MTA Adds Longer Cars To C Line

The MTA recently started adding longer train cars to the C Train to increase capacity as ridership has increased along the line in certain areas. Vincent Barone of AMNY has more in this report:

The MTA has begun running a few longer train cars on the C line in order to accommodate neighborhood growth around it, according to agency spokesman Jon Weinstein.

The longer cars, known as the R46 model, were built in the 1970s and currently run on other lines including the A. These cars are 75 feet long — 15 feet longer than the current models that run on the C.

That added space increases capacity on the line by 25 percent per train set. In total, five sets of eight-car R46s are running on the line, mixed in with two other models. The changes, which took effect Saturday, were first outlined in MTA chairman Joseph Lhota’s Subway Action Plan, but the MTA also believes the longer trains will help during the 2019 L train shutdown.

“Lengthening C trains was a promise made — and kept — under the Subway Action Plan to increase capacity and improve service for our riders,” Weinstein said in a statement.

Click here for the complete report.

While I commend the agency on adding space for additional riders, MTA Board Member Andrew Albert is 100% correct that riders would prefer more frequent service if they had to choose between it & the few feet of additional space. I personally do what I can to avoid the line as the service is way too sporadic even during the rush hour which is completely unacceptable.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North To Make Improvements At 5 Stations

Catching up on some transit news from the past few days, the MTA Metro-North Railroad announced it will be making improvements at 5 stations. Here are more details courtesy of the press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board has approved a $91.5 million design-build contract to the firm Halmar International to make state-of-the-art enhancements to Metro-North Railroad’s White Plains, Harlem-125th Street, Crestwood, Port Chester and Riverdale stations. Construction gets underway in early 2018.  This Enhanced Stations Initiative sets the standard for similar improvements to other Metro-North stations in the future.

The Enhanced Stations Initiative, which includes some elements of state of good repair and enhancements, will result in stations that are safer, cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate.

The general scope of the work includes new signage, platforms, energy efficient LED lighting, benches with USB chargers, station dashboards and totems to provide convenient access to information, improvements to customer restrooms, not to mention Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. Upgrades at White Plains include improved station entrances, as well as new interior wall panels, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and fixtures.

At the direction of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Metro-North issued a design-build contract to expedite the project. Design-build contracts call for a team of designers and contractors to be responsible for both designing and building an entire project in order to ensure that coordination is seamless, and that work is completed in the shortest possible time frame.  The project is funded by MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program.

For the station enhancement project, the MTA worked with consultants Grimshaw Architects to study and revise existing design guidelines for stations and facilities, bringing world class standards to Metro-North stations. These revised guidelines will establish a new look for Metro-North stations, influencing station design long after improvements to White Plains, Harlem-125th Street, Crestwood, Port Chester and Riverdale are complete.

Safety is a top priority at the MTA, and as part of the station enhancement project, Metro-North upgraded its electrical and communications system, adding closed-circuit security cameras inside and outside the stations.

Bringing more beauty to the commute, MTA Arts and Design has issued an open call for artists to create site specific installations at White Plains, Harlem 125th Street, Crestwood and Port Chester.  Dennis Oppenheim’s low-relief, brightly painted metal sculpture in the shape of four houses was installed at the Riverdale station in 2006.

“The Enhanced Stations Initiative raises the bar for station aesthetics, safety and amenities,” said Cathy Rinaldi, Acting President of Metro-North. “Customers can anticipate a better environment at our stations, and all with minimal disruption to their commute. These improvements bring the stations into the 21st century and help enhance the quality of life of the communities they serve.”

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Chairman Clashes With State Senator

Long time readers know how much I hate political grandstanding. Tri-state area riders know full well how much of that goes on with elected officials who seem to always care about mass transit funding & issues when it gives them a chance to earn political brownie points.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota is another one who is not fond of the game as he lashed out at State Senator Michael Gianaris who recently tried to score brownie points by acting like he gives a damn about mass transit. Kenneth Lovett of the New York Daily News has more:

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota Monday shot back at a top legislative Democrat who called on Gov. Cuomo to not accept a new state budget that doesn’t include a new long-term funding stream for the cash-strapped transit agency.

“It’s nice that Sen. (Michael) Gianaris has seen the light,” Lhota said of the deputy Democratic minority leader from Queens. “The current problems at the MTA are due to a lack of investment going back decades.”

The Daily News reported Monday that Gianaris organized a letter from the Senate Democrats telling Cuomo that finding a way to better fund the MTA should be a top priority in the coming budget discussions.

“Hopefully, he and other legislators finally understand that they need to produce for their constituents rather than continuing their political posturing through press releases,” Lhota said. “The MTA has a new slogan for the legislature: ‘See Something, Do Something.’”

Gianaris shot back that “it should tell New Yorkers all they need to know about Joe Lhota’s stewardship of the MTA that he chooses to attack a letter that simply calls for the MTA to be fully funded.”

“Isn’t his job to make sure that actually happens?” Gianaris added. “One would think he should just say ‘thank you’ and work on achieving that goal instead of lobbing nonsensical attacks in furtherance of a political agenda.”

Click here for the complete report.

I loved the comment from Joseph Lhota as it truly showcased the game that these officials play every single chance they get when it comes to the issues of the MTA & transportation in our region. I still wonder if I will ever see a properly developed & funded transportation infrastructure & system in my lifetime……

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Amtrak Derailment In Washington State

The lead engine and wreckage of an Amtrak train sit in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 after the Monday morning derailment south of Dupont. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Sadly another rail tragedy has struck our country as an Amtrak derailment in Washington state has claimed the life of at least 6 people as of this entry. The derailment occurred on Amtrak train number 501 which was on its inaugural run of a new service between Seattle & Portland that used a recently constructed bypass track that was setup to speed up the trip time of the commute.

Kirk Johnson, Richard Perez Pena & Niraj Chokshi of the New York Times has more in this report:

A passenger train on a newly opened high-speed Amtrak route jumped the tracks on an overpass south of Tacoma on Monday, slamming rail cars into a busy highway, killing at least six people and injuring more than 75 others, officials said.

The derailment of Amtrak Train No. 501, making the inaugural run of a new service from Seattle to Portland, dropped a 132-ton locomotive in the southbound lanes of the Northwest’s busiest travel corridor. Two passenger coaches also fell partly in the traffic lanes, and two other coaches were left dangling off the bridge, one of them wedged against a tractor-trailer. On the highway below lay five crumpled cars and two semi-trucks, and huge chunks of concrete that were ripped away from the damaged overpass.

All 12 of the train’s coaches and one of its two engines derailed. The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched an investigative team to the scene

Click here for the complete report.

I am sending my sincerest condolences to the friends & families of the victims who lost their lives. I also send the same regards to those who suffered injuries as the result of the derailment.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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New Law Shines Light On MTA Finances

Gov. Cuomo recently signed a new law that will require the MTA to post its financial plans online for public review before the agency can call its board for a vote. While I appreciate the transparency of the measure, it does reek of the pot calling the kettle black considering the games his administration has partaken in when it comes to their handling of finances. Actually that goes for pretty much every administration & elected officials in Albany.

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