JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

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JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by n2cbo » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:07 am

I seem to remember in my mind (Old age is setting in so I am not too sure) a JFK Express subway that ran from 57th st to JFK Airport. I remember the Logo for the Train ID as having a Picture of an plane in a light blue circle, and an ad campaign of "Take the train to the plane"... Is my mind playing tricks on me (because The line that goes to 57th and 7th does not go anywhere near JFK airport)?

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Re: JFK Express (1970's)

Post by orangeline » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:32 am

Yes, there was a JFK Express service. Sets of 4 R46 cars made several stops in Manhattan and one in downtown Brooklyn before running nonstop to IIRC Howard Beach. Trains ran on the 6th Ave line to W. 4 St where they switched to the 8th Ave line and followed the A route to the airport stop. Passengers had to transfer there to shuttle buses for the airline terminals. The service was extra fare which conductors collected onboard.

I initially liked that jingle, but after a few hundred times I got sick of hearing it!
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Re: JFK Express (1970's)

Post by Otto Vondrak » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:45 pm

The commercial you remember...

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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by MACTRAXX » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:38 pm

Otto and everyone: I remember those JFK Express commercials myself - from 1978 and 1981 respectively - note the difference in fare.
The JFK Express had cash collected on board by a conductor and also a police officer was regularly assigned to the train by the NYTPD.
They had a dedicated fleet of then-new R46 cars assigned to this service.
Multiple-ride tickets were sold and the JFK Express became a way for many Howard Beach residents to commute to and from Manhattan-not
the market NYCTA was seeking exactly there. I believe the service received a PA subsidy also. MACTRAXX

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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by railfan365 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:52 pm

As I recall, the JFK Express was serviced by R-46's AND R-44's. Sometimes 4 cars, sometimes 3. Howard Beach residents loved it- the expense was considered worthwhile for traveling faster and safer.

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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by Kamen Rider » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:31 pm

the line mostly was the custom painted 46s. the 44s were used more towords the end while the 46s were GOH.
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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by NellieBly » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:10 am

The "Train to the Plane" was still running when I joined the NYCTA in 1982. It lasted at least until 1985. i used it a couple of times to get from Jay Street (the station under TA HQ in Brooklyn) to the airport. Usual consist was three R46 cars; the train would open one pair of doors at each stop, and the conductor would stand in the doorway, physically blocking it, and collect the premium fare from each boarding passenger.

As to R44a vs. R46 cars, when I started in 1982, the R44s were all out of service and had been de-trucked, with their trucks placed under 300 R46 cars. Reason was that the R46 was delivered with a version of the General Steel G70 truck that had a radius rod outside the side frame, and the rod tended to break. When that happened, the broken end would flop around and could do serious damage. Several times when I was out walking track, I saw holes punched in signal cases by those rods.

The R44 cars were extremely unreliable for reasons unrelated to their trucks (which were TA standard design), so while new trucks were procured for the R46 fleet, the R44s were taken out of service and rebuilt, and their trucks were used on the R46 cars.

When I left the TA in 1987, the R46 cars had been re-trucked and all the R44s were back in service.
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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by Kamen Rider » Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:03 pm

It lasted until April 15 1990.
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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by Septaman113 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:41 pm

I remember those commercials "Take The Train To Plane" were running back then. I was a teenager during that '78-'81 period and was living in Northest Philly at that time so on nights when the weather was clear or if I would visit my Aunt across the Tacony Palmyra Bridge in Palmyra,NJ,we would get NY channels,2,4,5,7 and 9 I would see those commercials.The first was when the fare was $3.50 and the second was 1980 when it went to $4.I guess it would be at least $8 if it was still running. Ahh, the memories.
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Re: JFK Express (1970's) ("Train to the Plane")

Post by Patrick Boylan » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:32 am

So which is better, the train to the plane or the train to the new train to the plane at Jamaica or Howard Beach?
I haven't tried to change at the Howard Beach station, I rode from Jamaica, went around the airport, then out to Howard Beach and back to Jamaica via the airport without going through the Howard Beach turnstiles.
It looks like there were no turnstiles at the airport's remote parking lot next to Howard Beach. Is it possible to walk from Howard Beach subway to that parking lot airtrain station and not have to pay for an airtrain ride to the airport?

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