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Friday, July 29, 2016

Pope Travels in Krakow with Modern Streetcar

No matter what your religion or philosophy is, this is good news for telling the world about modern streetcars.  Many Americans that live in transit deserts believe that streetcars are only San Francisco cable cars.   More to follow.  Pictures taken off web from German site.  While in Krakow for a religious youth festival, the pope was transported by modern tram.

From Washington Post:

5:40 p.m.
Pope Francis has taken a ride with disabled young people through the heart of Krakow in an electric tram — underlining his mission to fight climate change and encouraging more concern for the disadvantaged.
When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires in his native Argentina, Francis rode public transport to inspire humility within the church hierarchy.
The tram was decorated in the Vatican colors of yellow and white. In place of the usual destination indicator were the words “Tram del Papa” — Italian for “the pope’s tram.”
His actual destination was Blonia, a park where young Catholics participating in World Youth Day were gathering.

From Washington Post:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tomorrow is the 56th Anniversary of the End of Trolleybus in Brooklyn: July 27, 1960

Tomorrow is the 56th Anniversary of the end of trolleybus service in Brooklyn.  The Brooklyn system was a mid size system, about 200 trolleys.  The line started small but the entire system was expanded around 1948-49.  The system lasted just about thirty years (July 23, 1930 to July 27, 1960).  Parts of this system ran into Queens.  Trolleybus boroughs were Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.  The Staten Island system existed in the 1920's.  An official from the Transit Authority told me very long ago (1970) that a system was visioned for Bronx and Queens and at some locations, wood holders for the trolleybus wires were found in parts of Bronx and Queens (non BMT system). Compared to the subway, buses, elevated lines and streetcars, the duration of trolleybus traction in NYC was not long.  The Staten Island system did not last long.
   In the 1990's there were plans for a 2nd Avenue trolleybus system in Manhattan and there were other proposals for a line on Church Avenue Brooklyn and Fordham Road in the Bronx.  Of course, nothing every came of these proposals except Select Bus Service on some of the mentioned routes above.

  When the plug was pulled on this system in 1960, the last regular revenue trolley type of service with electricity ended in New York State.  Years later, a light rail system was established in Buffalo New York with some street running.  With new technology that does not need overhead wires, it is unlikely that trolleybus would ever return to New York City.  A few years ago, I heard that Montreal Canada wanted to start a trolleybus system due to environmental concerns but nothing came of it.
  Below is a photo from the NYCsubway web site.  This is 1954 Cudahy picture.

System: B&QT Trolleybus
Photo by: Brian J. Cudahy
Date: 1954
Notes: Trolley coach No. 3108 on Bergen Street Route running along Court Street

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Solution to Dealing with the Future Closure of the "L" Line

As many of you know, the 14th Street - Canarsie Line "L"  will require extensive work on it's under river tunnels. This work will require shutting down one or both tubes at once and will delay thousands of passengers on a daily basis.  The "L" line has increased ridership in the past several years and is one of the busiest line in the city.  Unlike other lines, the "L" line is somewhat isolated and there is no relatively speaking, no other line nearby.   Likewise,  recently, in the news, there are plans to make the former trolley terminal, at Essex and Delancey Streets into an underground experimental park.  What a waste.  If it is possible to get streetcars and not buses back into this terminal, an easy transfer to the J, M, Z and F routes would be obtained.   Won't this cost Billions and take 20 years to build, if approved?  The first critical issue is:  Can the Williamsburg Bridge, as currently constructed, carry streetcars and is there enough clearance for pantographs and wires?    This is the key point.  If yes, then......

  1. Does temporary trolley track exist and is it cheap to buy?  This type of track only lasts for about a year or so and does not go down deep into the pavement and may be held to the street or roadbed by metal non slip plates.
  2. Is a supply of second hand streetcars are available that are in relatively good condition?  Perhaps second hand Czech made trams formerly from the eastern block are available.
  3. Is the pathway clear from the bridge portal in Manhattan to the former trolley terminal?  When streetcars crossed the Williamsburg bridge until 1948, trolleys did not run via the subway tracks but on their own right of way.  If temporary flat tracks can not be built on the auto roadway, can streetcars run on the subway tracks on the bridge without disrupting traffic?  Is there a Federal law that prohibits light rail and heavy rail on the same tracks?
  4. In the Williamsburg area and beyond to the north and east, would residents object to having temporary tracks built on some of the local streets?  This track may interfere with bicycle traffic.  Would the local residents object to wires and poles on the streets?
  5. A selection of temporary streetcar routes, that run near the L train can run into the Delancey Street terminal.  This terminal had at least five local Brooklyn trolley routes running into it.
  6. How much does this all cost, even using second hand cars and temporary track and wires?
  7. Why not buses into the trolley terminal?  There may be a air quality problem and their are tight clearances near the loops.
  8. Will the automobile drivers object to sharing the bridge roadway with streetcars?
What do you think of this?  Also, as brought up in subchat today, a few trolley stations existed on the bridge for the convenience of local residents, such as the one at Driggs Avenue

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Ft. Hamilton Parkway on the BMT Culver Line was never built in the Parkway Style

Not to long ago,  a reader of SUBCHAT asked why the Ft. Hamilton Parkway station, at 37th Street was built in the traditional BMT Dual Contracts style and not with a concrete arch, found at other parkway stations, throughout the city, such as Bay Parkway, Ocean Parkway, Pelham Parkway and other stations.  I cannot answer you but I will say that the former station at 37th Street and Ft. Hamilton Parkway is similar to the present day "Avenue P" station on the F train.  There is a booking hall under the station over Avenue P and parts of the platform area, are not covered with a canopy.  The former Ft. Hamilton Parkway also had one central entrance area. The picture below comes from a Culver Shuttle web site and shows the wooden wind screens that were never replaced with metal.  Notice the former walkway which was similar to the one at Avenue P and McDonald Avenues.

Perhaps a more elaborate  structure was not constructed because at the time of building (1914-19?), Ft. Hamilton Parkway was formerly called "Ft. Hamilton Avenue?".  Also, the area under the el was not paved, which was the former PRW of the Culver Line that ran on the surface. Of course, the street crossing was paved.  The area was a shabby area with a lot of South Brooklyn RR turnouts and perhaps it was not the place to make a fancy elevated structure, at least over the parkway.  It is ironic that if the second IND system would have been built, a branch off would have run under Ft. Hamilton Parkway to Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Staten Island.  Perhaps there would have been an interchange station between IND Staten Island trains and BMT Culver shuttle trains at this point and perhaps the structure would have been upgraded.  Just some thoughts though.  It is possible that under the el structure, up to Ft. Hamilton Parkway, parts of the South Brooklyn RR PRW may have had Third Rail .

Friday, July 1, 2016

First Interpolation Experiment Fails

Hi Folks:

  I started to experiment with ARCGIS on-line and I noticed that geostatistical interpolation is offered.  Interpolation is used where you have some data points on a map but some areas of the map are missing data.  Now let us apply this to rapid transit.  Let us say that we have ridership figures for subway stations.  Several years ago, I got a shape file of subway station locations in New York City and part of the file was ridership values for various years such as total ridership, average ridership on weekends and so on.  Let us run a experiment using interpolation.  How would interpolation treat those areas not covered by the subway system?  The results are shown above to the right, but we must mention that perhaps that this may not be a good statistical rational for doing this experiment.  My aim was:   Using known ridership at various stations, can I project to areas that do not have a subway?  The map above may be a failure.

In the analysis below, I used Annual 2000 data.  The highest value for a particular station was  in the 8 - 9 million range.   ARCGIS online will ask you how you will project the data and I chose "Manual".   I added discrete ranges of data for example, 2M, 4M, 6M, 8M and 10M.  In the interpolation panel, you should add these values numerically, i.e. "2,000,000".  The results show those areas that can generate riders of that value if a station was in that area, everything else being equal.  Thus the eastern side of Brooklyn near Marine Park could generate 2M - 4M at a subway station annually, if a station existed in the particular region.  For Staten Island, though not shown would generate 0 - 2M.   In Staten Island, the SIRT station data had no ridership values for FY 2000 and I could not select this out.  Notice the areas of eastern Queens and Western Manhattan (Before Hudson Yards).  This is experimental process may not be appropriate for the data set available.  It is an old data set and much has changed since 2000, particularly in some sections in Brooklyn like Williamsburgh.  All of Staten Island is the lightest color.  I am not sure if bodies of water (NY Bay) effects the results.  Notice that eastern Queens looks like it could use some additional rapid transit facilities.  My cheap solution:   A basic light rail line running down a wide avenue with a private right of way.  These lines should fan out from the last easterly station terminals of the subway.  If extra money is available, if possible, the light rail lines should go underground near the last stops if possible and provide cross the platform transfers to the subway.  Since some of the terminals, such as Archer-Pasrsons have two trailing tracks, perhaps light rail trains can inch up to the easterly sections of the terminals to provide platform level transfers.  The light rail trains need not be very high tech nor their stations.  How about some surplus equipment from Europe?  Just thinking out loud folks.
Tramway Null(0).