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6 Lexington Ave

Route patterns

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This is not a foam/fantasy thread. I'm just curious as to why specific trains run on specific lines. Why for example is it that the D goes to the Concourse Line and not the N. What makes the MTA decide how to route trains? Ridership? Ease of operation? Both?

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it boils down to the track geometry (how to disturb as few switches as possible while making enough service in every part of the city), which train lines get access to which yards (like the (2)(3) swap in Brooklyn occurred in the 80s so the (3) could get easy access to Livonia yard and Lenox yard; the (2) is good with easy access to E 239 St yard and does not need the easy access to Livonia as much as the (3) does, since E 239 St yard is much bigger than Lenox yard), and which lines run more frequently.


like with the (C)(E), you are not going to send the more frequent 8th Ave local train to the Heights when those local stations are not as busy as the stations the (E) serves in Queens. you are also not going to send the more frequent train out to Euclid running local since those IND Fulton stations are very quiet most of the time. so send the less frequent 8th Ave local train out there instead.


for the specific case you gave, a difference would be made only if you decided to run one service via Concourse/6th Ave/Sea Beach rather than 31 St/Broadway/Sea Beach and a second service via 31 St/Broadway/West End rather than Concourse/6th Ave/West End. basically you would just run the (D) via Sea Beach and (N) via West End since whatever goes down Concourse/6th Ave has to be a (B) or a (D), not anything else except in emergencies/GOs, and whatever goes down 31 St/Broadway has to be an (N) or a (Q) or a (W) (after SAS Phase I opens), not anything else except in emergencies/GOs


I am not sure how different the SB ridership levels are from the WE ridership levels or how different (D) headways are from (N) headways, but if there is any kind of a difference then they had to make the decision that would best suit the conditions.


if there is no difference between SB and WE ridership or (D) and (N) headways, then the answer is that they just figure if it is not broken do not fix it.


it may cost less money after accounting for recovery times and whatnot to send the (D) via WE and (N) via SB rather than the other way around. maybe they would need 1 or 2 more trains on the road if it were the other way around because of the way the math works out (figure out how long it takes to do a round trip, then get the headway or just count trains in a certain way on the timetables to see how many trains are on the road at a given time on either line; see if any more trains would need to be on the road if you switched them around or whatever)

Edited by BrooklynIRT
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It's also history. The IND was set up as focused on the north end, with A/B Wash Hts, C/D Concourse, E/F Queens, and G/H Crosstown and shuttles. BMT was oriented in its south and east districts, and when the BMT South merged with the IND, the (B) and (D) became hybrid BMT/IND lines. The (D) remained fixed on Concourse, but the (B) became more fluid, and ended up changing both ends, and on the north, since it was taking the ©'s place, the (C) moved as well.


Now why the (N) doesn't go up there. Because it remained fixed to the BMT south. A Concourse-Sea Beach line (which would have to be via 6th Av. also) would have ended up being (D), not (N).

Actually, there was a proposal to send the (N) to 168, IF a connection between DeKalb and Rutgers was built, which the orange Q would have used, the south side closed, the N and B together would run Manhattan Bridge north side and CPW local to 168, and the (W) then cover Astoria-Whitehall. (This reflects the '88-97 service pattern, and the N would be taking the Q's place on the bridge, as the Q uses the new connection, and then be 6Av local via 63rd to 179, while the (F) would remain the same via 53rd).


The orange Q was once sent up there, because the (Q) was knocked out by a flood. Later, it was proposed to make this a permanent "cutback" service plan, but people objected to the loss of the classic "uptown A", so then the orange A via Brighton was born (on signs). That never went anywhere either.


So it's a matter of the right circumstances forcing a reroute like that —and in some cases, familiarity will prevent certain routes being replaced, like the (M) replaced by the (V).

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