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Union Tpke

Why Your Subway Train Might Start Moving Faster

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I forgot to mention this, but on two separate occasions, T/Os went 17 at the GT 25 south of 86th Street on CPW.

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Why are downtown (2) & (3) trains still slowing down and crawling from Canal st through Chambers? It ruins the run and botches connections with the (1).

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6 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

Why are downtown (2) & (3) trains still slowing down and crawling from Canal st through Chambers? It ruins the run and botches connections with the (1).

There used to be timers IIRC from Franklin St and around the curve approaching Chambers on 2 track. I'm not sure about today's setup. There's also an interlocking complex between Franklin and Chambers. Many a T/O took that curve at what they thought was the correct speed when Times Square tower decided to send them Ferry bound instead of toward Brooklyn. One had better be prepared to stop or at least slow to a crawl when that situation happens. Some of us were taught, back in the day, if you want to whip around curves , Houston St-Sheridan Sq, n/b (2) and (3) or Astor Place n/b (4) and (5)  "maybe you'd be better off working the Cyclone at Coney Island" rather than the IRT. Supervisors, and regular riders, would make sure you didn't screw up at those locations because you'd be re-instructed on the spot by a motor instructor. or worse have to call Jay St because a customer banged you in. Our equipment was faster back then also. Just my experience. YMMV. Carry on.

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I have taken photos of a lot of great docs so stay tuned, or feel free to look in my Flickr.

Here are three charts showing changes in running times. This doc is interesting, and feel free to post anything of interest.

48536696727_439a348ece_k.jpgIMG_8115 by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

48536694712_48e6ec6b72_k.jpgIMG_8117 by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

48536546541_3b1315ce22_k.jpgIMG_8118 by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

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From the current timetable in relation to the first image.

(1) AM Peak 57-60 min, Midday 57-63 min.

(2) AM Peak 55-61, Midday 58 min.

(3) AM Peak 19-21, Midday 20 Min.

(4) AM Peak 45-49, Midday 38 min

(5) AM Peak 48-52, Midday 49 min

(6) X AM Peak 55-60 min

(6) AM Peak 50 min early; 55-58 toward the end, Midday 55 min

(A) AM Peak (207-Canal, the nearest timing point) 35-39, Midday  37

(B) AM Peak (BPK-50th) 45 minutes, trains have an additional 6 minutes to make it to W4th, interpolate that how you wish. (I swapped the (B) / (C) times for the terminal flip in 1997.

(C) ~24 minutes for both

(D) AM Peak 37, Midday 40


(7) x AM Peak 27-29 (to TSQ)

(7) AM Peak 33-34+, Midday  39-41

In relation to the (7) it is amazing what the trains have been capable of the whole time, and are finally allowed to do.


(L) AM peak 39-41, Midday 38+.

That's all I have time for, but that's plenty of material to pontificate on.

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11 minutes ago, Jsunflyguy said:

From the current timetable in relation to the first image.

(1) AM Peak 57-60 min, Midday 57-63 min.

(2) AM Peak 55-61, Midday 58 min.

(3) AM Peak 19-21, Midday 20 Min.

(4) AM Peak 45-49, Midday 38 min

(5) AM Peak 48-52, Midday 49 min

(6) X AM Peak 55-60 min

(6) AM Peak 50 min early; 55-58 toward the end, Midday 55 min

(A) AM Peak (207-Canal, the nearest timing point) 35-39, Midday  37

(B) AM Peak (BPK-50th) 45 minutes, trains have an additional 6 minutes to make it to W4th, interpolate that how you wish. (I swapped the (B) / (C) times for the terminal flip in 1997.

(C) ~24 minutes for both

(D) AM Peak 37, Midday 40


(7) x AM Peak 27-29 (to TSQ)

(7) AM Peak 33-34+, Midday  39-41

In relation to the (7) it is amazing what the trains have been capable of the whole time, and are finally allowed to do.


(L) AM peak 39-41, Midday 38+.

That's all I have time for, but that's plenty of material to pontificate on.

Thanks! The terminals flipped on March 1, 1998.

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I caught an R32 on the (A) today and saw some interesting stuff from the front window. There is a big yellow sign at Nostrand Av warning T/Os that the next station is a “fast station” and to start braking early. How long has this been there? It certainly doesn’t make any sense given the timers immediately before Utica. There is a relatively new looking GT35 sign for them, but the T/O took them at about 29 (you can see the speed indicator pretty easily through the hinges).

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22 minutes ago, Amtrak706 said:

I caught an R32 on the (A) today and saw some interesting stuff from the front window. There is a big yellow sign at Nostrand Av warning T/Os that the next station is a “fast station” and to start braking early. How long has this been there? It certainly doesn’t make any sense given the timers immediately before Utica. There is a relatively new looking GT35 sign for them, but the T/O took them at about 29 (you can see the speed indicator pretty easily through the hinges).

The 35s entering Utica were, I believe, post WillyB control line safety mods. The sign about it being a 'fast station' predates them, and as you say is now somewhat useless.

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There is a boarded up signal next to the existing one on the n/b QBL express at Woodhaven. I wonder if that is how some of the timer mods/fixes will be done or that particular signal just needs replacing. Hard to tell from the opposite direction. 

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15 hours ago, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

There is a boarded up signal next to the existing one on the n/b QBL express at Woodhaven. I wonder if that is how some of the timer mods/fixes will be done or that particular signal just needs replacing. Hard to tell from the opposite direction. 

CBTC AWS installation. All 1930s signals must be replaced for CBTC's AWS backup block signals. Whatever signals arent upgraded will have their blocks combined & heads & trips removed.

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On 8/15/2019 at 2:49 PM, Amtrak706 said:

I caught an R32 on the (A) today and saw some interesting stuff from the front window. There is a big yellow sign at Nostrand Av warning T/Os that the next station is a “fast station” and to start braking early. How long has this been there? It certainly doesn’t make any sense given the timers immediately before Utica. There is a relatively new looking GT35 sign for them, but the T/O took them at about 29 (you can see the speed indicator pretty easily through the hinges).

 

On 8/15/2019 at 3:13 PM, RR503 said:

The 35s entering Utica were, I believe, post WillyB control line safety mods. The sign about it being a 'fast station' predates them, and as you say is now somewhat useless.

If I remember correctly, that sign went up a few years before those timers were added around 2010-2011 (someone correct me if I'm wrong?). I think they also added the timers at B'way Junction, the curve around High Street, Grant Ave SB, and a few others along the 8th Avenue/Fulton Line around the same time. Maybe my memory is starting to get a bit hazy. I used to catch the RFW of R32/R38 (A)'s whenever I could from 2003 until about 2009 and do not recall those timers during that period.

 

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1 hour ago, speedyracer90 said:

 

 

If I remember correctly, that sign went up a few years before those timers were added around 2010-2011 (someone correct me if I'm wrong?). I think they also added the timers at B'way Junction, the curve around High Street, Grant Ave SB, and a few others along the 8th Avenue/Fulton Line around the same time. Maybe my memory is starting to get a bit hazy. I used to catch the RFW of R32/R38 (A)'s whenever I could from 2003 until about 2009 and do not recall those timers during that period.

 

Some fun (A) RFWs from the pre-timer era on Fulton express. It really was a fast railroad we lost. Posting from mobile so sadly cannot link the specific times — I trust you all can find. 

- Before the one shot n/b entering Bway Jct

- Before the one shot s/b in Grant

- Entering Bway Jct s/b before the GTs:

- S/b into Utica

- S/b High to Jay

 

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On 8/25/2019 at 9:11 PM, speedyracer90 said:

If I remember correctly, that sign went up a few years before those timers were added around 2010-2011 (someone correct me if I'm wrong?). I think they also added the timers at B'way Junction, the curve around High Street, Grant Ave SB, and a few others along the 8th Avenue/Fulton Line around the same time. Maybe my memory is starting to get a bit hazy. I used to catch the RFW of R32/R38 (A)'s whenever I could from 2003 until about 2009 and do not recall those timers during that period.

Interesting. Was there much of a difference in speed/runtime on the Manhattan side in that era as well, or were those timers earlier? I started riding the (A) around 2002, but I was still pretty young so I don’t really remember.

On 8/25/2019 at 11:13 PM, RR503 said:

Some fun (A) RFWs from the pre-timer era on Fulton express. It really was a fast railroad we lost.

Indeed. And think about how much faster it was even on top of that back when the cars performed as designed. I think my favorite quote about this is from a 2001 SubTalk thread I found when I was first researching this issue many years ago:

 “Damned shame one of the best little railroads in the world has been turned into an amusement park ride.”

Edited by Amtrak706

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13 hours ago, Amtrak706 said:

Interesting. Was there much of a difference in speed/runtime on the Manhattan side in that era as well, or were those timers earlier? I started riding the (A) around 2002, but I was still pretty young so I don’t really remember.

Indeed. And think about how much faster it was even on top of that back when the cars performed as designed. I think my favorite quote about this is from a 2001 SubTalk thread I found when I was first researching this issue many years ago:

 “Damned shame one of the best little railroads in the world has been turned into an amusement park ride.”

The only new timers I can recall in Manhattan are on the SB (B)/(C) local south of 86th street, just south of 34th street on the SB (C)/(E) local. and just north of Canal Street on the S/B (A) express track. I'm honestly surprised the SB express stretch from 59th - 14th Street didn't get touched during that period. The other infamous slow spots (135th St, 34th St N/B, etc) have been around since forever. I believe the timers added on the CPW express section were installed around the mid - late 1980's from what I remember reading somewhere, someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

In Brooklyn, going Manhattan bound is still sort of the same aside from the timers added at Broadway Junction and around Jay Street. This is going by what I remember from about 1993 and on.

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38 minutes ago, speedyracer90 said:

The only new timers I can recall in Manhattan are on the SB (B)/(C) local south of 86th street, just south of 34th street on the SB (C)/(E) local. and just north of Canal Street on the S/B (A) express track. I'm honestly surprised the SB express stretch from 59th - 14th Street didn't get touched during that period. The other infamous slow spots (135th St, 34th St N/B, etc) have been around since forever. I believe the timers added on the CPW express section were installed around the mid - late 1980's from what I remember reading somewhere, someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

The 86 and 34 one shots were (relatively) recent mods, and I'm pretty sure the Canal St ones were part of that interlocking project. 

As for CPW, most of those (though, IINM, not the ones around 59 St) were done when they resignalled that line in '89. Keeping folks at 40 helped them meet capacity targets. 

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On 8/31/2019 at 1:09 AM, RR503 said:

As for CPW, most of those (though, IINM, not the ones around 59 St) were done when they resignalled that line in '89. Keeping folks at 40 helped them meet capacity targets. 

I would highly doubt that capacity on CPW is any higher than it was as originally designed in 1932. Even today we still have not surpassed the high point in ridership during the 1940s, plus the trains’ acceleration and braking is much worse. Are you sure those “capacity targets” weren’t just an attempt to keep up with what was once standard?

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1 hour ago, Amtrak706 said:

I would highly doubt that capacity on CPW is any higher than it was as originally designed in 1932. Even today we still have not surpassed the high point in ridership during the 1940s, plus the trains’ acceleration and braking is much worse. Are you sure those “capacity targets” weren’t just an attempt to keep up with what was once standard?

It's worth noting that historic capacity figures are generally overrated. @Union Tpke and I have done a good bit of research on this and found that the stats you see showing schedules of 34tph were correct, but were quite divorced from actual service delivery. Dwell issues and variability around ST signals would generally bottleneck a schedule of 34 down to a delivery of 28-30tph -- that was indeed the purpose of scheduling 34, ensuring that the absolute maximum was run on key corridors. This isn't to say, of course, that our operating environment today is Actually Not That Bad, just that we shouldn't overstate the capabilities of previous systems.

To get to your question, though, I too doubt that the theoretical capacity of pre-1989 CPW was less than post. Beyond the train accel issues you mention, CPW was (and someone do correct me if I'm wrong here) one of the first resignallings to use the "MAS through stations" standard, which has a negative impact on capacity especially when undertaking diverging moves (hello DGT!). Now that said, lighted station time indicators do give capacity a bit of a bump in high-dwell areas (59 St, for example), so the story isn't *completely* negative. 

Edited by RR503

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On 8/13/2019 at 4:20 PM, N6 Limited said:

Why are downtown (2) & (3) trains still slowing down and crawling from Canal st through Chambers? It ruins the run and botches connections with the (1).

Timers (2 shots) after that sweeping curve & downgrade past Houston Street, after the curve if I remember correctly there are 3 automatics before time control begins. I take the first set of 2 shots at 33 mph, others I see are already doing it around 25 or even 20 mph through the first set! Then timers get more restrictive as you go through passing Canal you have to drop your speed into your early twenties around Franklin St until you are down into your teens around X30 Ball then you have the hooligan in Chambers St all 2 shot grade timers through that area. The timers that I hate are going into Park Place they are set for GT15 yet you have to crawl really really slow at them until they clear which slows things down.

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2 hours ago, RR503 said:

It's worth noting that historic capacity figures are generally overrated. @Union Tpke and I have done a good bit of research on this and found that the stats you see showing schedules of 34tph were correct, but were quite divorced from actual service delivery. Dwell issues and variability around ST signals would generally bottleneck a schedule of 34 down to a delivery of 28-30tph -- that was indeed the purpose of scheduling 34, ensuring that the absolute maximum was run on key corridors. This isn't to say, of course, that our operating environment today is Actually Not That Bad, just that we shouldn't overstate the capabilities of previous systems.

To get to your question, though, I too doubt that the theoretical capacity of pre-1989 CPW was less than post. Beyond the train accel issues you mention, CPW was (and someone do correct me if I'm wrong here) one of the first resignallings to use the "MAS through stations" standard, which has a negative impact on capacity especially when undertaking diverging moves (hello DGT!). Now that said, lighted station time indicators do give capacity a bit of a bump in high-dwell areas (59 St, for example), so the story isn't *completely* negative. 

Here are some of the articles that I had shared with @RR503 about Queens Boulevard and the Flushing Line. For those wondering where I found these, go to Fulton History.com. Not the easiest site to use, but it is a goldmine for information.

dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits%26u=ffffffff

dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits%26u=8f04a6a%

dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits%26u=2cb9402b

dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits%26u=6f60cc54

dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits%26u=ffffffff

 

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22 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

@RR503 Do you know anything about the speed signs placed where there were none before? Any of the changes stand out?

The diverging ones are the obvious examples -- IINM they changed ones around Hoyt to allow (C) to merge at 15 rather than 10, and some around 42/8 to speed (E) moves. I had heard Canal was being looked at also, but it's been a hot second since I've been through there so unsure whether they ever did install revised diverging speed signage. 

As far as non-diverging moves are concerned, I can only think of one place where a I believe a new sign was installed: the 45 on D3 by 65 St

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1 minute ago, RR503 said:

The diverging ones are the obvious examples -- IINM they changed ones around Hoyt to allow (C) to merge at 15 rather than 10, and some around 42/8 to speed (E) moves. I had heard Canal was being looked at also, but it's been a hot second since I've been through there so unsure whether they ever did install revised diverging speed signage. 

As far as non-diverging moves are concerned, I can only think of one place where a I believe a new sign was installed: the 45 on D3 by 65 St

Why were the signs not there in the first place?

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1 minute ago, Union Tpke said:

Why were the signs not there in the first place?

These details were just missed. No one thought it was important to properly sign these switches, as many weren't ever to see regular use. 

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