NYTIP – enhancing the nyc subway, part 3.5: astoria and south brooklyn

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? The key:

Reroute R trains via Brighton Local to Coney Island.

This 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. Of course, 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:

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.

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 my original South Brooklyn post, I recommended the D/Q swap, which would lead to Option 2. However, I think Option 1 may be the better option, which requires the B/N swap. What do you guys think?

Look for additional updates on NYTIP in the near future before I continue the series. There’s a lot more to discuss! Until next time!

4 thoughts on “NYTIP – enhancing the nyc subway, part 3.5: astoria and south brooklyn

  1. Thank you for this updated post. You had very succinctly put together our discussion in the comments from a few months ago in a nice post.

    I prefer option 2. Under both options you provide a link for Astoria trains to Coney island yard. But how do Bay ridge trains get to the yard? Under current trackage there is no connection for the Broadway Express to reach a yard at the northern end. It is true that some of your expansion plans will provide a connection Via 125 Street. But until that happens Bay ridge trains need to use the 6th avenue Express to reach the concourse yard.

    again thank you for the update and I look forward to seeing more posts from you in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

      Now that you mention it, it’s clear I overlooked an inherent flaw in Option 1 – loss of direct yard access for the N. This definitely makes Option 2 preferable.


  2. Would you consider a B/D 4th Ave Local, Q Express, N/R Brighton alignment? This means there is no underlining in the Flatbush tunnel between 6th Ave and Broadway trains as in option 2 and gives residents in the Sea Beach/West End areas of Brooklyn access to both 6th Ave and Broadway. As you say in your original South Brooklyn post, Brighton residents vastly prefer Broadway service to 6th Ave service. Under this new alignment (Option 3 if you will), the B/D run local along 4th Ave, with the D still serving the West End line to Coney Island, and the B to Bay Ridge. The Q serves Sea Beach and the 4th Ave express. All 4th Ave trains use the bridge, and N/R service from Brighton uses the Montague Tunnel. (A nice side effect of this is that the B preserves the alterations in its terminals: B train to Bay Ridge instead of B train to Brighton Beach). It also removes the need for a W train, and the N/R would both serve Broadway Local while the Q is express.


    1. I haven’t considered this alignment. Part of it reminds me of RPA’s “Canal Flip” (I’ll be honest – I wasn’t fond of that idea). That said, this is a feasible “Option 3” for SBK de-interlining. I’m assuming you’d match the frequency of Broadway local and express services (e.g. N/R combined 30 TPH, Q 30 TPH)?


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