LIRR Christmas 2014 Service Plan

Here is the Christmas 2014 holiday service plan for the Long Island Rail Road:

MTA Long Island Rail Road is adding 13 trains to its eastbound afternoon schedule from Penn Station on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24, to accommodate the large number of customers leaving work early to begin their Christmas holiday. The additional service from Penn Station will be provided between 12:46 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. on the Ronkonkoma, Babylon, Port Jefferson and Far Rockaway branches.
The added trains are as follow:

Ronkonkoma Branch (2 Extra Trains):

12:46 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, Mineola, Hicksville and local stops to Ronkonkoma

1:46 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, Mineola, Hicksville and local stops to Ronkonkoma

Babylon Branch (6 Extra Trains):

1:28 p.m. from Penn Station traveling express to Rockville Centre and then local to Babylon

1:53 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Jamaica, Rockville Centre, then traveling local to Babylon.

2:19 p.m. from Penn Station traveling express to Rockville Centre and then local to Babylon

2:32 p.m. from Penn Station traveling express to Lynbrook and then local to Babylon

3 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Jamaica, Rockville Centre and traveling local to Babylon

3:31 p.m. from Penn Station traveling express to Rockville Centre and then local to Babylon

Port Jefferson Branch (To Hicksville and Huntington) 3 Extra Trains:

2:08 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Jamaica, Mineola and local to Huntington

2:29 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, New Hyde Park and then local to Huntington

3:24 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, Westbury and Hicksville

Port Washington Branch (1 Extra Train):

3:40 p.m. from Penn Station stopping Woodside, Flushing-Main St. and then making all stops to Great Neck

Far Rockaway Branch (1 Extra Train):

3:48 p.m. from Penn Station stopping at Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale, Valley Stream and then all stops to Far Rockaway

Christmas Day Service:

On Christmas Day, December 25, the LIRR will operate on a holiday schedule.

Reminder: Extra Holiday Service on Weekends through January 3-4.

The LIRR is running four extra westbound trains and six extra eastbound trains on weekends during the holiday season. The remaining weekends are December 27-28 and January 3-4.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Christmas 2014 Service Plan

Here is the Christmas 2014 holiday service plan info for the Metro-North Railroad:

Whether you’re looking to visit family, sightsee or do some last-minute shopping, MTA Metro-North Railroad wants to help you celebrate the holidays with trains and schedules to suit your needs.

Please note that drinking alcohol on Metro-North trains and at our stations is banned from noon New Year’s Eve until noon New Year’s Day. Those traveling home “early morning” (after midnight) on New Year’s Eve are advised to purchase train tickets in advance. Tickets will be collected prior to boarding trains at Grand Central Terminal.

Pick up a special holiday timetable now.

Christmas Getaway: Wednesday, December 24:

Normal AM Peak schedule, special afternoon getaway schedule with reduced PM Peak schedule after 5:00 p.m.

Christmas Day: Thursday, December 25:

Special holiday schedule to operate, with hourly service on most line segments, and regular weekend service on branch lines.

Day After Christmas: Friday, December 26:

To reflect the unique ridership patterns on the day after Christmas, Metro-North will run an enhanced Saturday schedule with extra trains in the regular AM and PM Peak periods, and also for the large volume of shoppers making returns and using gift cards.

Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday, December 27 at Yankee Stadium:

Boston College vs. Penn State college football game at 4:30 p.m.

Shuttle service will be provided between Grand Central, Harlem-125th Street and Yankees-East 153rd Street stations.

Monday-Tuesday, December 29-30:

A weekday schedule, with slightly reduced AM Peak service and additional inbound service operated in late morning.

New Year’s Eve: Wednesday, December 31:

A modified weekday schedule with reduced AM and PM Peak service, extra evening inbound service and extra outbound service after midnight.

New Year’s Day: Thursday, January 1, 2015:

Special holiday schedule, to operate with hourly service on most line segments, with extra outer New Haven Line service, and regular weekend service on branch lines.

Day After New Year’s: Friday, January 2, 2015:

Due to customary light ridership when January 2nd falls on a Friday, Metro-North will run an enhanced Saturday schedule with extra trains in the regular AM and PM Peak periods.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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S.I. Railway Christmas 2014 Service Plan

Here is the Christmas 2014 service plan for the Staten Island Railway:

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24:

The Staten Island Railway will operate additional express service beginning two hours earlier, from 2:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25:

The Staten Island Railway will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Friday, December 26:

The Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule.

Monday-Tuesday, December 29-30:

The Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule.

New Year’s Eve, Wednesday, December 31:

The Staten Island Railway will operate additional express service beginning two hours earlier, from 2:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1:

The Staten Island Railway will operate on a Saturday schedule.

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MTA Seeks Federal Funds For L Line

This past Friday, the MTA announced it is seeking approximately $300M in federal funds for the . The funds would go towards improvements such as adding a couple of trains per hour, installing new entrances at Bedford & 1st Avs respectively & more. Here is more via the official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is seeking federal funding toward approximately $300 million in infrastructure improvements for the Canarsie L Line, which runs from Manhattan to the Canarsie section of Brooklyn through neighborhoods that have seen the largest increases in population in New York City.

More than 300,000 customers use the Canarsie L Line on an average weekday, an increase of 98% since 1998. Average weekday entries at the Bedford Av station, the busiest station on the line, have increased by 250%. The line has experienced a 27% increase in ridership since New York City Transit installed Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) in 2007, a new signal system that increased NYCT’s ability to run more trains each hour.

Proposed infrastructure improvements include adding three power substations to allow for two additional trains per hour, a 10% increase in service, which could carry 2,200 additional customers per hour. Other elements include installing elevators at the 1 Av and Bedford Av stations to make them fully compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and adding new street-level entrances at both stations to make it easier for customers to enter or exit the stations and alleviate platform crowding that can delay trains.

“More than 49,000 customers use the 1 Av and Bedford Av stations on an average weekday, and the stations experience overcrowding during peak periods. The area around the Bedford Av station has been rezoned to allow for almost 10,000 new residential units, and ridership is expected to continue to rise,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We have to increase capacity on the Canarsie Line and improve customer flow at stations to meet this increasing demand, and securing federal funding for a project of this magnitude will go a long way toward achieving that goal.”

At Bedford Av, plans call for two new 7-foot-wide street stairs on the east side of Bedford Avenue. This would be a 138% increase over current street stair capacity at the station, which currently consists of two 5-foot-wide street stairs. Platform stair capacity at Bedford Av would increase by 38%, with two 7-foot, 6-inch stairs replacing an existing single 12-foot-wide stair).

At the 1 Av station, new fare control areas at Avenue A would double capacity – a 100% increase – up to the street from each platform. The Avenue A entrances would serve 60% of the station’s ridership, thus eliminating a 500-foot walk (from First Avenue to Avenue A) for 31,000 weekday customers entering or exiting the station.

To advance the improvements, the MTA will be requesting funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s new Core Capacity grant program. Work on the Canarsie improvements is expected to take several years, with construction on the new station entrance at 1 Av to start first. Work on the infrastructure improvements will be coordinated with planned repairs to the Canarsie Tube, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy. Those repairs include work on tracks, signals, tunnel lighting, cables, pump facilities, duct banks and other equipment required for reliable service through the tube. A schedule for Sandy-related repairs to the tunnel, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn under the East River, will be determined at a later time.

Partial funding for the Canarsie improvements has been included in the MTA’s proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program. Fifty million dollars for the development of the project was previously included in the 2010-2014 Capital Program. The MTA’s request for Core Capacity funds is limited to power and vertical circulation improvements that will increase capacity on the L line. The application for federal funds is expected to take several years, and additional reviews will be needed from the Federal Transit Administration before a funding recommendation can be made.

Let me just say these proposed improvements would be huge for the line. As many of you know, I run an online radio station & music review site which has me at a lot of indie music shows throughout the city. Many of those shows lead me to Brooklyn so I frequent the often.

The 1st Av & Bedford stations are easily the biggest bottlenecks on the line & anything to increase service & ease facility access would be greatly appreciated. We can’t overlook at how huge a station entrance at Ave A would be for riders in Alphabet City.

In regards to Alphabet City, I really hope the agency can look into somehow creating a station at Ave C as the neighborhood needs one. Besides, it just makes common sense considering the rider population in & around the neighborhood which surprisingly is under serviced for Manhattan. We shall see what the future holds for that.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Report Exposes F Train Derailment Cause

Back in the beginning of May, the biggest transit story was the Brooklyn-bound train that derailed in Queens.

7 months after the derailment, the MTA issued a report this past Friday exposing the cause of the derailment which turned out to be unrepaired track defaults. Here is the official press release I received which I will follow with the link to the full report:

MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) today released the final report on its exhaustive investigation into the cause of the May 2014 F train derailment along the Queens Boulevard subway line. The report uses prior inspection reports to identify several minor defects in track components present at the point of derailment. Individually, none of them was capable of causing a derailment, but the combination of defects in one location was the most likely cause of the derailment. New York City Transit has changed its inspection protocols to ensure rail defects are appropriately identified and repaired.

“Nothing is more important than providing the safest transportation possible for our customers and employees, so determining the cause of this derailment was a top priority for us,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We immediately took corrective action to ensure we always focus on identifying and correcting track defects. This will minimize the risk of future derailments.”

The eight-car F train derailed shortly after 10 a.m. on May 2 as it traveled toward Manhattan on the express track south of the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av station, under Broadway at 60th Street. A 7-foot, 11-inch section of a 19-foot, 6-inch-long rail fractured beneath the train as it traveled at approximately 40 miles per hour, causing six of the eight cars to derail. Approximately 1,000 people were safely evacuated by city rescue services. Thirty customers and two employees reported minor injuries, and the damage was valued at more than $2 million.

New York City Transit’s comprehensive track inspection program requires every inch of mainline track to be walked and inspected by trained personnel twice a week, and by supervisors twice a month. Automated inspection cars also traverse the system regularly to assess track geometry and to use ultrasonic technology to scan for rail defects invisible to the naked eye.

New York City Transit’s Office of System Safety reviewed video data from prior automated inspections where the derailment occurred. The videos showed that a metal plate and fasteners under the rail had been broken for at least one year before the derailment but were not replaced. The wooden tie under that plate was also in poor condition. Maintenance records also showed that in the eleven months before the derailment, two other broken rails had been reported and replaced in the same 19-foot, 6-inch section of rail.

The combination of the broken plate, broken fasteners and deteriorated tie should have been prioritized for repairs. The report concludes that Division of Track personnel did not identify, document and correct the track defect at that location, either during regular inspections or when the two prior broken rails were replaced. They also did not adequately investigate the underlying causes of the broken rails.

Additionally, the report found that the top of the rail that broke was installed with a 1/8-inch vertical mismatch where the new rail met the slightly worn existing rail. In addition, the metal joint bars used to fasten the two rails together were reused, and one of them had a sharp edge where the top of the joint bar met the underside of the rail head. In addition, one of the six bolts required to secure the joint bar was not present.

Investigators found no anomalies in the performance of the crew, the signal system, the subway cars or the manufacture of the rail itself. Disciplinary action is being pursued against three Maintenance Supervisors and a Track Inspector for their roles in this derailment.

The Division of Track has taken several steps to ensure rail defects are properly identified and repaired. A new Broken Rail Procedure ensures broken plates and fasteners are replaced as soon as possible. The Division of Track will add eight Maintenance Supervisors, and will increase the number of times supervisors inspect the five corridors with the highest number of broken rails. Those corridors are now inspected monthly by ultrasonic inspection cars, and new teams have been established to rapidly respond to and correct rail defects identified by ultrasonic testing. The Division of Track is also installing continuously welded rail and resilient fasteners in these five corridors, which eliminates as many bolted joints as possible.

New York City Transit spends approximately $180 million on track maintenance each year. The MTA invested $1.5 billion in track rehabilitation and construction in its 2010-2014 Capital Program, and is proposing to increase that investment to almost $2 billion in the 2015-2019 Capital Program.

“The magnitude of our investment in maintenance illustrates our strong commitment to the safety of our customers and employees,” said Joseph Leader, Senior Vice President, Department of Subways. “We appreciate this detailed analysis of why the derailment occurred. We have quickly taken corrective action, and we will continue to embrace new technologies and continuously improve our track maintenance activities.”

Click here for the complete report in .pdf format.

At the heat of the report, the MTA announced it will take disciplinary action against 3 maintenance supervisors & an inspector for leaving track defaults unrepaired for nearly a year. The only fair punishment would be for them to be fired as their negligence could have lead to death & that is inexcusable.

While the agency has changed their protocol in terms of fixing track defaults, it is good to know they are accepting their fault in the derailment & not hiding behind previous protocol issues. Hopefully the new protocols prevent this from ever happening again.

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