The Rockaway Cutoff

When I went to an IRUM meeting nearly two years ago, the participants crowed about the possibility of restoring rail service on the Rockaway Cutoff. New York urban planner and technical activist David Krulewitch recently posted his proposal in a comment, showcasing multiple ways of reusing it for faster connections between Midtown and the Rockaway branches of the A, serving JFK and/or the Rockaways. Although the possibility has raised excitement among most local transit activists (some of whom have posted fantasy maps in the various subway forums including such an extension), I’m more skeptical.

First, the potential for JFK service is limited. The reason is that the Rockaway Cutoff only reaches Howard Beach, making it just a faster version of the A. The AirTrain is technologically incompatible with any other transit system in the region: it’s a vendor-locked Bombardier technology, of the same type used on the first two SkyTrain lines in Vancouver, in which the trains are driverless and propelled by linear induction motors placed between the tracks. This system allows trains to climb steeper than usual grades, and the maximum grade used on the AirTrain is 5.5%, considerably more than the usual for a normal subway or regional EMU (though less than the absolute maximum).

In addition, the needs of the mainline regional system and the subway are different from those of an airport people mover. A people mover needs very high frequency at all times, which is why such systems are normally driverless. In contrast, most subways are not driverless, and I do not know of a single mainline railroad that is driverless. Driverless operation requires some serious upgrades to electronics, and those upgrades are pointless if used only on a single line. If instead the JFK connection has a driver, then frequency will necessarily be very low, since there isn’t too much airport demand, and this will depress demand even further.

Although the current AirTrain system suffers from the lack of a one-seat ride to Manhattan, the situation is not too bad. Jamaica offers a very frequent LIRR connection to Manhattan at all hours, and Howard Beach offers a frequent if not fast connection to Brooklyn. This requires multiple transfers to reach most destinations, but this is not a major problem for locals who are traveling light. It’s a bigger problem for locals with luggage and even more so for tourists, but a one-seat ride to Penn Station, as proposed in LIRR connection proposals, is not too useful since most hotels are too far north. Even Grand Central is at the southern margin of Midtown proper.

For an honest estimate of how much demand there is, let us look at airports with very good transit connections. At Charles de Gaulle, 6 million passengers board at the RER station per year, 20% of airport traffic, and another 3 million use the TGV. At Frankfurt, 11% of passengers use the S-Bahn, and 15% use the ICE. Neither airport has a subway connection. Heathrow, which does have an Underground connection, has a total of 13 million Underground boardings and alightings, 20% of traffic (see data here); I do not know the ridership of the two mainline rail connections to Central London, but a thesis studying air-rail links puts the mode share as of 2004 at 9%. Assuming the train usage in Paris, New York could expect JFK to see 4.6 million boardings, or 9.2 million boardings and alightings; assuming that in London, New York could expect 13 million. The AirTrain’s current ridership is 5.3 million. Although the extra ridership would be useful at low cost, the higher cost of allowing mainline or subway trains to use the AirTrain tracks may be too high.

More importantly, 13 million passengers a year – an upper bound more than a median estimate in light of Frankfurt and Paris’s lower ridership – do not make for very high frequency by themselves, and therefore JFK could at best be an anchor rather than the primary ridership driver. Airport-only trains would be quite lonely; one of Krulewitch’s proposal’s most positive aspects is that it never even mentions premium express services such as Heathrow Express, which tend to underperform expectations as passengers prefer to ride cheaper local trains. Thus, not only would it be expensive to do an infrastructure and technology retrofit to permit direct Midtown-JFK service, but also the market for it would not be very large.

This brings us to the second possible market: the intermediate stops on the Rockaway Cutoff. They may seem useful, but in fact the development is elsewhere. Observe the land use maps of Queens Community Boards 6 and 9, which host most of the Cutoff: along the Cutoff’s right of way, the primary uses are single-family residential, with only a little commercial. Moreover, the commercial development is often very auto-oriented, for example at Metropolitan Avenue. Indeed, the only proposed station with significant dense development is Rego Park, which is on the LIRR Main Line and could be restored without restoring an entire line. Rezoning near the other stations is possible, but why not rezone near existing subway stations first?

In general, development in the US along linear corridors follows arterial roads, not railroads that haven’t seen passenger service in many decades. In the area in question, the primary north-south commercial artery is Woodhaven Boulevard; for service to the intermediate areas, the proposal should be evaluated against a light rail line on Woodhaven, providing local service from Queens Boulevard to Howard Beach and hitting multiple subway transfer points but not the airport.

The third market posited, fast service to the Rockaways, is the weakest. The stations in the Rockaways are some of the least busy in the subway system, with only a few hundreds of thousands of annual boardings each. They only support 15-minute service, with half of the A trains terminating at Ozone Park; since there are two Rockaway branches, the less busy only gets a shuttle except at rush hour, when there is enough demand for a few direct trains. Even with 15-minute service, it’s expensive to serve an area so far away with a flat fare; until a series of fare unifications, the subway charged a higher fare to stations in the Rockaways.

The problem with the Rockaways is that stations are too far from Manhattan and too lightly populated for it to be otherwise. Moreover, service along the LIRR to Penn Station using the Cutoff is about 18 km long measured from the intersection of the Cutoff with the A at Liberty, and service along the R is 16 km to Lexington and 19.5 to Times Square; service along the A is about 21.5 km long to Penn Station and 22 km long to Times Square, longer but not very much so. The main advantage of the R is that it hits Midtown proper better, rather than skirting it on 8th Avenue, but there’s practically no speed advantage – about 6 kilometers of travel distance and 2 station stops, translating to perhaps ten minutes.

As appealing as sending a single local subway service from the Queens Boulevard Line along the Cutoff to serve the Rockaways and give direct service to every branch, there would be a large demand mismatch; moreover, service to Forest Hills, which has nearly twice as many riders as all Rockaway stations combined, would be degraded.

LIRR service to the Rockaways could be better, but only if it’s modernized. The way it’s run today – infrequently, not very quickly, and expensively – it has no appeal. Far Rockaway has 4,500 weekday boardings on the subway (with a travel time of 1:06-1:14 to Times Square), and 158 average of boardings and alightings on the LIRR (with a travel time of 0:50-1:00 to Penn Station). Cutting another ten minutes from the LIRR travel time to Far Rockaway isn’t going to change anything as long as operating patterns remain as they are.

But if operating patterns are modernized, is there a point in service along the Cutoff? It saves very little distance measured to Far Rockaway: 21 vs. 24.5 km. It’s more useful farther west in the Rockaways, but those are less useful areas to serve – those are the areas with the lowest subway ridership, whereas Far Rockaway’s ridership is merely below average. Although the ridership would not be as pitiful if LIRR charged subway fares for in-city service and provided reasonably high speed and frequency, and it could be studied further as a case of an in-city S-Bahn line, there are more worthwhile S-Bahn destinations on the LIRR, for examples southeastern Queens, Hempstead, Bayside, and Great Neck. The main problem is that the Rockaway Beach branch would still have too little ridership to justify high frequency, and the round-robin proposal would have the same frequency-splitting effect on the stations except Far Rockaway and its immediate vicinity as running two separate branches; each station may have frequent service, but half the trains would take too long.

Finally, the three above-described markets – JFK, neighborhoods between Rego Park and Howard Beach, and the Rockaways – cannot all be served at the same time. The intermediate neighborhoods are free, but it’s impossible to serve both JFK and the Rockaways without an additional branching, reducing frequency even further. This means that the two markets can’t be combined to create more powerful demand. It’s one or the other – either the 13 million boardings and alightings one could optimistically expect of JFK, or the 4.5 million boardings times an appropriate growth factor one could expect of the Rockaways. Neither is high by S-Bahn standards; measured in ridership per terminus excluding short-turns, the least busy RER line, the RER C, has 20 million riders per terminus.

Because of the low potential ridership of the Rockaway Cutoff, I suggest New York transit advocates look elsewhere first. Service to JFK could be beefed up with sending surplus Amtrak trains to Jamaica for an interchange, and service to the Rockaways first with modernizing regional rail and second with having it take over the Far Rockaway branch of the A if there’s demand. If there’s higher than expected growth in demand, then the Cutoff could be activated, at as a low a cost in 15 years as today. But for now, the low cost of activating the Rockaway Cutoff comes hand in hand with low benefits.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Good/Interesting Studies, New York, Regional Rail, Studies, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to The Rockaway Cutoff

  1. dejv says:

    This system allows trains to climb steeper than usual grades, and the maximum grade used on the AirTrain is 5.5%, considerably more than the usual for a normal subway or regional EMU (though less than the absolute maximum).

    The list is incomplete. Tram system routinely use gradients up to 8 % with some exceptions going up to 10 % for short stretches. Metro systems can go up to 6 % without substantial modifications IIRC. The point is that

    I do not know of a single mainline railroad that is driverless.

    There is one very close to it: AVV used on portion of czech railway network for more than 20 years. The only role left to driver is door handling, watching the tracks ahead and re-typing signal aspects to AVV. To go fully driverless, you’d need just three things get done: implement better ATC/PTC system with machine-readable aspects (like ETCS), get rid of level crossings of any kind and finally equip cars with automatic door opening and closing. You should be able to google more resources in English about it system, including information from main authors of it (Ivo Myslivec and Ales Lieskovsky).

    • Alon Levy says:

      I will look this up, sure. But let me just point out that if they want to make the regional rail system driverless (which I’m all for), they should do it regionwide, or at least railroad-wide, and not just one one airport line.

      As for subway ruling grades, you’re right they are often higher than 4%, and yes, trams can go even higher. I don’t think it’s terribly common, though. I’ve been trying to find information about the ruling grade in New York, but all I’ve found is a profile of the first subway, and the ruling grade there looks like less than 2%. But that was with much weaker EMUs than are available today. Still, on the mainline, a 5.5% grade starts running into questions like “Can this train accelerate uphill from a standstill when the tracks are wet and 25% of the motors are disabled?”. I don’t think the answer for the M7 is positive.

  2. dejv says:

    Typo:

    The point is that

    … you don’t need any special technology to implement 5.5 % grade and it shouldn’t involve greater speed/headway tradeoff.

  3. Tom West says:

    The FAA sponsered an interesting study called “Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation”, which looekd at transit mode share. San Fransisco was the highest, at 23%. If you examine the data, the presence or abesnce of direct rail link to the downtown area doesn’t seem to match up with mode share. For example, Denver (two bus rides, 14%) scores far better than Celeveland (direct subway ride, 6%).

    Also, http://www.baa.com/assets//B2CPortal/Static%20Files/LHR_SAS.pdf.pdf (sic) gives the transit mode share for Heathrow at 38%. (15% by subway, 10% by Heathrow Express/Connect, 13% by bus/coach).

    • Respondon says:

      It’s all about the vitality of the urban core vs. the suburbs, I suspect. Put another way, a smaller % of Cleveland airport users are coming from or going to Cleveland, compared to Denver.

  4. Adirondacker12800 says:

    Sending Amtrak to Jamaica so you can get to JFK is foamer froth. If I’m in Woodbridge and I want to fly to Chicago there’s plenty of flights out of Newark. If I’m in Trenton and I want to fly to Chicago there’s plenty of flights out of Newark and Philadelphia. If I’m in New Carollton there’s plenty of flights out of BWI and Dulles and National if I want to burn some cash… The only people it’s going to attract are people who have destinations only available out of JFK or maybe low low cost carriers that fly out of JFK. Or low low cost carriers that fly out of Newark from the perspective of Long Islanders. People who are attracted to low low fares are going to get on the LIRR and NJTransit because it saves a few dollars. And if you are in Floral Park and you want to fly out of Newark the frequencies at Penn Station are better or in Rahway and want to fly out of JFK. I see dozens of people a day doing it on Amtrak.
    Sending Amtrak to Jamaica so that Long Islanders can get to Philadelphia has it’s charms. You run into problems of turning trains around on the “wrong” side of Jamaica – Jamaica is set up for trains terminating westbound not eastbound. There’s also sucking up platform space – I’m assuming the Amtrak train would loiter around for a bit. Billion dollar redesign of Jamaica to do it.
    ….sending Amtrak to Jamaica via Brooklyn, Wall Street and a station in Jersey City that connects well with all the lines in Bergen county, that might be more worthwhile… Once an hour when the NEC gets up to four train an hour? The billion dollar redesign of Jamaica is then happening to facilitate getting Long Islanders to Wall Street with the addition of Amtrak as a side benefit.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Newark is also a monopoly airport in its area, leading to higher fares. There was a 538 post about it a few months ago.

      Sending Amtrak via Lower Manhattan is more trouble than it’s worth. That piece of infrastructure, when built, would be a lot more useful for commuter travel, which means in particular it’d not need the longer curve radii and platforms of full-length high-speed trains (no, restricting all intercity trains to 12 cars when elsewhere they can have 16 is not reasonable). And if terminating trains is that big an issue, send intercity trains farther east, to Hicksville or Ronkonkoma; the main point is not just JFK connection, but also letting people from Long Island travel to Philadelphia and Washington without transferring at Penn Station. The main problem there is the extra operating cost of a heavy train, though.

    • anonymouse says:

      What if you’re coming from the north? There’s not really a whole lot of great airports up there. And as it turns out, Empire trains are the only ones that can run through to Jamaica without an engine change anyway. Plus, the point of access to JFK is getting the international and nonstop transcon service, as well as the JetBlue network. And as it turns out, there’s actually a perfectly good place in Jamaica for trains to terminate: the island platform in the middle (tracks 4/5), since most LIRR service uses either the north 3 or the south 3 tracks for ease of cross-platform transfers. And there’s a pair of turnback sidings just east of the station which, judging from google maps images, are long enough to hold a 6 car LIRR train, which means they’re long enough to hold the standard 4 or 5 car Amtrak Empire train. Of course, all this is assuming that Amtrak starts using cab cars on the Empire trains.

      • jim says:

        If and when Metro-North Hudson Line trains run down the Empire Connection into Penn Station, they should be the ones that extend to Jamaica. Amtrak would only provide airport connectivity to Poughkeepsie and Croton-Harmon riders (does Amtrak even pick up passengers from Croton-Harmon?) since riders from the other Amtrak stops can just as easily use Albany airport; Metro-North would provide airport connectivity to all the communities along the Hudson.

        And Metro-North trains are double-ended.

    • Adirondacker12800 says:

      Most airports are monopoly airports, there are very few cities that have more than one major airport. They may look like they are aren’t but Airline X flies to cities A B and C and airline Y flies to D E and F and airline Z flies to G H and I, there’s no competition. I lived a 20 minute cheap cab ride from Newark Airport most of my life. The fare at LaGuardia or JFK had to be much much lower to make it worth the three hour schlep to either. Or the shlep has to be much less of a PITA. or both. Driving wasn’t an option, between tolls and parking it was cheaper to take the more expensive flight out of Newark. Schlepping to Queens is more of PITA than changing planes at some mid-country hub…. the fare has to be really really low or the destination really really obscure to make it worthwhile to schlep to Queens… Changing to an Amtrak train in Newark instead of an LIRR train in Manhattan isn’t going to alter that equation much. People in Balitmore don’t even think about it because they’ll fly out of BWI. …on the other hand there are many destinations that do not have non-stop service from Albany. There are times that Amtrak to Penn Station and a non stop flight from JFK or EWR is faster than changing planes. Cheaper too. I don’t need Amtrak to Jamaica or EWR to do that.

      One of the beauties of the NEC is that any train can go to any platform anytime.. within reason. You can’t send an M7 to Stamford. But you can send an M8 to Boston. Or a Jersey Arrow to DC or a Silverliner to Penn Station. Unbolt the rub boards from platforms along the NEC and Shinkansen trains can pull up to the platform. High speed trains in Europe and Japan need straighter platforms because the conventional trains have stubby little cars. Amtrak cars are 85 feet long, commuter cars are 85 feet long. If they can go to Penn Station they’ll be able to go to Wall Street.
      The 16 car trains are for capacity issues in Penn Station New York. There aren’t capacity issues anywhere else along the NEC. There won’t be 16 car trains to Harrisburg because the platforms at Paoli aren’t that long. Or to Poughkeepsie. Not in the foreseeable future anyway. Amtrak to Jamaica would be a free side effect of the commuter tunnels. No big deal that the Regional via Wall Street is 12 cars long, there won’t be any capacity constraints between Jamaica and Newark until Downtown Brooklyn looks like Midtown. In addition to the induced demand from the Island you induce demand in Brooklyn, Wall Street and Hudson and Bergen counties – because they can change trains in Newport. It’s a free piggyback on the commuter infrastructure.

      … the catenary isn’t going to go past Jamaica for a very long time…. it isn’t going to get to Jamaica for a very long time…. Sending Amtrak to Mineola or Hicksville would induce some more demand – Long Islanders could kiss-n-ride or use a cab. You are then hauling it with an ALP45, some Long Island only locomotive that can use catenary and LIRR third rail or reelectrifying the Main Line of the LIRR. And you can’t do it until they resolve the capacity issues in Nassau county.

      …hmm ALP45… Empire Service to Mineola…. Hmmm. You are then getting Westchester to JFK but it’s still not the main reason to run Amtrak to Jamaica or Mineola. ALP45 makes Albany to DC much easier too….

      • Alon Levy says:

        No need for ALP-45s. The cost of reelectrifying the LIRR Main Line with catenary is, even at US cost inflation, very low. In Europe they do it for a million dollars per kilometer. On CAHSR, they budgeted $3.5 million/km for it – more than ideal, but a lot less than the extra operating costs of this.

        • Adirondacker12800 says:

          An ALP45 is 11 million including the spare part inventory needed to start service versus 7 for an ACS64. Ya have to buy a lot of ACS64s to make reelectrifying the LIRR worthwhile. There may be other reasons why you would want to consider 25 or 12.5kV for Long Island, the substations every block and half they are going to need for peak service in 2035 for instance, but how much you save on Amtrak twice an hour to Mineola isn’t high on the list.

          • Alon Levy says:

            New York to Jamaica is just 20 km, though. And let’s not forget the added maintenance costs coming from the ALP-45′s heaviness.

          • Adirondacker12800 says:

            An ACS 64 with third rail shoes then. It can’t go to Albany until they electrify to Albany or to Springfield until they electrify to Springfield. Or Richmond or Pittsburgh…

        • Michael John says:

          If they run high speed trains parallel to the Main Line, similar to PennDesign, then they can do a catenary!!

          • Alon Levy says:

            As an addendum to my post about infrastructure’s value: the LIRR Main Line is much, much more useful for commuter rail service than for high-speed service. Intercity trains that are limited to 160 km/h or maybe even 200 km/h can squeeze between the express trains; intercity trains that do 300 km/h, not so much.

      • anonymouse says:

        Why an ALP-45? If we’re talking about Empire trains, it’s perfectly fine to just use the existing P32AC-DM dual-modes. For Albany-DC, you’re going to need a bit of a layover in NYP anyway, which you may as well use for an engine change. As far as re-electrifying the LIRR main line, keep in mind that dual (AC/DC) electrification is a bad idea for all kinds of electrical engineering reasons, and should be kept to a minimum. Anyway, I think in the long term, both the Empire line and any potential Amtrak service to Long Island would end up using something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_92

        • Michael says:

          The LIRR Main Line is already Electrified with 3rd rail. It’s electrified up to Ronkonkoma on the Mainline, Huntington on the Port Jefferson line, East Williston on the Oyster Bay line which branch off of the Main Line. There’s also the Central Branch which connects with the Babylon Branch, but that’s not electrified.

          Unless some sort of advantage to overhead electrification exists it is doubtful the LIRR will be switched over anytime soon.

          • Alon Levy says:

            The main advantage to catenary is that more off-the-shelf rolling stock exists for it (though the opposite is true if one is restricted to FRA-compliant vehicles). A secondary advantage is that it makes through-running smoother, since rolling stock can be substituted more easily; that said, it’s an advantage in integrated national networks, and not as important in a city region that locks in half the mainline rail ridership nationwide.

    • jim says:

      The argument for sending Amtrak trains to Jamaica has nothing to do with airports. It’s that Queens is a big place and there’s a bunch of people there who would like to travel to Philadelphia, Washington, Albany, for that matter, Chicago, Buffalo, Montreal and Miami. For the cost of extending the catenary a few miles, Amtrak would tap into a fairly large market that finds getting to Penn a pain.

      There’s no real reason that any train that currently terminates/originates at New York Penn shouldn’t terminate/originate at Jamaica. Platform space will be at a premium in Jamaica when platform space is at a premium at New York Penn; those are the times when Amtrak runs fewest trains.

      There’s no need to turn trains at Jamaica. If there’s enough Amtrak traffic there, the investment in a switcher which can pull trains between Sunnyside and Jamaica becomes worthwhile. While the train is unloading, the switcher connects; for trains originating in Jamaica, while the train is loading the switcher disconnects. No loitering. Trains get cleaned and inspected in Sunnyside just as if they’d terminated/originated at Penn. One could even use the lower Montauk for deadhead moves between Sunnyside and Jamaica to avoid cluttering the main line. No Jamaica redesign necessary.

  5. anonymouse says:

    Sending Amtrak trains to Jamaica might be a good idea, and would even use such a service myself, but it won’t be possible until Amtrak gets more cab cars and starts running Empire trains as push-pull. Because with the current operation, the trains need to be turned around, which is done on the Sunnyside Yard loop (and on the Troy branch wye north of Albany), and there’s nowhere to turn the trains near Jamaica, or pretty much anywhere on the LIRR network for that matter. And Empire trains are the only ones that can run through onto the LIRR since they’re diesel powered, and Amtrak doesn’t have electric locomotives capable of using third rail (though such things do exist in the UK).
    As an intermediate step, though, they could offer through ticketing to Jamaica and show LIRR connections in the online trip planner. And maybe even offer through tickets to other places on Long Island, in lieu of the Amtrak-to-Montauk service that I’ve heard mentioned several times before.

  6. Of course I can’t find the link now, but a few months ago someone living in Copenhagen sent me a link to an article about the contract being signed (I think with AnsaldoBreda, but maybe it was Siemens?) for ATO upgrades on the S-tog network (which is mainline rail, right?), with the option of driverless in the future. I asked the guy who sent it to me if he can find it, and I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.

  7. Joseph E says:

    Alon, can we get a map for this post, too?

  8. Hi,
    I’m flattered I was mentioned in the post and I hope you all enjoyed my paper. Some things to think about:

    First, it was mentioned in the post that the “The AirTrain is technologically incompatible with any other transit system in the region: it’s a vendor-locked Bombardier technology”. That is not accurate. Although no current train exists that can run on air-train and LIRR it is technically feasible, and more info can be found on the AirTrain EIS on that topic. In the future, a train could be designed to run on Airtrain and LIRR tracks.

    Major issues with that are that the trains would be very small (2 or 3 car lengths) and would take up valuable capacity on the LIRR main line.

    To me, the most reasonable option would have been to run the R train down the Rockaway Cutoff going to the rockaways. This would improve access to the neighborhoods on the line to manhattan, emerging downtown Long Island City, and Kennedy Airport. It improves access to central queens for people in the rockaways, howard beach, ozone park areas, it improves rockaway beach access for central queens residents, and improves Kennedy Airport access. Forest Hills already has good transit options to the city (express train and LIRR), losing a local train wouldn’t hurt them too much (considering there would also be a new stop near Metropolitan and Woodhaven Blvds.)

    The other option I thought from the paper that made the most sense was to send all A trains to Ozone Park and restore the rockaway cutoff and Rockaways in general as a purely LIRR service. This would make trains run less frequently in the rockaways, but on a stricter schedule.

    As far as the statements that the areas in queens near the line are “single family” and “auto oriented”, yes that is true now, but then what is the point of ever building any new transit infrastructure? Los Angeles is leading america in transit investment and the argument could be made that none of LA is a good candidate for transit because its too “low density.” Furthermore, large parcels of land near metropolitan ave and woodhaven boulevard would be excellent sites for large scale TOD development. Also, there are still huge amounts of vacant land in the Rockaways that could improve ridership if developed.

    -David Krulewitch

    • Adirondacker12800 says:

      Major issues with that are that the trains would be very small (2 or 3 car lengths) and would take up valuable capacity on the LIRR main line.

      What’s the platform height and floor width. If it’s not 48 inches and 10’6″ they can’t use LIRR platforms.

      • jim says:

        But there’s no intention of them stopping at any LIRR station except for Penn, where one of the platforms (perhaps the mail platform which isn’t being used for anything else) could be converted.

        This came up in the Lower Manhattan/JFK planning. The idea was that airport trains would stop only at a special new station in Lower Manhattan and at a rebuilt platform in Atlantic Terminal. Commuter trains would stop at a different station in Lower Manhattan, at the other platforms in Atlantic Terminal plus Nostrand Avenue, East New York, Jamaica and points beyond.

        There remains the issue of running Airtrain compatible trainsets on FRA-regulated track.

        • Adirondacker12800 says:

          perhaps the mail platform which isn’t being used for anything else

          It’s not being used for anything else because it’s west of 8th Ave and doesn’t directly connect to either set of tunnels. It was used for mail, which can wait until peak periods are over and doesn’t get annoyed if it takes 45 minutes to get from the platform to a tunnel.

          • jim says:

            True, but it would take a short length of track and one extra switch to connect the northern mail-platform-facing track to track 5 and thence to the southern east river tunnels and thence to the LIRR tracks. If one is proposing a major connection between the LIRR and the airtrain tracks, the expense of such a short length of track and switch is in the noise.

          • Adirondacker12800 says:

            across all that pesky traffic heading to Long Island and then across all the pesky traffic heading to New Jersey. Shouldn’t cost much to rip out the platform, the elevators cluttering it, build new and connect it across 8th Ave. All so they can transfer to the people mover at the airport instead of at Jamaica or Howard Beach.

  9. Pingback: Transit and Place | Pedestrian Observations

  10. Pingback: Queens College To Study Imapct of Rockaway Beach Rail Line Proposal - Page 3 - City-Data Forum

  11. Philip McManus says:

    The shuttle train from Rockaway Park is unreliable and slower than the Q53 or driving to another faster and more frequent train station in the transit system. Long transfer times cause unnecessary delays causing riders to abandoned those stations.
    I remember waiting 14 minutes for a scheduled Shuttle train from Broad Channel to Rockaway Park, Beach 116 street train station. This is why you have low ridership. MTA poor service and mismanagement is the real problem. Poor service came first not low ridership. Stop defending a corrupt MTA and start providing faster transportation to the people.

    Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

    http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

    http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

    Philip McManus
    Queens Public Transit Committee

    718-474-0315

    718-679-5309

    rowing612@aol.com

    https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

    Twitter.com/RBL1910

    http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

    http://www.QueensPublicTransit.com

  12. Pingback: Airport Connectors | Pedestrian Observations

  13. Pingback: Friday Roundup: The First Edition | A View from Suburbia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s