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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by rr503
Does anyone have a map/chart/ett that has speeds for the subway system? I'm doing a project and I need this data.
  by Fan Railer
Can you be more specific about the objective of your project? Achieved speeds in the NYC subway are somewhat ambiguous, considering the fact that every operator has a different style of operation. No two trains on the same line traveling in the same direction are going to follow the exact same speed profile. Individual car classes within the system have different performance characteristics, and individual trains within a car class may perform differently based on the presence of dead motors or other defects. The general rule is that if you have a green signal ahead of you, you can keep the throttle @ 100%. The majority of curves now have timer control to automatically enforce curve limits, but again, each operator is going to approach the timers differently, some faster than others, depending on experience and level of comfort navigating that specific section of track. Additionally the state of timed sections is always in a state of change. Signal department is apt to install timers along a section of track that did not used to have them at any time. Case in point: the Rockaway bound approach into Howard Beach - JFK used to be un-timed, and trains could reach 40 mph before entering the station and taking a brake application. But within the last year, signal dept. installed a 20 mph grade timer on that approach, which slowed trains down significantly. Additionally, during the fall leaf season, several sections of out-door track have speed restrictions imposed to combat slip-and-slide conditions created by falling leaves. Finally, the presence of track work slows down trains through the area where work is occurring.

So again, if you can be specific on what you're trying to research and for what purpose, that would help us tailor our responses to your inquiry.
  by rr503
Sure thing,

I'm looking for some sort of resource with posted speeds on the system, so something that shows the curves with restricted speeds, etc. Basically, something along the lines of a company track chart, but for the subway.

Does this help?
  by Fan Railer
Yes, although you omitted what the objective of your project is for. I'm not sure the type of document you're asking for exists, and even if it does, I believe it would be a heavily guarded internal document. I can give you some speed restrictions along certain lines that I am familiar with, but my knowledge is somewhat limited in that regard. You're better off emailing the MTA and seeing if they're willing to accommodate you, even if it's a long shot.
  by Passenger
Just as a more general question, is there some sort of regulation default speed limit?
  by Allan
Passenger wrote:Just as a more general question, is there some sort of regulation default speed limit?
No, there isn't.

While the motors of latest subway cars can achieve speeds of around 80 mph, they all have "speed governors" which restrict the maximum speed is around 52 mph. The NYC subway is too old to allow for higher speeds and it isn't necessary anyway.

HOWEVER, because of the closeness of stations, the need to slow down around curves and over switches and general speed restrictions (safety reasons) located at many, many places in the system it would be rare for a train to get close to the 52 mph number. Based on many factors I would say that the average speed attained (from on terminal to another) would be around 35 mph.

Years ago when the R110A cars were being tested on the 2 line, the train I was riding did get up to 52 mph between 96th St and 72nd St on the express track but it was for less than a minute. The R62A cars on the 6 train can get up to about 42 mph on the express track between Elder Av and St. Lawrence Av but it is for less than a minute.
  by Head-end View
Back when we still had a good front window view on former IRT lines, I used to view the digital speedometer thru the small cab-door window. I've ridden up to 45mph on northbound #7 Express trains along Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Ave. though the more common practice is a little slower. And up to 43mph on the northbound #2-3 express trains on the curve just north of Houston St. Station. But as another poster said above, typical speeds are 30-35 mph even though it feels faster in the tunnels.

One thing I don't understand is why the "A" train goes so slow on the long, straight stretch across Jamaica Bay between Howard Beach and Broad Channel. Instead of loafing along at maybe 40mph, why couldn't they go up to 50 or 60 on that stretch? :(
  by GojiMet86
I was on a R62 (3) that touched 51 mph about a year or two ago.
  by Head-end View
Where was that?
  by Fan Railer
Likely southbound between 96 and 42.
  by Fan Railer
Speeds between howard beach and broad channel are really dependent on the specific train. I've ridden equipment that hit 50 on that stretch, but I've also ridden equipment that barely broke 40. The R46s are just slow in general. Any NTT would hit 50 on that stretch with no trouble. On the F culver express track, if the T/O doesn't back off the throttle, you will balance out at around 54 mph, and in the 60th Street Tubes, I've seen at least one NTT train hit 67, but at that point, it's really just gravity, since the computer has cut all power to the motors.
  by GojiMet86
Fan Railer wrote:Likely southbound between 96 and 42.
Yes, the stretch right before 50th Street.
  by Fan Railer
Means you had a good T/O who wasn't afraid to back off of full parallel coming into those curves. Not sure if that's possible anymore, since signal dpt might have put up timers in that area.
  by Frank
I was on an R32 train that went 51 mph on the Queens Boulevard's Northern Blvd bypass about 10 years ago.
  by Fan Railer
Manhattan bound, I presume. I do not believe that stretch is timered yet in that direction, but a lot of operators will brake before the curve.