Timeline/maps of routes and service patterns, 1875-2010

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

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Komsomolskaya
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:27 am

Timeline/maps of routes and service patterns, 1875-2010

Post by Komsomolskaya » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:35 am

I made a series of maps giving a snapshot of rapid transit service in New York City every 5 years from 1875 through 2010. (Scroll down for prev/next links, or press 'a' for previous and 's' for next.) These depict not only what physical infrastructure existed, but also (as best as I could determine) which routes ran where in midday service at the end of each of the years in question, using the modern trunk-line-based colour scheme. Please let me know if you have any comments/questions, and especially if you notice anything incorrect about the maps.

Paul1705
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Location: Williams Bridge station

Re: Timeline/maps of routes and service patterns, 1875-2010

Post by Paul1705 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:02 pm

Very impressive. And rather discouraging that so little has been accomplished in recent decades. I believe New York had the only rapid transit system in the world that was shrinking in route mileage (in the period from 1960 to 1980).

This is a matter of definition: would the New York, Westchester and Boston be classified as rapid transit or as a commuter railroad? I've usually seen it described as a railroad, but it may have had aspects of both.

Komsomolskaya
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:27 am

Re: Timeline/maps of routes and service patterns, 1875-2010

Post by Komsomolskaya » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:16 pm

Paul1705 wrote:Very impressive. And rather discouraging that so little has been accomplished in recent decades. I believe New York had the only rapid transit system in the world that was shrinking in route mileage (in the period from 1960 to 1980).
Yes, but part of the point of showing service patterns was to illustrate how small construction projects like the Chrystie St and 63rd St connections, or even service changes without any construction, can bring significant improvements to the network. Not that these don't pale in comparison to the vast and sudden expansion of the Dual Contracts.
This is a matter of definition: would the New York, Westchester and Boston be classified as rapid transit or as a commuter railroad? I've usually seen it described as a railroad, but it may have had aspects of both.
The NYW&B ran local trains every 20 minutes off-peak (and express trains just as frequently). These local trains had stops that were much more closely spaced than on any of the other non-street-running commuter lines. Its right-of-way was entirely grade-separated, with elevated and subway sections just like the other rapid transit lines, and much of the area it served was already significantly urban when it opened. It is shown on this contemporary map, along with the IRT, BMT and H&M but not the other commuter rail lines, indicating that people at the time also thought it belonged with the former more than the latter. It was a commuter railroad for legal and regulatory purposes, but so is PATH and it seems even clearer that PATH belongs on a rapid transit map. For all of these reasons it seemed best to include it in the timeline.

HBLR
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Re: Timeline/maps of routes and service patterns, 1875-2010

Post by HBLR » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:11 am

It would be even more amazing if you had mouse-over or finger-tappable lables for each line.
No I'm not a railroad professional, but that doesn't mean I can't provide first hand observational comments.

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