Transit Adventures

A Year After Sandy: the R train free in Brooklyn, the new West Concourse at WTC and a NWK-EWR-MET Final Points Run

Today is the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

I have my half day of work in Brooklyn before leaving around 1:30pm and decided I have to see what’s going on with the R train being supposedly. I headed over to what were once the Lawrence Street(4 Photos) entrances and find the gates open with no explanation for why the R train is free and nothing stopping anyone from using the free transfer. A Bay Ridge-bound R train is arriving and I take it to Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street(2 Photos) were the gates are open for all at the main Pacific Street entrance.


I use the connection and walk over to take the 4/5 train since I see it first. I get off at Fulton Street and I’m down the escalators at the World Trade Centerat 2:10 and notice a new corridor through the World Trade Center(12 Photos) I’ve never noticed before. I thinking I have plenty of time decide to explore the new West Concourse opened last week that is the first permanent portion of the WTC Transportation Hub to open to the public.


I spend ten minutes and am tapping my SmartLink Card at 2:21. I have to wait 10 minutes for the train and finally leave at 2:31 arriving into Newark-Penn Station(2 Photos) at 2:52 where I check the track for Keystone Train #649 and go down the ramp to Western Connecting Trains directly to the platform.

Keystone train #649 comes in at 2:59 and I board where I see a conductor. I stand until I see the conductor close the door and ask her to scan my ticket in the vestibule since I’m only going to the airport. I end up finding a seat in the rear Amfleet-I for what is only just  a quick 4 minute ride and we arrive at the Newark Airport Train Station(24 Photos) at 3:03, 2 minutes early, the train waits and departs on time.

I have gotten an email I need to respond to that requires my computer and AirTrain into the terminals seems like the easiest way to do this and find wifi. I head upstairs and show my smart phone to the agent who barely looks at it. This is a far cry from my previous photo stop at Newark over a year ago about two weeks into eTickets when the agent was still getting used to them. It takes much longer than my Keystone ride (a 4 minute ride I bet is a new Amtrak shortness record) I’m finally at terminal C, the first one at 3:17 trying to find wifi. I head down to the baggage claim area and find an empty bench. I find out that the airport is all paid Bongo but a nearby Duckin Donuts is a hotspot totally free no entering a reciept required! It does the trick and what I need to do and make a photo stop at station P4 to pretty much finish a section I’m planning to write on the Newark AirTrain and return to the Newark Airport Train station at 4:00pm. I then enjoy half an hour on the platform although not too many trains pass. Two Regionals that stop (including #127, my final train of this 5 segments of points runs) have two locomotives.


Northeast Regional Train #127 arrives into Newark Airport at 4:25 pulling up to the front of the platform requiring us to walk up a bit. I board and sit down. The conductor soon comes, scans my ticket like I’m a normal passenger and we slow down a tiny bit due to a train ahead of us arriving in Metropark(5 Photos) at 4:40 two minutes late.

The next NJT Train back to NYC is scheduled for 4:46. I go and buy my ticket to Fanwood on the Raritan Valley Line because its via Newark and the same price. It arrives 4 minutes late at 4:50. This is a local run and at 5:12 we stop at EWR Airport again. I get off in Newark at 5:18 and take PATH back to Manhattan switching for the train to 33rd Street at Journal Square because I need to go somewhere on the 1 train, getting off at Christopher Street to make the transfer.