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

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by NIMBYkiller
 
So King Cuomo proposed an Airtrain from LGA to Willets Pt for people to connect to the 7. Anyone who can look at a map, read a schedule, or understands the 7 train in general, knows how miserable that would be. Subway expansion is pretty much impossible, so I'm thinking the only two real options for rail are:

1. Airtrain running Jamaica-Willets Pt-LGA-74th/Broadway or Astoria Blvd. Aside from the idea that LIRR will have to make Willets Pt a full time stop once the Iron Triangle redevelopment is complete to accommodate the influx of new residents, this proposal is not what I am here to debate.

2. LIRR branch off the PW. The largest share of LGA users are headed to Manhattan, with the next largest shares going to Brooklyn and Queens. LI based travel is surprisingly minimal. To be useful, service would have to probably be every 15-20 mins. A new branch would have to be constructed off the PW in the vicinity of the Grand Central Parkway/Willets Pt. It would make 2 stops, one between Terminals C and D, and the other at Central Terminal (Marine Air Terminal accounts for I believe only 4% of LGA traffic). The service could operate non-stop from NYP/GCT ala Arlanda Express in Stockholm, or make the intermediate stops as is done in Oslo. The question is, would capacity be there for this service if LIRR were to make full utilization of all it's western end terminals (NYP/GCT/LIC/FBA) instead of just focusing on NYP and GCT? Would LIRR still be able to expand service to LI, or would this eat up the remaining capacity? Would capacity be saved if it were some sort of thru-run hybrid to Newark (again, NOT debating the legalities/politics of that idea, just the physical capacity!).
  by lirr42
 
Extending the AirTrain JFK all the way from Jamaica to LGA is unnecessarily expensive. Similarly, constructing a branch off of the Port Washington Branch would also be considerably expensive, slow, and with the tight turns and having to navigate around existing landing paths, probably wouldn't be possible. Not to mention that a 6-car LIRR train with an engineer, conductor, and assistant conductor is likely way more expensive to operate than a two-car, lightweight, automated people mover.

Constructing the AirTrian along the BQE to Jackson Heights/Woodside roughly along the existing Q70 Limited route would likely be the most beneficial to people, as you can connect to the Queens Boulevard Line, the Flushing Line, and LIRR trains at Woodside to either New York or points east.

Nonetheless, if the governor would prefer the "path of least resistance" to Willets Point, making SSM a full-time stop and increasing service along the Port Washington Branch and lowering fares, like I outlined in the other thread, should be sufficient.
  by 4behind2
 
The actual planning and some construction from Jamaica to LGA had been completed with the initial Airtrain line to JFK. If one looks closely at the viaduct just west of the station, you will see indentations in the pre-fab concrete for the line to LGA..
  by NIMBYkiller
 
The main reason for building LGA Airtrain down to Jamaica is to access the existing support facilities (maintenance, etc) instead of having to build new ones. Also, you're backwards on the interference with flight paths. An LIRR branch from Willets Pt does not cross any flight path. The closest runway is Runway 31, and the approach for that is over downtown Flushing. Anything going towards Jackson Heights or Astoria, however, DOES cross the approach to Runway 4, and right at its base too. Whatever got built there would have to run at the same level as the GCP. And there's no way to get any kind of structure from Jackson Hts to Woodside unless it was tunneled under Roosevelt Av. Believe it or not, LIRR might be the best solution for serving the most riders. The question is, would there be capacity? And to the money minded, PANYNJ should be the one paying this one (additional equipment, operating costs, and capital construction costs)
  by lirr42
 
I don't see the logic in continuing the tracks all the way down to JFK just to use the maintenance facilities down there. It's not like the Port Authority built the yards and shops at JFK twice the size they needed to be in the event that one day an AirTrain from LGA would get magically announced. They would likely have to be expanded, perhaps significantly, and when you couple the cost of doing that, plus building an AirTrian with a route length several times longer than the one currently proposed, I highly doubt it would not be cheaper to just build maintenance facilities around LGA...
  by Tom V
 
Well the new NY Governor put the brakes on the LGA Airtrain to Willets Point. What should be built is a extension of the N/R train to LaGuardia via Astoria boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway.


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  by ConstanceR46
 
the N/W being extended is a serious no-brainer.
  by Tom V
 
lirr42 wrote: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:31 pm Extending the AirTrain JFK all the way from Jamaica to LGA is unnecessarily expensive. Similarly, constructing a branch off of the Port Washington Branch would also be considerably expensive, slow, and with the tight turns and having to navigate around existing landing paths, probably wouldn't be possible. Not to mention that a 6-car LIRR train with an engineer, conductor, and assistant conductor is likely way more expensive to operate than a two-car, lightweight, automated people mover.

Constructing the AirTrian along the BQE to Jackson Heights/Woodside roughly along the existing Q70 Limited route would likely be the most beneficial to people, as you can connect to the Queens Boulevard Line, the Flushing Line, and LIRR trains at Woodside to either New York or points east.

Nonetheless, if the governor would prefer the "path of least resistance" to Willets Point, making SSM a full-time stop and increasing service along the Port Washington Branch and lowering fares, like I outlined in the other thread, should be sufficient.
Going back six years I think you nailed it, the option the new Port Authority review will come up with will probably be an Airtrain from LaGuardia airport to Jackson Heights and Woodside. Although a direct N train straight to the airport is obviously the best option, in terms of bang for the buck and community support I feel like the Jackson Heights and Woodside is the winner. The Airtrain ROW can be built on or near existing rail ROW and along or above freeways.

This alignment is also going in the right direction and offers connections up for more subway lines and LIRR (M, R, F, E, 7 train).
  by Patch Hog
 
ConstanceR46 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 9:05 am the N/W being extended is a serious no-brainer.
It's not so obvious to me how this could be done without tunneling.

Finding a path that clears all the highways and overpasses and isn't too high for area surrounding LGA doesn't look easy.
The Willets Point Air Train isn't perfect but the approach from the southeast is less complicated.
  by workextra
 
I’m grossly not conversant with this project however might I ask why not extend the current air train through to LGA in a similar manor to which is already operates down the VWE. Maybe divert it north Of Jamaica among the GCP?

Also, could the old lirr corona yard lead be extended along the creek, then back at grade or on fill to the airport?
This would actually bring the railroad direct into the airport property.
Again, I’m not familiar with the land acquisition for either option. But no matter what they end up building, land to some extent or another will need to be acquired.