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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Study offers favorable view of New York’s Interborough Express proposal

Study offers favorable view of New York’s Interborough Express proposal

By | January 21, 2022

Creation of transit route on freight-only LIRR line could see 80,000 riders per weekdays, report says

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Map of proposed transit line connecting Brooklyn and Queens, showing possible connections with other transit
Map of proposed transit line connecting Brooklyn and Queens, showing possible connections with other transit
The route of the proposed Interborough Express. (MTA)

NEW YORK — A proposal to create the Interborough Express, a transit project which would connect Brooklyn and Queens to as many as 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, is indeed feasible, according to results of a study released Thursday by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Janno Lieber.

The study determined that the 14-mile route, using right-of-way of the LIRR’s Bay Ridge Branch — which last saw passenger service in 1974 — and a portion of the Fremont Secondary could be used by up to 80,000 daily riders on weekdays, and some 2.5 millio riders per year. Bus rapid transit, light rail, and conventional heavy rail rapid transit are all options for the operation. The full feasibility report is available here.

“Infrastructure is all about connection, and with the Interborough Express we can connect people to their family and friends while also improving their quality of life,” Hochul said in a press release. “The Interborough Express will connect Brooklyn and Queens, not only shaving time off commutes but also making it easier to connect to subway lines across the route. With the completion of the feasibility study, we can move forward to the next phase of this project and bring us one step closer to making the Interborough Express a reality for New Yorkers.”

The proposed service would operate on 5-minute headways during peak periods and up to 10-minute headways at other times. The number and location of stations will be determined during forthcoming studies.

15 thoughts on “Study offers favorable view of New York’s Interborough Express proposal

  1. Significant typo–passenger service ended in 1924, not 1974. This is the former electrified route that NH used to access car floats across the Hudson. Was multiple tracks and below grade through Brooklyn so there is a large ROW which should make conversion to subway easier.

  2. The ROW is the easy part. The hard part would be wheelchair accessible stations at each transfer point.

    1. How is that difficult? Newly built stations must include accessibility for disabled people. And not just them but anyone carrying something heavy or pushing a baby carriage (I’ve helped people with those in the NYC subway before). It’s a no-brainer.

      1. Got it Mike, I see your point exactly. let me rephrase. Not difficult, just expensive. Money well spent but the money has to come from smewhere.

  3. Would that other large cities had some such route as this connecting the outer parts of branches of its transit system! (I don’t now of any city whose system does.)

  4. This is actually a great idea, something that should have been done a long time ago, before most of us were even born.

    1. DAVID – Things take time in New York City. Second Avenue subway (such as it is) took sixty years. Transit to JFK took decades. Transit to LGA, still no decision. Co-Op City in Bronx is over a half century old with rail transit being proposed only recently and if implemented will be years away.

      For our lifetimes New York has been paying for the decisions of the anti-transit Robert Moses. And will be through the lifetimes of our grandchildren.

      1. Think about this – The 74th-Roosevelt stop, very near to the northern terminal of this proposed line, was constructed with a second level (not open to passengers) which was intended for a proposed Queens crosstown line that was never built. The trackways end at a bellmouth pointing south into 78th Street. Google “IND Second System” for details. That was before World War II, and we’re still waiting!

        I lived in East Elmhurst and was through 74th-Roosevelt at least a thousand times. This proposal is a great idea.

  5. Let me add my positive feelings for this initiative, however I think an opportunity for greater growth may be lost if it’s restricted to the limits shown. My vision for this, picking up on Charles’ comments re COOP City, is that this becomes part of Metro North rather than NYCitySubway, the route is extended to connect with Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line, and then on to wherever the Penn Station Access service is supposed to originate/terminate (New Rochelle?). IIRC exactly that was the original plan and designated the “Triboro”. Geez, if we are to spend all the $$$ necessary to do PSA-expanded track capacity and 4 new ADA-compliant stations to name two, let’s really get some bang for the transit buck and have two commuter/regional services use all that. There never was an interlocking where the passenger mains and Bay Ridge mains parted company in Astoria so indeed that would be necessary along with the catenary work. One question; Will there be a problem, no matter which carrier operates the Interborough Express,,with freights operating adjacent to high-level platforms

    1. MARK – I like your idea in your post above. And DAVID thanks for your insight as a Queensborough resident.

      MARK and DAVID could this proposed line be used by LIRR and Metro North both? If trains could go north to New Rochelle and New Haven, (per MARK) why not east to Nassau and Suffolk?

  6. So, folks, especially Charles, I did a little digging on the “Triboro” plan:
    https://gothamist.com/news/bronx-residents-say-theyre-left-out-of-governors-inter-borough-express
    The above is linked in The Gothamist’s recent article on the IE:
    https://gothamist.com/news/brooklyn-queens-interborough-express-rail-project-quickly-moves-next-phase
    Note the northern endpoint of the service envisioned in Triboro plan is CO-OP City.
    As to Charles’ question on LIRR access to the Hell Gate Bridge Line, there is no physical connection in Queens linking LIRR Mainline with the Bay Ridge line. I just watched a YouTube video headend ride Jamaica-Woodside and the Bay Ridge Line goes overhead between Forest Hills station and the point where the Port Washington Branch swings in from the north. Doesn’t look to be possible to build a ramp connection without taking a lot of property and having a sizeable impact on the neighborhood. (Of course, Robert Moses never worried about that. See the chapter “One Mile” in Robert A. Caro’s absolutely outstanding book The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.) MNR EAS and LIRR riders will have to content themselves with going via NYP and transfering. At least it’s same station transfer.

  7. https://gothamist.com/news/bronx-residents-say-theyre-left-out-of-governors-inter-borough-express

    I did a little research on the “Triboro” plan and came up with the above that was linked in the 1/20 Gothamist article citing the latest on the IE project. Note Charles that the northern terminal in the Triboro was to be CO-OP City. I am pleased Bronx residents are speaking up.

    Regarding LIRR “piggybacking” on my proposal and EAS, the is no track connection between it and the Bay Ridge line. I watched the Jamaica-Woodside segment of a longer YouTube video headend ride and the Bay Ridge line crosses overhead between Forest Hills Station and the point where the Port Washington Branch swings in from the north. There doesn’t look to be any place for a ramp connection without severely impacting the neighborhood. (Of course, that never bothered Robert Moses. See the chapter “One Mile” in Robert A. Caro’s excellent book-I couldn’t put down once I started it-“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York”).

    Riders wanting to connect EAS-LIRR will have to do it at NYP. It will be a two-seat ride but the same-station transfer should take some of the sting out of it.

    1. MARK — I’m not too sure that most TRAINS MAGAZINE riders know the name Robert Moses. I’ve not read the book since it came out maybe 40 years ago but the same issues lurk as in the comments above many decades after Robert Moses died. Actually Robert Moses did a lot of good stuff, like his parks on Long Island and I believe he was the creator of the hydro power plant at Niagara Falls (the New York State side) named after him.

      As for the Cross Bronx Expressway, the writer of the book wasn’t too happy about it but I believe it needed to be built. We drove the entire length of it the last time we were in New York, in 1999. It’s a miserable road, hope I never have to drive it again. The gridlock was so bad that a man walked between the cars on the expressway selling telephones.

      Before anyone reading here puts down Robert Moses, he pretty much was the creator of the Public Authority. Don’t like that concept? That’s how stuff gets built these days including the transit lines we all like.

      Finally why is it that this New York discussion is dominated by a former Illinois resident living in western Massachusetts, and a native Bay Stater living in Wisconsin?

  8. Don’t forget that that “former Illinois resident” grew up in New York City. That’s why I’m familiar with the rail lines involved in EAS and IE.

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