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RailRunRob

The Mysterious Nassau Street Line

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I'm fairly new to the NYC subway world coming into this from a more technical background and rolling stock there's still a lot about the design and construction of the system that im discovering. One line that always comes mind is Nassau Street. I was at Chambers Street two weeks ago I couldn't notice but how overly designed and built the station was in the line overall Canal street etc besides being decrepit. What is it about the line did they have bigger plans for the line that weren't realized? Seems the lower section what's designed separately then City Hall north I know it's older. Just looks like they built it for a capacity that was never realized and pivoted.

Is it just me? What's the story?

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I'm fairly new to the NYC subway world coming into this from a more technical background and rolling stock there's still a lot about the design and construction of the system that im discovering. One line that always comes mind is Nassau Street. I was at Chambers Street two weeks ago I couldn't notice but how overly designed and built the station was in the line overall Canal street etc besides being decrepit. What is it about the line did they have bigger plans for the line that weren't realized? Seems the lower section what's designed separately then City Hall north I know it's older. Just looks like they built it for a capacity that was never realized and pivoted.

Is it just me? What's the story?

 

The Nassau St Loop was built to maximize the BMT's efficiency, because it wasn't feasible to send all the trains they had to Broadway; they had all the Southern Brooklyn lines, the Eastern Division, and all their els on top of that. The idea was that instead of having to waste capacity by turning around Downtown, trains from Southern Brooklyn would continue into the Eastern Division, and vice versa, where terminal facilities were more suitable. There was also a connection to the Manhattan Bridge so some of those Southern Brooklyn trains could just loop around that way, and there was a plan to connect two tracks to the Brooklyn Bridge which used to have els, so you would have Eastern Division looping to Southern Brooklyn via Montague, Manhattan Bridge looping to els via the Brooklyn Bridge, and vice versa for both.

 

Once you had all three systems integrated and interconnections were built between the IND and BMT, you didn't need all that turnaround capacity anymore; with the IND taking over West End, Culver, and Brighton Express services, you essentially cut the need for services going to Southern Brooklyn to go to Nassau St, since Broadway could handle the rest of that service. 

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The Nassau St Loop was built to maximize the BMT's efficiency, because it wasn't feasible to send all the trains they had to Broadway; they had all the Southern Brooklyn lines, the Eastern Division, and all their els on top of that. The idea was that instead of having to waste capacity by turning around Downtown, trains from Southern Brooklyn would continue into the Eastern Division, and vice versa, where terminal facilities were more suitable. There was also a connection to the Manhattan Bridge so some of those Southern Brooklyn trains could just loop around that way, and there was a plan to connect two tracks to the Brooklyn Bridge which used to have els, so you would have Eastern Division looping to Southern Brooklyn via Montague, Manhattan Bridge looping to els via the Brooklyn Bridge, and vice versa for both.

 

Once you had all three systems integrated and interconnections were built between the IND and BMT, you didn't need all that turnaround capacity anymore; with the IND taking over West End, Culver, and Brighton Express services, you essentially cut the need for services going to Southern Brooklyn to go to Nassau St, since Broadway could handle the rest of that service. 

Gotcha so after 1967/68 you didn't need the same bandwidth. I see your point from these. (From 1965) 

 

IUd9nNA.png

Kdha5zH.jpg

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Before the whole Manhattan Bridge realignment, the 2 tracks going north at Chambers led to the south side of the bridge, while Broadway trains connected to the north side. Once Chrystie St and it's connection opened, the Broadway tracks got shifted to the north side, and 6 Av trains started to use the south side, and the Nassau tracks were disconnected.

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Before the whole Manhattan Bridge realignment, the 2 tracks going north at Chambers led to the south side of the bridge, while Broadway trains connected to the north side. Once Chrystie St and it's connection opened, the Broadway tracks got shifted to the north side, and 6 Av trains started to use the south side, and the Nassau tracks were disconnected.

 

Minor correction: The north tracks served Broadway, and were shifted towards Chrystie St and 6 Ave in 1968. Likewise, the south tracks that served Chambers St (basically unused at the time) were shifted towards Broadway.

 

 

Are there any plans rehabilitate the line?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

 

Not a good use of resources imo, since only the (J)(Z) are using the line. I would only rehabilitate Chambers St because that station is just in terrible condition. Given current circumstances, you only need to rehabilitate one platform, and the other two can be closed to save costs.

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Not a good use of resources imo, since only the (J)(Z) are using the line. I would only rehabilitate Chambers St because that station is just in terrible condition. Given current circumstances, you only need to rehabilitate one platform, and the other two can be closed to save costs.

 

that would be impossible given the track layout and elevation...

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You know what I never realized how steep the grade is on the Willy B!  4.6%  The Manhattan is a tad steeper at 5.4%.

Edited by RailRunRob

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that would be impossible given the track layout and elevation...

 

Couldn't they just tie the tail track into the NB "local" track? How different are the elevations?

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Eh, if they ever renovate Chambers Street, it's more than likely that they will wall up the remaining side platform.

 

A bit of a shame, considering that it has really nice tile-work.

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Why can't the two tracks that formerly connected to the Manhattan Bridge be used as two northern termini instead?

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Why can't the two tracks that formerly connected to the Manhattan Bridge be used as two northern termini instead?

It won't work. One of the tracks is in revenue service (the northbound (J)(Z) track) and the other one isn't accessible going north. You'd need to reconstruct the entire area between Fulton and Chambers in order to make it a northern terminus

 

Take a look at the track map to see what I'm talking about"

http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/trackmap/pm_lower_manhattan.png

 

Theoretically, you could have northbound trains dump at the current N/B track, head towards the Manhattan Bridge and then turn around and go back to the southbound track, but that would just create another unnecessary choke point

Edited by YankeesPwnMets

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It won't work. One of the tracks is in revenue service (the northbound (J)(Z) track) and the other one isn't accessible going north. You'd need to reconstruct the entire area between Fulton and Chambers in order to make it a northern terminus

 

Take a look at the track map to see what I'm talking about"

http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/trackmap/pm_lower_manhattan.png

 

Theoretically, you could have northbound trains dump at the current N/B track, head towards the Manhattan Bridge and then turn around and go back to the southbound track, but that would just create another unnecessary choke point

 

Holy hell, I didn't realize just how messed up the Nassau line was!

 

1) Repatch the tracks just south of the Chambers Street Station so that you have two northbound tracks on the east side and two southbound tracks on the west side.

2) Connect the former Manhattan Bridge stubs to the unused southern termini at the Canal Street Station.

3) Have either two eastern termini on the center tracks of the Bowery Street Station, or preferably one eastern terminus on the center track of the Essex Street Station. The (J)(Z) will have to share the Williamsburg Bridge with the (M) anyway, so it's not like it would choke them if the eastbound trains were to share a platform like the westbound trains already do.

 

With a few track connections, we could have a 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png service come up through the Montague Street Tunnel from Brooklyn and reach up to the Delancey Street–Essex Street Station for transfers to the (F) and (M). It would be like reviving a part of the (brownM), in a way.

Edited by Skipper

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Holy hell, I didn't realize just how messed up the Nassau line was!

 

1) Repatch the tracks just south of the Chambers Street Station so that you have two northbound tracks on the east side and two southbound tracks on the west side.

2) Connect the former Manhattan Bridge stubs to the unused southern termini at the Canal Street Station.

3) Have either two eastern termini on the center tracks of the Bowery Street Station, or preferably one eastern terminus on the center track of the Essex Street Station. The (J)(Z) will have to share the Williamsburg Bridge with the (M) anyway, so it's not like it would choke them if the eastbound trains were to share a platform like the westbound trains already do.

 

With a few track connections, we could have a 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png service come up through the Montague Street Tunnel from Brooklyn and reach up to the Delancey Street–Essex Street Station for transfers to the (F) and (M). It would be like reviving a part of the (brownM), in a way.

Easier said than done...

 

South of Chambers, you have the foundations for the buildings, and part of the footprint of the Brooklyn Bridge all in that area.

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Easier said than done...

 

South of Chambers, you have the foundations for the buildings, and part of the footprint of the Brooklyn Bridge all in that area.

 

If absolutely nothing can be touched south of the Chambers Street Station (which I have trouble believing), then the (J) could use the two center tracks as its southern terminus, while the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png(Z) would serve the side tracks; the (Z) would terminate at Broad Street (only during rush periods, of course), while the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png would continue through the Montague Street Tunnel over to Brooklyn from its Essex Street origin. This would remove potential chokes at Fulton and Broad streets, since those two stations have only two accessible tracks each.

 

I know that previous 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png proposals ending at Chambers Street wouldn't have offered enough connections to be worthwhile, but reaching up to Essex Street—the final stop in Manhattan—to connect with the (F) and (M) would surely be an improvement, especially if the (J) were to terminate at Chambers Street, removing the chokes for the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png (the (Z) being inconsequential). As far as the Brooklyn side is concerned, the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png would be ripe for a future Staten Island connection via Bay Ridge's section of the Fourth Avenue line. The Montague Street Tunnel is underused anyway...

Edited by Skipper

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If absolutely nothing can be touched south of the Chambers Street Station (which I have trouble believing), then the (J) could use the two center tracks as its southern terminus, while the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png(Z) would serve the side tracks; the (Z) would terminate at Broad Street (only during rush periods, of course), while the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png would continue through the Montague Street Tunnel over to Brooklyn from its Essex Street origin. This would remove potential chokes at Fulton and Broad streets, since those two stations have only two accessible tracks each.

 

I know that previous 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png proposals ending at Chambers Street wouldn't have offered enough connections to be worthwhile, but reaching up to Essex Street—the final stop in Manhattan—to connect with the (F) and (M) would surely be an improvement, especially if the (J) were to terminate at Chambers Street, removing the chokes for the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png (the (Z) being inconsequential). As far as the Brooklyn side is concerned, the 75px-NYCS-bull-trans-K-NSE_svg.png would be ripe for a future Staten Island connection via Bay Ridge's section of the Fourth Avenue line. The Montague Street Tunnel is underused anyway...

 

Given that most of the stuff around Nassau St is

 

1. governmental, with lots of federal and municipal buildings around it

2. landmarked, and hard to underpin

3. built on top of ruins and landfill

 

I would wager that Nassau St is hard to reconfigure, which is why it was dropped as a potential Second Avenue connection option. This also doesn't sound like it passes the cost-benefit smell test; not every piece of trackage in existence is worth using.

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In software engineering, we have a concept known as a "Greenfield Project" - ie. a project "that lacks constraints imposed by prior work." These projects are always easier to work on because there is no need to be backward compatible with anything else, no need to support users who are still using a prior version of software and no need to work around any issues created by prior software. A good example comes from Microsoft - every time Microsoft releases a new OS they need to figure out a way to get the stubborn idiots still on XP to upgrade. Of course, those XP users will refuse and eventually will have security issues, which then forces Microsoft to divert resources towards fixing those issues instead of using them to improve their current offerings. 

 

The same concept can be applied to "traditional" engineering such as civil engineering and mechanical engineering. One of the reasons why expanding the subway is so hard in modern Manhattan is because of constraints imposed by prior works. If you're reconfiguring tunnels, you'll need to support the street above, you may/may not have to move existing utilities, you potentially have to buy out residents that live above if their building will be structurally compromised by construction below, you'd need to figure out a way to reroute traffic, etc. There is a lot to take in consideration before you can even start building anything. This is pretty much the reason why any major subway reconstruction is essentially infeasible in our day and age. The costs would be astronomical, it will affect a ton of people in the area, it will disrupt the local economy upstairs, blah blah blah. 

 

This is also the reason why 125th St, Grand St and Houston St on the SAS will be an engineering nightmare if/when they are ever built (as if the rest of the line wasn't already an engineering nightmare). They'll have to find a way to dig under these stations with as little disruption as possible to the existing infrastructure. 

Edited by YankeesPwnMets
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In software engineering, we have a concept known as a "Greenfield Project" - ie. a project "that lacks constraints imposed by prior work." These projects are always easier to work on because there is no need to be backward compatible with anything else, no need to support users who are still using a prior version of software and no need to work around any issues created by prior software.

 

The same concept can be applied to "traditional" engineering such as civil engineering and mechanical engineering. One of the reasons why expanding the subway is so hard in modern Manhattan is because of constraints imposed by prior works. If you're reconfiguring tunnels, you'll need to support the street above, you may/may not have to move existing utilities, you potentially have to buy out residents that live above if their building will be structurally compromised by construction below, you'd need to figure out a way to reroute traffic, etc etc There is a lot to take in consideration. This is pretty much the reason why any major subway reconstruction is essentially infeasible in our day and age. The costs would be astronomical, it will affect a ton of people in the area, it will disrupt the local economy upstairs, blah blah blah. 

 

This is pretty much the reason why 125th St, Grand St and Houston St on the SAS will be an engineering nightmare if/when they are ever built (as if the rest of the line wasn't already an engineering nightmare). They'll have to find a way to dig under these stations with as little disruption as possible to the existing infrastructure.

 

But that doesn't prevent anything in Queens and Southern Brooklyn from being built, he'll it would relieve our overcrowded subway lines here and help more people, or is Manhattan the only thing that matters in the MTA's mind.

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But that doesn't prevent anything in Queens and Southern Brooklyn from being built, he'll it would relieve our overcrowded subway lines here and help more people, or is Manhattan the only thing that matters in the MTA's mind.

Queens and South Brooklyn have a very peculiar subspecies of human known as the NIMBYs. 

 

There is a reason why the (N)(W) don't go to LaGuardia :P

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In software engineering, we have a concept known as a "Greenfield Project" - ie. a project "that lacks constraints imposed by prior work." These projects are always easier to work on because there is no need to be backward compatible with anything else, no need to support users who are still using a prior version of software and no need to work around any issues created by prior software. A good example comes from Microsoft - every time Microsoft releases a new OS they need to figure out a way to get the stubborn idiots still on XP to upgrade. Of course, those XP users will refuse and eventually will have security issues, which then forces Microsoft to divert resources towards fixing those issues instead of using them to improve their current offerings.

 

The same concept can be applied to "traditional" engineering such as civil engineering and mechanical engineering. One of the reasons why expanding the subway is so hard in modern Manhattan is because of constraints imposed by prior works. If you're reconfiguring tunnels, you'll need to support the street above, you may/may not have to move existing utilities, you potentially have to buy out residents that live above if their building will be structurally compromised by construction below, you'd need to figure out a way to reroute traffic, etc. There is a lot to take in consideration before you can even start building anything. This is pretty much the reason why any major subway reconstruction is essentially infeasible in our day and age. The costs would be astronomical, it will affect a ton of people in the area, it will disrupt the local economy upstairs, blah blah blah.

 

This is also the reason why 125th St, Grand St and Houston St on the SAS will be an engineering nightmare if/when they are ever built (as if the rest of the line wasn't already an engineering nightmare). They'll have to find a way to dig under these stations with as little disruption as possible to the existing infrastructure.

Excellent points!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

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I miss the good ol' days when big agencies like the Port Authority could tell entire neighborhoods (like Radio Row) to go "fund" themselves and build a grand project. A means-to-a-greater-end sort of mentality. I like this about Cuomo, for example.

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I miss the good ol' days when big agencies like the Port Authority could tell entire neighborhoods (like Radio Row) to go "fund" themselves and build a grand project. A means-to-a-greater-end sort of mentality. I like this about Cuomo, for example.

 

The ends never justify the means, particularly if the ends aren't even that well-justified in the first place, like digging up Nassau St to restore a train connection no one used when it was active.

 

Ignoring the fact that this particular example you're quoting didn't lead to good things (given that WTC has been an absolute money sink and distraction from the PA's core purpose since the idea was first hatched), digging up Nassau isn't about NIMBYs. In this case the neighbors are City Hall, the Municipal Building, the Federal Courthouses, 1 Police Plaza, etc, etc. 

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I miss the good ol' days when big agencies like the Port Authority could tell entire neighborhoods (like Radio Row) to go "fund" themselves and build a grand project. A means-to-a-greater-end sort of mentality. I like this about Cuomo, for example.

This hurt me to read. Moses had the same mentality and thousands were displaced without regard for where they would go under those so called Slum Clearance Programs that several high rise projects have been born from.

 

As a citizen of this city, it makes me hurt to see that kind of thinking.

 

Sent from my N9132 using Tapatalk

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LTA is right. While it's nice to look back at historical projects and how quickly and effortlessly they were completed, you also have to consider the ramifications of said projects. There is a reason why NIMBY-ism exists. Back in the day, when people like Robert Moses had his eyes on a neighborhood for a highway or something, people in the affected areas could do little else besides take the buyout offered and hope that was enough to move and get a fresh start elsewhere. Back then, there really was no fighting big interests. While I agree a lot of NIMBY-ism these days have become more obstructionist against anything as of late, the people do have a right to refuse to have their livelihoods upended by construction projects. Everyone has a voice, even if we don't always agree with them. I doubt anyone here would like a highway or an elevated line running through where you live.

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While everyone should have a voice in their lifestyles, too much voice is also not good. The City could never make everyone happy. We need to prioritize our projects, such as how long will it take, how much noise it will cause and how can we try our best to help the people affected. However many of these NIMBY don't want the project anyways (Queensway, Woodhaven SBS) and no matter how you modify it, they will still be against it

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