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CenSin

Using The 2 Express Tracks On The Queens Boulevard Line For Peak Direction

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I don't remember where this was last discussed, but somewhere it was rumored/confirmed that the MTA had plans to alleviate crowding by using both express tracks for trains in one direction during rush hours to increase capacity since the 63 Street tunnel wouldn't be connected to a bypass track anytime soon.

 

If they did enable trains to run in the same direction in parallel on the express tracks, how would this have worked? The track connections don't appear to support this kind of service.

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3 tracks vs 1? I don't see that as being possible. I think having the am rush Manhattan bound locals run express (local riders having to back track to the next express stop) would be more 'doable' than having 2 express tracks run in one direction and making the remaining Queens bound local track handle all 4 services.

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I don't remember where this was last discussed, but somewhere it was rumored/confirmed that the MTA had plans to alleviate crowding by using both express tracks for trains in one direction during rush hours to increase capacity since the 63 Street tunnel wouldn't be connected to a bypass track anytime soon.

 

If they did enable trains to run in the same direction in parallel on the express tracks, how would this have worked? The track connections don't appear to support this kind of service.

 

 

Really, all those extra trains have to get back to yard and all the NIS trains. I find it very unlikely if the (MTA) does this, too many people ride in the non-peak direction. Yes, swtiches would have to be made.

 

3 tracks vs 1? I don't see that as being possible. I think having the am rush Manhattan bound locals run express (local riders having to back track to the next express stop) would be more 'doable' than having 2 express tracks run in one direction and making the remaining Queens bound local track handle all 4 services.

 

 

No way, locals are meant to be locals, riders at those stops will be upset. It will not make the commute faster for anyone.

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I don't remember where this was last discussed, but somewhere it was rumored/confirmed that the MTA had plans to alleviate crowding by using both express tracks for trains in one direction during rush hours to increase capacity since the 63 Street tunnel wouldn't be connected to a bypass track anytime soon.

 

If they did enable trains to run in the same direction in parallel on the express tracks, how would this have worked? The track connections don't appear to support this kind of service.

 

This is interesting...Perhaps Manhattan-bound (E) trains could originate at Jamaica-179 St, running fully express on the Jamaica-bound track from 179 St to Queens Plaza, where it would switch to the Manhattan-bound track. The real issue is capacity on the reverse-peak track...And of course, whether it's worth all the trouble.
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Such a setup would be very similar to the LIRR Main Line during the rush. Unfortunately, this won't work because the volume of trains going in the other direction can't be significantly reduced without cutting service for the other end of the line, which is significant on the (F). And since there are no island platforms, there would be no way to tell riders on which platform to wait for what train.

 

Plus, any throating operation makes incident recovery very, very difficult and any minor delay becomes massive. (LIRR, NJT, MNR examples)

Edited by Amtrak7
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Found this article at the National Transportation Library on the U.S. Department of Transportation website while researching this. It's a really old article but it could answer some of the questions brought up:

 

http://ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/queen.html

 

QC7.GIF

 

 

3. Reverse Signaling For The Oueens Boulevard Line

 

This option assumes that the connection described above is built. It provides a way to utilize the full track capacity of the 63rd Street line's upper level by Queens Boulevard line trains exclusively.

 

The Queens Boulevard line's two express tracks would be resignaled for bi-directional operation. This would allow both express tracks and one local track to run Manhattan-bound trains during the morning commuting periods (a "3 & 1" service pattern), and just the reverse in the afternoon.

 

By effectively adding one additional express track to the Queens Boulevard line in the direction of primary demand, this option would double the number of Manhattan-bound express trains during the morning peak hour - from 27 to 54. The line's passenger capacity (in the direction of primary demand) would be increased by 69 percent, or 37,800 passengers per hour.

 

The diagram on the next page shows the impact of one service pattern that is possible with this option. All of the new capacity would be in express trains. Half of them would enter Manhattan via the 53rd Street tunnel. The other half would enter via the 63rd Street tunnel. Under current demand conditions and with no change in the present allocation of passengers between expresses and locals, these express trains would have an average peak hour load factor of 64 percent. But it is possible that load factors could differ considerably between express trains taking different routes into Manhattan unless passengers engage in aggressive load balancing.

 

With this option, the total functional capacity of all train services crossing the Queens cordon would be 37 percent greater than the current level. The average peak hour load factor for all trains would be 80 percent. This would provide a capacity reserve of 27,680 passengers per hour to accommodate future growth.

Edited by realizm
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Wow. The (E)(F)(Q)(V) all on the express tracks? That's quite a jam. And on the local track in the non-peak direction, there would be the (E)(F)(Q)(R)(V)

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This is interesting...Perhaps Manhattan-bound (E) trains could originate at Jamaica-179 St, running fully express on the Jamaica-bound track from 179 St to Queens Plaza, where it would switch to the Manhattan-bound track. The real issue is capacity on the reverse-peak track...And of course, whether it's worth all the trouble.

 

 

Agreed. With 15 tph coming in the opposite direction on the (F) alone, the reverse track could be seriously clogged. But even still, it's an interesting proposal.

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Agreed. With 15 tph coming in the opposite direction on the (F) alone, the reverse track could be seriously clogged. But even still, it's an interesting proposal.

 

I think with that kind of traffic, (R) trains would no longer terminate at Forest Hills, but continue as a local to Jamaica–179 Street; the (R) is already local anyway and this removes the need to switch expresses to/from local tracks to serve Sutphin Boulevard.

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unless two of those lines are one way peak direction, the line would never be able to take the strain. even if they ran on one mintue headways I really think the system would have a heart attack

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Perhaps this could still be possible with the latest CBTC railway signaling technology currently available. I'll have to agree though, it would'nt be too easy at all having 4 major routes on one reverse peak direction track. If there are significant delays in the reverse peak direction flow of traffic it will hold up 3 trunk lines in Manhattan. Which will lead to some real serious and mean service diversions affecting operations system wide.

Edited by realizm

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I remember reading this study years ago. It will never work because all reverse-peak and out-of-service trains would have to fit with the locals on one track. LIRR and Metro North can do 3&1 because they both have large terminal stations in Midtown and each individual branch runs significantly less frequently at peak than the rush hour (E) and (F) do. Even the (M) and (R) run more frequently during rush than peak service on any given individual Metro North or LIRR branch line. Even with CBTC, 3&1 will not work because there is nowhere to store all the extra Queens Blvd express trains once they have made all their Manhattan stops. They would either have to deadhead to Brooklyn or reverse back to Queens Or they would have to operate in service to Brooklyn or back to Queens, providing too much service in the reverse-peak direction. The Queens Blvd line needs to run more trains. But it needs more tracks to acommodate them. Queens Blvd needs Super Express. And it needs to be two tracks, not just one like what the MTA proposed back in 1968.

Edited by T to Dyre Avenue
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Somehow, I think adding more tracks to Queens Boulevard is misguided. They should be building out a new line from one of the Manhattan trunk lines with spare capacity (8 Avenue express, 6 Avenue local, or Broadway) to serve another part of Queens. That would divert passengers from the Queens Boulevard trunk line and serve another geographical area.

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This is interesting...Perhaps Manhattan-bound (E) trains could originate at Jamaica-179 St, running fully express on the Jamaica-bound track from 179 St to Queens Plaza, where it would switch to the Manhattan-bound track. The real issue is capacity on the reverse-peak track...And of course, whether it's worth all the trouble.

 

I don't know about that but maybe instead a rush hour (F) which runs express on 63rd Street and on Hillside Avenue?

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Somehow, I think adding more tracks to Queens Boulevard is misguided. They should be building out a new line from one of the Manhattan trunk lines with spare capacity (8 Avenue express, 6 Avenue local, or Broadway) to serve another part of Queens. That would divert passengers from the Queens Boulevard trunk line and serve another geographical area.

 

The MTA's plan called for the Super Express track to be built alongside the LIRR Main Line from Forest Hills or Kew Gardens to Harold Interlocking and then connect to the 63rd St Tunnel's upper level. With no stops in between and the proposed route never being too far away from the (E) and (F) trains, it would only have been able to add capacity to the QB express track, which I guess were maxed out even in the late 60s. Perhaps it would be better to have another east-west route in Queens that's further away from Queens Blvd. But where and for how much? I've always wanted to see the LIRR's Lower Montauk branch, which runs through Richmond Hill, Glendale, Middle Village, Ridgewood and Maspeth, converted to subway operations. But that's been proposed before and met with NIMBY objections. Not to mention the issue with integrating the Lower Montauk into the existing subway system - such as which East River tunnel would the line enter Manhattan from and which trunk line would it operate on.
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If they did enable trains to run in the same direction in parallel on the express tracks, how would this have worked? The track connections don't appear to support this kind of service.

 

Really, all those extra trains have to get back to yard and all the NIS trains. I find it very unlikely if the (MTA) does this, too many people ride in the non-peak direction. Yes, swtiches would have to be made.

D5 is what would allow the reverse access. (That's probably why it was kept after the reconfiguration of the whole area for the 63rd St. connection).

 

What would happen, is since 63rd St. has access only to the regular direction tracks, the (F) would stay regular (And whatever other express would be added to 63rd) while Queens Plaza has access to D5, so 53rd St. (E) (and whatever other express would run through QP) would be the one using the reverse track. There are plenty of switches between the express tracks further up, to allow then to get back to normal direction whenever other services have diverged away.

detail-63rdconnect.png

But yes, the problem of all the trains going the other way (reverse peak) is something that was never resolved.

Perhaps it would have to work with the bypass (using the LIRR tracks), but then that was another option to increase capacity in the peak direction, so would seem redundant. But then I guess you could never have too much capacity over there.

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