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 lirr42 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:23 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote: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.
Tommy Meehan wrote: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.

The LIRR is planning on spending some $29 million to rehabilitate Hunterspoint Avenue station, so I doubt that East Side Access will mark the total end of service to HPA and LIC. There are still people who use it to commute to that area of Queens (myself included).

HPA is, and will still be, a valuable and quick way to get to the East Side. Believe it or not, if you and I raced each other from the platform at Jamaica station to the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, where you took a train to Grand Central and I took a train that left at the same time and went to HPA where I got the 7 train, I would actually win. Between the longer running time that trains would take to get to Grand Central, since there are sharper curves, steeper slopes, and the like, and the trackage distance is already a little longer than it takes to get through to New York Penn and the fact that once you would arrive in Grand Central, you would have a pretty lengthy escalator ride up to street level, the actual net travel time you save is minimal compared to the options that exist already today. If you're going someplace beyond walking distance from Grand Central, you would likely save time by going to GCT since you could save a transfer, but if you work right there, HPA would still actually be the fastest option.

The railroad has floated the notion of not keeping any timed transfers at Jamaica, so only having three different routes that would pass through Jamaica station proper would not be much of an issue since you wouldn't be required to line up all four trains at once. Brooklyn was likely chosen as the one to be banished to the new platform because trains to New York Penn, Grand Central, and HPA/LIC will all leave west from Jamaica via the Main Line and the Brooklyn trains would not.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby NYCrails » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:58 am

LIC is growing as we speak. I'm based down there in LIC yard. That area is changing by the day and when ESA does eventually become in service, LIC will look even more different with even more growth. I'm also starting to see alot of kids hoping off the train to go to the schools in the area. I just don't see LIRR giving up LIC just like that. With a new wall planned and more third rails , its still going to be used in the future.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby hrfcarl » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:09 pm

lirr42 wrote:The LIRR is planning on spending some $29 million to rehabilitate Hunterspoint Avenue station, so I doubt that East Side Access will mark the total end of service to HPA and LIC. There are still people who use it to commute to that area of Queens (myself included).


And how many millions did LIRR spend on Atlantic Terminal and now they want to turn that branch into a shuttle service? Cost do not seem to factor in LIRR decisions...

HPA is, and will still be, a valuable and quick way to get to the East Side. Believe it or not, if you and I raced each other from the platform at Jamaica station to the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, where you took a train to Grand Central and I took a train that left at the same time and went to HPA where I got the 7 train, I would actually win. Between the longer running time that trains would take to get to Grand Central, since there are sharper curves, steeper slopes, and the like, and the trackage distance is already a little longer than it takes to get through to New York Penn and the fact that once you would arrive in Grand Central, you would have a pretty lengthy escalator ride up to street level, the actual net travel time you save is minimal compared to the options that exist already today. If you're going someplace beyond walking distance from Grand Central, you would likely save time by going to GCT since you could save a transfer, but if you work right there, HPA would still actually be the fastest option.

The railroad has floated the notion of not keeping any timed transfers at Jamaica, so only having three different routes that would pass through Jamaica station proper would not be much of an issue since you wouldn't be required to line up all four trains at once. Brooklyn was likely chosen as the one to be banished to the new platform because trains to New York Penn, Grand Central, and HPA/LIC will all leave west from Jamaica via the Main Line and the Brooklyn trains would not.


Considering the cost of taking the LIRR has doubled over the past 10 years and keeps on going up which do you think people would choose to get to 42nd Street & Vanderbilt Avenue - LIRR to ESA or LIRR to HPA then added cost (also increasing) of 7 subway? This would lead one to believe there will be a decrease in riders to HPA once ESA is open. Also, If not keeping timed transfers at Jamaica is true, then 4 routes should not be an issue other than some trains getting overcrowded, so would creating better bypass tracks (faster speeds and not passing platforms) be the better investment for Jamaica?
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:10 pm

hrfcarl wrote:Considering the cost of taking the LIRR has doubled over the past 10 years and keeps on going up which do you think people would choose to get to 42nd Street & Vanderbilt Avenue - LIRR to ESA or LIRR to HPA then added cost (also increasing) of 7 subway? This would lead one to believe there will be a decrease in riders to HPA once ESA is open. Also, If not keeping timed transfers at Jamaica is true, then 4 routes should not be an issue other than some trains getting overcrowded, so would creating better bypass tracks (faster speeds and not passing platforms) be the better investment for Jamaica?

It depends on what people's commutes entail... if they are just going to someplace within walking distance of Grand Central, then GCT might be their best option, but if they're going to be connecting to the subway once they are there to go either uptown, downtown, or crosstown, then the costs are a wash. At that point, it would just depend on where your particular train would end up in the morning, and since there won't be any service from diesel territory into Grand Central, so those people might presumably still go to HPA.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby jackintosh11 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:07 pm

Are there diesel locomotives that could run into grand central? Why were the tunnels built so short in the first place?
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby NH2060 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:21 pm

jackintosh11 wrote:Are there diesel locomotives that could run into grand central? Why were the tunnels built so short in the first place?

I don't think even the Genesis could fit into those tunnels.

The tunnels are the height at which they are because the the height of the original 63rd St. tunnel from decades ago (which featured a lower level for 2 LIRR tracks) was meant to accommodate the height of the M-1s. This is why the M-7s and M-9s/9As will be the only pieces of rolling stock using the tunnel exclusively.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Head-end View » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: discontinuing of timed connections at Jamaica: Notwithstanding that Brooklyn passengers will get screwed by this new set-up, I think there will be a learning curve the LIRR will go thru for the first couple of years when ESA service begins. They will probably have to try several different service configurations and schedules at Jamaica 'til they fine-tune it into something that works reasonably well for as many passengers as possible.

Some of the old-timers (Tool?) can check me on this, but I seem to remember that a similar experimentation happened circa 1971 after the Huntington electric service began. I remember at least one very radical change in schedules (supposedly designed by computers which was a new concept at that time) which resulted in chaos the first week until things kind of jelled together.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:34 pm

I also agree there may be a learning curve involved. None of the proposals are set in stone, they can be modified over the next few years. It's just that although ESA is still four or five years away, it's not that long. They have to start planning now.

I wouldn't be surprised, given the volume of passengers who will be riding to GCT -- almost certainly dwarfing what we see today with regard to Brooklyn or HPA -- if LIRR doesn't set up the schedules to minimize the transfers at Jamaica in the first place, at least during rush hour. In other words, riders will have enough train service from eastern terminals to both NYP or GCT that they can ride a train headed to their destination. Not have to ride a Penn Station train when they are really going to GCT. The convenience of a one-seat ride may motivate commuters to tweak their schedule if need be. Ride a slightly earlier or later train in order not to have to 'Change at Jamaica!'
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:01 pm

Everyone:

I have my own questions about this proposal to turn the Atlantic Branch into a shuttle operation and I agree
that Brooklyn riders are going to be losers in this proposed service...

As we know trains from the Far Rockaway, Hempstead and Long Beach Branches are the lines that primarily
serve Atlantic Terminal - Has there been any decision on which eastern branches will serve Penn Station or
GCT or will there be a mix of both from all lines?

Can at least one of those three branches serving Atlantic Terminal continue under a new plan after ESA opens
or will all these trains be needed to serve Penn Station and GCT?

H-E View: The major LIRR schedule change that you mention occurred in early 1972 at the time of the introduction
of zone fares to the LIRR...I agree that ESA will warrant a major schedule change when service begins and will be
adjusted when it becomes necessary to improve this new service...

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:58 pm

At present, of forty-nine westbound morning Peak trains from the Hempstead, Long Beach and Far Rockaway branches, twenty-nine of them go to Penn Station and twenty to Brooklyn. Are trains from those branches routed to Brooklyn because of their ridership -- a high percentage going to Brooklyn? -- or are those trains selected for other reasons? In other words, what percentage of the peak hour riders from those three branches ride to Atlantic Terminal rather than NYP? Obviously the LIRR has the figures. My guess is it's not too high.

According to this LIRR 2012 ridership report, total ridership on the three branches was about 32,300 riders per weekday. Ninety percent of LIRR weekday rush hour riders traveling to or from a western terminal are traveling to or from Penn Station and ten percent for Atlantic Terminal. I wonder if that percentage holds true for rush hour riders on the Hempstead, Long Beach and Far Rockaway Branches? If so it would seem maintaining through service to Brooklyn for those three lines is not critical.

It seems to me when I have ridden PM Peak trains from Atlantic Terminal they were not especially crowded. They ranged from almost empty to comfortably full. They really filled up at Jamaica.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby NIMBYkiller » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:56 pm

For me it's more of a question of west end capacity than # of through-riders. If LIRR were to axe FBA, would that not result in a loss of west end capacity and therefore restricting the number of additional trains they can run from the island since now they're required to funnel into 3 terminals instead of 4? Or is Jamaica currently regulating the capacity and it's reconfiguration with the termination of thru-running Brooklyn service actually result in a higher west end capacity?
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:48 pm

I think service to Grand Central will actually boost capacity on the west end quite a bit by providing an additional terminal. Brooklyn will still be there, they're not talking about closing Atlantic Terminal. If you read the documentation provided on the first page of this thread it seems the Jamaica project is mostly about adding capacity through Jamaica. From one of the reports, between 7AM-9AM on weekdays westbound trains through Jamaica will increase from the current 82 to a projected 104. Link to planning consultant report

One of the problems the report mentions is that currently rush hour train service often suffers delays making the connections between trains at Jamaica. Once ESA opens and the number of rush hour trains increases up to 25%, if nothing changes the delay problem would be expected to become much worse, with an even greater impact on service quality. The response to this is to adopt a 'drop-and-go' operation -- no guaranteed connections between trains -- and a reconfiguration of Jamaica's switches, signals and routings through the interlockings.

If you look at the numbers, adding the GCT service is going to be quite a challenge for LIRR.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby TrainPhotos » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:24 am

So the new platform will be single sided only?
Train approaching, please stand back.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby Head-end View » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:10 pm

The "drop-'n'-go" operation that Tommy mentioned might work and actually reduce delays during the rush-hours when there are plenty of trains running on all routes, so the wait at Jamaica shouldn't be too long. But during off-peak hours it might not work very well as there can be a much longer wait for a train to any destination. So the best answer might be to retain the timed-connection operation during off-peak only.
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Re: Jamaica Reroute Scheme

Postby lirr42 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:14 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:I also agree there may be a learning curve involved. None of the proposals are set in stone, they can be modified over the next few years. It's just that although ESA is still four or five years away, it's not that long. They have to start planning now.

I wouldn't be surprised, given the volume of passengers who will be riding to GCT -- almost certainly dwarfing what we see today with regard to Brooklyn or HPA -- if LIRR doesn't set up the schedules to minimize the transfers at Jamaica in the first place, at least during rush hour. In other words, riders will have enough train service from eastern terminals to both NYP or GCT that they can ride a train headed to their destination. Not have to ride a Penn Station train when they are really going to GCT. The convenience of a one-seat ride may motivate commuters to tweak their schedule if need be. Ride a slightly earlier or later train in order not to have to 'Change at Jamaica!'

While there will inevitably be changes, it's going to be pretty important that they get as much right as possible on the first day. Opening day of East Side Access will be a huge turning point for the LIRR, and piratically everyone on Long Island's going to be reevaluating how they commute in the few weeks leading up to the opening day. People who currently drive or take the bus might look at the timetables, see a level of service, or at least a few particular trains, that they think would suit them well and switch from driving to taking the train. On the other hand, there might be people who've been taking the LIRR for the past several years who look at the new schedules and decide that the new service is no longer going to work for them. So they either switch to driving, change jobs, retire, move, work from home, etc...

The goal should be to have more instances of the former (gaining new riders) than the latter (losing current riders). Killing off direct Brooklyn service puts them at a substantial risk of starting behind on that equation. Similarly, reductions in intra-island and reverse-peak service could also threaten that number.

The amount of press and attention the LIRR will be getting in the few weeks leading up to ESA's opening day will be considerable, probably the most in its history considering how widely information can be spread now. But they will only get that level of press once. If a motorist picks up the opening day schedules and sees that the train still isn't for them, then there goes that. The chances of them considering taking the train again when the LIRR adjusts the schedules to add service three months or a year later is likely to be very small.
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