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July 06, 2004

Stupid Transit Tricks, Part II

New York is the only city with designated express lines in its subway system -- four-track sections with two tracks set aside for trains that do not stop at every station. Express trains add capacity to the system and supposedly get you to your destination faster than the local.

The Daily News (linked by Gothamist) says this is not so.

Post Author: rj3 | 11:02 AM | Link | TrackBacks

Perhaps the only subterranean express tracks are in New York City, but the old Northwestern Elevated north of Armitage is four tracks to the Chicago city limits at Howard Street. Evanston expresses use the platformless outer tracks between Howard and Wilson; the center tracks have fewer platforms south of Belmont, where the Ravenswood branch joins the main line. The Ravenswood trains impede the progress of the Evanston expresses between Belmont and downtown.

Posted by: Stephen Karlson at July 6, 2004 11:50 AM

I wouldn't really call the purple line/red line parallel sections "express" in quite the same sense. They're different lines with very few shared stops that just happen to share a right-of-way. There are examples like that all over, although usually not with both lines being rapid transit (e.g. Boston's Southwest Corridor).

Posted by: JN at July 14, 2004 12:24 PM

Perhaps there is a difference in the way the tracks are used today. In its original incarnation, the Northwestern did run all-stop and express trains in the New York fashion -- it also hosted interurban trains that continued to Milwaukee. The infrastructure, however, is a four track elevated rapid transit line built for that purpose -- as is the case of the subway rapid transit lines in Manhattan.

Boston's new corridor is a different animal, with two or three tracks reserved for Amtrak and two tracks provided for the rapid transit.

Posted by: Stephen Karlson at July 15, 2004 12:29 PM
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