When we last left off talking about Regional Rail New York – Scenario B, we discussed the core infrastructure, and how a combination of desired schedule frequencies and signalling gives us an understanding of the infrastructure we need. (As an addendum to that post, I would like to add that 20 tph per track signalling gives incredibly frequent peak service, and may even be used to double the proposed off-peak service.)
Now I want to talk about the core stations. These are the major transfer stations — to intercity rail, or to other RRNY lines. Some of them already exist; others will need to be built new. We’ll discuss these in two tranches, based on the two East River crossings: the East River Tubes and the Old Fulton Street Tunnel.
East River Tubes
From the west, the first major station is Newark Penn Station, a transfer point between Line 1, Amtrak, and PATH. Next, after Lines 1 and 2 converge, is Secaucus Jct., the transfer point between Lines 1, 2, and 5. Both exist today.
The third transfer station is Portal. This will be a new-build station, and is the transfer point between Lines 1, 2, and 6. Since neither Line 5 nor 6 reach Midtown, Secaucus Jct. and Portal are vital for ensuring a good connection for riders from e.g. Nyack or Passaic to points along Lines 1 and 2. A Palisades facility is also worth considering as a connection to Bergenline Ave and any improvement there.
Next is Penn Station New York, the granddaddy of them all. Penn Station serves as the western terminus for regional services to New England points: Boston, Providence, Hartford, Springfield, Amherst, and Portland via Worcester all find their ends here.
Next is Midtown East. This is the main transfer station between Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4, and is a cross-shaped facility cut out of the rock below 32nd/33rd and Park. Amtrak trains curve away on a connection to Grand Central, and so Midtown East is entirely RRNY territory.
Across the East River we find a potential facility at Long Island City — I will explain why in a couple of posts — and a major Sunnyside station at Queens Boulevard. This facility accesses a Sunnyside Yards overbuild. Here Lines 1 and 2 diverge, and the final station along Line 2 is Port Morris – LaGuardia, one of the ReThink plan’s most successful elements.
Old Fulton Street Tunnel
Beginning along the Manhattan Spine, we find Harlem at 125th Street. A similar infill station may also be worth considering around the 97th Street portal.
Grand Central is next. This station serves Lines 3, 4, and Amtrak. While RRNY uses Grand Central’s lower level, Amtrak uses the East Side Access station box. Most trains to the north and west — along the Keystone and Empire corridors, and to Montréal — terminate here, deadheading via ESA to Sunnyside Yards. High-speed NEC trains use a connection to the Manhattan Spine mainline, while medium-speed trains use ESA to the Hell Gate Line.
Then comes Midtown East, the hewn-in-rock connection between Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4. South of that we have stations at Union Square and Houston Street, before combining with the Pavonia Tunnel at Fulton Street.
While Lines 5 and 6 pass through Secaucus Jct. and Portal stations, respectively, they meet at the base of the Bergen Arches. A potential station box is reserved within the Arches proper, and new Newark Ave. and Exchange Place stations service Jersey City. Just after it meets the Manhattan Spine, we find Fulton Street.
Old Fulton Street Tunnel
The westernmost end of the Old Fulton Street Tunnel is the new Fulton Street station. This facility has eight tracks on two levels: the Manhattan Spine (Lines 3 and 4) occupies the upper level, while the Pavonia Tunnel (Lines 5 and 6) occupies the lower level. A concourse, accessed from the street via the Fulton Street oculus, separates the two track levels and provides access to the eight platforms.
Next is the DUMBO station; like Fulton Street, it is eight tracks on two levels. The Flatbush Interlocking occurs between DUMBO and University Place stations, such that, at University Place, we find that the Atlantic Terminal Spur (Lines 4 and 5) occupy the upper level, while the 3rd Avenue Tunnel (Lines 3 and 6) occupy the lower level. Just past University Place, at 3rd and Flatbush, these lines diverge.
3rd Avenue Tunnel and the Staten Island Connection
Atlantic Avenue is a station unique to the 3rd Avenue Tunnel, although it is about two blocks from the Atlantic Terminal and provides a surface transfer there. From there, a potential station sites exist at Gowanus and Brooklyn Army Terminal.
The next major station is St. George on Staten Island. Here we have a connection with Triboro Rx and SIR; the Staten Island Connection follows the North Shore Line.
Finally, Arlington represents the last place where Lines 3 and 6 share a station; past this point, they diverge — Line 3 follows the Staten Island Railway’s approach to the Raritan Valley Line, and Line 6 curves south, along the Travis Branch towards the Pralls Island fixed link.
Local stations between St. George and Arlington are served by a Triboro branch; this branch continues down the Travis Branch to Fresh Kills.
The short Atlantic Terminal Spur connects the Old Fulton Street Tunnel to Atlantic Terminal. From there the line follows the LIRR’s Atlantic Branch.
Stations along this branch include Nostrand Ave., East New York, and Woodhaven Jct.
At Jamaica the Atlantic Branch — Lines 4 and 5 — meets Line 1; from here Lines 1 and 5 follow the LIRR mainline to Floral Park, where they diverge; Line 4 follows the Montauk Branch. Line 1 branch service continues down the Atlantic Branch to Far Rockaway; Line 4 branch service continues down it to Long Beach.
Next Up: Either how Amtrak or how Triboro Rx fits into all of this.