Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by andegold
It has always been my understanding that the 63rd Street Tunnel contains four tracks on two levels with the subway on top and LIRR ESA on the bottom. If that is the case why was the Lexington Ave/63rd Station designed the way it is? Regardless of what the plans were at the time for the Q why was the F split into two levels when it, presumably, has to be on one level in the tunnel? Wouldn't it have made more sense for the subway station to have the all F trains on one level and all Q trains on another? Was the two level station a compromise to a four track station with island platforms? Is the current layout supposed to make transfers easier?
  by ExCon90
I haven't been there, but on the IND it was the practice from the very beginning to facilitate passenger flow and provide greater convenience by arranging stations so that most transfers between trains would be cross-platform instead of by stairs to different platforms--compare 7th Avenue (under 53rd St.), where passengers from Queens to upper Manhattan could change from the downtown F to the uptown B/D and vice versa just by walking across the platform--one level on the going trip, the other on the return. Is that something that would apply here (I haven't seen a track diagram)? Another example happens north of Columbus Circle, where the local tracks are on the west side (where the residents are) and the express on the Central Park side, with the uptown local on the upper level and the downtown on the lower, so that most users walk down two levels in the morning and up one level after work.
  by andegold
ExCon, that's exactly what's going on here. I don't ride the D, B, F or M very often so I am unfamiliar with those other stations. I kind of figured it out as I wrote the question but figured it was worth asking anyway. It makes sense logically but seems like a little bit of overengineering here in particular because of the proximity to the tunnel.

Thanks for the answer.
  by rr503
This was their logic:

When the 63rd st tunnel was built, you are correct in that it was meant to serve as a conduit for NYCTA trains to and from Queens. That said, it wasn't supposed to be solely 6th ave trains through the tube. The line was built as part of the Program for Action, a major subway expansion package proposed but never fully executed in the '60s and '70s. Aside from 63rd st, the MTA proposed building a bypass line in Queens, and, crucially for this discussion, a second avenue subway. From that time, SAS had been planned with connections to the Broadway express tracks -- hence the extension of them to 63rd -- but also to Queens. With the additional capacity provided by the Bypass, there were supposed to be three SAS services: the equivalent of the modern day Q, running from northern SAS to Broadway, a sort of T train, running all the way down the avenue, and then a third service, connecting points in Queens with SAS via the bypass and 63rd st. To facilitate this connection between SAS and 63rd, the 63rd tunnels were stacked where they cross Second Avenue, and provisions for turnouts built, which would allow SAS trains to join seamlessly without having to construct a more complex flying junction. This had the additional benefit of facilitating F/Q cross platform transfers, and the subsequent separation of the F and Q lines heading west.
Everyone - Add this Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/63rd_Street_Tunnel" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Interesting observations about the subway lines that use this tunnel - or transfer to them.

I learned something here from this subject...MACTRAXX