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CenSin

Southbound Signals at Prince Street: Another Lesson About "Express" Trains…

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So I was taking a (6) from Harlem to 59 Street. Heading to Coney Island, I thought the safest bet was to hop on the (N) or (Q). Having picked the wrong car of the train to get off, I had to contend with the crowds to get downstairs to the Broadway platform making me just miss my (N) train. (At that time, I would take any train even if it wasn't express. Train frequency isn't the best after 9:30 PM.) A (Q) pulls up right after the (N) leaves so I got on thinking I could catch that (N) train and have my ride 100% express from Lexington Avenue–59 Street to Coney Island. I just had to catch the (N) at Union Square (likelihood pretty much equivalent to a coin flip) or Canal Street (very likely).

 

The (Q) train pretty much followed the (N) until 57 Street–7 Avenue where the (N) became out of sight and the only tracks the train left behind were the red signals. The switch from the local track to the express track at 34 Street–Herald Square was slow, and all the signals were green on the local track when the train platformed. At Union Square, the (N) pulled out of the station just as the (Q) was about to platform. (Okay. I missed the (N) at Union Square, but the (Q) must be able to get to Canal Street before the (N).) Well, the (Q) caught up to the (N) at 8 Street–NYU, but by that time the (Q) and (N) were basically neck to neck heading towards Prince Street. And then the red signals popped into sight. The (N) pulled into Prince Street and pulled out slowly with its rear wiggling at the (Q) as the last car switched to the express track. (At that point, I was flabbergasted as was the man standing behind me who experienced the whole thing as well.)

 

Well… Now we know one thing: even if a (Q) is hot on the (N)'s trail from Queens, you know you will never catch the (N) if the (Q) doesn't make it out of Union Square first.

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I think it is the way the intersection is wired, when there is a train on the local track going downtown at Prince and there is an exp train approaching, the signals will be red on the exp track. I think its the same thing for Canal st on the 8 Av line, when there is a train on the local track at Canal and an exp is approaching, all the signals in the station on the exp track will be red until the local train leaves (even if its an (E) and the exp is an (A), the signals still won't clear until the (E) leaves). 

 

Ive had this happen to me before, its annoying as well as inconveinent. Usually its an (N), though once it was an (R). Same story, the signals didn't clear until the (R) left.

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If you're going to Coney Island, why not just stay on your (Q), take a seat, and stop worrying about who will get there first? You're talking a difference of less than 5 minutes. And if it's after 9:30PM there's a very good chance that (N) will get sent local on 4th Ave anyway.

 

I swear, some of these passengers act like their life is over if they didn't get the fastest route possible from point A to B.

Edited by Snowblock
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All (D)(F)(N)(Q) trains are local to Coney Island anyway, despite the 4th Avenue Express on the (D)(N). So whatever of those trains you take, just stay on them and enjoy your own seat and a nice ride. I agree with Snowblock...

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As Snowblock and RollOverMyHead pointed out, I don't see how you can complain when both (N) or (Q) goes to Coney Island.

Edited by peacemak3r
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Yeah, after 10 in Brooklyn, the (N) tends to go local after 36th, and there's a slight logjam right around 1030 at 36th with some (R) shuttles terminating, a few leftover (R) in Brooklyn and the (D) .

 

In fact, your fastest bet was staying on the (6) to Canal and go right downstairs and take whichever train came first.  Remember, it is much slower to take the time to transfer and travel to the west side then back east, even if the train was express from-Canal.  At that time of evening, the (6) is a very fast local.

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I've played the catch up game with the (R) by getting on a the express at 34th St-Herald Square and racing an (R) that just pulled out of 34th Street. If the express pulls out within 2 minutes of the (R), I ca usually make the switch at 14th street. It adds a little excitement to the commuting game, haha. 

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It makes sense that the (N) would have priority over the (Q).  Having the (N) goes first only delays (Q) trains, but having the (Q) go first delays both (N) and (R) trains.

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If you're going to Coney Island, why not just stay on your (Q), take a seat, and stop worrying about who will get there first? You're talking a difference of less than 5 minutes.
I did stay on the (Q)—but only after missing the (N). Why stay on the (Q) otherwise?

 

And if it's after 9:30PM there's a very good chance that (N) will get sent local on 4th Ave anyway.
I've ridden the (N) at night enough to know that trains start running local after 10:30. If it's 10:00 or earlier and I'm in Manhattan, I'm getting home express.

 

I swear, some of these passengers act like their life is over if they didn't get the fastest route possible from point A to B.
I treasure my minutes.

 

It makes sense that the (N) would have priority over the (Q).  Having the (N) goes first only delays (Q) trains, but having the (Q) go first delays both (N) and (R) trains.
But in this case, the (Q) came right after the (N); the next local train is at least a few stations away. And since the (N) is stopping anyway, wouldn't it make sense to make the (N) wait?

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This is a completely different scenario than purposely transferring to express trains to catch local trains up ahead, by the way. I don't recommend that, and this experience show how it can fail.

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This is a completely different scenario than purposely transferring to express trains to catch local trains up ahead, by the way. I don't recommend that, and this experience show how it can fail.

Except maybe taking a (4) or (5) to catch up to a (6) weekdays.And maybe the (2) or (3) for the (1) also.

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Coming from the #6 in Harlem, it's faster to transfer at either Union Square for the N/Q or at Bleecker for the B/D.  You don't want to go the slow way and loop all the way around via the N/R from 59/Lex back to Union Square.

 

Also, I've found that Q trains that start at Astoria/Ditmars Blvd usually won't overtake N trains by the time they reach Canal, but Q trains that start at 57-7th often *will* overtake an N train by the time they reach Canal.  They go by what's on the schedule, and often the N is running a minute late (probably since it's making those 4 extra stops) so that's why the N goes first at Prince St instead of the Q express.

Edited by RtrainBlues

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I did stay on the (Q)—but only after missing the (N). Why stay on the (Q) otherwise?

I've ridden the (N) at night enough to know that trains start running local after 10:30. If it's 10:00 or earlier and I'm in Manhattan, I'm getting home express.

I treasure my minutes.

But in this case, the (Q) came right after the (N); the next local train is at least a few stations away. And since the (N) is stopping anyway, wouldn't it make sense to make the (N) wait?

 

Stay on the (Q) so you can keep your seat and not have to sweat about making the transfer. The (Q) is going to same destination anyway.

 

I've WORKED 4th Ave at 9:30PM enough to see Murphy closing F3 to S/B traffic and sending (D)'s and (N)'s down the local. If there's anything ahead of you, your train will be making local stops.

 

No, because the riders who were actually able to get onto that (N) treasure their minutes too, and that (N) was scheduled to go over the bridge first, so it got priority.

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Less stops, easier transfer at Union Square.

It's not easier. You have to go you a flight of stairs, walk a corridor and then walk back down. Canal you just walk down. The express run on the Q doesn't save you that much time.

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LOL @ trying to save time on the express.  Listen.  I go to a friend's place on 72nd street and amsterdam quite often after work.  If I got my seat on the (1) I'm keeping my seat.  Screw standing up in a packed car to save less than 5 minutes.  I don't know why people trouble themselves doing otherwise but I'm happy they do.  I don't rush for anything anymore.  This system has a habit of working against those in a hurry.  Allow me to tell you I told you so while my local cruises on by your stalled express train in the tunnel.

Edited by Urbanfortitude
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CenSin,

 

In the future, avoid 59th st.

 

Transfer either at Union Square or take the (4) to Atlantic Center.

 

There are a few reasons for this---it is MUCH faster for the (6) local to reach Union Square than the (N)(Q)(R)....remember, the Broadway line goes crosstown to 7th av, then cuts diagonally on Broadway--picture the two legs of a triangle. Not to mention possible delays.

 

In the meantime, the trains that you possibly missed at 59th st you can catch at Union Square.

 

Atlantic center is not a bad idea as well (ONLY IF YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY GET A (4) TRAIN)...you'll have to walk about 1 min (you're young right?) to get the (Q) though. But also, you might have some extra wiggle room since the (Q) almost always gets held up between Dekalb and Atlantic Center---

 

This is an especially good transfer because you might be lucky and catch a (B) train that you can take to Sheepshead Bay for a (Q) that you might have missed (use Sheepshead Bay, not Brighton Beach).

 

Also, the (Q) is quicker than the (N), trust me---don't follow what the schedule says. The (N) might be express but it's local afterwards....not to mention it will slow down at 36th st. It really isn't as quick as people think. The (Q) is almost a straight diagonal line to Coney Island, even though it's local. The (N) covers two legs of a triangle.

Edited by Brooklyn

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The only way it matters which train he takes to Coney Island is if he has a preference of a particular route.

IMO, the N is the fastest to go into Manhattan from Coney Island.  In the summer months, I get some people who want an "express" train to get into Manhattan and I direct them to the N.

Edited by PATCOman

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The only way it matters which train he takes to Coney Island is if he has a preference of a particular route.

 

IMO, the N is the fastest to go into Manhattan from Coney Island.  In the summer months, I get some people who want an "express" train to get into Manhattan and I direct them to the N.

I respect that....and most of the time, you're probably right.

 

My main issue is with signals at 36th st as well as the train sometimes going local (from 59th to 36th st)...the ride from 59th st on is all local. Not to mention that the train will also sometimes get held up at 59th too....

 

At least with the Q, you have a straight path (except the curve in Brighton Beach to Coney island)...it's local, but it's pretty much eating rail from Atlantic Av on--it might be slightly delayed by a converging B train, but pretty much it's an uninterrupted ride.

 

 

Another factor is that it seems that the Q comes a little more frequently than the (N), especially during certain times.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Edited by Brooklyn
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i was having a hard time following but i think if the N got to Prince first, it would of probably punched for the route first. I always thought the  Q had priority over the N, so i think it would go first.   Also the switch over at 34th is slow cause you cant punch for the line up until the N is off the circuit so then you punch and have to wait for it to come in !

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i was having a hard time following but i think if the N got to Prince first, it would of probably punched for the route first. I always thought the  Q had priority over the N, so i think it would go first.   Also the switch over at 34th is slow cause you cant punch for the line up until the N is off the circuit so then you punch and have to wait for it to come in !

There's no such thing as priority, its completely by schedule.  The only thing that changes this is lateness or earliness of trains.  On a regular fine minute headway out of Astoria, the (Q) is not supposed to catch the (N) by Prince even though the (N) made four extra stops.  What actually happens in practice however, is that the (Q) becomes early as it picks up fewer people from Queensboro on south, and the (N) often becomes late because of an (R) .  It's all on City Hall tower whether to let the early (Q) go in front of the late (N) .

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The signals are pretty retarded (and I mean it by the dictionary definition of the word). I took an (R) from 42 Street–Times Square to Canal Street (to save me from walking a few blocks to Broadway and Canal Street). The (Q) catches up to the (R) I'm on at 8 Street–NYU. Right before Prince Street, both trains slow down and the (Q) makes a complete stop. From the last car of the train, I could see the first car of the (Q). The (Q) doesn't even start moving until the (R) is closing its doors. This problem is beyond scheduling.

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The signals are pretty retarded (and I mean it by the dictionary definition of the word). I took an (R) from 42 Street–Times Square to Canal Street (to save me from walking a few blocks to Broadway and Canal Street). The (Q) catches up to the (R) I'm on at 8 Street–NYU. Right before Prince Street, both trains slow down and the (Q) makes a complete stop. From the last car of the train, I could see the first car of the (Q). The (Q) doesn't even start moving until the (R) is closing its doors. This problem is beyond scheduling.

That's because City Hall tower doesn't know who's on 1 track at Prince until they punch.  Sometimes they even ask for call letters to make sure they aren't inadvertently putting a (R) on the bridge.  Trains punch at 42nd against the wall, but that's just an express and local punch.  The local punch doesn't differentiate between the (N) or (R) .  City Hall can control from 57th to Whitehall.  When a train comes out of the 60th tube (assuming all revenue service here, non-revenue always calls the local tower to announce themselves), CH has no idea what it is until it gets to 42nd. (it has only the scheduled lineup of service and what information was transferred from towers and terminals in Queens).  Only then does the train punch local or express.  If it punches express, CH now knows its a (Q) .  It doesn't know if a local punch is a (N) or (R) until Prince St when the (N) 's MUST punch "bridge" during the day.  The (R) punch tunnel and proceed down to Canal upper.  That's just outdated equipment related to signals, not the signals themselves.  Along Queens and in other areas of the system that have been renovated, there are actually punches for each line.  For example, at Roosevelt (QBL) on both the express and local track, there isn't a destination punch per say (even tho some destinations are listed), there's a line punch, (E)(F)(G)(R)(M) .  From that point on, Queensboro knows what you are, its still up to them to route you correctly, however.

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I've always wanted to know what happens if you punch for the (K) at 59-CC going S/B? Does someone come running out of the tower with a G46?

Edited by Snowblock
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