Archive for the ‘commuter rail’ Category

New Metro-North Ticket Vending Machine with SMART Card Technology

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The new Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) Center at Grand Central Terminal contains TVMs that feature SMART Card Readers.

Here is a photo I took of one of the new TVMs at GCT. Note the SMART Card reader below the display screen.

New Metro-North Ticket Vending Machine with SMART Card Technology

New Ticket Vending Machine Center Opens In Grand Central Terminal

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This morning I noticed that the long-under-construction new ticket vending machine center at Grand Central Terminal is now open for business. It was due to open in September 2013 so it’s a little early.

This new ticket vending machine center is just west of the staffed ticket windows. If you are facing the staffed ticket windows, turn right and walk under the arch.

Photo of flooded Trenton, NJ train station

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Mel Evans/AP


Penn Station is still confusing and needs improvement

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

amNY has an article about how Penn Station New York is still a terrible transportation hub for riders/pedestrians to navigate. While there’s no new information in the article, it is good that this topic is still being brought up by the media.

Despite some half a billion dollars in improvements over the years, Penn Station is still one of the most difficult transit hubs to figure out, the perennial ugly sister to a majestic Grand Central Terminal.

With its low ceilings, cramped signs, huge crowds, and maze of hallways, travelers say they often find themselves getting lost in the underground labyrinth.

Metro-North Railroad may purchase double decker commuter coaches

Monday, August 16th, 2010

NJT's Multilevel Railcars, which may or may not resemble what MNCR may or may not end up purchasing.

Many media outlets are reporting this morning that Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCR) is seriously considering purchasing double decker rail cars for its Hudson and Harlem commuter lines, which terminate at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

One interesting aspect of this idea is that MNCR’s Park Avenue tunnel, which leads to Grand Central Terminal, has more restrictive clearances than even the Hudson (North) and East River tunnels used by NJ Transit and LIRR’s multilevel/bilevel cars.

While multilevel trains are typically taller than regular trains, officials in the region have found ways to deal with the narrow clearance of underwater and underground tunnels that provide access into Manhattan. At New Jersey Transit, the bilevel cars feature a sharply beveled roof, which curves at a roughly 45-degree angle to ensure the trains do not scrape against walls.

Metro-North engineers believe their trains would require an even steeper bevel to avoid the walls of the Park Avenue tunnel. And low-hanging wires and underground protrusions might have to be trimmed back.

Other problems/issues to be considered/resolved may or may not include gapping-out when crossing the switches at Grand Central Terminal, HEP ratings, and locomotive availability. However, as usual, some of these issues, as reported by the media, are either much more or much less complicated than they are making them out to be.

Read here what some railfans and railroad employees have to say about all this.

Henry Hudson Bridge Pedestrian Walkway has REOPENED!

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Finally, after three years, the Henry Hudson Bridge pedestrian walkway has reopened to pedestrians and cyclists! What a great connection! And what great views! Here are some quick cell phone pics I took as I walked my bike across the bridge this afternoon.

The entrance to the walkway on the Bronx side

View of the Inwood Movable Bridge and the Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North train station

View of the Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North train station

Metro-North New Haven Line DERAILMENT this morning

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

a derailed Metro-North train is seen causing a big mess

A Metro-North/CDOT electric M.U. set derailed near the Stamford Yard this morning blocking some tracks and slowing the departure of trains from the yard. As a result service is delayed and conditions on-board are reported to be quite crowded.

Photo is from 1010 WINS. Story via MNCR, SubChat, and 1010 WINS.

Chicago’s Metra decides against providing Wi-Fi

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Metra, a commuter railroad in the Chicago area, has decided not to implement Wi-Fi service on-board its trains at this time.

Source: Metro Magazine Industry News

Ride the subway to the Yankees World Series Champions Ticker Tape Parade

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

MTA New York City Transit has provided some good advice on how to best travel to the ticker tape parade celebrating the New York Yankees victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 baseball World Series:

Although the Lexington Avenue line serves the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall, Fulton Street-Broadway/Nassau, Wall Street, and Bowling Green stations, Yankees’ fans should be aware that the 4 5 6 lines are usually crowded during normal weekday rush hour along the corridor.

Instead, fans are encouraged to use the 1 line or the R or W lines to Rector Street, or the E to World Trade Center. Fans should also consider taking the 2 or 3 lines to Chambers Street or Wall Street, and the J to the Broad Street station.

Crowding conditions at the City Hall R and W station, Park Place 2 and 3 station and nearby 4 5 6 Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station may force trains to bypass those stations during the parade and ceremony at City Hall. All lines affected will be monitored by supervision to ensure smooth operation.

Read the entire press release for this November 6, 2009 event, here. I’ve also provided an image of the Special Event poster for the parade, as well as an image of the revised World Series poster from earlier in the week:

MTA NYC Transit - Service Advisories - Yankees 2009 Ticker Tape Parade

MTA NYC Transit - Service Advisories - games 6 and 7 of world series poster

In addition, both Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road will be running extra trains to bring fans to and from the parade. Click the preceding links for the train schedules.

LIRR improves its Meadowlands service and information

Monday, October 5th, 2009

The Long Island Rail Road recently made two notable improvements to its “Take the Train to the Game” Meadowlands Rail program. First, it changed its joint LIRR/NJT ticketing policy. Second, it added excellent schedule information to its website.

The original joint LIRR/NJT ticketing policy was that such tickets could only be used on football game days, and not on days for which rail service was running to the Meadowlands for any other event or reason. That policy has now been changed to allow the LIRR/NJT joint tickets to also be used for a limited number of non-football events. This is likely a result of the the huge lines seen at the NJT ticket machines in Penn Station before the U2 concerts, and should help to reduce those lines in the future.

LIRR limited events meadowlands

The joint ticketing policy change reflected on the LIRR website

Since NJT must adequately staff the Secaucus turnstiles to manually process the joint ticket holders (the joint tickets, printed on LIRR ticket stock, do not have the correct magnetic stripe and encoding to work in the turnstiles), this policy change could not have come about without NJT’s input/permission. So if NJT ok’ed it, it is curious that Metro-North has not yet updated their policy about the use of MNCR/NJT joint tickets to the Meadowlands. As of now, MNCR’s website text and detailed brochure (PDF) both continue to state that “[the MNCR/NJT joint] tickets are only good for travel to football games and not for any other event at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.”

The LIRR has also done what NJT should have done from the beginning – publish a simple one-page schedule of all the trains to and from the Meadowlands. The LIRR now allows you to click on the game time of the football game you are traveling to, and then they present you with a table of trains times for traveling between Penn Station and the Meadowlands Sports Complex station.

LIRR get me to the game on time

This is a huge help for people trying to understand how often the trains run, how long the rides and transfers take, and what their options are for getting home from the game. Bravo LIRR!

Click the links below to see the game time timetables, or look at the screen shots below them.

1:00 PM Games —- 4:15 PM Games —- 8:20 PM Games

MTA LIRR - Get Me to the Game on Time- 1 PM Game Start

1:00 PM Games

MTA LIRR - Get Me to the Game on Time- 4 PM Game Start

4:15 PM Games

8:20 PM Game

8:20 PM Games