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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

Was on the Shuttle tonight from time square to GCT, With that Job (Shuttle route) would that be consider one of the prime jobs to bid for as an engineer?

More of a curiosity than anything


Chris Moran
  by Kamen Rider
...in before the crazies yell at you for calling train operators engineers...

the problem with working the shuttle is you are operating over the same three blocks of track a hundrid times a day.

and you have to play conductor on the return trip.
  by 3rdrail
Between the operator and conductor, can they work out who's going to be the operator one half of the shift and who's going to do it the other half or by regulation do they have to swap off after every trip ?
  by Patrick Boylan
My guess is that sometimes it doesn't matter, sometimes maybe it does, depending on how fast they're supposed to turn the train. I assume even if the conductor has to be in the middle to close doors, the motorman should be able to open doors when they get to the terminal. If they swap jobs, each crew member has less to walk to get between motorman and conductor postitions, and the conductor can get a 1 car head start, even further if they're willing to pass between cars while the train's moving.
If the conductor's allowed to do their job from the rear cab, they don't have to walk anywhere to return as a motorman, which can add to both the convenience and the boredom.

Where'd you get "3 blocks of track"? Surely you don't mean street blocks. Did you mean subway signal blocks? Anyway if "same ... hunnerd times a day" is a downside, I guess you think elevator operator wasn't a good job. Those poor folks didn't even have a window, except on the starship Enterprise, which I think never had human elevator operators, they Ferengi.
  by 3rdrail
...well, I think that the answer is a lot less complex than that. What it comes down to is- is it in the rule or not that they have to swap off after every trip ? And if it is in the rule, is the rule overlooked by supervisors. Basic human nature would indicate that most would prefer a half and half instead. (I was thinking that it may be a rule so as to ensure a walk through the train at each terminal.)
  by Patrick Boylan
I was thinking NOT making crew walk the train was a good thing.
And when changing ends, do subway crews tend to walk inside anyway? I haven't paid attention, but wouldn't they find it easier to walk from one end to the other on the platform instead of inside the train, where they'd have to open and close each set of doors?
  by Kamen Rider
there are NO CONDUCTORS assigned to the shuttle. each train has two train operators, one assigned to each end. they operate the train only in one direction (one to GCT, one to TSQ), and operate the doors on the return trip from their cab at thier assinged end. there is no physical change of ends by the crew, in order to keep dwell times to the greatest minimum possible. even when the line did have a CR, they rode mid train and it still used two T/Os for the quickest turn around

And i did in fact mean three city blocks, which is about as long as the shuttle is. ok maybe it's more like 3 1/2 total, but it only goes from 42nd and Broadway to 42nd between madison and vanderbuilt.

B'way<->6 1 block

6<->5 2 blocks total (longest complete block)

5<->Madison 3 blocks total

madison part way to Vanderbult 3 1/2 blocks total

the shuttle is one of the shortest rapid transit routes in the world. So far as i can tell, only the "Ramal" line in Madrid is shorter.
  by 3rdrail
Thank you KR !
  by lirr42
Patrick Boylan wrote:...If they swap jobs, each crew member has less to walk to get between motorman and conductor postitions, and the conductor can get a 1 car head start, even further if they're willing to pass between cars while the train's moving...
You can't just simply walk through cars while the train is in motion! Those 3 car shuttle trains are packed to the brim with people (especially at rush hour), it would take you the entire trip to nudge your way through half a cars worth of people! Plus they keep lots of doors between cars locked nowadays to keep people from unlawfully passing between cars while the train is in motion, so the conductor will have to unlock, pass through, and re-lock 2 doors to go from one car to another.

But anyway, as others may have said, there is no conductor, the operators change jobs at each terminal. Under normal circumstances, nobody will leave their cab their entire shift. You see the same 3 1/2 blocks there, and then the same exact 3 1/2 blocks in reverse over and over again.

Here is an animated GIF I whipped up in MSpaint.exe that shows how the whole operator thing works (sorry if it's too small):
  by BigUglyCat
lirr42: nice GIF! Very clear. Thanks! :)
Thanks for all the info and the animation really clears it up

  by Tadman
At one time the Chicago L had a loop shuttle, same direction and same 24-block loop all day. Not even a direction change. The motorman's union got a clause in their contract where shuttle motormen traded off to other routes throughout the day to relieve the monotony. This service ended decades ago, and along with it the need to swap out crews. I don't know if the conductor was swapped, too - we had conductors on trains back then. All trains now are 1-man.