It’s a long time coming for the New York City Subway – the return of “W” service to Manhattan and Queens!
Back in 2009, during the height of the recession – many transit agencies were forced to cut back service in order to trim down their budgets. This came at a time when transit ridership was hitting all-time highs due to higher gas prices and unstable economic conditions. The New York City MTA was not immune to these circumstances and enacted a rash of service cuts in 2010 that included the elimination of the “W”, replacing it with “Q” service in Queens.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Second Ave Subway – which has been marred in delay after delay during the past several decades – is set to open its first segment this December. In preparation for the launch of “Q” service to 96th St, the MTA is bringing back the “W” to compensate for the loss of service that the re-alignment of the “Q” will bring to Queens. These changes in fact; will bring the “N”, “Q”, “R”, and “W” trains all back to their pre-2010 levels – except of course that the “Q” stays in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The MTA has put together a comprehensive guide to the realigned services, including where and when you can catch each train. Please be sure to pay close attention so that you can plan out your commute. The realigned services kick off on Monday, November 7, 2016, with the first “W” trains departing at 6:30am.
Oh, that South Ferry…
Because the “W” terminates at the Whitehall St/South Ferry station in Manhattan, I thought that this would be a good time to also post an update on the reconstruction of the “newer” South Ferry station for the “1” train. As many know, the “newer” station was damaged due to Superstorm Sandy.
Since earlier this year, work officially began on gutting out and rebuilding the “newer” South Ferry “1” platforms – which lie below the “older”, curvier “1” platform. In addition, the “newer” entrances to the station’s mezzanine level have also been undergoing reconstruction – namely replacing the elevators and escalators in and out of the station. As a result – customers have been having to rely on the “older” entrances at Whitehall St and the Staten Island Ferry building to access the “older” platform for the “1”. The free connection between the “R” and the “1” continues to be maintained via the mezzanine passageway between the respective platforms.
With the return of the “W”, all station signage is being updated to reflect the connection to the revived service and this will no doubt bring forth a very rare opportunity for transit fans to get photography and video action of the “1”, “N”, “R”, and “W” trains together while the “older” “1” platforms remain open. As I will say right now, enjoy this opportunity while it lasts! Because come the fall of 2017, the “older” “1” platform will close (very likely forever this time) in lieu of the “newer” platform reopening.
At the end of May, 2016, the RATP unveiled a video showing a rendition of the proposed MP 14 railcar traveling through a subway corridor. While I have to assume that the design is still in its early stages – leaving room for modifications in the future – I have to say the railcar looks pretty impressive.
The MP 14 railcars are projected to enter revenue service at some point between 2021 and 2023 on Paris Metro Lines 11 and 14, with the possibility of trains being assigned to Lines 4 and 6.
On Sunday, September 13, 2015, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York opened its 469th subway station on Manhattan’s West Side! The new 34th St/Hudson Yards station for the busy Line 7, which runs from Manhattan to Flushing, marks the beginning of a new era where an area of New York City now has access to subway service.
An overview of Line 7
Line 7, commonly referred to locally as the “7-Train” first opened on June 22, 1915 between Grand Central Station and the Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue Station. On March 14, 1927, the previous western terminus at Times Square opened, with the current eastern terminus at Flushing – Main Street opening a few months later on January 2, 1928. Express services have been in place on much of the Queens segment, by which is mostly elevated, since 1917 – though there have been periods by which express services were suspended for a time. Local services are distinguished by a circle on signs whereas express services are distinguished with a diamond. Both shields are in a raspberry color with the “7” in white – as show at the top of this post.
The entire line itself is currently undergoing a massive modernization project that will bring forth the latest generation of railcars, the R-188 (though some railcars are actually converted R-142A cars), along with Communication-Based Train Control (or CBTC). The latter will allow trains to run more efficiently under the Automatic Train Control (ATO) system that is currently used on many subway lines in Paris, France. The older R-62A that originally ran on Lines 3 and 6 are gradually being replaced by the newer stock, allowing them to be shifted to other compatible lines. It is to note that the entire New York City subway system is not streamlined on the same rail gauge due to the system being constructed by different companies during the early 1900s.
The last stronghold for the “Redbirds”
In 1997, I had an opportunity to ride Line 7 for the first time while in Flushing for a family wedding. At this point in time, the 7 was being operated with “Redbird” (R33 WF and R36 WF) railcars from the the 1960s – which were used during the World’s Fair (these were known for their red color, though they were originally painted in turquoise). There were several instances where my family and I rode trains from Flushing – Main Street to either Grand Central or Times Square. Riding the “Redbirds” was definitely a sight in its own respect, especially being that they all have since been retired – being replaced by R-142 and R-142A stock. Perhaps on day, I’ll be able to hitch a ride on a heritage train trip using one of these wonderful railcars.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the subway from my 1997 trip.
Below is a listing of all stations along Line 7. <E> indicators are present for express services.
Flushing – Main Street <E> Mets – Willets Point <E>
103rd St – Corona Plaza Junction Blvd <E>
90th Street – Elmhurst Avenue
82nd Street – Jackson Heights
74th Street – Broadway
69th Street 61st Street – Woodside <E>
46th Street – Bliss Street
40th Street – Lowery Street
33rd Street – Rawson Street Queensboro Plaza <E> Court Square <E> Hunter’s Point Ave <E> Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue <E>
—EAST RIVER— Grand Central Station <E> Fifth Avenue <E> Times Square <E>
10th Avenue (Provisional Station – Not yet funded) 34th Street – Hudson Yards <E>
Extending Line 7 westward or southwestward has been in the books since the 1990s, although a longer range proposal to eventually carry the line all the way into New Jersey appears to be dead. The 34th St – Hudson Yards station was originally a part of New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympics, which London eventually earned. The station was originally projected to open in 2013, but was delayed several times – partly due to the Olympics going to London, but later due to problems with installing the inclined elevators. The elevators – a first for New York City’s subway system – were installed due to the station’s depth. While there are escalators available, the elevators serve as the main point of egress between the upper mezzanine (fare control) and the lower mezzanine, as well as to comply with ADA requirements. Below the lower mezzanine is the the island train platform and the dual tracks. To the south of the station is a garage to store trains overnight, something not possible at the previous terminus at Times Square.
A provisional station is located at Tenth Avenue and was slated to be built in the original plans, but after the 2012 Olympic bid went to London, the plans were dropped due to funding constraints.
New subway station openings can be a fanfare for transit fans, and as such was definitely the case for 34th St/Hudson Yards. While the fanfare is more subtle in other cities like Paris, it is quite impossible to hold back hundreds of budding railfans from getting their first glimpse of the new station. Simply do a search on YouTube for “hudson yards subway” and you’ll see what I mean.
As the month of June begins, several major expansion projects are taking place throughout the city of Paris. One of which is the first of two phases to extend the Line 11 subway eastward, and then southeastward. Phase I, which officially broke ground this week, will extend the 11 by six stations to Rosny-Bois Perrier. In addition to this extension, a new maintenance depot will be built near the new terminus, and several existing stations will receive accessibility upgrades such as elevators. Eventually, some (if not all) of the existing stations will have their platforms lengthened to be able to accommodate longer trains. Currently, the Line 11 platforms can only accommodate trains up to five cars, but due to a space limitation at the current Victoria Depot, only four car trains run on the line at this time. The goal is to eventually have eight to ten car trains running by the time Phase II is completed, which will extend Line 11 further by four stations to Noisy-Champs. Phase II of the extension is part of the widely ambitious Grand Paris Express project, which will also extend Line 14 in both directions, and result in the construction of four new subway lines. Currently, the opening timetable for Phase II is sometime between 2025 and 2028.
Below is a listing of both proposed and current stations along the Line 11 Subway, along with their opening dates (expected opening timeframes for the proposed stations).
Going from West to East
Châtelet – 1935
(Victoria Maintenance Depot) – 1935
Hôtel de Ville – 1935
Rambuteau – 1935
Arts et Métiers – 1935
République – 1935
Goncourt – 1935
Belleville – 1935
Pyrénées – 1935
Jourdain – 1935
Place des Fêtes – 1935
Télégraphe – 1935
Porte des Lilas – 1935
Mairie des Lilas – 1937
Liberté Les Lilas – Serge Gainsbourg – (2020)
Place Carnot – (2020)
Montreuil – Hôpital Nord – (2020)
Boissière – La Dhuys – (2020)
Londeau-Domus/Parc des Guillaumes – (2020)
Rosny-Bois Perrier (2020)
(Rosny Maintenance Depot – 2020 – Will replace the Victoria Depot)
Villemomble – (2025)
Neuilly – Les Fauvettes – (2025)
Neuilly – Hôpitaux (2025)
Noisy – Champs (2025)
The current fleet of MP 1959 railcars will be phased out in favor of next generation MP 2014 railcars at a cost of about €150m. It is assumed that the new railcars – composed of five cars per train – will start out as being manually driven (meaning that the train is controlled by a human conductor), but will likely have the capabilities to be converted to fully automated operation once the entire line becomes automated – which will correspond with the Phase II extension to Noisy – Champs. Additionally, more cars could be added to each train if capacity warrants as so.
The first of what will be many STIF-purchased railcars for the 14 Line of the Paris subway began revenue service in late November. The above is that of railcar #585, and just like the MF 01 of the 9 Line and the MI 09 of the RER Commuter Rail A Line, these railcars are fitted with the exterior grey of the STIF in conjunction with the mint green/white colors of the RATP, the city’s transit operator.
Summer is just around the corner! Which means if you live along the coast, it’s time to prep those beach supplies! In Virginia Beach and Tampa Bay, you can easily take public transit to the beach and relax! Want to let the kids hang out with friends without sacrificing time and gas? You can do that too! I’ll be discussing summer-related happenings in both Virginia Beach and Tampa Bay in just a few moments. If you reside in or plan to visit Paris very soon, I’ll also have an update to a subway station closure that I discussed a few months ago.
The Virginia Beach WAVE rolls into service for Summer 2014!
On May 1, Route 30 of the Virginia Beach WAVE (or VB WAVE) began limited services along the Virginia Beach, VA Oceanfront for Summer 2014. The shuttle currently is operating from 8:00am until 2:00am the next morning, with buses running roughly every 20 minutes. Route 30 runs along the entire expanse of Atlantic Ave and allows residents and visitors to easily access the many Oceanfront shops, eateries, museums, and other sights. On Sunday, May 18, full VB WAVE services will begin, which will include Route 30 operating roughly every 15 minutes, as well as the operation of Routes 31 and 32.
Route 31 connects the southern end of Atlantic Ave to the various tourist venues along General Booth Blvd, including the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum and the Ocean Breeze Water Park. The route then continues south towards the Holiday Trav-L-Park and the Virginia Beach KOA Campground. This route runs 7 days a week from the beginning of May until Labor Day between 9:30am and 11:10pm. Shuttle frequency is roughly every 20 minutes. Please note that the Aquarium and Ocean Breeze stops are only serviced during venue operating hours.
Route 32 allows riders to ride between the Oceanfront and the Hilltop shopping area for an awesome shopping and dining experience. Service is also provided to the Lynnhaven Mall, which is touted as Virginia Beach’s premier shopping destination. This route runs 7 days a week from the beginning of May until Labor Day between 10:00am and 10:00pm. Shuttle frequency is roughly every 60 minutes.
All three routes will run through September, with Routes 31 and 32 running through the Labor Day weekend, and Route 30 running through the end of September. An updated system map is available.
VB Wave fares, which are listed below, are slightly different than the rest of the Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) bus system. As HRT’s new fare structure is gradually implemented, VB WAVE fares will eventually level out with the rest of the system.
Seniors and persons with disabilities: $0.50
Children under 38”: Free
GO 1-Day Shuttle Pass: $2.00
GO 1-Day Shuttle Pass (Seniors, Disabled, Youth): $1.00
GO 3-Day Shuttle Pass: $5.00
GO 3-Day Shuttle Pass (Seniors, Disabled, Youth): $2.50
For updates on the VB WAVE, please visit HRT’s website. You can also view my web page dedicated to the VB WAVE. Don’t forget that you can easily connect to other HRT bus routes from the Oceanfront, and even connect to The Tide Light Rail Line at Newtown Rd! Why hassle with parking and traffic hassles when you can let HRT do the driving for you!
Summer Youth Passes are BLAST with Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties!
For several years now, both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Hillsborough County, FL, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in Pinellas County, FL have offered special youth passes during the period between May and September as a way to encourage middle and high school students to use public transit (and in-turn, give their parents a break from driving the kids around and having to spend more money on gas, all while helping the environment). With these special summer youth passes, one can easily travel to family-oriented hotspots like beaches and theme parks, as well as hanging out with friends at the movies! High school students can also take advantage of these passes to commute to work, and thus sparing the parents stress and gas!
Students can begin using HART and PSTA summer passes later this month (HART has announced May 12, and PSTA has announced May 15). However, you can begin making your purchases NOW by visiting a HART or PSTA transit center! PSTA also allows you to purchase Summer Haul Passes online through PSTA’s online ticket store, and at selected ticketing vendors. The HART Summer Blast Pass is only $30.00, while the PSTA Summer Haul Pass is $35.00! That’s less than $2.40 a week! Proper photo ID (government or school-issued) is required to be able to use these passes. Both HART and PSTA also issue youth discount permits, which are available at their respective transit centers.
Please note that both HART and PSTA summer passes are NOT VALID on express routes or Paratransit services. HART summer passes are also NOT VALIDon the TECOline Streetcar Line.
New to the system?Both HART and PSTA provide travel training programs at NO COST to you! Just call the HART InfoLine at (813)-254-4278, or the PSTA InfoLine at (727)-540-1900 for further information.
2nd phase of work/closure at Paris Subway station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre begins
If you plan on heading to Paris in the next few weeks, you’ll want to be aware of a station closure along the Paris Metro (subway) that will be in place for the next few months. As I reported a few months ago, station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre along Lines 1 and 7 of the Paris Subway has been undergoing renovation work. Complete closure of the Line 1 platforms wrapped up in March, and now the Line 7 platforms are closed until approximately July 24, 2014.
What this means for those heading to the Louvre and surrounding areas is that one will have to exit at either Pont Neuf to the east or Pyramides to the north. Additionally, those wishing to make connections between Lines 1 and 7 will need to use station Chatelet-les-Halles.
Later this summer, Line 6 service will be suspended between stations Pasteur and Passy. The elevated section of Line 6 in this area is known for its breathtaking views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. I’ll have a blog post up on this upcoming closure when more information becomes available.
Back in October of 2013, two Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line trains collided after an out of service train struck the end of another train that was stopped to load/unload passengers.
This morning, an inbound Blue Line train entering the O’Hare Airport station (which serves as the southern terminus for the Blue Line) overshot the bumper blocks at the end of the track, causing the front-most train to travel up the escalator that leads from the mezzanine level onto the platform level. The incident resulted in 32 injuries, and the cause is still under investigation.
Like the October, 2013 incident, safety protocols that would have stopped the train from overshooting the tracks did not seem to engage. Investigators will be figuring out why this was the case.
Happy Thursday everyone! I’m needing to report about a subway station closure in Paris due to renovation work. I know my post comes just a bit late, but it’s better late than never, so here goes!
For the next several months, the subway station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (which serve the 1 and 7 trains) will undergo a major renovation project to help improve the long-term viability of the station. Since many subway stations along the Paris system are over 60 years old, many have fallen victim to severe water intrusion and are needing to have ceilings and walls redone. Additionally, some platforms need to be heightened to be more level with railcar doors. Some stations are even undergoing accessibility improvements that will bring forth elevator access to those who utilize a wheelchair. The latter improvement is only being implemented at certain stations for now due to costs, but hopefully one day, most major subway stations in Paris will be wheelchair accessible.
Now I don’t always report on station closures like this simply due to my busy schedule. There are usually tons of closures just like this along subway stations world wide throughout the year. However, I’m reporting on this particular station because it is a high-traffic station that is utilized by thousands of tourists, as it serves as a key transit gateway to the Louvre. Thousands of tourists flock to the Louvre each day, which often leads to packed trains in this particular area.
When will these closures occur?
Renovation of this station actually began back in late 2012, but advance notice was needed to alert customers to these closures. The entire Line 1 platform closed on January 6, and they will remain closed until March 2. The Line 7 platforms will close from May 4 to July 24, 2014.
How will I get around?
I’ve posted a diagram of nearby stations that you can easily access if you need to get to and from the subway around the area of the Louvre. For Line 1 customers, Louvre-Rivoli or Tuilleries will be your closest stops. For Line 7 customers, Pont Neuf will be your closest stop. However, for those wishing to change over from Line 7 to Line 1 at Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, you’ll have to transfer lines at Châtelet – Les Halles.
Once the renovation of station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre is complete, you can expect to see a much better station. Also in 2014, a planned extended overhaul of station Château Rouge is set to get underway, which will include an expanded entrance hall, accessibility improvements, and a refreshed look. These and many other renewal projects will allow for a neater and better functioning subway system for years to come!
For the past few weeks, the RATP has been finishing up final preparations to allow the use of the MF 2001 railcars on Line 9. These preparations included making sure that the new signaling systems would work in sync with the new trains, as well as the ASVA system and automated station announcements on board the trains. On Monday, October 21, 2013, the first four railcars (#s 096, 097, 098, and 099) entered revenue service on Line 9, after spending a couple months running along Line 5.
The pacing of delivery of trains to Line 9 will be somewhat slow, similar to when the MF 2001 trains were first delivered to Line 2 (that process took about three years to do, compared to just two years with Line 5), and is expected to be complete by sometime in 2016. Additionally, it seems that all subsequent trains will follow the same pattern of running revenue service on Line 5 for a short time before entering revenue service on Line 9. I’m not sure if this pattern will eventually change.
The reason for this kind of oddball pattern is likely due to the Boulogne workshop being reconstructed. As I mentioned in my second installment post, the Boulogne workshop reconstruction will not be finished until sometime in 2015, and the Auteuil workshop cannot support heavy maintenance operations for the new MF 2001 trains. As a result, all heavy maintenance operations for now must be done at the Bobigny workshops along Line 5. I would suspect that once the new Boulogne workshop is ready, that train deliveries will speed up.
As the train cascading enters this next unique phase, the RATP is gearing up for the reinforcement of Line 14 by the MP 05 railcars, as well as the northern extension of the line towards the municipality of Saint Ouen. The RATP is also working with the STIF to determine the best course of replenishing railcars along Lines 4, 6, and 11. Let’s just hope that the MP 1989CC railcars aren’t scrapped too early.
The Chicago Transit Authority (or CTA) in Chicago, IL has an extensive elevated rail system that runs from the heart of downtown to points south, west, and north. One of the system’s busiest “El” lines is the Red Line, which carries thousands of commuters to and from the downtown core each day. Red Line service currently operates 24/7!
On May 19, 2013, the CTA closed the entire southern section of the Red Line, south of the Roosevelt Station, for a five month reconstruction project. This project was necessary to replace aging infrastructure, much of which had exceeded the 40 year mark. The outdated rails and components caused trains to travel real slow through the southern section of the Red Line, thus causing increased commute times. It’s never a fun thing to have to ride a slow train to work…so why should it continue to be that way?
Rather than to spend approximately four years of conducting weekend-only work, the Chicago CTA decided that it would be best to conduct a full-scale closure of the Red Line, south of the Roosevelt Station, for the duration of May through October, 2013. During this closure, the southern portion of the Red Line was detoured via the Ashland branch of the Green Line, as shown in the map above. The Garfield Station of the Green Line was temporarily modified to handle the split line operation, as well as accommodate shuttle buses that ran from the Garfield Station down to the 95th/Dan Ryan Station. Additionally, the Green Line ran on a modified schedule during rush hour to make rush hour services more efficient during the Red Line detour.
The benefits of this reconstruction project will be far-reaching to customers; including faster commute times, improved stations, and ADA access to all nine Red Line South stations. The Chicago CTA will also benefit from cost savings of conducting the work over the span of five months with the complete closure, rather than over the course of four years with weekend-only work. Additionally, public art displays will be set up at eight of the nine southern stations to further enhance station appearance. In 2014, the CTA is planning to begin a major overhaul of the 95th/Dan Ryan terminus station that will bring forth even more benefits for customers of the southern Chicago area!