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Thursday, January 15, 2009

09-01-15 VIDEO: Let's Ride NYC Subway: Episode 3 - 8th Ave Express

When someone thinks of the quintessential express train they undoubtedly think of the A Train, and where do most people interact with the A Train but on the IND 8th Ave Line. For decades if one was patient and waited enough headways they could eventually catch one of the Railfan Window equipped R38 sets running on the A, but for a brief window in 2008, just before all of the cool R's were scrapped the A came alive with Budds, Slants and even the odd R42.

We now begin our ride on the day after Christmas, 2008, on an R "Slant" 40 departing the 42nd St station on its trip northbound under Central Park West.

Between 42nd and 59th St we traverse the junction with the IND Queens Boulevard Line now used by the E, D and B trains. There is a little problem with some Stop signals around 50th St station, but that soon clears up.

At 59th St we begin perhaps the longest express dash on the NYC Subway System as our train runs 66 street blocks without a stop to 125th St station. Total trip time is six and a half minutes.

Shortly after leaving 125th St the 8th Ave line assumes a double stack configuration with the northbound tracks running on top of the southbound tracks. Later our tunnel has to make some crazy gyrations to get things sorted out to the regular configuration between 103rd and 110th St.

Next we travel express from 125th St to 145th St. This time there are only 2 local stops skipped, but 145th St is a two level station and the junction with the IND Concourse Line where the current B and D services split off. The interlocking north of 125th are just some basic crossovers, but the one south of 145th is much more complicated with ramps for trains heading to the lower "Concourse" level.

Our last video on the Northbound segment of our Ride takes us from 145th to 168th St station, which marks the terminus of the (C) train and the end of the express portion of the A. We pass two local stops, but cannot see them because our tunnel has ducked under the local tracks to then cross us over to the outside track at 168th so that C trains can more easily relay on the center tracks.

Now that we have finished riding the line between 42nd and 168th Streets, let us rewind a bit back to 42nd St for the trip southbound. For this half of the trip we will be on an R38.

First up is the brief hop between 42nd St and 34th St / Penn Station, platforming of course on the center express track Note the train of R32's on the C.

Here is the express run from 34th St to 14th St skipping only 1 station where we pass a northbound C train. Also passing us is a northbound R44 A train.

Next we twist and shout our way over to the 6th Ave alignment to connect with the B, D, F and V trains at the twin level W. 4th St station. Little bit of trivia, but all of the IND Chaining is measured from a point on the end of southbound platform. The W. 4th St interlocking tower is on the lower level and cannot be seen here.

We now skip another stop on our way to Canal Street. This is the last stop on the express segment of the line where E trains will continue to Chambers WTC and C trains will merge into the center tracks. At this point the Canal St tower still handled this merge located at the southbound platform.

The last stop on this express run down the 8th Ave line is Chambers Street. Due to the fire in the Chambers St interlocking tower, this segment is slowly being re-signaled and you can see the covered replacement signals and new cable ducting.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this episode and stay tuned for more Let's Ride NYC Subway.

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