The Tandem Shuttle L Train Plan

North Brooklyn is freaking out today with news that the MTA is considering a total shutdown of the L train to do a long tunnel repair project under the East River
I’ve been going back and forth on Twitter today with people who say you can’t keep viable service between Brooklyn and Manhattan with only a single track under the river. But I think you can.

Here’s how:

“Regular” Brooklyn service runs exclusively from Lorimer to Rockaway Parkway.

A single track Manhattan service runs back and forth all day between First Ave and Eighth Ave. This train runs on the same track as the closed river tube. This would be a shuttle service, necessary for reasons that become clear in the next paragraph.

Two trains travel continuously between Manhattan and Brooklyn on the open track. They load simultaneously at Lorimer and Bedford. Then they follow each other through the tube. The lead train (Bedford) goes express to Eighth. The second train (Lorimer) travels express to Union Square. Passengers depart. New passengers load. Both trains return to Brooklyn.

Here’s the math.

0 minutes: Brooklyn departure for both trains.

4 minutes: Arrival at Manhattan stations.

5 minutes: Arriving passengers have unloaded.

6 minutes: New Brooklyn-bound passengers have loaded.

10 minutes: Trains arrive at Bedford and Lorimer.

11 minutes: Unloading complete.

12 minutes: Trains ready to resume cycle

That’s two trains every 12 minutes with a decent allowance for load/unload.

It’s a terrible user experience with a lot of changing of trains. But it’s way better than buses across the bridge.


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