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New York governor proposes expansion of transit service

By | January 7, 2022

Interborough Express would connect New York City neighborhoods

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NEW YORK – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Wednesday announced plans to move forward with the Interborough Express as part of her 2022 State of the State address. The Interborough Express project would use the existing right-of-way of the Bay Ridge Branch, a freight rail line that runs through Brooklyn and Queens, connecting the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights with several new stations in communities not currently served by rail transit.

The 14-mile Bay Ridge Branch is owned by the Long Island Rail Road and operated by the New York & Atlantic Railway. It is the longest freight-only line of the LIRR, connecting the Montauk Branch and CSX’s Fremont Secondary to the Hell Gate Bridge at Glendale, Queens, with Upper New York Bay at Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. Carfloat service is provided by New York New Jersey Rail (owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) that operates between Greenville Yard at Greenville, N.Y., and 65th Street Yard at the Bay Ridge end of the line.

Gov. Hochul directed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to immediately begin the environmental review process for the project, the first step in building the line that would connect communities in Brooklyn and Queens to as many as 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

If adopted, the new service would improve transit access to communities along the corridor that is currently home to about 900,000 residents and 260,000 jobs, with growth expected by at least 41,000 people and 15,000 jobs in the next 25 years. For many residents along the corridor, crossing from neighborhood to neighborhood is slow and tedious because existing subway lines are oriented toward Manhattan, even as many new work opportunities, schools, and services are located in the outer boroughs. The project would open connections among neighborhoods, across boroughs, and open up new opportunities for reverse commuting into Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Each day, more than 100,000 commuters make daily trips within or across Brooklyn and Queens, often relying on buses that get caught in traffic. The new route could lead to service that would provide end-to-end travel time of less than 40 minutes, although most trips would be along shorter segments of the line.

In addition to transit service, the existing Bay Ridge Branch can be used to provide harbor rail freight service. Gov. Hochul also directed the Port Authority to complete environmental review for the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel, a proposed tunnel under Upper New York Bay between northeastern New Jersey and Long Island that would replace the carfloat operation.

8 thoughts on “New York governor proposes expansion of transit service

  1. Room for separate RWs? As I said I’ve barely ever been to Brooklyn. Now let’s go further north to a place which does indeed have separate RWs. In the late 1950’s, the New Haven Railroad abandoned its Old Colony Division between Boston and Braintree. Starting after 1970 the RW was torn out to build the MBTA Red Line South Shore extension. Which takes a lot of width when you consider the stations. With limited room, there was a lot of construction for stations and parking above the tracks at three of Quincy’s four stations.

    Room was left (or somehow found) for a single track communter rail line. Which came much later, maybe in the 1980’s, I don’t know.

    Commuter rail includes a passing siding at North Quincy. This must be one of the busiest single-track commuter rail lines. There’s a flyover between Quincy Adams and Braintree where the subway line and the commuter rail swap sides. There is no freight into Quincy or Boston, although Braintree has a freight yard on the very roundabout feight route from Selkirk (New York) via Framingham, Attleboro and Taunton.

  2. I more envision an actual subway line on the same right of way and adjacent to LIRR’s Bay Ridge Line using separate tracks. WMATA does this on the outer parts of several Metrorail lines.

    An alternate would be a light rail line or subway operating on LIRR’s track in a temporal separation arrangement. The LIRR would not operate on the line when the light rail is running and vice-versa. NJT’s River Line between Trenton and Camden is such a line. However, the River Line has no service between 10.00 PM and 5.30 AM so CSAO freight trains can run. This may not be acceptable in “The City That Never Sleeps.”

    1. The current line is single track. There is room for a second track, likely was at some time in the past. The ROW has no space for two transit tracks and a separate freight track.

    2. Remember, this is an existing ROW through a generally built up area, which is the attraction, but expanding the ROW undermines that advantage.

  3. If I understand this would mean a hybrid rail line for both light rail and occasional freights.

    It would cross 17 subway lines and the LIRR — meaning that at some or all of these crossings, transfer stations accessible to wheelchairs would be installed. Meaning lots of time, lots of money. I really don’t know my way around Brooklyn, but it sounds like a transfer would be required to reach Brooklyn’s important employment generators and entertainment hotspots.

    1. Charles: Why must you comment on nearly everything including this one which by your own admission you are largely ignorant of. If you are not informed please keep quiet, difficult as that may be. It is to the point that when I see your name I say to myself: “Here we go again”.

    2. You could use Heavy Rail EMUs, even Battery EMUs (as the LIRR and Alstrom is now looking at for some unelectrified branch lines) for non-continuous electrification to reduce costs for some obstacles they may be encountered. The freight lines use are planned to see a lot more freight from the planned (long planned) Cross-Harbor tunnel, about 1 freight train per hour.

      RPA: The Triboro

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