UPDATE (03.20.2021): Post lightly edited for clarity. Because NYTIP is still a work in progress, I’m removing language referring to recommended plans, and instead listing the options I’m currently considering.
Welcome back to my ongoing NYTIP series! In the comments section of my post on SAS Phase 2X, commenter mrsman gave some interesting commentary about alternate de-interlining strategies (also see this Reddit thread). It got me thinking about how to handle the Astoria/Broadway and South Brooklyn de-interlining in the absence of a new yard north of Astoria – Ditmars Blvd station. Let’s explore, shall we?
First, let’s recap. For South Brooklyn, de-interlining options include a D/Q swap and a B/N swap. For Astoria and Broadway, de-interlining options include sending all Broadway Express service (N/Q trains) via the Second Avenue Subway and sending all Broadway Local service (R/W) via Astoria. The issue with the latter is yard access – the R would not have direct access to a train yard. I proposed a new yard within the Con Edison property north of Astoria to mitigate this problem and catalyze a potential LaGuardia Airport extension. However, a new yard is a major capital investment. In the absence of said yard, how can we remove the bottleneck in South Brooklyn? Here are some options:
Alternative 1: Reroute R trains via Brighton Local to Coney Island.
This reroute gives the R direct access to the Coney Island Yard. In addition, the 44 stops end-to-end from Astoria – Ditmars Blvd to Coney Island is the same number of stops on the current R from Forest Hills to Bay Ridge – 95th Street. Unfortunately, this results in some interlining on the Brighton line. If you reroute the R this way, how does this affect the proposed South Brooklyn swaps? I will present what I feel are the best options under this scenario:
Alternative 1, option 1: 4th Avenue – B/D express, N local; Brighton – Q express, R local
[Fig. 1] Option 1 track map. Original belongs to vanshnookenraggen.
[Fig. 2] Option 1 route map, via Brand New Subway.
Under Option 1, the Q shifts from local to express on the Brighton Line, terminating at Brighton Beach. The B replaces the N via 4th Avenue express and Sea Beach, and the N replaces the R via 4th Avenue local. This is a modified version of the B/N swap I originally proposed.
(As pointed out by mrsman in the comments, this option leaves the N without direct yard access – an inherent flaw in this option.)
Alternative 1, option 2: 4th Avenue – N/Q express, D local; Brighton – B express, R local
Under Option 2, the Q replaces the D via 4th Avenue express and West End, while the D replaces the R via 4th Avenue local. This is a modified version of the D/Q swap I originally proposed. This option requires one less service change than Option 1.
Under either option, you could retain the W between Astoria and Lower Manhattan to beef up Broadway local service. Since both options untangle the infamous Gold Street interlocking north of DeKalb Avenue station, the recommended option will ultimately depend on ridership preferences.
In April 2020, commenter Leo Shirky suggested the following:
Alternative 1, option 3: 4th Avenue – B/D local, Q express; Brighton – N express, R local
On 4th Avenue, Leo suggested B local service to Bay Ridge, D local service via West End to Coney Island, and Q express service via Sea Beach to Coney Island. On Broadway, he suggested N/R local service and Q express service. Presumably, the N and R serve Astoria while the Q remains on SAS; if so, the Q train would not conflict with any other line, allowing significant service increases.
Now let us consider another alternative, based on vanshnookenraggen’s post on South Brooklyn de-interlining:
Alternative 2: Reroute R trains via West End to Coney Island
[Fig. 3] Overview of Alternative 2.
I commented on Vansh’s post, stating that I generally like the idea. It involves a bit more rearranging than either the D/Q swap or B/N swap, and results in the following service pattern:
- Brighton line
- N express to Brighton Beach, Q local to Coney Island
- 4th Avenue line
- B express to Bay Ridge (local south of 36th Street)
- D express to Coney Island via Sea Beach
- R local to Coney Island via West End
Importantly, this pattern allows future extension of an express train (in this case, the B) to Staten Island. I’ll explore this possibility in a future post.
In the meantime, lets discuss the R on West End. In this scenario, the R does not conflict with any other lines, allowing significant service increases and the possibility of peak express service on West End, Astoria, or both. Note, however, that NYTIP does not recommend an Astoria peak express unless the line extends to LaGuardia Airport.
Of these options, I feel Alternative 2 is the best path forward. Going beyond the B/N swap originally proposed, Alternative 2 allows immediate service enhancements and could catalyze future expansion.
Look for additional updates on NYTIP in the near future. There’s a lot more to discuss! Until next time!