‘Open Gangway’ Subway Trains Getting a Trial Run in NYC

Posted On Thu, December 3, 2015 By

Posted On Thu, December 3, 2015 By In ideas from abroad, Transportation

An open gangway subway in Berlin, photo via Second Avenue Sagas

Despite the improved service that the MTA has been promising, most New Yorkers still find themselves crammed into subway cars like floundering sardines. But a newfangled, more spacious train could increase capacity by 8-10 percent.

Second Avenue Sagas explores part of the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan, released earlier this fall, that calls for the purchase of “10 open-gangway prototype cars with the $52.4 million expenditure allocated for 2016.” This type of train, basically one long subway car with no doors in between, is popular all over the world, in most cities in China and Japan, in Berlin, Paris, and London, to name a few. It’s not known yet when exactly they’ll make their debut, how they’ll be designed, or on what subway line they’ll run, but of course the new idea comes with some concerns.

One of the concerns is purely logistical, as certain curves along Lower Manhattan tracks may inhibit the open gangway model. Crime is the other biggie, causing some to worry that the ability to roam freely through an entire train helps criminals escape and cause more harm. There are other less serious arguments, such as odors from homeless riders wiping out more than just one train car.

Gothamist reached out to MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg who said, “We don’t take major changes like this lightly. We really need to see some of these trainsets in service before we can evaluate how they work, whether they have unanticipated consequences, how the advantages balance against the disadvantages, etc.”

Before you get too excited, keep in mind that under the capital plan 950 new subway cars will be purchased, all expected to last about four or five decades, and only ten of these will have open gangways. Meaning the city will not entirely adapt to the worldwide norm any time soon.

[Via Second Avenue Sagas]


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