Archive for the ‘railfanning’ Category

Jerome Avenue Line Express Experiment

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Starting Monday, there will be experimental peak direction express service along the Jerome Avenue El during an hour in the morning rush.

Some Utica Av-bound trains run express from Mosholu Pkwy to 125 St
AM Rush Hour, 7 AM to 8 AM, Mon to Fri, Jun 8 – 26
Please allow additional travel time at skipped stations.

Screen shot of relevant advisory on

Screen shot of relevant advisory on

There’s additional information (pics!) posted on this subject at SubChat.

UPDATE – Two media outlets have published reports on this topic:

  • amNewYork (note the error [at the time of this posting] in which stations will be served)
  • Daily News

UPDATE #2MTA NYCT Press Release

Press Release
June 4th, 2009
Paul J. Fleuranges
Charles F. Seaton

MTA New York City Transit Pilots Bronx Express Service Along the Jerome Ave. Line

It’s All About Time!

MTA New York City Transit is set to begin a pilot program aimed at shortening travel times along the 4 Line with the creation of a new Bronx Express 4 service between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse. The enhanced service will operate for a one-hour period during the weekday morning rush.

The pilot will begin June 8th and run through June 26th and be comprised of four trains within a one-hour period during the morning rush. The Bronx Express trains are scheduled to depart weekdays from Woodlawn at 7:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. After leaving Woodlawn, the Bronx Express 4 will make a station stop at Mosholu Parkway before switching to the middle track and heading to Burnside Avenue. From Burnside, the train will make its final Bronx station stop at 149th Street before making all regular express stops along the 4.

Customers boarding at Mosholu Parkway and Burnside Avenue will be alerted to the Bronx Express 4 by conductors’ announcements. Customers are being informed of the pilot through the distribution of take-ones printed in English and Spanish, as well as informational posters.

“The idea for this pilot is directly attributable to the Line General Managers program and it illustrates the types of innovations made possible when you have people running the railroad directly. David Knights, Group General Manager of IRT East and 4 Line General Manager Herb Lambert were looking to speed travel along a route that has been traditionally local in the Bronx,” said New York City Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “Signal improvements and the continued mechanical reliability of the car fleet have allowed them to try new ways of improving service.”

“By skipping nine stations, the Bronx Express 4 is expected to shave about 3.5 minutes off the 20 to 21 minutes scheduled running time between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse during the height of the a.m. peak. This is a significant time saving when you are headed out to work in the morning,” said IRT East Group General Manager Knights. “This pilot will determine the feasibility of bringing Jerome Avenue service in line with the Concourse, White Plains Road and Pelham Bay corridors by offering an express service to morning commuters.”

This pilot is possible because of the recent upgrades made to the center track signaling system within the 2005-2009 Capital Program. The signal job called for the installation of intermediate signals along the stretch of elevated track between Woodlawn and 161st Street. As a result of the project, we now have a greater flexibility of use with the middle track and can send trains in passenger service as well as work trains up or down the middle track. In the event of a disruption in service or track maintenance, we can also reroute trains onto the middle track. Similar signaling systems, allowing express service, are in place on the Flushing and White Plains Road Lines among others that have three tracks.

The results of the pilot will be evaluated after the completion of the three-week period and a decision will be made on whether to make this change permanent.

Customers may call our Travel Information Center at 718-330-1234 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, or log onto to use Trip Planner to plan their trips. Customers with web enabled phones or PDAs can use our Trip Planner On-the-Go! by going to; in addition to planning their trips, Blackberry users can download the free icon for one touch access to the service.

Update #3:

Service details graphic from

Service details graphic from

MTA NYC Transit – 2008 Ridership by Subway Station

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

MTA NYC Transit has released 2008 subway ridership statistics by subway station for all 422 station complexes.

Here are the top 10 busiest New York City subway stations for 2008:

Station and subway lines Annual Ridership
1. Times Sq-42 St   / 42 St 60,880,668
2. Grand Central-42 St   44,600,738
3. 34 St-Herald Sq   39,040,943
4.  14 St-Union Sq    35,545,653
5.  34 St-Penn Station
6.  34 St-Penn Station
7.  Lexington Av-53 St    / 51 St
8.  59 St-Columbus Circle
9.  Lexington Av / 59 St
10.  Fulton St / Broadway-Nassau St

Additional information: Subway and Bus Ridership Statistics 2008

Source: BusChat

PATCO makes plans to reopen the Franklin Square station in Philadelphia

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

John Matheussen, president of PATCO, surveys the closed Franklin Square station. 7/26/07. (Michael S. Wirtz / Inquirer). The Franklin Square station on the PATCO line in Old City is a ghost station, closed since 1979. There is talk of reopening it as part of a possible expansion of PATCO.

It’s a railfan’s dream come true! The Franklin Square subway station may be reopening! All those years of passing through it – its silence deafening – left me wondering if it would ever see passengers again. Well it just may!

The Transport Politic just made me aware of a story published last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer that discussed just what is going on with PATCO and its downtown Philadelphia subway stations. Here’s what the Inquirer article has to say about the proposed plans:

The 73-year-old subway station beneath Franklin Square, last used in 1979, will be remodeled and reopened to PATCO commuter trains, Delaware River Port Authority chairman John Estey said yesterday.

Four other subterranean PATCO stations in Philadelphia and two in Camden also will get face-lifts this year, with new flooring, lights, security cameras, and stainless-steel columns, port authority officials said yesterday. The upgrades, which require board approval next month, will cost about $9.6 million and be paid for with the agency’s controversial “economic development” money.

The port authority’s consulting engineers are examining the station to determine how much work is needed to reopen it. Chief executive John Matheussen estimated it would cost at least $5 million to $10 million to install elevators and make the station meet modern standards.

And here’s what the Inquirer article has to say about the current physical state of the Franklin Square station:

Franklin Square Station has been preserved much as it was when it closed. PATCO riders can still glimpse its shadowy platforms and green-and-white tiled walls on their way to and from New Jersey.

But the gaudy orange foyer, with its 1970s-era fare lists (35 cents to Philadelphia stations, 75 cents to Lindenwold) and multilingual instructions on “How to Go PATCO,” have long been hidden from view.

The article goes on to give a brief history of the station. It’s well worth the read.

The Transport Politic also mentions a plan to reopen the Spring Garden station on SEPTA’s Broad Ridge Spur and also extend the route of the  Spur trains into the Locust Street subway.

Here are some of my photos of the currently closed Franklin Square station:

Eastbound platform at Franklin Square station (abandoned) on PATCO as seen on 8/11/2003.

Westbound platform at Franklin Square station (abandoned) on PATCO as seen on 12/29/2008.

This blog’s been quiet since…I became a father!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

On May 20, 2009, my first child, a son, was born! He’s going to be a big railfan!

Baby Boy Weinberg

Baby Boy Weinberg @ 2 days old

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 … is coming closer

Sunday, May 17th, 2009


June 12 is coming fast, and the proff is on the side of New York City buses!

I can’t wait to see this movie! I love the original!

Metro-North announces the first trains to stop at Yankees-E.153rd Street station

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Image source: Metro-North

Image source: Metro-North

Along with the updated train schedules released today, Metro-North has announced the times of the first revenue trains to stop at the brand new station near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx called “Yankees – E. 153rd Street”. It opens on Saturday, May 23.

  • First southbound train: 5:49 AM (a local from Croton-Harmon)
  • First northbound train: 6:33 AM (a local to Croton-Harmon)

The updated Hudson Line schedule have mentions of the new station written all over it, due to the station not opening until a few weeks after the schedule goes into effect, and also because some trains only stop at the station on certain game days.

In addition, the press releases notes that “there will be a separate brochure and timetable for special Yankees game-day train service, including direct service from the Harlem and New Haven lines and shuttles to and from Manhattan.” I look forward to picking that up soon.

Good luck to anyone planning on riding the first trains to stop at the new station, as well as the first direct New Haven line and Harlem line trains to arrive at and depart from the new station.

MTA Long Island Rail Road Celebrates 175th Anniversary With Commemorative U.S. Postal Stamp Cancel

Friday, April 24th, 2009

LIRR 175th in the 34th St Entrance Corridor at Penn Station

LIRR 175th in the 34th St Entrance Corridor at Penn Station

The MTA Long Island Rail Road 175th Anniversary celebration I mentioned earlier this week is in full swing now at Penn Station! The commemorative U.S. Postal Stamp Cancel is taking place in the 34th Street Entrance Corridor. The LIRR is giving out vintage envelopes with their old logos for you to add your own stamps to (or buy them there) and then have them hand canceled by the USPS. You can also purchase a special pre-stamped, pictorial envelope for hand cancel. They are a limited edition of 500, and they’re going fast!

Correction: I believe the vintage envelopes that were handed out free were actually donated by the President of the Long Island Sunrise Trail Chapter of the NRHS. LIST also produced the limited edition pictorial envelopes that are for sale for $2.00 until 1:00 PM.

Here are some photos of the event. You can also click the photo above to see all the photos I took.

Vintage IND subway train to run in service April 29

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Vintage holiday subway train at 34 St - Herald Square on December 28, 2008.

Vintage holiday subway train at 34 St - Herald Square on December 28, 2008.

In honor of New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declaring April 29th, 2009 “Duke Ellington Day,” The Islands Of The Bahamas is sponsoring a free ride (no additional cost beyond the normal subway fare) on the New York City Transit Museum’s vintage/nostalgia subway train.

The train, made up of 1930’s/1940’s IND R-1 thru R-9 series subway cars, will depart from 125 Street on the (A) (B) (C) (D) at 10:00 AM and run express along the (A), making all normal express stops to Howard Beach on the (A). The train will then make a return trip along the same route, though the time of departure is not yet known. It could be within a few minutes of arrival at Howard Beach.

In commemoration and celebration of the legendary musician and cultural icon, The Islands Of The Bahamas is sponsoring an April 29th run of the last surviving 1939 “A” train.  The inspiration for Duke Ellington’s signature tune, Take the A Train, the historic and beautifully restored “A” train will depart 125th Street at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, making express stops through Manhattan and Brooklyn to Howard Beach in Queens. Open to the public, the festive round-trip runs will prove once again that taking the “A” train is still indeed the quickest way to Sugar Hill in Harlem.

For more background information on the day’s events, click here.

Source: SubChat

Long Island Rail Road to hold 175th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
LIRR M-3 passing Sunnyside Yard on January 9, 2003.

LIRR M-3 passing Sunnyside Yard on January 9, 2003.

This Friday the Long Island Rail Road will be celebrating its 175th Anniversary with events at both Penn Station and Jamaica station.

Penn Station –

  • 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM – United States Postal Service will be hand canceling letters with a specially designed postmark commemorating the LIRR’s 175th anniversary (34th Street Entrance Corridor).

Jamaica –

  • 12:45 PM – LIRR train adorned with 175th Anniversary drumhead to be on display at platform level.
  • 1:00 PM – Official Long Island Rail Road 175th Anniversary Ceremony (street-level Atrium of the AirTrain JFK Building at 144-21 94th Avenue).

LIRR Raffle today at Penn Station

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009


As part of the series of Customer Appreciation Giveaway Days in honor of their 175th Anniversary, the Long Island Rail Road is holding numerous raffle drawings today at Penn Station. Prizes include METS tickets and MACYS gift certificates. Good stuff.

I assume this is all happening down on the LIRR level, either in the 34th Street Entrance Corridor or over by the LIRR ticket windows. Check it out.

Click here for more info.