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Interborough Express (Triboro RX) Discussion


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It looks like the Triboro RX will finally be moving forward!

MTA Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=287057383459087

 

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Today Governor Kathy Hochul announced her transformational vision for Brooklyn and Queens. The Interborough Express, running along 14mi of existing freight tracks, would stretch from Bay Ridge to Jackson Hts and could connect up to 17 subway lines + MTA LIRR, serving ~1M riders daily.

We’re going to begin an environmental review and work with our federal and state partners to make this project a reality.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, R10 2952 said:

I'd rather see them finish SAS to the Bronx and Brooklyn first.  We all know this agency can't multitask for jack shit.

Then we will be waiting until 3100

And nobody wants to wait that long. Triboro is an option because its easier as the tracks are already there, and there only need to be be infrastructure upgrades (significant ones).

 

Don't underestimate the MTA though, it will still cost 10 billion dollars

Edited by Mtatransit
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Mtatransit said:

Don't underestimate the MTA though, it will still cost 10 billion dollars

That's exactly my point.  The financial revenue projections are currently very scarce, and they will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.  They're not going to be able to simultaneously have their cake and eat it at the same time.  Decisions will have to be made, things will have to be prioritized, and frankly SAS to the Bronx will always be a higher priority.

Edited by R10 2952
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Posted (edited)

Looks like this will build upon an earlier study they contracted, relating to the feasibility of running passenger service on an active freight line.

Press release from January 2020:

https://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-begins-study-bay-ridge-branch-passenger-service

If they end up determining that they want to start running service, I'm curious what type of rolling stock it would use. Would they buy a fleet of LRVs, or just have some R211s specced out to FRA standards? Probably wouldn't be too different from what SIR is getting, even though SIR is no longer required to conform to FRA standards. If they do use some kind of heavy rail cars, I would expect them to have 4-car trains, maybe 5 cars at most.

Edited by P3F
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15 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

That's exactly my point.  The financial revenue projections are currently very scarce, and they will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.  They're not going to be able to simultaneously have their cake and eat it at the same time.  Decisions will have to be made, things will have to be prioritized, and frankly SAS to the Bronx will always be a higher priority.

I would argue that the Triboro Express will help more people per mile spent than the Bronx SAS. Not saying that the Bronx SAS is not feasible or anything, its just that this will have a quicker impact to commuters than waiting 100 years for the MTA to break ground into the Bronx.

Plus it gives Brooklyn and Queens something they don't have currently, a east-west train line in Brooklyn and a north-south train in Queens

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3 hours ago, P3F said:

Looks like this will build upon an earlier study they contracted, relating to the feasibility of running passenger service on an active freight line.

Press release from January 2020:

https://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-begins-study-bay-ridge-branch-passenger-service

If they end up determining that they want to start running service, I'm curious what type of rolling stock it would use. Would they buy a fleet of LRVs, or just have some R211s specced out to FRA standards? Probably wouldn't be too different from what SIR is getting, even though SIR is no longer required to conform to FRA standards. If they do use some kind of heavy rail cars, I would expect them to have 4-car trains, maybe 5 cars at most.

Interesting, I'm not familiar with LRVs, but I assume they're light rail cars? I could be wrong, but I would assume maybe something maybe something like the R211S's. Freight service is probably still going to be running around anyway so having them running around isn't all bad. LRVs are probably not the best approach for this.

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3 minutes ago, Vulturious said:

Interesting, I'm not familiar with LRVs, but I assume they're light rail cars? I could be wrong, but I would assume maybe something maybe something like the R211S's. Freight service is probably still going to be running around anyway so having them running around isn't all bad. LRVs are probably not the best approach for this.

LRV stands for Light Rail Vehicle. That's the common name given to many different models in the United States. I just really hope this is rail and not a BRT. Preferably heavy rail, most likely mainline, then light rail.

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While many may consider light rail to be somewhat slow, that's largely because many light rails are run on the street.  Trolleys are run on the street and they often interact directly with car traffic, and even generally share the lanes with cars.  These are obviously no good, especially in NYC where double parkers could block the trollley completely.  The trolleys in West Philly are like this.

Light rail is the next step up, having their own right of way, but without grade separation.  So the light rail will have its own lanes on the street, but would typically be forced to stop at traffic signals and the tracks could still be blocked by cars that block intersections.  The HBLR along Hudson Street in Jersey City is like this.

What is being proposed here seems to be a step up from that, because it is nearly all grade separated from traffic.  Light rail cannot accelerate and decelerate as quickly as the subway, but a very good operation can be had here, because this train will avoid interacting with streets completely.  It seems like it will be similar to HBLR in Bayonne, which does not cross streets as it follows a pre-existing freight right of way that is grade separated.

Hopefully, if they can keep the costs in line, this can be a good project.  It can provide rail service to certain corridors that have none and can form a great connection between some of the busiest subway stops in Brooklyn and Queens.  The main question is how many people will make these trips.  How many people travel from north-central Queens to southern Brooklyn and would use this line?  I don't know. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't really mind a light rail. Its the infrastructure that is more important than the vehicle.

If you don't have enough passing sidings for two way operations, no matter what kind of rail you have, the service will be crap

Edited by Mtatransit
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Mtatransit said:

I would argue that the Triboro Express will help more people per mile spent than the Bronx SAS. Not saying that the Bronx SAS is not feasible or anything, its just that this will have a quicker impact to commuters than waiting 100 years for the MTA to break ground into the Bronx.

Plus it gives Brooklyn and Queens something they don't have currently, a east-west train line in Brooklyn and a north-south train in Queens

Not really, it would just be giving the proverbial finger to Bronx riders who lost out when the Third Avenue El came down in 1973.  First things first.  Central Bronx residents don't deserve to see the can kicked down the road (yet again) in favor of some glorified light-rail, de facto streetcar to Nowheresvilles in Brooklyn and Queens.

I grew up in Queens near the Bay Ridge Branch before I lived in the Bronx.  I could see them improving freight service, by building the long-proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel from Bay Ridge to Greenville Yard in New Jersey, or the North Shore Branch on Staten Island.  And maybe throw in a rush-hour LIRR passenger trip or two like used to be done on the Lower Montauk Branch. 

But Tribroro RX as-is, is an enthusiast's pipe dream compared to getting SAS done.  Especially when funds are as scarce as they currently are; money will get even harder to come by if and when the GOP retakes Congress 10 months from now. 

Edited by R10 2952
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11 minutes ago, R10 2952 said:

Not really, it would just be giving the proverbial finger to Bronx riders.  The Bronx has been next in line waiting for an extension since the Third Avenue El came down in 1973.

The ROW already exists and provides rail-based coverage to areas of Brooklyn and Queens that either currently have none or lack rail-based connections in certain directions. Moreover, the Fremont Secondary feeds into the Hell Gate Bridge, meaning a second phase to the Bronx can actually be done with adequate planning.

I'm not getting this jealousy of the Bronx not getting priority for Second Avenue, especially since Queens has far worse rail-based coverage.

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27 minutes ago, Lex said:

I'm not getting this jealousy of the Bronx not getting priority for Second Avenue, especially since Queens has far worse rail-based coverage.

You're not getting it, as you say, because you apparently see Triboro RX as a viable plan that the MTA can offload yet-to-be fully determined cash into, whereas I see Triboro RX as unrealistic pie-in-the-sky.

Although there are exceptions, most people in Hunt's Point, West Farms and Parkchester are trying to get to Midtown and below; not Glendale or Flatlands.  I grew up across the street from the Bay Ridge Branch in Middle Village- much of nobody was clamoring for light rail along a north/south freight secondary that would either get them to derelict factories in Mott Haven on one end or abandoned warehouses in Sunset Park on the other.

With this whole TriboroRX thing, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the transit planners and enthusiasts, versus the everyday people who live along the Bay Ridge Branch.  Go to communities along the line like Ridgewood or Midwood, and ask them if this thing is a priority on their list compared to say, restoring LIRR commuter rail service on the Rockaway or Lower Montauk branches.

Better yet, ask the folks up in Crotona Park or Claremont whether they'd rather have a subway to Manhattan, or a dinky rail shuttle to West Elmhurst.  A misplaced priority is a misplaced priority, that's how I see it.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

Not really, it would just be giving the proverbial finger to Bronx riders who lost out when the Third Avenue El came down in 1973.  First things first.  Central Bronx residents don't deserve to see the can kicked down the road (yet again) in favor of some glorified light-rail, de facto streetcar to Nowheresvilles in Brooklyn and Queens.

I grew up in Queens near the Bay Ridge Branch before I lived in the Bronx.  I could see them improving freight service, by building the long-proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel from Bay Ridge to Greenville Yard in New Jersey, or the North Shore Branch on Staten Island.  And maybe throw in a rush-hour LIRR passenger trip or two like used to be done on the Lower Montauk Branch. 

But Tribroro RX as-is, is an enthusiast's pipe dream compared to getting SAS done.  Especially when funds are as scarce as they currently are; money will get even harder to come by if and when the GOP retakes Congress 10 months from now. 

Queens riders and Brooklyn riders don't deserve to ride the ever slow buses crosstown because there is no train heading in the DIRECTION they are trying to get to.. One could argue that Central Bronx has subway somewhat close by, while Queens riders don't have anything closeby.

The Triboro could be used by residents to transfer onto the subway toward Manhattan, as well as used as an alternative route, such as when the Culver is down pax can use the West End, to a transfer station where the Triboro can take them to the Culver.

A couple of rush hour trains down Lower Montauk is more of a waste of money than the Triboro... not only do you have to activate PTC along that portion of the track, reactivate the signal system, upgrade the tracks, build legitimate stations, etc. Furthermore a couple of rush hr trips to LIC will not cut it. This is Queens, not Dutchess County. "A couple of rush hour trips" will not serve the demand there, the entire current LIRR schedule doesn't serve the demand there.

2 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

Although there are exceptions, most people in Hunt's Point, West Farms and Parkchester are trying to get to Midtown and below; not Glendale or Flatlands.  I grew up across the street from the Bay Ridge Branch in Middle Village- much of nobody was clamoring for light rail along a north/south freight secondary that would either get them to derelict factories in Mott Haven on one end or abandoned warehouses in Sunset Park on the other.

With this whole TriboroRX thing, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the transit planners and enthusiasts, versus the everyday people who live along the Bay Ridge Branch.

Well maybe those communities do want to go to Queens, otherwise the Q44 would've been cut a longtime ago. The only reason why there is not as many commuter going down there could probably be explained by the complete lack of service to there. People currently drive down because of the lack of mass transit

2 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

With this whole TriboroRX thing, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the transit planners and enthusiasts, versus the everyday people who live along the Bay Ridge Branch.  Go to communities along the line like Ridgewood or Midwood, and ask them if this thing is a priority on their list compared to say, restoring LIRR commuter rail service on the Rockaway or Lower Montauk branches.

If you ask ANYONE in Queens, not a single person will say they want LIRR service to the Rockaway or Lower Montauk, especially when a peak ticket is 10.25 or something obscene like that. If you use that example, I could say Central Bronx is adequately served by the Metro North?

I can not see why you act like its all or nothing.

3 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

But Tribroro RX as-is, is an enthusiast's pipe dream compared to getting SAS done.  Especially when funds are as scarce as they currently are; money will get even harder to come by if and when the GOP retakes Congress 10 months from now. 

Triboro RX is more realistic than the twenty-thirty of billions that the MTA will pour into the SAS by the time it gets to the Bronx, that is especially considering the fact that the MTA build its current 125 Street Station on Lexington instead of 2nd Ave

Edited by Mtatransit
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13 hours ago, P3F said:

SIR is no longer required to conform to FRA standards.

is there an article or pdf you can provide for more reading on this subject? I'd be very interested in understanding more. much appreciated 

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4 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

You're not getting it, as you say, because you apparently see Triboro RX as a viable plan that the MTA can offload yet-to-be fully determined cash into, whereas I see Triboro RX as unrealistic pie-in-the-sky.

Although there are exceptions, most people in Hunt's Point, West Farms and Parkchester are trying to get to Midtown and below; not Glendale or Flatlands.  I grew up across the street from the Bay Ridge Branch in Middle Village- much of nobody was clamoring for light rail along a north/south freight secondary that would either get them to derelict factories in Mott Haven on one end or abandoned warehouses in Sunset Park on the other.

With this whole TriboroRX thing, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the transit planners and enthusiasts, versus the everyday people who live along the Bay Ridge Branch.  Go to communities along the line like Ridgewood or Midwood, and ask them if this thing is a priority on their list compared to say, restoring LIRR commuter rail service on the Rockaway or Lower Montauk branches.

Better yet, ask the folks up in Crotona Park or Claremont whether they'd rather have a subway to Manhattan, or a dinky rail shuttle to West Elmhurst.  A misplaced priority is a misplaced priority, that's how I see it.

 

This is a weird take.

The closest "crosstown" bus lines to the RX's path (e.g. the Q58, the B6, the B8, the B9) tend to be the slowest bus routes and also some of the busiest bus routes per mile in their borough. Asking someone in Maspeth about the Triboro RX is missing the forest for the trees, because it's about providing citywide connections.

If you look at a map of Brooklyn and Queens, your options for getting between the two are:

  • detouring all the way west, either to the (G) or BQE
  • detouring all the way east, either to Woodhaven or the Van Wyck

This is a trip that's not exactly currently being made in large numbers because it's not possible to do so in a timely manner. It literally takes 2 hours by public transportation to get to Queens from Brooklyn. And Census trends continue to show that more outer borough residents are now working in other outer boroughs. And yet segments of the route are already incredibly busy on slow buses.

Also, part of the regional inequality in this city is that Midtown is basically the only place with access to the entire region's employees and jobs in a reasonable time and commute distance. Anything to close that gap for other parts of the region will level out the playing field.

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18 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

This is a weird take.

The closest "crosstown" bus lines to the RX's path (e.g. the Q58, the B6, the B8, the B9) tend to be the slowest bus routes and also some of the busiest bus routes per mile in their borough. Asking someone in Maspeth about the Triboro RX is missing the forest for the trees, because it's about providing citywide connections.

If you look at a map of Brooklyn and Queens, your options for getting between the two are:

  • detouring all the way west, either to the (G) or BQE
  • detouring all the way east, either to Woodhaven or the Van Wyck

This is a trip that's not exactly currently being made in large numbers because it's not possible to do so in a timely manner. It literally takes 2 hours by public transportation to get to Queens from Brooklyn. And Census trends continue to show that more outer borough residents are now working in other outer boroughs. And yet segments of the route are already incredibly busy on slow buses.

Also, part of the regional inequality in this city is that Midtown is basically the only place with access to the entire region's employees and jobs in a reasonable time and commute distance. Anything to close that gap for other parts of the region will level out the playing field.

Exactly, that is what I was pointing towards, 

From my perspective going from Queens to any borough except Manhattan is almost impossible, hell in some area of Queens going to the nearest subway station is a hassle to get to.

Many times its faster to go via Manhattan to get to Brooklyn or the Bronx, especially considering the fact that it wouldn't really save anytime transferring at Court Sq because its so close to Manhattan anyways... especially if you just miss a train 

Other than the (G) there is almost nothing else really connecting the two boroughs, just a patchwork of bus systems

 

Same goes for Brooklyn, passengers currently trying to travel between the lower parts of Brooklyn say on the (Q) to somewhere say Bay Ridge, currently have to either rely on a slow crosstown bus that will get them there in about an hour and a half, or take the train all the way up to Atlantic-Pacific and transfer there, also taking about an hour and a half, and you wonder why if people have the means to do so won't take mass transit

Mass transit is king in NYC, but only for travel to Manhattan and select subway corridors going towards Manhattan (N-S travel in Brooklyn and Bronx, E-W travel in Queens), elsewhere car is still the best way to get places... 

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7 hours ago, EastFlatbushLarry said:

is there an article or pdf you can provide for more reading on this subject? I'd be very interested in understanding more. much appreciated 

I'm having trouble finding a source, but years ago I read that some FRA-required features were removed from the R44s during an overhaul. This may have been in the "New York Subways" book by Sansone.

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On 1/5/2022 at 9:37 PM, Mtatransit said:

Then we will be waiting until 3100

And nobody wants to wait that long. Triboro is an option because its easier as the tracks are already there, and there only need to be be infrastructure upgrades (significant ones).

 

Don't underestimate the MTA though, it will still cost 10 billion dollars

So is this a proposed new Subway line? Or will it be like SIR and the MTA Railroads? If tracks already exist then this must have once been used for freight services up until WW1-WW2 era.

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30 minutes ago, Orion 7 said:

So is this a proposed new Subway line? Or will it be like SIR and the MTA Railroads? If tracks already exist then this must have once been used for freight services up until WW1-WW2 era.

The tracks are still there, and used for freight services nightly. It probably won't be a full subway line, more like a frequent service  operating with DMU vehicles. There is only one track, so another one will be required, or at the very least several passing sidings will be needed. It is also likely that some excavations will be necessary to widen the open cut where the tracks are. The real question I have is how the TA will surmount the public opposition to this proposal that is sure to be heavy, as the line runs through heavily residential neighborhoods who are not likely to want the noise and people passing through that a transit line would bring. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, RapidoNewLook said:

The tracks are still there, and used for freight services nightly. It probably won't be a full subway line, more like a frequent service  operating with DMU vehicles. There is only one track, so another one will be required, or at the very least several passing sidings will be needed. It is also likely that some excavations will be necessary to widen the open cut where the tracks are. The real question I have is how the TA will surmount the public opposition to this proposal that is sure to be heavy, as the line runs through heavily residential neighborhoods who are not likely to want the noise and people passing through that a transit line would bring. 

If you have crossovers on either side at every station, and freight runs only nightly, I presume you could have the passenger service run on a single track between stations at night headways, while freight runs on the other. (Assuming the line gets upgraded to at least 2 tracks everywhere).

Edited by P3F
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Posted (edited)

My Ideal interborough express would be from Bay Ridge to the unused level at Roosevelt IND, and tunnel to LGA Airport (with a stop at Northern Blvd) and terminate there using Light Rail equipment. 

 

I realize that the line going to LGA via an tunnel is an pipe dream due to the streets it would have to travel under being in residential areas... I remember how much of an mess the SAS made of the Upper East Side.

 

 

But man I'd love for this to be Light Rail, I already have the equipment envisioned in my head, LRV's wrapped in the Cuomo scheme the buses use with R211 features. On the side of the cars would have an sliver and blue "MTA Light Rail" logo similar to what the subway cars have. 

 

 

I think this proposed route would travel from Bay Ridge to the unused Roosevelt IND level and terminate there since the Roosevelt Ave - Jackson Heights station is only a couple blocks away from the ROW this proposed rail service would travel on.

Edited by trainfan22
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1 hour ago, P3F said:

If you have crossovers on either side at every station, and freight runs only nightly, I presume you could have the passenger service run on a single track between stations at night headways, while freight runs on the other. (Assuming the line gets upgraded to at least 2 tracks everywhere).

Personally, I'd have three tracks along at least 70% of the alignment and mandate all freight operations to use electric locomotives. The third track would be used primarily for daytime freight operations, but a select number of stations would come with island platforms as a backup for passenger service. (Naturally, daytime freight trains would be on the shorter end in order to reduce the odds of conflicts.)

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9 hours ago, RapidoNewLook said:

The tracks are still there, and used for freight services nightly. It probably won't be a full subway line, more like a frequent service  operating with DMU vehicles. There is only one track, so another one will be required, or at the very least several passing sidings will be needed. It is also likely that some excavations will be necessary to widen the open cut where the tracks are. The real question I have is how the TA will surmount the public opposition to this proposal that is sure to be heavy, as the line runs through heavily residential neighborhoods who are not likely to want the noise and people passing through that a transit line would bring. 

But they already live near an active rail line. Which already hosts loud diesel-powered freight trains. While there are some segments of the line that are single track, I believe they do have room to widen to at least double track. 

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1 hour ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

But they already live near an active rail line. Which already hosts loud diesel-powered freight trains. While there are some segments of the line that are single track, I believe they do have room to widen to at least double track. 

I can definitely attest to everything you just said.

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