Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby NH2060 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:54 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:This is very interesting, a real change in store for the Long Island. Someone asked is any through service to Brooklyn planned and the answer seems to be no, none. From the NY State Senate planning document already linked:
The LIRR Cross Borough Scoot will operate between Jamaica and Flatbush Avenue, making all stops (Jamaica, East New York, Nostrand Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue)...All Brooklyn Flatbush services will require a transfer at Jamaica to the new Cross Borough Scoot.

So in essence a few sets of 8, 10, 12 car M-7s and 9s will ping back and forth between the Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica without venturing outside of that service area. Sounds like this is partially to allow frequencies between the two to increase as much as possible.

As stated concurrent, with the inauguration of ESA service there will be an overall increase in train service. I can see "drop and go" working in the AM inbound rush. You come in on a Babylon-NYP train and change at Jamaica to a GCT train. Say that normally it's a Huntington train. On mornings when the Babylon train is a few minutes late the Huntington-GCT train is already gone when you arrive at Jamaica. It doesn't matter. You wait a few minutes and catch the next GCT train. The next GCT train might have originated at Ronkonkoma but that doesn't matter either. You don't care where the train came from just where it's going.

That is if you can squeeze your way onboard ;-)

Must keep in mind that when the current infrastructure was built there wasn't as nearly as much rail traffic then as there is today. That goes for the Hudson River tunnels, GCT trackage/platforms, the New Haven Line, etc. So if meeting future service needs requires a reworking/streamlining of the existing layout to help meet them then it must be done. At the end of the day it seems to come down to would you:

a) Rather continue to have through service, but not as many trains as there could be
OR
b) Have to transfer trains, but have far more of them to use.

And compartmentalization of Brooklyn-Jamaica as a "Scoot" service at least allows for only as much equipment as needed to be kept to that one segment while still maintaining or even shortening the headways.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:35 am

There has been a lot of information provided in previous messages. The proposed Cross Borough Scoot service was described in a previous message, referencing the NY State Senate report (to which a link was provided):
Cross Borough Scoot
LIRR multiple-unit electric cars (anticipated to be six car consists) will be used for this service. All Brooklyn Flatbush services will require a transfer at Jamaica to the new Cross Borough Scoot. The fare for service between Jamaica and Brooklyn will remain the same (Brooklyn stations in Zone 1 and Jamaica in Zone 3). Cross Borough Scoot service frequencies between Jamaica and Brooklyn will be greatly increased as compared with current levels of service:

  • Peak-direction rush hour service would continue to operate every 7 ½ minutes
  • Reverse-peak rush hour service would go from every 20 minutes today to every 10 minutes
  • Mid-day off-peak service would go from every 30 minutes today to every 15 minutes
  • Late night (midnight to 6 AM) frequency would remain the same – every 30 minutes


What I was surprised to read, in the APTA Kulick report previously posted (link), was that apparently Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City service will be maintained after ESA opens.
The current operation relies on a plan where there are frequent triple train connections at Jamaica for passengers traveling between Long Island and western destinations. Because of the new service to GCT, the maintaining this operation would require passengers to connect to 4 different western destinations. To accommodate the new Manhattan terminal, modification of the Brooklyn Service into a “shuttle” is proposed.


I thought the HPA/LIC service would end once ESA opened. But the report states that to maintain the "triple train connections" at Jamaica -- once ESA is in operation -- one of the "4 different western destinations" would have to lose its direct connection and that Brooklyn was chosen.

I guess we should all remember, though, none of this is written in stone yet, it's all preliminary and subject to change.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby workextra » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:19 am

Understanding the way Jamaica is laid out you can currently run 4 and 6 car scoots on 10-15 minute intervals between Brooklyn and Jamaica via platform C and E yard. Brooklyn would be well serviced and the other money instead of Being wasted reinventing the wheel could be used to reopen Woodhaven to passengers.

A little re working and maybe some loss of versility could see the current station speed increased to 20mph and even 30 on straight routes. And yes there are a few. They would have to code the rail and figure how to not get a infestation of cab signal flips.

Platform "F" could be built as a high speed platform with a freight gauntle around it. With cross downs in hall and queens on the East and Jay on the West end, creative scheduling and you can do 60mph through Jamaica

But in theory it makes no sense to stop a "flyer" at Jamaica therefore no need for platform "F" that leaves room for 2 60mph bypass tracks Jay would have to be re build on its west end with 60mph switchs but it's better then loosing what the future previous postes plans suggest.

Get creative and extend E yard east into the Montauk 1 and Montauk 2 if need be.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby scopelliti » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:30 am

Peak-direction rush hour service would continue to operate every 7 ½ minutes
Reverse-peak rush hour service would go from every 20 minutes today to every 10 minutes

Something seems wrong here. If you run a train every 7 ½ minutes into Brooklyn and only run one out every 10, what happens to the extra trains?

You have eight trains going into Brooklyn per hour, and only six coming out. Sounds like you'll have trains parked in Brooklyn, and won't have enough trains to run from Jamaica to Brooklyn.

I must be missing some key point...
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:42 am

The issue seems to be handling what will be the new Grand Central trains. There will be many new trains operating through Jamaica during peak hours. That essentially the Grand Central trains will be getting the tracks and platform assignments that the Brooklyn trains have now.

The problem with the Brooklyn trains seems to be how would they make four-way transfers at Jamaica? For instance if a diesel train arrives to connect passengers with Grand Central and Penn Station trains, how would they also connect with Brooklyn trains? That's what the documents Fan Railer and jamestrains 1 posted seem to be saying, they don't want to make four-way connections. So they are separating the Brooklyn trains to the new Platform F.

Also, at least westbound, there won't be any through trains according to the Senate document.

With Opening Day of ESA, all Manhattan-bound trains will make a stop at Jamaica...
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby BobLI » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:17 pm

Its a shame the MTA rebuilt Flatbush Ave. into a major shopping/transfer point to the subways and the Barclays and then downgrade the service to a shuttle.

I feel bad for the brooklyn passengers who have to transfer to the platform F. Its a hike from track 1,2 3.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby hrfcarl » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:57 pm

BobLI wrote:Its a shame the MTA rebuilt Flatbush Ave. into a major shopping/transfer point to the subways and the Barclays and then downgrade the service to a shuttle.


Exactly, rebuild/build up a terminal only to make it less useful. If not for the 63rd St tunnel being built way back when, the better plan would have been to extend this branch into lower Manhattan.

wrote:I feel bad for the brooklyn passengers who have to transfer to the platform F. Its a hike from track 1,2 3.


Not just the hike but the time: How much time is lost if one makes the trek to this new platform F and miss a shuttle vs just staying on to NYP or ESA?
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:43 pm

The planning doesn't seem to be finalized so I wonder if the current plan will be carried out, at least as regards Brooklyn service. With the improvements at the Flatbush Avenue terminal and the opening of Barclay Center I would think there will be a lot of opposition to the shuttle service from Brooklyn officials and from the City of New York.

I also noticed that currently between 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM there are ten trains each way between Jamaica and Brooklyn. So the proposed Cross Borough Scoot service, with eight westbound trains and six eastbound trains in AM peak hours would actually be less service in addition to ending through service and cross-platform transfers. Not much of an improvement for Brooklyn riders.

As for operating an unequal number of trains between Jamaica and Brooklyn in peak hours I would guess the solution to that would be deadheading equipment back to Jamaica.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Riverduckexpress » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:42 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:What I was surprised to read, in the APTA Kulick report previously posted, was that apparently Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City service will be maintained after ESA opens.
I thought the HPA/LIC service would end once ESA opened.


All those diesel trains have to go somewhere. They can't go to Brooklyn, they can't go to Grand Central, only a handful can go to Penn Station and terminating them in Jamaica during the height of Peak Hour might be impractical, so...
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:24 pm

I would expect the diesel trains would deadhead to LIC but the planning documents mention, "four western destinations." NYP, GCT and Brooklyn so what is the fourth one? HPA or LIC? Once ESA opens why would anyone ride to Hunterspoint Ave. To get to Long Island City but how many people is that.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:39 pm

I've fallen behind a little on this thread, but from what I remember of Ms. Williams' comments at LIRR committee meetings over the past few years, she would commonly offer two primary reasons for why they are reconfiguring Jamaica as they are:

First, they no longer want to hold timed connections at Jamaica anymore. While trains being held for connections wouldn't be a significant or frequent problem if trains ran on-time more often than not, holding trains for connections does cause congestion and delays, so they no longer wish to do that. And this is not only for the Brooklyn trains, this is for all trains. So while Jamaica will still be open for business and a station where people can board and alight, there won't be any timed or coordinated connections, so you might have a bit of a longer wait or your connection might involve one or more flights of stairs over to a different platform. It would be a lot like transferring between trains at Woodside--yeah, both Main Line and Port Washington Branch trains stop in the same place, but there's not much effort made to make the train times line up, and if you want to go between them you either have to take an earlier train or hope that your first train arrives on-time, because the second one won't be there waiting.

If they continue on with having no timed transfers, it will be interesting to see how they approach it from a passenger information point of view. Will the timetables show no connection information at all, or will they do things like NJTransit does at Secaucus where they'll give you a sample connection that will give you 8-12 minutes of time to make the connection, but the trains won't hold if their connection is late.

Additionally, if the railroad isn't going to be offering timed transfers, they will have to find some way to provide adequate service to both Manhattan terminals (if Brooklyn is going to be out of the picture). There has been speculation that this is what they are planning on doing, but there's some questions on how they would actually implementing this without either doubling the amount of trains that they are going to operate (during the off-peak times, at least), or essentially halving the amount of trains that go any one terminal. For example, what would they do with the Far Rockaway Branch, which now has hourly service to Brooklyn during the off-peak periods. Would they run service every half hour now, with one train to New York Penn and the other to Grand Central (remember, they don't want timed transfers anymore, so it's not like they could run one to Grand Central and offer people the opportunity to transfer to New York Penn), or do they run trains that depart in even hours go to New York Penn and trains that depart in odd hours go to Grand Central? The former involves a substantial increase in the number of trains they are operating, the latter is effectively taking hourly service for those people who want to go to New York Penn and cutting it in half. The former is expensive, but the latter can be dangerous--if someone picks up the timetable and sees that there's only trains every two hours, that's likely the time where they'll say "screw it" and get in their cars and drive. (the LIRR's market, especially in the off-peak periods, can be surprisingly elastic).

The second reason commonly cited is a consequence of the first: with trains having dedicated connections, there are some significant ridership disparities on some trains west and east of Jamaica. A westbound Ronkonkoma train heading to Brooklyn might arrive at Jamaica, and since most people want to go to New York Penn, 1,000 passengers get up, cross the platform, and flood a tiny West Hempstead train sitting on the opposite side of the platform. Because the West Hempstead train doesn't have that many riders east of Jamaica, there's a substantial difference between the number of people on that train when it arrives Jamaica and when it leaves. As a result, the train west of Jamaica has either lots of standees and is above service standards, or they make the train longer and east of Jamaica the train is twice the size it needs to be, which is inefficient, and in some cases, not possible due to various restraints. Not having timed transfers would effectively eliminate or significantly reduce this problem, since people would either not transfer at all, or disburse on their own amongst the remaining trains.

At any rate, not continuing through service to Brooklyn is a dangerous line to toe, considering how much that area is growing and how much people dislike transferring.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:43 pm

NIMBYkiller wrote:Does anyone know if they're keeping ANY thru-service to FBA? From the looks of this, I'd say no, but I'm not 100% familiar with the track configuration approaching Jamaica from the east. A damn shame since they're pretty much undoing a huge chunk of the capacity boost they're getting with ESA, and at a time where Brooklyn is the fastest growing part of the city. Whose bright idea was this anyway?

It would not be completely impossible to maintain through service to Brooklyn, even with the new platform F. Since the new platform would straddle tracks 10 and 11, those two tracks continue east of Jamaica, and actually parallel the Main Line all the way to just west of Hillside. Trains can come out from Brooklyn, over to the new platform F, stop there, then proceed east and jump up to Main Line 4 in HALL and then continue east on their merry way from there. And you could still streamline things through much of HALL and JAY. You would lose out a convenient way to get to the Atlantic Branch east of Jamaica, but you would be able to maintain some semblance of through service to Atlantic Terminal.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:00 pm

andegold wrote:How much of the time saved by faster train movements will be lost due to longer dwell times needed to accommodate the up/over/down transfers?

If they don't continue having timed transfers, then no running time on trains will be lost, but for passengers going to Brooklyn, travel times will likely be considerably longer. For connections that occour at places other than at Jamaica, the LIRR typically allows 4 minutes for cross-platform transfers, 8 minutes for same-platform transfers, and 11 minutes for up-and-over transfers. Add a minute or two because it's a longer walk to get all the way over there, and then another few minutes to wait for the next train, and you're looking to at least 15-20 minutes of additional travel time compared to what you would see on a train that operated directly through to Jamaica.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:07 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:As stated, concurrent with the inauguration of ESA service there will be an overall increase in train service. I can see "drop and go" working in the AM inbound rush. You come in on a Babylon-NYP train and change at Jamaica to a GCT train. Say that normally it's a Huntington train. On mornings when the Babylon train is a few minutes late the Huntington-GCT train is already gone when you arrive at Jamaica. It doesn't matter. You wait a few minutes and catch the next GCT train. The next GCT train might have originated at Ronkonkoma but that doesn't matter either. You don't care where the train came from just where it's going.

Westbound transfers wouldn't be as simple as you make it sound. You would likely care quite a lot where the train came from, considering a Ronkonkoma train arrives at Jamaica it has a lot more passengers and a lot fewer seats (and a lot less room for standees) than a West Hempstead train would when it arrives at Jamaica. Today, which trains are going to be each other's connections are carefully considered so that no one train has 4,000 people trying to cram into 12 cars at Jamaica. There are times in the morning when a westbound train will leave Jamaica without its connection, and the passengers just "wait a few minutes and catch the next one" and then the next train, but that next train is a packed Huntington train, and then there's chaos. Randomly tossing trainloads of passengers onto other trains without care could result in one train leaving Jamaica half-empty and another leaving the station with people's faces pressed up against the windows.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:13 pm

NH2060 wrote:So in essence a few sets of 8, 10, 12 car M-7s and 9s will ping back and forth between the Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica without venturing outside of that service area. Sounds like this is partially to allow frequencies between the two to increase as much as possible.

More likely sets of six or eight, and definitely not sets of twelve, but that is one of their stated goals of the project, that in return for the million and one other tradeoff's you'd be making to walk to the other side of Jamaica, they would increase service frequencies.

Running heavy LIRR trains short distances is pretty inefficient (look at the West Hempstead Branch!) since it takes time to turn the train at each terminal, and railroads have to follow additional rules that ordinary rapid transit systems have the luxury of not having to follow. A large part of me thinks that if they really want to slice off that part of the system completely, then it should just be turned over to New York City Transit for them to operate it as a true rapid transit line with lightweight cars, faster turns, [lower fares, integration with the subway] and the like.
Last edited by lirr42 on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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