• Bos-NYC trip 7-14/15 report! MBTA/Amtrak/NYCTA

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by jack615
NYC Trip Review

I recently went to New York City to see the legendary Elton John perform at Radio City Music Hall. As a railfan I obviously went down to the Big Apple by train and rode around the city in its famed subway system. It was a really long day but got to see a lot and had a great time. This report is a look at where at I went and the trains I rode.

I prepared for this trip by researching online and talking to fellow railfans for information that I might need to know. Also I got my commuter rail and subway tokens for Boston area trips in advance that way I didn’t have to worry about that at the end of the trip. Also I got my Amtrak tickets in advance and the plan was to take Amtrak #173 on 7-14 and return on 7-15 on Amtrak #66. But I thought about possibly switching to train 93 leaving Boston on 7-14 two hours earlier and would allow me to take a spin to Coney Island and back. But I would find out on Wednesday July 14th to see if I can take that train and do that side trip.

I left my house in Lynn, Massachusetts little before 7am and after breakfast with my dad, I got dropped at the commuter rail station in my city where I boarded a 744am train to Boston. It was a short 20 minute trip, but unfortunately since it was rush hour I had to stand the whole way, but least I ran into a friend on the train so it wasn’t too bad. Once I arrived in North Station (the same place that next week will be closed for the Democratic National Convention) I went over to the new superstation and boarded a green line trolley to Park Street where I made a quick transfer to the red line. I rode the red line 2 stops to South Station where I got up. Soon later I was in the concourse of the historic South Station

First thing I did once I got to South Station I went to the Amtrak ticket counter and attempted to change my ticket to train 93 and after a few minutes that mission was an success. So all I did was waited in the station and loaded up on Newspapers and got some snacks and a bottle of water. At 9am a redcap helped me get on the train earlier because he remembered me and my somewhat limited mobility to two recent surgeries. Well I found a nice seat on the westbound side.

Our train left on time, but it was slowed as it traveled along the Southwest Corridor southward possibly due to a track fire, but after Forest Hills our train started to pick up to normal speed but we were little late getting to 128 station, but wasn’t too bad. Before you knew it we were in Providence and heading towards Connecticut. A little after 12 we arrived in New Haven but we lost a few minutes due to boardings here but within 10 minutes we left. Rest of the way we made reasonable time going to New York considering the tracks we were on and were in New York Penn Station by 2pm. I detrained and this began my first ever New York experience on my own!

I got up the stairs and soon I walked over to the concourse passing the entrance to subway that I would use in a bit, because I had to make a restroom break, once that was taken care of, I backtracked down to that entrance and got a One day Unlimited use Metrocard which was a great thing to get, then I picked up two subway maps, the 100th anniversary edition, and entered the subway. I wanted to take the A-C-E line downtown but accidentally took it uptown, but I quickly realized my mistake and got of at Port Authority and switched directions and got on a downtown train and took that to West 4th Street station. There I went down two stairways and got onto the D line which would take me all the way to Coney Island. Its quite a long trip, but one cool thing is that it crosses the Manhattan Bridge so you get some cool views there. I noticed that the NYC subway to me is a lot faster and rougher than the subway we got up here in Boston. But it was cool to bypass stations like they do down there, and also I remember couple times where my train would race another train for a bit, before one of the trains stops at a station,. But by 315 I was at Coney Island. You could see all the work they have done at the station and it looks really nice but looks like also that they have more to do there.

I left the system and crossed the street and had a little snack at the original Nathan’s Famous on Surf Ave. I was in the area briefly but was cool to be at the popular seaside amusement area. After I was done with the snack I returned to the Subway station at Stilwell Ave and decided to go back to Manhattan via the Q line. It was a good decision since I gave me great views of the famous Wonder Wheel and probably the most famous coaster in the US if not the world the Cyclone, One question I noticed from the Q a track enter from the north there but we didn’t use it, is that the trackage that the N would use to get back to Coney Island when it gets extended again? Well our train traveled uptown and headed back over the Manhattan Bridge and went back underground and before I knew it we were at 42nd street/ Times Sq and that’s where I got off. I found the signs for the 42nd st and 6th Ave exit, it was clear that this wasn’t a major exit just because how small the stairwell was, but it worked out good for me it put me right across from the ESPN zone where I was eating dinner.

After dinner and making sure the thunderstorm that passed through was done I decided to walk over to 6th Ave along 42nd St where I would take either a subway or bus to get me to Radio City. I decided to take the bus that way I could see some of the sights, and it was free with my metrocard, but I noticed that the subway would have worked out just as well since there are exits very convenient to the venue. Well I made it to Radio City and went to the Elton John concert and it was a great time but you don’t need to hear about that here.

Once the show ended I walked back over to 7th Avenue and walked in the direction of Times Square, I was a little hungry so I had a little snack at TGI Friday’s, so I didn’t have to worry about finding a snack at Penn Station at 1am, (but as I found out as I got to Penn Station there is some places open in the LIRR concourse) but better to be safe than sorry. Well I decided that I wanted one more spin on the Subway and took the 1 train to South Ferry, there were people on the train when I boarded, but by the end of the line it was just me and a guy sleeping, not exactly what I wanted, so I moved up to a car with a more friendly looking person on it, and we looped around and headed back uptown.
I got off at 32nd St/Penn Station, but had one more experience trying to find the entrance back to Penn Station but couldn’t find it so I had to go upstairs and cross the street and enter Penn Station by the entrance to MSG, it wasn’t too big of a deal but wasn’t as easy as my entrance to the subway early the previous day. My train wasn’t supposed to leave until 315 so I had some time to explore the complex. I went down to the LIRR concourse and noticed that they basically have their own station, and NJT has its own area for its passengers waiting to board. Then I went over to the Amtrak section and noticed an obvious increase in Security in this area. I went into the Amtrak waiting area, and just took it easy, except for meeting up with a friend and going to get a drink, I got to board my train a bit earlier again due to the mobility, the time was 3am.

I got to my business class seat on train 66 and got to see a surprising amount of movements in the station including an obvious non revenue acela which was cool to see especially at that hour. I also saw several NJT and LIRR trains go by. Which gave me this question even though Amtrak, NJT, and LIRR have own sections do all 3 use the same general tracks or least can see their tracks from my track which was track 9? We left New York at about 330 am. It was nice to have business class here since it meant more room and it also meant free drinks. Even though I was really tired I could sleep much on the train. We got to New Haven about 5am and 715 into Providence, but we were so early into PVD that we sat there to pick up the passengers boarding here. There had to be significant amount of new boardings here since I heard there were people standing and the seat next to me became filled for the first time during the ride. One guy was moved out of the seat when he found out that he had to pay the $13 business class charge, but they had no problem finding another guy to fill the seat. Besides the sodas and water on the train the only train food I got was a Swiss Omelet Bagel Sandwich which wasn’t too bad. We arrived into South Station on time and that completed my Amtrak experience. I know I was just going to NYC but I enjoyed the rides on the system.

But my trip wasn’t completely over I still had to get to Swampscott Mass where my parents would pick me up. I thought about rushing over to catch the 830 train by getting off at Back Bay, but I was too tired to do that so I would wait for the 945 train. I used the token that I previously got and got on the Red line but got off at the next inbound stop Downtown Crossing where I took the Orange Line up one stop to State Street. Since I had a little time to spare I went to the Borders Book Store and got a cool book on Streetcar Trolleys of Boston during the 1940s. Back to the present I went back on the Orange Line and went northbound two stops and got off at North Station and made it to the station in time to make my 945 train to home! I got off at Swampscott and my father was there to take me home. I had a really long day, but it was a lot of fun and I would do this again in a heartbeat.