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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Kilgore Trout
I've been riding the Lex a bunch lately and have noticed a few things...

1) Why do the express tracks dip down around 33rd Street? Is that part of the grade into Grand Central?

2) Any ideas what the fifth track at Spring Street was for? I'm imagining a holding track for express trains waiting for entry to Brooklyn Bridge.

3) Why are all the crossovers at 125th Street so convoluted? Wouldn't it be easier to keep locals on the upper level, with the uptown local on the east side the whole way through and flying the downtown local over the express tracks, and then putting the express tracks in both directions on the lower level? Obviously it's a bit late to change it but why was the current entanglement built?
  by Kamen Rider
1.Between 33rd street and Grand Central, there are two things you need to remember.

One is that the is another tunnel in the mix, the 1834 Murry Hill Tunnel, which the express tracks have to avoid. Second is the 1918 change to the H system, and the reconfigurement of the tunnels in that area. They have to go down far enough to avoid both the road tunnel and own thier orginal tunnels.

2.No one knows, as it was pulled up not long after the subway opened. Problem with the theory of holding a train waiting to enter brooklyn Bridge is such at track would be at Brooklyn Bridge, much like the similar tracks at 14th/Union Sq and 72nd/Broadway. When the line opened, Spring was the 3rd station leaving BB heading north (Worth->Canal->Spring)

3.The IRT valued the cross platform connection between the locals and expresses greater at 125th. Remember, the last time they had that opertunity was all the way back at Grand Central. Also, when the line was built, 59th street was not an express stop, the express platforms only opened in 1962. The tracks are as messy as they are at 125 to provide that connection. Also what you need to understand is the old IRT operating pattern of which that track layout is a vestage.

Today each branch is assoicated with one routeing for the most part. 4 to Woodlawn on the lexington Express, 5 to Dyre or 238th on the lexington Express and the 6 to Pelham Bay Park on the lex Local. When the line was built, service was more fluid. Branches back then were the base of IRT service, not the truck, so often a branch would have trains that ran express on the mainline and trains that ran local. The interlocking at 96th on the west side is from the orginal design of the orginal system, which required flat connections, two X-overs. An express 242nd street trains and a local to 145th street would get in each other's way. Flying junctions made a bit more sense, so 125th/lex was built with those instead. Idea being the trains could depart for ether branch without getting in each other's way. Timed right, a local from one line could meet the express from another, minimal wait times. having the locals on one level and the express on another would have ment a lot of going up and down stairs.