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WNYC News

Collisions Involving Cars, People, Trains Are More Common Than You Think

Thursday, February 05, 2015

WNYC
According to a nonprofit that focuses on railroad track safety, a person or vehicle is struck by a train in the U.S. every three hours.

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WNYC News

Storm Hits Thanksgiving Travelers

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More than 550 flights have been canceled nationwide so far today — the bulk of them in the Northeast.

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Transportation Nation

MTA Wants to Help Subway Riders Find Their Way Above Ground

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WNYC

The neighborhood maps the MTA places in subway stations are getting a major reboot.

 

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99% Invisible

117- Clean Trains

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

In just about every movie set in New York City in the 1970s and 80s there's an establishing shot with a graffiti-covered subway. For city officials, train graffiti was a sign that they had lost control. So, starting in the early 70s,

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Transportation Nation

US Senator Sees "Staggering" Number of Safety Violations at Metro-North

Friday, April 18, 2014

The railroad racked up 139 safety violations over the past decade, and incurred almost half a million dollars in fines, according to data released today.

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Transportation Nation

Delays Persist on D.C.'s Silver Line Project

Thursday, April 17, 2014

WAMU

The 11-mile, $3 billion project is behind schedule, and frustration is growing.

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Transportation Nation

D.C. Transit Exec Resigns In Wake Of Damning Federal Audit

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WAMU

The chief financial officer of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is resigning to take a job in the private sector.

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The Takeaway

Rail Safety Questions Raised After NY Train Derails

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which mandated that railroad companies install positive train control—a technology that automatically detects excessive speeding and other human error, and might have been able to prevent or mitigate the damage from the Metro North train crash this weekend. James Oberstar, former chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as Stuart Silverstein, assistant editor at FairWarning.org, explain what's next in train safety.

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Transportation Nation

Does Metro-North Have a Catastrophic Curve?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

WNYC

Sunday's deadly Metro-North commuter train crash happened less than 2,000 feet from the the site of another derailment earlier this year along the same stretch of curving riverside track in the Southern Bronx.

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: On This Day in Transportation History, New York's Penn Station Opened

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On November 27, 1910, one of New York City's original architectural jewels opened its doors to train passengers -- and it was beautiful.

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Transportation Nation

Updated: After Bronx Derailment, Some Hudson Line Service Restored

Friday, July 19, 2013

WNYC

UPDATE: Morning rush hour service is restored on Metro-North's Hudson Line following a 10-car derailment Thursday night in a particularly narrow stretch of track in the Bronx. Trains are running on a single track with scattered delays.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Transportation Update

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Transportation Nation gives us an update on the subway, train, and airport service, and the reopening of roads in the New York area.  

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The History of Trains in America

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Christian Wolmar and tells the extraordinary story of the rise and the fall of the American railroads, and argues that we should reclaim and celebrate our rail heritage. In The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of Trains in America, Wolmar tells how the opening of the first American railroad in the 1830s changed the way people lived. The railroads dominated the American landscape for more than a hundred years but by the middle of the 1950s, the car, the truck, and the airplane had eclipsed the railroads.

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Transportation Nation

Live NY Traffic Map...And Everything You Need to Know to Stay Sane on the Roads & Rails This Weekend

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Traffic started backing up on Thursday afternoon along the blocks approaching the entrance to the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan. (Photo by Kate Hinds.)

The American Automobile Association projects 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, an increase of 1.2 percent - or 500,000 travelers - from the 34.3 million people who traveled one year ago.  That's despite relatively high gas prices (though they're a bit lower than they were last year at this time.)

In the New York-NJ-PA region, some 3.7 million Americans are expected to drive to their Memorial Day weekend destinations, the AAA says.

NY-NJ Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says that bi-state authority is "expecting about 5 million people to travel either by air or car thru our facilities, either the crossings over the Hudson River, or through any of our major airports." He said that's about a three percent increase over 2011 numbers.

Travelers will no doubt be fleeing New York by every mechanized means possible. If you live in the New York region, below is a handy guide for planning your escape.

If you're driving, the NYC DOT will show you just how agonizing your trip will be via its live traffic cams.

(While we're at, California readers can check here. )

The NY MTA will be adding extra trains for the Memorial Day weekend. For details, go here.  You can also subscribe to the authority's free email or text message alerts, or use Tripplanner+ (see top right hand column) to plan your ride ahead of time.

New York City Subway

Subway customers are reminded to use the A, C, D or Q instead of the B. They should also take the J instead of the Z.   Passengers can bring bikes on the subway, 24-7.

Metro-North Railroad

Beginning at noon on Friday, Metro-North will offer extra early afternoon departures from Grand Central Terminal on all three lines – Hudson, Harlem and New Haven.  No bikes on trains scheduled to depart Grand Central Terminal between 12 Noon and 8:30 PM on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend all routine maintenance work beginning 1 p.m. on Friday through the end of the morning rush on Tuesday. Reminder: speed up your trip by using E-ZPass.

Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR will be adding extra trains on Friday.  No bikes on many LIRR trains this weekend (regulations here.)  Monday's train operate on a Sunday schedule.

Staten Island Railway

MTA Staten Island Railway will add extra trains on Friday beginning at 2:30 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be suspending all routine maintenance work on its bridges and tunnels, and all of its toll booths will be at "full staff." Go here to sign up for travel alerts about traffic conditions at Port Authority crossings.

The agency’s airports are expected to carry 1.53 million passengers. New customer service representatives will be deployed at airports to help passengers navigate terminals and find things like rest rooms, bus stops and taxi stands.

Sign up here for Airport Alerts that send info about weather delays, parking lot capacity, and AirTrain service delays. 

The PATH train will run extra trains as necessary on Friday. On Monday, trains will run on a Sunday schedule. Travelers can also text their origin and destination on the PATH system to 266266, and receive up-to-date service information.

New Jersey Transit will suspend all construction on state highways from 6 a.m. Friday until noon Tuesday.

 

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Transportation Nation

New York Republicans May Defect on Transportation Bill

Friday, February 10, 2012

(photo by: Flickr user: See-ming Lee)

Three New York City Republicans are expressing reservations about their party's transportation bill.

The legislation would stop funding mass transit through a federal gasoline tax for the first time in about three decades.  Instead it would provide mass transit with a $40-billion dollar one time grant.

But exactly where the money for that grant would come from is unclear, leading to a host of denunciations from Congressional Democrats, editorial boards,  and US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, himself a Republican, who dubbed the legislation "the worst transportation bill" in decades.  The opponents say the bill could cost the New York area $1 billion in lost funds.

Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09), who won a narrow special election to succeed Congressman Anthony Wiener earlier this year,  could vote against his party’s bill.  Turner said in a statement he's concerned about how transportation funds will be allocated.  Turner said "it’s imperative that the necessary funding mechanism"  be in place to maintain and improve the transportation needs of the nation’s largest metropolitan population center.   “I will not support any bill that does not allow New York City to sufficiently meet those needs," Turner said.

A spokeswoman for Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm  (NY-13) said the Congressman is still reviewing the bill but "has concerns about it," and is working to amend it.  She did not mention the specific issues Grimm had with the legislation.

A spokesman for Hudson Valley Republican Nan Hayworth also express doubts about the bill in its current form.

And Congressman Jerrold Nadler says he has bi-partisan support for an amendment that would restore mass transit's funding stream. He says he'll introduce the amendment Monday.

Proponents of the legislation say drivers should not subsidize mass transit.  But opponents of the bill said it would drastically reduce the amount of funds available for subway, bus and train riders.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, a Republican, said projects like the Second Avenue subway and the Fulton Street Transit Center would be in jeopardy if the bill moves forward in its current form.  The Senate is developing a competing version of the bill.

The Transportation bill puts many area Republican lawmakers between a rock and an hard place:   over 50 percent of the region's commuters use transit to get to work, but  their party leadership is pushing another way.

Republicans Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), and Chris Smith (NJ-04) failed to return calls and emails seeking comment.

In New York, Chris Gibson (NY-20), and Pete King (NY-03) also did not respond to requests for comment.

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WNYC News

Niche Market: Model Trains

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New York is a city of specialists from foodies to academics, laborers to shopkeepers. Every Wednesday, Niche Market takes a peek inside a different specialty store and showcases the city's purists who have made an art out of selling one commodity.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Railroaded

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Richard White talks about how the transcontinental railroads transformed the nation in the late 19th century. His book Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America focuses on railroads as the first corporate behemoths, and how their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the U.S. economy. The railroads also remade the landscape of the West and opened new worlds of work and ways of life.

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WNYC News

City May Shut Down Transit Ahead of Hurricane Irene

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WNYC

Officials are considering shutting down the city's transportation system this weekend if conditions from Hurricane Irene become too harsh. 

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WNYC News

With No Display Map at Penn Station, Amtrak Misses an Opportunity

Monday, August 15, 2011

WNYC

To the list of things not to like about Penn Station — the too-low ceilings, the lack of natural light, the unmemorable food — add this: no display map of Amtrak train routes.

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Transportation Nation

Connecticut's Aging Rail Technology Is Causing Breakdowns From Both Heat and Cold

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Haven Line train.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Performance on a major New York commuter rail line during last week's heat wave was a tale of the two states it serves. Outdated technology in Connecticut led to multiple train breakdowns and stranded passengers on the New Haven Line, which connects that state to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. One train stalled between stations when overhead power lines sagged and tangled, leaving passengers sweltering and stuck for almost an hour.

All the while, trains on New York tracks ran smoothly.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority says that's because New York State invested early last decade in a new overhead power system that automatically takes up the slack when wires start drooping in the heat. New York also bought new train cars that held up fairly well during the Northeast's bitter and blizzardy winter of 2010-2011.

MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said Connecticut did neither, and paid for it during both seasons.

The authority was forced to curtail service on the New Haven line by 10 percent in January when the old trains broke down faster than Connecticut's cramped work yards could repair them. But Metro-North's Harlem Line, which runs newer trains purchased by New York in 2000, didn't have those problems.

Similarly, New York invested in overhauling its overhead power system for trains in the last decade. Towers that hold up the wires now have counterweights that lower and tighten the wires when they sag. Connecticut has no such system. Last week, the NY MTA tried to prevent the overhead lines from tangling by ordering trains on its lines to slow from a normal cruising speed of 70 m.p.h. to 50 m.p.h. It worked in New York but not Connecticut.

Ms. Anders said the overhead wires provide electrical current by making contact with a four-foot wide metal bar on the top of a train. Last Friday's high temperature of 104 degrees caused the overhead wires in Connecticut to sag so much that they slipped off the side of the metal bar on some trains and tangled, cutting off power and halting those trains.

"It goes without saying that antique fleet and an antique infrastructure and power system is not going to perform well in any temperature or weather extremes, whether it's snow or heat," she said.

Connecticut has been trying to catch up. Governor Dannel Malloy agreed to spend $400 million dollars on new overhead wires and $750 million dollars on new train cars better suited to the cold weather. The new cars have started arriving but the new overhead power system won't be done until 2016.

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