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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Yellowspoon
Or GG for you old-timers like me.

I have both a 1958 and 1992 NTCTA map. In both of those maps, the G trains goes from Smith-9 to 71-AV. Those terminals of G service seem to go back further than that. However, for about ten years, the G train now goes from Church Ave to Court Sq.

Why the cutback from 71-AV to Court Square? Were G passengers seldom riding past Court Square? Or did the local tracks approach capacity and were needed for Manhattan-bound passengers

Why the extension to Church Ave? Was it found that many people between Church and Smith-9 were changing to the G, or was more service needed between Church Ave and Bergen Street.

I've only ridden on the G train once. It was a four car train whereas most NYCTA trains are 8+ cars. Is it always four cars?

And as a non-resident fan, when (and why) did NYCTA drop the double-letter (e.g. BB, GG) designation for local trains?
  by Allan
When the MTA decided to bring a new service - the V train into the mix along Queens Blvd they decided that having that and the G would tax track capacity (and that the majority of people along Queens Blvd didn't stay on the G but transferred to the E at Queens Plaza). They decided that anyone who wanted to take the G could take the E or V to Court Sq-23rd (formerly 23rd St-Ely Av) and transfer to the G there.

Actually the MTA wanted to shut down the G altogether but changed their minds when it was shown that there was an increase in usage due to new housing all along the route. And of course the usually local politics came into play.

During rush hours the G is 8 cars, during off hours/weekends the G is 4 cars. During weekday mid-day hours the 4 car trains have both a Train operator and Conductor, late nights and weekends it is an OPTO operation with the train operator doing both functions.

The double letters were dropped in 1985 since there was no extra need to identify express trains vs local trains by use of the double letter. A single letter could serve the purpose just as easily (there was never a L train so the LL could use that single letter). The AA originally became the K (since there was already an A). The K was discontinued December 1988 and C service expanded.
  by Kamen Rider
to elaborate further;

When the 63rd street connector opened in 2001, the stations west of Roosevelt lost their one seat transfer to the 6th avenue line (unless you were willing to backtrack), which is why the V was created in the first place.
  by russellsal8
The G train is 4 (300 feet) cars at all times currently, but may be extended to 8 or 10 cars (480 or 600 feet) when the L train is shut down in 2019.
  by bellstbarn
About two months before the G train was cut back to Court Square, I deliberately awaited a southbound arrival at Queens Plaza to see how many people stayed on the train to Brooklyn. It was at least a third. Sure, two thirds got off at Queens Plaza, but that is the role of a local on a four track system. People on the local move to an express. Serious numbers of people wishing to go from Queens to Brooklyn got slammed with a transfer upstairs, through a block-long passageway, downstairs, then wait for the next G departure. It added 15 or 20 minutes to the travelers' time.
I blamed Helen Marshall, the borough president of Queens 2002-2013 for giving 100% percent preference to those who worked in Manhattan, rather than letting 25% of the trips continue to Brooklyn. In previous decades, for example, the GG brought Astoria students to Bishop Loughlin High School, but a truncated service now serves Queens scholars (largely of Asian heritage) headed for Brooklyn Tech. The through service encouraged Greenpoint residents to shop in Rego Park or to go to work all along the Northern Blvd - Queens Blvd route.
A similar disregard for Brooklyn is scheduled to happen in Jamaica, with the loss of all through LIRR service to Brooklyn and the abandonment of timed across-the-platform connections. The new Track 9 platform will provide service only twice an hour outside of rush hour, when it will be four times per hour. Workers in downtown Brooklyn will have to add 20 minutes or so to make the crossover and wait. If we want to talk economic levels of the passengers, Brentwood-to-Nostrand passengers will be inconvenienced to accommodate those working near Grand Central.
  by DogBert
Does anyone know how many cars can fit on the track where the G used to turn at Queens Plaza? This '5th track' still exists today between QP & 36th streets, and is used to turn the christmas special train with the vintage cars... I'm curious if they could they turn a 8 or 10 car train using that track...

If I recall right, turning the G, V and R all at 71st street was causing congestion during evening rush hours, sometimes with locals backed up to woodhaven blvd waiting their turn.
  by Kilgore Trout
AFAIK it can fit 10 cars. Turning the G at Queens Plaza is an interesting idea which comes up from time to time but it would be tricky operationally as the G would need to cross the express tracks at least once if not twice. It would need perfect timing to avoid interfering with the E and M.
  by railfan365
Relaying the G Train at Queens Plaza would be no trickier than the former switchback at Smith-Ninth. After arriving there on the Queens bound local track, it would leave the station in the same direction, and very quickly ctossover to the Queens bound express track and immediately over to the fifth track. There, the crew would change ends and very quickly ctoss over to the Manhattan bound express track and immediately to the Manhattan/Brooklyn bound local track. I looked at the Queens track map and the crossovers are almost perfectly arranged for such a maneuver.
  by Kamen Rider
it would be much trickier because the culver express tracks aren't in use. going into the D5 pocket you're blocking the M wanting to make the switch and you're blocking the express track going the other direction. Cross platform transfers made without holding up the line would not be feasible. that's partly why the G was cut back to Court Square. You still have the transfer, and it's not clogging up the plumbing.
  by DogBert
The G used to turn there all the time before the cutback to court square. They really paid attention with the track layout to allow for this, even after the 63rd st. connection was installed.

The court square E/M transfer gets very crowded during rush hour, and with the pending L train shutdown, it is going to be significantly worse. I think for safety sake there is a very reasonable argument to be made for turning the G at QP again, and enabling an above ground transfer to the N/W similar to the 59/63 lex walking transfer, and pending L & 3 line transfer that will open in East New York.

Grant it, this would cause operational challenges, but maybe those can be offset some other way.