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The 1968 "Program For Action": A Summary (Re: Original MTA Plan) (50896)

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Posted by Mark S. Feinman on Wed Aug 18 22:27:33 1999, in response to Re: Original MTA Plan,
posted by Larry Littlefield on Wed Aug 18 13:46:41 1999.

I pulled this right from the IND History document I'm wrapping up. Comments/corrections are welcome. I would love to SEE the actual Plan document; I compiled this summary based off an old copy of ERA's Headlights.


The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (what the MTA was called when it was first formed in 1968) released its "Program for Action" on February 28th, 1968. The program had two phases: phase I considered projects for immediate action and would run over a ten year period and phase II was to be carried out at the completion of phase I. The plan considered all aspects of regional travel, affecting the subway, the LIRR, Penn Central, Erie-Lackawanna and New Haven railroads, as well as the regional airports.

A summary of phase I:

Aggressive completion of the 63rd Street tunnel (at the time this project was already planned) as well as the connections to the IND 6th Ave line and the BMT's Broadway Line.
A super-express bypass for the IND Queens Blvd line, running along the LIRR main line that would leave the Queens Blvd line at 41st Ave and return to the Queens Blvd line in Forest Hills. This one-track line would provide additional express service in the peak direction.
A new subway line would divert from the IND Queens Blvd line in Elmhurst, Queens and run along the Long Island Expressway to Fresh Meadows, serving northeastern Queens. This would be a two-track line.
A new subway line would divert from the IND Queens Blvd Line at the Van Wyck stub at Hillside Ave and run along the LIRR Atlantic Branch ROW to Springfield Blvd, serving southeast Queens. This line would also be two tracks. (This line was actually built as far as Parsons Blvd and Archer Ave, the terminal of today's E, J and Z trains, and opened in 1988).
The Second Avenue subway from 34th St to the Bronx, with a connection to the 63rd St tunnel. The portion of the line from 63rd St, Manhattan to 138th St, the Bronx, would be built as two tracks, with provisions to expand it to four tracks "easily". The line would continue from 138th St along the ROW of the former NY, Westchester & Boston railroad to Dyre Ave. The stations along the Dyre Ave line would be restored to their original widths (they were "expanded" somewhat to accommodate IRT trains). The junction at East 180th Street, as well as the approach of the IRT White Plains Road line to East 180th St would be reconstructed to allow cross-platform transfers between White Plains Road and Second Avenue Trains. There would be a connection with the IRT Pelham line at Whitlock Ave and stations would be shaved back for the larger IND/BMT subway cars. The IRT Pelham Line would terminate at Hunts Point Avenue.
The IRT Division would see its Nostrand Avenue line extended along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to Avenue U. (In 1968, Kings Plaza (Brooklyn's first "suburban type" shopping mall at approximately the same location) did not yet exist).
The IRT New Lots Ave line would be extended southerly to Flatlands Ave and Linwood Street. The line would run at ground level. In conjunction with this and the IRT Nostrand Ave line extension, the Rogers Ave junction would be reconstructed to increase capacity.
The purchase of 500 high-speed subway cars equipped with air conditioning.
Expansion of yards and shops to accommodate the increase in the size of the fleet.
Rehabilitating SIRT and obtaining new equipment for the line. But since the SIRT was still owned by the B&O at this time, the MTA would have to buy it from the B&O, or figure out some other method of ensuring long term operation of the line.
Constructing an LIRR spur to JFK to allow a one seat ride from Manhattan. Also provide the ability to "change at Jamaica". The line would run 3.5 miles from the LIRR Atlantic Branch to the terminals. The goal was a 20 minute run time from Manhattan.
350 new MU cars for the LIRR.
Commencement of a high-platform project on the LIRR. Improvements to the infrastructure (track, plant, signals). Expansions to shops and yards. Modernizing Jamaica Station. Improvements at Penn Station and Flatbush Avenue. Electrifying the Port Jefferson branch to Northport. Electrifying the Main Line to Pinelawn.
A new Metropolitan Transportation Center (MTC) in the vicinity of 48th St and 3rd Ave. The MTC would facilitate easy intermodal transfers between the LIRR, the Second Avenue line, the IRT Lexington Ave Line at Grand Central as well as Grand Central Terminal.
144 new MUs for the New Haven Line. Improved signals and electrification (conversion to 60 cycles). Overhaul the current electric cars (current meaning 1968). Construction of high level platforms. Rehabbing 100 of the 4400 series cars.
130 new electric cars for the Penn Central, constructing high level platforms and extending electrification on the Harlem Division from North White Plains to Brewster (28 miles). Building a 3rd track to serve as an express between Mount Vernon and North White Plains.
New equipment for the NY portion of the Erie-Lackawanna (Port Jervis Line); study the feasibility of direct service to Penn Station with the use of dual-powered locomotives.
Airport development at Republic (Long Island) and Spring Valley in Rockland County. A new airport for northwest Westchester. The airport at Republic would reduce congestion at LGA and JFK by diverting private aircraft to this location.
Transportation Centers (I don't know what this means) at Pearl River and Orangeburg (Rockland County) and Tarrytown and White Plains (Westchester).

A summary of phase II:

Completion of the Second Avenue subway from 34th Street south to the Financial District along Water Street to Whitehall Street.
A midtown distribution system along 57th, 48th, 42nd and 33rd Sts, using some kind of guided systems (ala Morgantown) to link terminals, offices and other travel points.
Extension of the subway east of Jamaica and razing the El along Jamaica Avenue.
Replacing the 3rd Ave El in the Bronx with a new subway line running adjacent to the New Haven Line ROW along Park Avenue. (The MTA saved a heck of a lot of money when it replaced the 3rd Ave El with "extended BX-55" service in 1973.)
Extending the Pelham Bay Line to Co-op City in the Bronx.
Extending the IND Concourse Line to White Plains Road, providing easy transfers to the IRT White Plains Road line.
500 more new subway cars, air conditioned.
More shop and yard improvements.
Continue the rehab project on SIRT.
Electrifying the LIRR Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches to their terminals. Additional station and signal improvements. More MU cars and dual-powered locomotives.
Extending LIRR service from Flatbush Ave to a lower Manhattan terminal in the vicinity of Broad St. It would run under the east River to Canal Street and turn south under Manhattan either paralleling or using the Nassau St loop to Broad St. (Can you imagine LIRR cars sitting in the decrepit Chambers St station??)
Electrifying the Hudson Line to Peekskill. Modernizing signals. Additional cars.
A new station at 149th St (Bronx) to provide easy iunterchanges between the Penn Central, the New Haven and the subway.
Another Long island airport and an airport in southwest Dutchess County.

--Mark


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