Long Island Rail Road NYC Subway Superstorm Sandy

Starting on an A train running only between 168th to 125th to the 4 and 5 trains all way to Brooklyn, and back via the J, Shuttle Bus over the Willie B to the 4 train via the Bronx using BusTime

I spent the morning debating with myself about going out for the fourth straight day but decided with the subway restored on the 4,5,6 (and other lines sounding like they might start operations during the day) I would head downtown again. Here was my subway map. My unlimited was gathering dust and losing value in my wallet so the day would be completely free.

I left the house and saw the M4 so I decide to take the bus down to 168th Street instead of walking down to the 1 train. I also haven’t taking the A train to its 34th Street terminal yet and it seemed like a good adventure. It was a slow ride waiting for everyone to pay their fares. I hopped off at 168 Street and walked the block over to Broadway. The gate at the entrance that leads to the 1 train was open with a water coller 5 gallen jug of water and people entering through it. I swipe in (I have an Unlimited) as everyone still enters for me. Soon a MTA employee comes over to move the jug out of the way.

I head to the A train and soon a train enters (on the local track) the crowded platform. Soon an R46 A local came in. We make our stops at 163rd and 155th Streets before we get to 145th Street and holding lines. Soon the PA System starts saying in the station “Due to Switch Trouble at 34th Street all trains are turning at 59th Street or 125th Streets.” They soon announce that my train will terminate at 125th but no sign of leaving. I step off to be able to run downstairs if a Herald Square-bound D train enters. One doesn’t and its a slow ride to 135th Street and then 125th where we enter to terminating on the downtown Express Track. It has taken me nearly half an hour to go about 2 miles. The conductor starts (incorrectly) announcing to go up stairs where Shuttle Buses will be provided to go downtown.

At 125th Street total chaos erupted, one tourist, suitcase in hand I hear up the token booth “What is going one?” There is no sign on the D train, a crowded platform, and no clear trains heading downtown. I decided to walk over to 125th Street and Lenox(1 Photo), their a 2 train to Penn Station comes nearly immediately.

It is an uneventful express ride down to Times Square. There I need to get across to the 4,5 and 6 trains, the only line heading to Brooklyn. I check and see a Astoria-bound N train come in on the Uptown Express track (where it has to to access the terminus at Herald Square). I get on this train and we skip 49th Street on the express track before slowly going through 57 Street, still closed due to the collapsed crane on the local track. I get off at Lexington Avenue (stopping at just one, 5 Avenue of the usual 3 stops). There I head downstairs to the Express Platforms at 59 Street(1 Photo). The countdown clocks showed restored service to Brooklyn.

I take the next 4 train to 14 Street Union Square to see how much off the station is open. I get off and find that only the 4,5,6 portion(10 Photos) of the station is open with the L(2 Photos) and N,Q,R portions including their entrances taped off. I ascend to surface to get a few more entrance photos. At one entrance only half the high entrance turnstiles are open, the rest taped off.

I decide to walk down Broadway a bit and get to 8th Street where all the main staircases down to each platform are open. First I go down to the staffed Uptown side and find the turnstiles well taped and someone in the token booth open for MetroCard sales. I look across and see someone on the downtown platform waiting for a train. I cross the steet and head over there. I swipe into the closed station to get a picture of trains spending the storm on middle express tracks.

I keep walking down Broadway to Bleecker Street-Broadway Lafeyette. The first entrance I try at Broadway to enter the station (for only the 6) is completely closed but there plenty of people walking on the mezzanine. I go over to the Uptown 6 entrance which is fully open, complete with people waiting for non-existant B,D,F or M trains on those platforms. These I use to cross under to the Downtown 6 platform.

A 6 train arrives and there is a 5 train right across the platform at Brooklyn-Bridge City Hall so I hop on. The train skips Fulton Street, still closed due to ‘Power Problems.’ I take the 5 back to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center where I walk over to the D platforms to see if any of the destination signs are correct, none are. I go street level at the Pacific Street-(8 Photos) end and find a sign on the station entrance for no parking because of the now-canceled NYC Marathon. Shuttle bus service has also been discontinued here, making all passengers take 4, 5 or 6 trains. I go back in via the Barclays Center(3 Photos) entrance where I notice the Express platform is taped off since all 4 and 5 trains are running local in Brooklyn.

There is clearly a delay going on and I notice some train bunching on New Lots Avenue-bound trains. First a 4 train comes and when I realize there is another train directly behind it I get off at Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum(3 photos) and don’t get any good pictures of rare 5 trains stopping there. I continue out on the next 4 train to Saratoga Avenue(9 Photos) to get more pictures of R62s from the 3 still running on the 4 train.

I take the next 4 train to Junius Street(5 Photos).

From there I walk across the sketchy walkway in the sunset to Livonia Avenue. A Broadway Junction-bound L Shuttle train was right in the station. I take the L train to Atlantic Avenue(7 Photos) in as evening comes.

I can’t resist and also get some more photos of the East New York(22) LIRR station to supplement by initial photo essay.

I keep walking to Broadway Junction(2 Photos), and up to the BMT Platforms(2 Photos, plus 3 of artwork) where I notice the L train is turning on its regular platforms (I’ve seen the shuttles run down and use the J platforms before) but beyond the station. I also see one of the few R42 J trains left on its yard lead.

From there I take a Hewes Street-bound J train to Hewes Street(7 Photos) where the crew on the platform is having a hard time kicking everyone off the train so it can continue and relay on the the tracks beyond the station. There is a huge crowd on the Jamaica Center-bound platform waiting for the next train to enter. The single staircases down to the station house is not designed for such crowds.

I go down to the mezzanine and am handed a Block ticket transfer so I can get back on the subway in Manhattan for free. There is an undercover cop with his badge out screaming at transferring passengers if they have a transfer to put it in a cardboard box before entering through the open fare gate. Its very clear to everyone else that the subway is no longer free and they need to swipe their MetroCards and paying their fares. I get to street level and skip taking the crowded first Manhattan-bound Shuttle bus and take the next one in a seat over the Williamsburg Bridge. Going over the Williamsburg Bridge, there is a R42 J train crossing the bridge that I realize must be a test train for service restoration (it ends but being restored to Essex Street about an hour later). There is a huge crowd waiting to go the other way across the bridge at a permeant shuttle bus stop sign. I end up getting off on the Bowery since traffic seems bad and head over to Spring Street(4 Photos) on the 6. There I notice some graffiti on the downtown platform that I don’t get a great photo of across the 4 station tracks.

I wait a good 7 minutes for the 6 train while two express trains go by. Eventually a train comes in and this is the countdown clock at Union Square.

A few phantom trains appear on the countdown clocks until a 5 train finally shows up like ten minutes later. I’ve decided to skip dealing with the 1 or the A train and want to get a countdown clock photo at 149 Street-Grand Concourse so I take the 5 train there. Thc clocks are unfortunately off. As I wait I find cell service on the mezzanine and open up BusTime for the Bx11 and Bx35 to help me decided if I’m getting off at 167 Street or 170 Street to get home. A 4 train comes and we get to 167 Street where the next Bx35 is a long way away. They announce the train is on a battery run and the next stop is Burnside Avenue. I quickly look up the Bx36 (my bus from there) and notice two Bx35 buses reasonably close that I should catch. Its a battery one bypassing stations on the local track before I get off at Burnside walk the two blocks down to Tremont Avenue and get to the bus stop. There a Bx35 is getting to the stop for a nice uneventful ride to 181 Street. I go home via the A train station which is still closed and the elevator operator has no idea when it will reopen.

One reply on “Starting on an A train running only between 168th to 125th to the 4 and 5 trains all way to Brooklyn, and back via the J, Shuttle Bus over the Willie B to the 4 train via the Bronx using BusTime”

Good post – exciting day roaming the train/city. For myself, I’ve avoided mass transit since the flood although it seems OK now. Am planning a subway trip in to the city tomorrow – first day back since the Friday before the flood. I think the flooding will happen again with another big storm – so am just waiting, watching the weather. Do you have any thoughts as to what can be done to protect the infrastructure now that flooding seems to be in NYC’s future?