Tag Archives: Lexington Ave Line

Rapid Transit in NYC

Those of you in the Infrastructure class saw most of this already …

Beach Pneumatic – Alfred Beach’s Pneumatic Subway and the beginnings of rapid transit in New York

Jim E and I were yakking after class about NYC and how much of an outlier it is compared to the rest of the country — e.g., the IRT Lexington Ave line carries more passengers in a day (1.9M) than Boston’s MBTA (~1.3M)  and more than the Washington, DC, Metro system (~750k) and  the SF Muni (~700k) combined [1]) —  and the conversation did, of course, roll around to rapid transit.

I used to be on a train-related mailing list with a fellow named Joe Brennan who does similar work as me but at Columbia College in NYC.  He put together a great web-based “book” about the history of rapid transit in New York and surroundings (remember, Brooklyn was a separate city before 1898 and Queens was a county full of rural towns).  If you’re into that kind of stuff (I am, obviously, and so is Jim and probably Patrick) it’s a good read if a little long.

I think I like the work because it’s much more historical than it is nostalgic and lord knows there is plenty of railroad nostalgia stuff out there.  :eyeroll:

There are a few other “outlier” examples cluttering my head but I’ll save that for another post.

Bottom line is that when you hear someone say “Yeah, well in New York City they …” you should be skeptical of whatever the person says next!