New York subway 101: A guide to train car types Do you know your R188 from your R32? By H. Frishberg

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New York subway 101: A guide to train car types Do you know your R188 from your R32? By H. Frishberg
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 26, 2018 7:26 AM

New York subway 101: A guide to train car types

Do you know your R188 from your R32?

By Hannah Frishberg  Jul 24, 2018, 10:00am ED
 Newer R188 subway cars run on the 7 line. Max Touhey

Welcome to Subway 101, a new series in which we attempt to demystify the complex, enormous, and often-frustrating New York City subway system. First up: a guide to NYC Transit’s various subway cars.

Even the most oblivious straphangers knows that not all subway cars are built alike; the differences between the older and newer cars is quite obvious.

But not everyone knows what, exactly, differentiates one dated car from another,

or why so many types of subway car run throughout the transit system.

While the nitty-gritty details of subway car types may seem tedious,

the quality of your commute often depends on it;

the next time you’re stuck in a tunnel during yet another delay, 

the knowledge that you’re inside an R62 might improve the situation by a small amount.

The past

To understand where subway cars are now, it helps to understand their history.

The earliest underground subway cars were wooden,

The change of material to steel was, which began in 1904, was accelerate ed by the 1918 Malbone Street Wreck, one of the deadliest train crashes in U.S. history,

in which over 100 were fatally injured. Before it was controlled by a singular state agency, there were multiple private companies in charge—namely, the IRT, IND, and BMT

—which ran many car models on the tracks over the course of the 20th century.

Some of the more memorable among them were the D-Type, or the Triplex trains,

the short-lived Green Hornet, the blue and white BMT Bluebirds and IRT Redbirds

(one of which saw a second life as a rarely visited Queens tourist center before 

closing in 2015).

The New York Transit Museum, located in a disused subway station,

is home to a fleet of vintage trains that the public can wander through.

Every so often, these older models will run on the live tracks

—during the holidays and for tours and baseball games—as the Nostalgia Train.

The Frankenstein-d assortment of cars is usually composed of R1, R4, R6, R7A, and

R9 models, all in the Arnine family—a fleet of similar cars manufactured for the IND lines in the 1930s to 1950 and used till the late ’70s.

There are also quite a lot of subway cars swimming with the fishes; many retired

models are recycled by way of being sunk in the Atlantic, to form an artificial reef.

 An R-42 car, which dates back to the 1960s, runs on the J line. Max Touhey

The current rolling stock

Excepting only a limited number of non-passenger cars, the modern R-model trains are used across the system today. The “R” number classification entered use in 1931,

when the first batch was purchased for the IND.

There are 15 different models running in the MTA’s current fleet of passenger trains,

their R-numbers ranging from 32 (the oldest cars in the system, dating back to the

1960s) up to 188.

The observant straphanger will notice that the rolling stock that runs along

the lettered lines (formerly the BMT/IND and officially known as the B Division),

are significantly wider and longer, at 10 feet wide, than the numbered line trains.

Those were once part of the IRT and are now known as the A Division;

they’re roughly 8-1/2 feet wide.

Those paying attention will also realize that the car models can be grouped into

three main aesthetic categories:

There are newer cars with blue seating and brighter lighting;

these began with the R142s, which run on the 2, 4 and 5 lines,

and were built starting in 1999.

There are slightly older cars with multi-colored seats and jaundiced lighting,

with their model numbers all under 100.

And then there are the old R32s, with their corrugated exterior,

most commonly found along the A, C, J and Z lines.

(A fun fact about the R32s: Along with the second oldest models,

the R42s, they’re singular in their dated seat layout.)

For train aficionados,

there are a slew of ways to recognize not only the obviously different subway models, but also the minutiae that differentiates, say, a R142 and a R142A.

The r/nycrail subreddit abounds with discussion of these nuances;

many railfans can even recognize the differences between models

based on the sounds they make when they roll into stations

and open and close their doors.

An entire YouTube subculture has been developed around it.

While a casual observer won’t get to the railfan level of knowledge overnight,

here are some ways you can spot different subway car models, courtesy of a trivia r/nycrail mod:

The front LED sign of the R142 (2, 4, 5) is more recessed than the one on the R142As

and the R188s (4, 7).

The car numbers of the R68 (B, D, N, W) are in the 2000s,

while the R68A (A, B) have car numbers in the 5000s.

They also use different fonts for the numbers (Akzidenz-Grotesk for the R68s,

Helvetica for the R68As).

The front/rear cars (A cars) of the R188 (7) have CBTC equipment near the cab,

taking up what was empty space on the R142/As.

R143s have tri-color LED displays inside,

while R160s will either have an art poster or a full color LCD display in its place

This one might be obvious,

but the destination display of R142s turns off between text transitions,

while the R142A doesn’t.

The exterior door lights on R160Bs have plastic caps that stick out of their metal enclosure, while the R160A doesn’t.

The R179 is slightly boxier than the R143 and R160s.

For further reading, the Wikipedia pages for subway rolling stock are known to be exceptionally thorough and accurate—thanks, in part, to two truly dedicated and knowledgeable teenaged Queens straphangers 

who have together edited hundreds of pages.

The future

While the subway’s decayed and aging signal system has deservedly been more in the spotlight lately, the MTA often appears more focused on modernizing its rolling stock.

 A prototype of an open gangway subway car. Scott Lynch

Open-gangway cars are the way of the future:

In late January, the MTA announced its formal approval of the R211 model cars,

“535 state-of-the-art, next-generation” subway trains to replace older models on the lettered lines and the Staten Island Railway.

Of these, only 20 will actually be open gangway,

(the rest the familiar “closed-end” variety) and constitute a pilot program.

These new poop trains will hit the tracks starting in 2020,

but prototypes have been making highly anticipated debuts since December.

 
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, August 08, 2018 2:22 PM

www.nycsubway.org is an excellent site for the above information and a host of other things about the NYCTA rapid transit operation.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:07 AM

My former acoustical consulting firm partner, Larry King. reports to me that subway service has recently improved, faster, far fewer delays, and more frequent.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 11, 2019 5:08 AM

Subway Performance Continues to Show Dramatic Improvements, Reaching Highest Weekday On-Time Performance in Five Years – Subway Action Plan and Enhanced Operations Efforts Are Working

 

On-Time Performance in March Reached 78%, Up from 65% Last March and Highest Since November 2013; Number of Delays Fell 40% Since March 2018, to less than 38,000; Major Incidents Fell to 50, Down 40% Since Last March; Substantial Improvements Seen Across Broad Range of Metrics 

Subway Action Plan Launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo‎ in 2017, and Funded by Governor, Legislature and City to Stabilize and Improve Aging System

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye, Managing Director Veronique Hakim and NYC Transit President Andy Byford today announced new statistics showing the continued dramatic subway performance improvements that have been achieved since the launch of the Subway Action Plan and the Save Safe Seconds campaign.

On-Time Performance continues to be significantly improved over 2018, and major incidents are declining steadily, while customer-based performance numbers are also pointing higher, and track fires have significantly decreased. MTA officials today said that these results show the Subway Action Plan and NYCT’s Save Safe Seconds “back-to-basics” approach are continuing to pay dividends for riders across the system.

The improved performance statistics are being felt by subway customers.  The latest quarterly customer survey results to be reported in next week’s Transit Committee meeting at MTA headquarters will show that subway customers say they are seeing positive changes, with improvement in overall service ratings. 

The Subway Action Plan was launched at the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo‎ in July 2017, and funded by the governor, legislature and city, with the goal of taking extraordinary measures to stabilize and improve the more than 100-year old subway system.

“These latest performance results are another reminder that investment in the system, and smart operations by dedicated, hard-working professionals, yield real, tangible results,” said MTA Chairman Patrick Foye.  “They’re also an assurance that the additional funding we’ll be getting through central business district tolling will be money well spent – we’re showing the potential our team has, and a huge new capital boost will only drive performance up even further.”

“We have a long way to go, but getting back to the basics of both maintenance and operations through the Subway Action Plan and Save Safe Seconds campaign is bringing the subway up to a much better baseline from which to modernize the system,” said NYCT President Andy Byford.  “We are working to squeeze every drop of performance we can out of this system and the funds promised by central business district tolling will ultimately allow us to deliver the service that New Yorkers need and deserve.”

Weekday On-Time Performance (OTP) for March was approximately 78.2%, a significant increase from 65.2% in March 2018, and the highest OTP since November 2013. MTA officials noted that Weekday Major Incidents totaled 50 for the month of March, down 40% from 84 in March 2018. Weekday Delays in March were 37,667, a reduction of 40% from March 2018.  This reduction meets President Andy Byford’s recently announced goal of reducing average monthly delays by 18,000; the previous goal was 10,000.

Positive numbers were also realized in many of NYCT’s customer-focused metricsincluding Service Delivered, Additional Platform Time, Additional Train Time, and Customer Journey Time Performance. All trended higher than March 2018 and higher than their 12-month averages. Most notably, Additional Train Time – the average additional unanticipated time customers spend onboard the train due to various service issues – dropped 27% from March of last year.  Customer Journey Time Performance for March was 82.9%, an increase from 79.3% last March.

A contributing factor to the reduction in delays has been the significant progress made in reducing track debris fires, which are significantly down since NYCT started attacking this problem with new equipment in 2017. This has included clearing debris at an unprecedented rate using new platform-based mobile vacs, and vacuum trains that move around the system picking up trash. Year to date this year, track debris fires dropped 42% compared to 2018, from 111 to 64, and over the last 12 months, track debris fires dropped 34% from the prior 12 months, from 444 to 294.

Since the mobile vacuum effort began in 2017, mobile vacuum crews have removed 350,000 bags of dirt and trash weighing over 8.75 million pounds by heavy scraping and cleaning. Furthermore, the overall effort to improve track cleaning resulted in increase of trash and debris collection from 11.4 million pounds in 2016 to an average of 15.5 million pounds per year since then. The effort has included cleaning of all 418 miles of underground subway track by the end of 2018.

Overall service satisfaction, obtained by asking customers to evaluate individual subway lines and then weighting the results by ridership, increased by 6.1 percentage points to 61.4% this quarter. More detailed results from the quarterly “Customer Counts” survey will be available in the Transit Committee report to the MTA Board later this month.

On Time Performance (OTP):

Month  Weekday OTP Weekend OTP
Mar-18 65.2% 63.9%
Apr-18 67.7% 71.2%
May-18 66.3% 69.7%
Jun-18 68.0% 67.9%
Jul-18 66.6% 65.5%
Aug-18 68.8% 70.8%
Sep-18 69.4% 75.1%
Oct-18 70.3% 79.0%
Nov-18 69.9% 75.3%
Dec-18 72.6% 78.7%
Jan-19 76.7% 83.1%
Feb-19 76.4% 79.9%
Mar-19 78.2% 82.7%
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:16 AM

Revisions in speed limits and in speed-control signals

"D" means diverging (curved) route only.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 04, 2019 6:47 AM

June 03, 2019
MTA New York City Transit to Modernize Service Status Notices with New, Additional Detail

Seven New Categories of Subway Status, Provided on Line-by-Line Basis, Will Help Riders Better Plan Their Trips
MTA New York City Transit announced today that starting this week, as part of an ongoing commitment to provide more transparent and useful information to the riding public, the “Service Status” notices on mta.info <http://mta.info/> and on other channels will provide a much deeper level of detail, with seven new categories of service status conveyed on a line-by-line basis.  In the system being retired, there are only several broad categories, and multiple subway lines are grouped together by corridor, making it difficult to tell at a glance exactly what line is impacted in what manner.

“New Yorkers live in the ‘right now’ and deserve helpful information in the moment so they can make the right choices about their travel,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “These changes provide customers targeted, at-a-glance information to help them quickly understand exactly what’s happening on their line. It’s always our goal to improve the quality of our real-time information and this is another step forward in that ongoing process.”

In an effort led by the recently established chief customer officer, Sarah Meyer, NYC Transit has been working hard to enhance the information provided to help customers assess their options when planning their trips, on multiple channels such as mta.info <http://mta.info/>, Twitter, car and station announcements, and station signage. As the agency gets more robust real-time data from modernizing train technologies, not only will service continue to improve but so will the usefulness of information provided to customers as they plan their travel.

The new language will describe the specific changes being made to train service on an individual line basis. For example, instead of reading “Service Change” for the BDFM lines, the Service Status Box will use categories such as “Part Suspended,” “Trains Rerouted” or “Express to Local” and show exactly what line is impacted in that manner.


 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/47994234111/>
In the system being retired, the only labels describing service issues are “Delays,” “Service Change,” and “Planned Work.” These broad labels are applied to subway lines grouped by their central business district corridors (or “trunk lines”), for example the ACE, the BDFM, the NQRW, or the 456.  This makes it hard to know at a glance if one’s line is affected in locations where it diverges from other lines, or if service is affected on express or local tracks or both.  Individual line-by-line status is available on the myMTA app and the beta new.mta.info <http://new.mta.info/>, but will be upgraded this week with the new service status categories.

Starting after the evening rush on Monday, June 3, the following new categories of service status will be used on the Service Status Box and on other channels, and conveyed on an individual line-by-line basis.

Part Suspended - Situations where a major disruption causes multiple stations to lose service in either direction. This could apply when a line is split in half or service ends before a train’s normal terminal.

Trains Rerouted - Situations when a train is sent over a different route than it normally travels for that time of day. For example, if the A goes over the F, not the A going over the C.

Local to Express - Situations when a train that normally runs local uses the express track on its normal route.

Express to Local - Situations when a train that normally runs express uses the local tracks on its normal route.

Stations Skipped - Situations where trains continuously skip a station in one direction or come through a station without stopping. For example this could be used for police activity or medical assistance but not typical skips/holds to help keep the train on schedule.

Slow Speeds - Situations where trains move at slower than normal speeds but make all their normal stops. This would be used in situations where workers are on the tracks or we conduct track inspections.

Multiple Impacts - Situations where multiple status options apply to a single disruption or multiple disruptions impact a line.

These new categories were developed based on customer feedback and international best practices.  This is an ongoing modernization and NYC Transit will continue to refine this and other customer information based on further experience and public input.

Nick Sifuentes, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said:  "As any straphanger knows, good communication with riders is critically important during service disruptions. Subway service is getting better, but even on the most modernized systems, delays and breakdowns are inevitable. As the MTA works to reduce delays, this new approach to customer communication is a good step to help riders understand what’s going on and how to adjust their commutes when service interruptions happen.”

Ben Fried, communications director of TransitCenter, said: “Good transit communication is all about giving riders information that speaks directly to them. The MTA's new service notice format is a step forward and we think riders will appreciate the added specificity as they plan their trips.”

Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director of Riders Alliance, said: "When trains aren't running normally, few things are more frustrating than not know what's going on. By adding more detail to its service announcements, the MTA is taking a step forward in its communications with riders. Especially with the changes that will be required to fix the subway, it's valuable for the MTA to give riders more information, through more channels, to help New Yorkers plan our trips."

Screenshot of new Service Status Box <https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/mediaContact/public/download.cfm?attachment_uuid=2A9879DE-C07F-66D0-B31E7F850C2D43DD>

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 16, 2019 5:54 AM
Let me assure you that I did erase and repost the following after much work to reduce line lenth.  Fortuonately, URLs are govemn tp access
the text.
 
Subway Performance Continues to Improve, Reaching Highest Weekday On-Time Performance Since 2013 and
 Demonstrating Subway Action Plan is Working
Weekday On-Time Performance in August Reached 84%, Up from 69% Last August and Highest Since April 2013; Number of Weekday
 Delays Fell 52% Since August 2018, to Less Than 29,000;
Major Incidents Fell to a New Low of 38, Down Nearly 40% Since Last August;
 Hot Car Incidents Down 30%;
 
Improvements Speak to Efficacy of Accelerated Pace of Maintenance and Repair Work Done Through Subway Action Plan, and the Focus on
 Improving the Precision of Operations Through NYCT’s Save Safe Seconds Campaign;
 Commendations from Customers Skyrocket 91%
 The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced new statistics showing continued and dramatic subway performance
 improvements that have been achieved since the launch of the Subway Action Plan in 2017. New York City Transit President Andy Byford
 and Department of Subways Senior Vice President Sally Librera, flanked by frontline employees and other subways officials, unveiled the
 news this morning at a Fulton Street press conference.
 
On-Time Performance (OTP) numbers reached 84% on weekdays, up from 68.8% in August of last year. OTP measures the percentage of
 trains that arrive at their terminal location within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time and made all scheduled stops. Meanwhile,
 Major Incidents, which are defined as incidents that delay 50 or more trains, continued to decline at a rapid clip as well, with just 38 such
 incidents in August. That figure represents a nearly 40% reduction from the same month last year and marks a new low since New York
 City Transit began compiling data on the metric in 2015.
 
MTA officials credited the improvements, which will be released in full late next week, to the critical maintenance work done during the
 Subway Action Plan and to the data-driven processes, full employee engagement, and optimal operations focus set forth in the Fast
Forward Plan and implemented in programs like NYCT’s Save Safe Seconds campaign. Subway speeds have been safely increased at
 150 locations.
 
“I am immensely proud of my colleagues throughout the Department of Subways and in Operations Planning who have once again
produced incredible results,” said Andy Byford, New York City Transit President. “Today’s subway performance numbers provide yet
another reminder that thoughtful and strategic decision making that targets the root causes of delays and that focuses on getting the
 basics right can yield outstanding results. We still have to improve further, but as the data definitively shows, things are markedly better
 than they were before we launched the Save Safe Seconds initiative, part of our Fast Forward plan, last summer. Our combination of
 data-driven decision making and critical investment in overdue maintenance through the Subway Action Plan has the entire system in
 a much better place than it was even a year ago.”
 
“By better tracking performance across a host of categories, we are pinpointing problem areas throughout the system,” said Senior
 Vice President for Subways Sally Librera. “This has allowed us to more precisely determine how best to deploy our maintenance
 and repair efforts. Taken in tandem with our work to identify more efficient ways of safely operating trains, we are seeing the sorts of
 dramatic improvements that can be achieved when the entire subways team is engaged in delivering improved service for our customers
 There are too many people to name that deserve immense credit for delivering better service and I’m proud to work with them each day.”
August also saw an improvement in the reliability of New York City Transit’s subway car fleet, particularly the air conditioning systems. 
Overall Mean Distance Between Failure (MDBF) figures increased by nearly 8% compared to last August, while the system’s new
 technology cars reached a 12-month average MDBF of 208,072 miles.
 
That figure is the system’s highest in over six years for the new technology cars, which currently make up 55% of the fleet. The Car
 Equipment team committed to improving air conditioning reliability for the comfort of our customers and implemented several
 management strategies to monitor performance and rapidly address any issues as they were found.  The result was a 30% reduction
 in the number of “hot cars” compared to last year and over 98% of cars found with comfortable temperatures during weekly inspections.
 
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM AUGUST:
 
  • Weekday Major Incidents, Service Delivered, Additional Train Time, and Customer Journey Time Performance were all the
best since they were introduced in 2015.
  • Weekday delays decreased by more than half to the lowest level since June 2013, while weekday on-time performance (OTP)
was the highest since April 2013.
  • On Time Performance improved on every line in the system, with a larger improvement on B Division lines than on the A Division.
  • Additional train time, a category that measures the average additional unanticipated time spent onboard a train compared to
one’s scheduled travel time—went down nearly 45%, with riders spending an average of 33 fewer additional seconds
        aboard their trains.
  • Commendations for Subways were up 91% per 100,000 journeys.
  • MetroCard complaints were down 7.1% versus August 2018.
 
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBWAY ACTION PLAN
 
The Subway Action Plan launched at the direction of Governor Cuomo in July 2017, and funded by the governor, legislature and city,
 with the goal of taking extraordinary measures to stabilize and improve the more than 100-year old subway system, has been critical
 to the recent performance improvements. During the Subway Action Plan, MTA workers and outside contractors have:
  • Cleared more than 65,000 street grates to prevent ingress of litter and leaves that build up on the track, causing fires and
  • clogging drains.
  • Sealed more than 6,700 leaks to prevent water ingress that causes power and signal problems, deterioration of track and
  • other equipment resulting in unplanned service changes, delays and track fires.
  • Installed over 52 miles of Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) across the system, replacing jointed rail, which is more prone to
  •  rail defects that delay trains.
  • Repaired over 26,000 minor track defects that if not repaired can cause delays.
  • Performed over 120 miles of track rail grinding to improve ride quality and reduce defects
  • Repaired or rebuilt more than 1,700 signal components, drastically reducing the backlog of issues that can disrupt service.
  • Completed over 1,300 priority maintenance and repair tasks to improve reliability of signal and switch equipment.
  • Rebuilt and modernized more than 300 signal stops to be moisture proof and avoid service interruption
  • Conducted a comprehensive inspection of door components across all fleets
  • Made maintenance practices more efficient so cars can be put back into service more quickly
  • Repaired door control units on over 1,000 cars in our oldest fleets to improve reliability of this critical component that cause 40 percent of car breakdowns
  • Overhauled more than 2,800 cars in an accelerated major car overhaul program, where the overhaul cycle changed from 7 years to 6 years.
  • Conducted a deep cleaning initiative of over 3,000 car interiors exteriors.
  • Conducted a deep cleaning initiative of over 100 subway stations.
  • Enhanced 203 stations via a focused cleaning and repair campaign led by Group Station Managers

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https://ci5.googleusercontent.com/proxy/ew0HC_02fB83scHZK_k4txo4QLlzgTh11of3Hoh7t3OplF7eCZa3SW0z1-yuRz-wn23cAtHwssXSIgL4xaGNIuwdFa5roJjCrtvcxXfVF8g13vY=s0-d-e1-ft#https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48722141558_eccea20ea0_b.jpg
 








 
 
 
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, October 04, 2019 9:39 AM

New signs.

From former partner Larry S. King:

Typical of improved customer communications under Andy Byford. 

 

I'll try to fix both pix after Shabbat

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 06, 2019 12:30 AM

A better view of one sign and now the one that was missing:

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 06, 2019 8:09 AM
The photo was taken at 96/Bwy station. My guess is that the 5 may have been included due to train rerouting because of track maintenance work.
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 06, 2019 8:11 AM
Larry reports:
The photo was taken at 96/Bwy station. My guess is that the 5 may have been included due to train rerouting because of track maintenance work.

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