NYTIP – enhancing the nyc subway, part 6: putting it all together

UPDATE (05.19.2021): Post revised to include the M train extension to Kew Gardens Hills in the enhanced NYC subway.

Welcome back to my ongoing series on the New York Transportation Improvement Plan (NYTIP)! When I introduced NYTIP, I outlined a three-point plan for fixing the NYC Subway system: enhance, extend, and expand. This post summarizes the last five posts, which addressed the first point – enhance.

Note: Click any image to enlarge.

I. Upper Manhattan and The Bronx

[Fig. 1] The enhanced NYC Subway in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx. Created using Brand New Subway.

Concourse and Inwood Line Enhancements

The Central Park West de-interlining removes several sources of delay, allowing service increases on the A, B, C, and D lines.

On the Concourse line in The Bronx, the C local runs to Bedford Park Boulevard all day with full-length (600-foot) trains and frequent service. This gives Bronxites direct service to several major hubs – namely, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, and the World Trade Center. The D runs with more frequent service and expanded peak-directional express service, encouraging transit ridership and discouraging driving on the Grand Concourse.

On the Inwood line in Upper Manhattan, the B replaces the A to Inwood-207th Street station and runs express. The A replaces the C as the CPW/8th Avenue local. With the A retaining high-frequency service and the B running more often, these changes should result in substantial improvements for all riders on these corridors.

2/5 Service in The Bronx

Due to complications presented by current de-interlining options, I am only considering a route simplification at this stage of NYTIP. 2 service remains unchanged, while all 5 trains serve the Dyre Avenue branch. To encourage ridership, the 5 peak-directional express service in The Bronx would run with expanded hours (i.e. beyond rush hours).

Several stations on the 2/5 line south of East 180th Street station sit on tight curves; as such, the enhanced NYC Subway includes several platform straightening projects described here.

II. Manhattan

[Figs. 2, 3] The enhanced NYC Subway in Manhattan.

Central Park West and 8th Avenue Line Enhancements

On the Central Park West trunk line, the 8th Avenue services (A and C trains) run local and the 6th Avenue services (B and D trains) run express, eliminating merging delays at 59th Street – Columbus Circle. South of Columbus Circle on the 8th Avenue trunk line, the A and C run local, while the E runs express. To preserve regularity on 8th Avenue, the C terminates at the World Trade Center station, while the A and E trains continue to Brooklyn.

Broadway Improvement 

The Broadway Improvement removes merging conflicts on the Broadway line by sending N and Q express trains via 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, and sending R and W local trains via 60th Street. N express trains no longer stop at 49th Street to avoid switching delays; however, beefed-up R and W service results in a net service increase to the station. Owing to capacity limitations south of City Hall station, the W terminates at City Hall on the lower level, while the R continues to Brooklyn.

F/M Swap

As part of the Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining, the F runs via 53rd Street and the M runs via 63rd Street. This change removes some conflicts with the E in Queens. On the 63rd Street corridor, service increases on the M offset the capacity reduction from the M’s shorter (480-foot) trains.

10th Avenue – 41st Street Station

To encourage ridership on Manhattan’s west side, the enhanced NYC Subway includes an infill station at 10th Avenue – 41st Street on the 7 line using an existing provision. The Hell’s Kitchen area is very active and would benefit from such a station.

III. Brooklyn

[Figs. 4, 5] The enhanced NYC Subway in Brooklyn.

South Brooklyn

The South Brooklyn de-interlining removes the chief source of delay on the B, D, N, Q, and R lines. B and D trains skip DeKalb Avenue, while N, Q, and R trains stop at DeKalb Avenue. On the 4th Avenue trunk line, the B and D run express and the R runs local. The R runs via the West End line to Coney Island; service increases on the R allow the option for limited peak-directional express service between 9th Avenue and Bay Parkway stations. Using existing switch provisions south of 36th Street station, the B runs local from 36th Street to Bay Ridge, while the D runs express to 59th Street and takes the Sea Beach line to Coney Island.

On the Brighton line, the N runs express to Brighton Beach and the Q runs local to Coney Island. Although these changes make the N and Q trains fully contiguous, NYTIP maintains separate designations due to provisions for SAS extensions to Harlem and The Bronx.

Eastern Parkway Line Enhancements

The Eastern Parkway de-interlining allows service increases on the 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines by fixing the infamous Nostrand Junction and the inefficient Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College terminal. 2 and 3 trains serve the Nostrand Avenue branch to Brooklyn College, while 4 and 5 trains continue eastward on Eastern Parkway. East of Franklin Avenue, the 4 runs express to Crown Heights – Utica Avenue, while the 5 runs local to a new infill terminal inside the Livonia Yard between Linden Boulevard and Stanley Avenue.

Fulton Street Line Enhancements

On the Fulton Street trunk line, the A runs local and the E runs express. A trains run to a new infill terminal inside the Pitkin Yard at Linden Boulevard, while E trains split between the Lefferts Boulevard and Far Rockaway branches; this plan retains limited reverse peak-directional rush hour service from Rockaway Park. These changes complement the Central Park West de-interlining discussed above, minimizing potential rider confusion and allowing significant service increases.

Note: If Brooklyn and Queens riders prefer, the A could run express to Lefferts Boulevard and the Rockaways as it currently does, and the E could run local to Linden Boulevard. This wouldn’t interfere with the Central Park West de-interlining. For long-term planning purposes, I will assume A local and E express in Brooklyn.

Hewes Street – Broadway Transfer

The enhanced NYC Subway includes an in-system transfer between the Hewes Street (J/M) station and the Broadway (G) station, enhancing connectivity.

[Fig. 6] Conceptual layout of the Hewes Street – Broadway transfer. Not to scale – the actual passage may be wider than the lines imply.

IV. Queens

[Figs. 7, 8] The enhanced NYC Subway in Queens.

Queens Boulevard Line Enhancements

Through the Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining, the E and F run express and the M and W run local. E and F trains run together via 53rd Street, eliminating a merging conflict. M trains extend to an infill station at Kew Gardens Hills within Jamaica Yard, while W trains extend to Jamaica – 179th Street on weekdays; this reduces congestion at Forest Hills and allows F express service on the Hillside Avenue corridor.

Astoria Line Service

R trains serve Astoria with frequent service. This investment includes a new storage yard for R trains within the Con Edison property north of Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station, freeing up space in other yards for additional subway cars.

G Train Enhancement

While not shown in the figures above, the enhanced NYC Subway includes full-length (600-foot) trains for the G instead of its current 300-foot trains to encourage ridership.

Aqueduct Racetrack Station

[Fig. 9] Improvements at Aqueduct Racetrack station.

To improve service on the Rockaway branch of the E line, the enhanced NYC Subway abandons the Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue station and replaces it with an infill southbound platform at Aqueduct Racetrack station; the latter includes new entrances at both the north and south ends of the station.


The suite of investments comprising the enhanced NYC Subway are as follows:

  • Operational Investments
    • Central Park West de-interlining
    • South Brooklyn de-interlining
    • Broadway Improvement
    • Eastern Parkway de-interlining
    • Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining
    • Crew and subway car reassignments, as needed, to support new service patterns
  • Capital Investments
    • New switches south of 36th Street station in Brooklyn
    • Completed lower level terminal at City Hall (Broadway)
    • Platform straightening at 4 stations in The Bronx
    • New Nostrand Junction and Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College improvement
    • Astoria/Con Edison storage yard
    • Hewes Street – Broadway transfer
    • Infill stations
      • 10th Avenue – 41st Street
      • Linden Boulevard (Livonia Yard)
      • Linden Boulevard (Pitkin Yard)
      • Kew Gardens Hills (Jamaica Yard)
      • Aqueduct Racetrack (southbound only)
    • New subway cars and power substations, as needed, to support service increases
    • Other investments, such as ADA upgrades, to encourage ridership

Taken together, these investments should accomplish a key goal of NYTIP – peak service at least every 4 minutes and off-peak service at least every 8 minutes on every line, with more frequent service dictated by ridership.

In my next post, I will discuss overnight service on the enhanced NYC Subway. Until next time!

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