archer Av use the Crosstown Line and shoot into Manhattan via Second Avenue so that means one thing the (G) was supposed to run into Manhattan.

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I know but the (G) still runs on as displayed on the map below to the Rockaways. If most of the services on the map was built there would have been use to extend most of today's lines. Thus therefore the El runs below to continue with other lines to extend the subway to unreached places.

 

(removed)

 

You know one thing the map tells me. The (G) was supposed to run from the Rockaways run through Archer Av use the Crosstown Line and shoot into Manhattan via Second Avenue so that means one thing the (G) was supposed to run into Manhattan.

 

Um, that map is from 1939. We're talking about something that opened in the 1980s.

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Guest lance25

Highly unlikely Roadcruiser1. The curve from Crosstown to Culver was probably just not included in the drawing. It wouldn't make sense for the "Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Line" to run into Manhattan.

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The original (J) went to 168 St & Jamaica Av and the original (E) went to 179 St. IIRC, there was some sort of fire so they built an extension past the 121 St Station for the (J) and an extenstion past Van Wyck Blvd for the (E) to the current formation. It opened in December of 1988 (around the same time the B22 became the current Q24 and the B55, B56 & B58 became the Q55, Q56 & Q58 respectively). Also around that time, the Q4, Q5, & Q85 came to Jamaica Center.

They did have plans to ehtend both of those lines deeper into Queens but that plan fell through.

 

To add on the Q4, Q5, Q84 Q85 used to terminate at 169th St Station (F) before Jamaica Center was built (E)(J)(Z)

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Um, that map is from 1939. We're talking about something that opened in the 1980s.

In addition, it would also be illogical to run the (G) in a an extreme zig-zag pattern (down 2 Avenue, up the Crosstown line, down the Rockaway branch).

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FYI Roadcruser most of the pics posted of the old stations along the now demolished stations past 121st St. are from fantrips. Just in the spirit of full disclosure. Much more common to see R16's out there by the end, even R27/R30's.

 

To the original poster in this thread, you're calling it on a technicality. The Jamaica El only exists as far as 121st St. nowadays, so the "el" is not "below" the subway. The el is in fact, over at 121st St. The (J) line being under the (E) at Sutphin and Parsons is a reflection of the Archer Avenue Subway construction, therefore all you'e really said is that the subway is under the subway.

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FYI Roadcruser most of the pics posted of the old stations along the now demolished stations past 121st St. are from fantrips. Just in the spirit of full disclosure. Much more common to see R16's out there by the end, even R27/R30's.

 

To the original poster in this thread, you're calling it on a technicality. The Jamaica El only exists as far as 121st St. nowadays, so the "el" is not "below" the subway. The el is in fact, over at 121st St. The (J) line being under the (E) at Sutphin and Parsons is a reflection of the Archer Avenue Subway construction, therefore all you'e really said is that the subway is under the subway.

 

Fantrip or not, I enjoyed seeing that great variety of old equipment at the old stations.

 

And excuse me if I used incorrect terminology. But I think most reading my post will "get" what I meant.

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Yes I am going to post them now.

 

img_2217.jpg

Metropolitan Av

 

img_6365.jpg

Queens Boulevard

 

 

img_24047.jpg

Sutphin Boulevard

 

img_6559.jpg

160th St

 

img_6367.jpg

168th St

 

 

There's also pics of the Jamaica Avenue El being connected to the Archer Avenue Subway in June of 1985:

 

jam-el1.gif

 

jam-el2.gif

 

jam-el3.gif

 

Pics from: http://www.thejoekorner.com/photos/nyctbmt/jamaica-el/index.html

 

The original el's grade began to rise almost immediatley north of 121st St. This was all torn down and replaced with a new structure which maintained a constant grade all the way to the turnoff to the Archer Avenue Subway.

 

I rode this line a lot, so here's how it worked:

 

Queens Blvd looked like any other Jamaica Ave. el station when it was a terminal. The crossover was one block south (I used to watch trains run in and out from the McDonalds below while I ate my happy meal). The northern mezzanine handled all the bus transfers (to the Q49, the designated J line shuttle bus). Operations here were awful! There was no "this train next" signage. Most people went up to the Manhattan-bound platform and hoped that was the next train out. If not, you were screwed. Usually, the Manhattan-bound platform was used exclusively, but not always. Mostly, trains using the 168th St. bound platform were going OOS and laying up on the structure north of here. Sometimes a S/A would be on hand checking for x-fer slips and guiding these people thru the slamgate and up to the proper platform.

 

In April 1985, the terminal was cut back to 121st. At first, an idiotic track configuration was used where all trains switched over to the middle track at 111th. Then the middle track physically merged with the Manhattan-bound track directly over Lefferts Blvd. This meant only one train could move between the 2 terminals at a time, creating a rush hour logjam at 111th St. The Jamaica-bound track and platform was almost never used for revenue service, only layups (I remember seeing 4 or 5 consists lined up end-to-end regularly). By the summer of 1987, the connection to the ramp down to Archer was done and was open to layups and all trains went OOS at the Jamaica-bound platform, relaying on the new crossover north of the station.

 

When Archer Ave. opened and R30's still were numerous on the J line, many had the older early 1980's signage which only said "Parsons Blvd/Archer Ave". By 1989 they all had the new signage, but by then had disappeared from the J line for good.

 

One quirk about the J between 1977 and 1988 was that it never really had proper northern terminal signage. R16's never got new signage and many were set to "Queens Plaza" in place of Queens Blvd. The R27/30's usually had 168th/Jamaica set, only upside down. By 1984, the R27/30's had the proper "Queens Blvd" signage, but that became obsolete when the line was cut back in 1985 to 121st St. During this time the R16's had their sigage set to "111th St" and the R27/30's used the Queens Blvd sign. By 1988, many of the R30 redbirds had new signage for "121st St", yet that would be rendered obsolete at the end of the year.

 

R42's on the J (usually rare) always had proper signage.

 

I knew of the Archer line years earlier...

 

My mom had a brother living out in South Jamaica that we use to visit often..as well as meet my pops at 168th st when he got off work at sometimes. I noticed a lot of work being done along Archer..asked my dad about it..and he took me over there..around 1972/73... When I was "old enough" (strict parents) to really venture out on my own..I got to see the work up close and personal...around the time work started on the Jamaica Center station...

 

I remember seeing the tunnel segments sitting above ground as late as 1980-81. Apparently construction started at Parsons Blvd and ran west.

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