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Around the Horn

Construction cars cause longer commutes for R train riders: pols

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(R) train riders and Bay Ridge politicians are wising up to the "work train staging" that has the (R) running on a 12 minute supplement after 7 PM and is reeking havoc on evening commutes, even spilling over into the morning commute (when work trains are late returning to the yard) and they want answers.

Just handing over the road to MOW like this isn't going to work...

Quote

Work underway to better the subway is having an inverse effect along the R line in southern Brooklyn, according to some riders and their elected officials.

“The genesis of this is that evening commutes are getting longer,” said State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who on Tuesday sent a letter to MTA President Andy Byford calling for relief for R train riders. “What most of my constituents are saying is, ‘Normally it takes me 50 minutes to get home and now it’s taking me an hour and a half.’”

...

Gounardes told the Brooklyn Eagle that in previous conversations with Byford, the delays had been connected — at least in part — to construction trains leaving the 36th Street rail yard in the midst of evening rush hour.

“We understand that they have to get wherever they’re going for their overnight shift, but what I want to know is if there is any way we can figure something out to help ease this burden,” the state senator said, stressing that he’s hearing from frustrated commuters at least a few times a week.

This most recent letter — also signed by Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus and Councilmember Justin Brannan — was a follow-up, Gounardes stressed, to previous pleas. “I’m just trying to get some sort of resolution here,” he said. “We understand the work has to be done, but we also have to find a way to ease the congestion in our community for the sake of the whole system.”

https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/10/04/construction-cars-causing-longer-commutes-for-r-train-riders-pols-allege/

If you want to read the letter Byford, you can view it here: https://brooklyneagle.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/MTA-Letter-R-train-Evening-Service.pdf

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Why don’t the diesel units move as fast as regular subway cars? 

And is there some technical reason that if the 3rd rail is staying active that retired subway cars can’t carry semi-heavy work equipment on it or in a consist?

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I’m glad to see them following up with Transit on the (R)’s continued poor service as well as the need for giving the 4th Ave Line over MOW like this. Is there no other way to run the work trains? Is there no other yard they can be staged from for work projects?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Deucey said:

Why don’t the diesel units move as fast as regular subway cars? 

And is there some technical reason that if the 3rd rail is staying active that retired subway cars can’t carry semi-heavy work equipment on it or in a consist?

Work train speed policy = 25mph max on straights, 15 on curves. Usually they travel less than that, because the equipment is absolute garbage. 

The issue on 4th avenue is more than just speed. It's also that there just are an insane number of consists staged at 38 St thanks to poor long term yard planning, and that the signal system on the northbound 4th Ave express track is singularly bad at handling low(er) speed equipment. 

You can certainly have electric work trains (we have a couple of electric locos), the issue is that work zones generally power off the track. 

21 minutes ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

I’m glad to see them following up with Transit on the (R)’s continued poor service as well as the need for giving the 4th Ave Line over MOW like this. Is there no other way to run the work trains? Is there no other yard they can be staged from for work projects?

There absolutely are solutions to be had here. They set up a work train base in Jamaica Yard partially to support QBL CBTC, and they really have tried to 'innovate' for the (L) shutdown -- moved everything possible to Linden, and they claim they are consisting work trains. 

bNxBwLk.png

If the rest of the system was as much a political priority as the (L), this sort of thing would have already been looked at.

Edited by RR503
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Work trains also seem to have problems travelling over the manhattan bridge - as they always seem to stall out.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, RR503 said:

The issue on 4th avenue is more than just speed. It's also that there just are an insane number of consists staged at 38 St thanks to poor long term yard planning, and that the signal system on the northbound 4th Ave express track is singularly bad at handling low(er) speed equipment. 

I understand their logic of a central base for work equipment, but ride on Fordham to Manhattan and see work trains at 207th St; see Concourse and Jerome and all that space leftover even when (B)(D)(4) are on 20 min headways, and it begs the question of why is central vs divisional what they chose to go with.

(By divisional, I mean having equipment in particular areas to do work instead of traveling from Brooklyn to Pelham. Like base at Concourse and Jerome to cover the East Bronx - since every line is 3-track; 207th covers (1)(A); and both cover lower Manhattan save B-way Line; and so-on.)

Edited by Deucey

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Could they maybe store some trains at CI and run them up Brighton express after the (B) ends so they have a second route to the rest of the B division? It would take longer, but it would have far less of an impact than sending the trains up 4th.  

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2 hours ago, Lawrence St said:

Work trains also seem to have problems travelling over the manhattan bridge - as they always seem to stall out.

You would not believe how many times the morning commute for almost all of Southern Brooklyn gets f**ked up by a work train dying either on the bridge or while going through DeKalb Av

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2 hours ago, Deucey said:

I understand their logic of a central base for work equipment, but ride on Fordham to Manhattan and see work trains at 207th St; see Concourse and Jerome and all that space leftover even when (B)(D)(4) are on 20 min headways, and it begs the question of why is central vs divisional what they chose to go with.

(By divisional, I mean having equipment in particular areas to do work instead of traveling from Brooklyn to Pelham. Like base at Concourse and Jerome to cover the East Bronx - since every line is 3-track; 207th covers (1)(A); and both cover lower Manhattan save B-way Line; and so-on.)

Important to remember that before SAP moved GO start times from 00:00 to 22:00, you could run a caravan of work trains up 4th to GO sites w/o causing service issues. But with the earlier start times, a work set travelling from 38th to the Concourse line (yes that does happen, 207 only houses light stuff) has gotta leave 38th around 8 or 8:30 to make a 10:00 start time. So thus we have this issue. In light of it/the expense of running trains 90 minutes or more to work sites, I definitely agree that, to the extent that it's possible, we should decentralize. Many areas around yards are getting built up -- for this reason, as well as general futureproofing, NYCT should really be looking at buying up soft sites around yards for expansion. 

1 hour ago, R68OnBroadway said:

Could they maybe store some trains at CI and run them up Brighton express after the (B) ends so they have a second route to the rest of the B division? It would take longer, but it would have far less of an impact than sending the trains up 4th.  

You could, but now your work trains are likely even further from their work sites, and you have nowhere north of Prospect Park to tuck your trains if you want to hold them outside Dekalb for a bit. 

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2 hours ago, RR503 said:

Work train speed policy = 25mph max on straights, 15 on curves. Usually they travel less than that, because the equipment is absolute garbage. 

The issue on 4th avenue is more than just speed. It's also that there just are an insane number of consists staged at 38 St thanks to poor long term yard planning, and that the signal system on the northbound 4th Ave express track is singularly bad at handling low(er) speed equipment. 

You can certainly have electric work trains (we have a couple of electric locos), the issue is that work zones generally power off the track. 

There absolutely are solutions to be had here. They set up a work train base in Jamaica Yard partially to support QBL CBTC, and they really have tried to 'innovate' for the (L) shutdown -- moved everything possible to Linden, and they claim they are consisting work trains. 

bNxBwLk.png

If the rest of the system was as much a political priority as the (L), this sort of thing would have already been looked at.

Unbelievable how it takes political pressure for the MTA to actually do something quickly or competently. 

3 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

You would not believe how many times the morning commute for almost all of Southern Brooklyn gets f**ked up by a work train dying either on the bridge or while going through DeKalb Av

Yep, I’ve see it seen it many times when I get Transit Alert-related emails.

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

Important to remember that before SAP moved GO start times from 00:00 to 22:00, you could run a caravan of work trains up 4th to GO sites w/o causing service issues. But with the earlier start times, a work set travelling from 38th to the Concourse line (yes that does happen, 207 only houses light stuff) has gotta leave 38th around 8 or 8:30 to make a 10:00. So thus we have this issue. In light of it/the expense of running trains 90 minutes or more to work sites, I definitely agree that, to the extent that it's possible, we should decentralize. Moreover, many areas around yards are getting built up -- for general futureproofing, as well as the work train facilities issue, NYCT should really be looking at buying up soft sites around yards for expansion. 

You could, but now your work trains are likely even further from their work sites, and you have nowhere north of Prospect Park to tuck your trains if you want to hold them outside Dekalb for a bit. 

(This post was full of typos, I'm sorry. Fixed them here if people want a less clunky read)

1 hour ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

Yep, I’ve see it seen it many times when I get Transit Alert-related emails.

Yeah, work trains (esp. the R156s, I hear) sometimes just cannot make it uphill. What's worse, though, is coming down. Work train brakes are...fallible, so taking that 5%+ downgrade into Gold St can be a hair raising experience with some heavy consist behind you. I do not envy C div folks!

This isn't to say that the C div is an intractable issue--pretty much every other city in the world has figured out efficient work train ops--it's just that management would have to make buying/maintaining functioning work equipment and bringing some managerial order to C div ops a priority. 

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Let's say for arguments sake that work trains need to start moving at 8pm.  Why does 4th Ave express service northbound now shut down around 6:45pm most nights?  That's during the heart of rush hour!!!    Never used to be this bad; we'd have express service along 4th Ave until 10pm or later.  Causes considerable delays and most nights I have to bail northbound at 9th St (for an F to Manhattan) to escape the conga line of D/N/R along 4th Ave local, merging with B/Q at DeKalb.  Many many delays and inexcusable to happen starting 6:45pm rush hours.

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