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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by nyrmetros
As I am riding PATH more and more going to red Bulls MLS games in Harrison, I can't help but wonder why PATH has extremely sharp curves in some places, especially approaching Hoboken. What was the reason for this?
  by R36 Combine Coach
The sharpness was part of the original design in 1908. These tunnels were never intended for full size trains, but only for smaller transit-sized cars.
  by Terry Kennedy
R36 Combine Coach wrote:The sharpness was part of the original design in 1908.
Remember, the H&M (and the predecessor companies) were private operations. So they didn't have the ability that (for example) NYC did with the IRT to use eminent domain to obtain property rights. If you couldn't get permission to dig under someone's property, you went around it.
These tunnels were never intended for full size trains, but only for smaller transit-sized cars.
If you're talking about what was built or completed by the H&M, sure. The original 1874 plan was for full-size freight cars. If you watch carefully in tunnel A (Christopher St. to NJ) you'll see it getting wider in a couple steps, until it achieves its full size near the "15th Street Shaft" sign. The step-down to smaller sizes is concentric, so you don't see a jump to a much larger tunnel size (the trackbed is in the same place). It is a lot more apparent if you can catch an train running in the opposite direction (sometimes during late night work with single-track operation). If you look closely enough, you'll see that the side walls of tunnel A in NJ are brick. That's really the inside of the outside - 6 courses of brick behind a 1/4" iron plate (which has likely rusted away in the past 128 years - it was just there to hold back the silt while the brickwork was laid).
  by EEinSignals
Having worked as a signal engineer apprentice for PATH in the late 70's , I can recall the narrowness of PATH's tunnels while walking the tracks there. " Cutouts " into the walls were provided to go into when trains were going by. The close quarters were a quite a thrill to say the least and yea : very windy when a rain went by...not a good thing when you're only a few inches from the speeding train. The other thing I remember is when a senior signalman and I were track walking eastward towards Journal Square : a train passed us that didn't trip its signal to put it to stop,red ! It was due to the new brakes installed that left a coating on the rails so as to not allow the signal system to detect that train ! YIKES !!!
  by mrsam
umtrr-author wrote:What I have observed in the case of approaching red signals at speed is that the trip arm connected with the signal goes down (out of "trip") position before the signal lights change from red to yellow or green. If I can see that from inside the car, then certainly the engineer can see them as well, and knows that the signal is about to change, so no need to slow down or stop. At least that's what I thought when I rode the PATH regularly, er, in the previous century.
NYC subway signals work the same way. The last paragraph on the following page explains what you saw. Read the following: