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New York City Subway Car Capacities

(1) This capacity calculation is overwrought in three dimensions. First, although some schedules once showed 34 trains per hour, in fact, trains were dispatched at a rate beyond the track capacity and allowed to bottleneck downstream. This is still done in cases where dispatching at the actual throughput rate will overload cars to the point that dwell will further decrease throughput. With today's more restrictive signal obedience, we schedule 30 and achieve 27. Second, 300 passengers per car was never achieved and 250 per car was achieved through elaborate choreography under laboratory conditions. In other words, they were all employees who knew each other and had no coats or baggage. 220 is a realistic maximum crush figure for a 60' car. Third, 11 cars cannot coexist with 34, 30 or 27 trains per hour. The 660' trains don't overlap the platforms, but they do overlap the signal blocks. So, one block's worth of throughput is lost per 11 car train.

(2) The maximum hour on the Queens Blvd. line is about 84,000 if you count the "R" local.

This was written by Larry Gould on 28 September 1994 as a posting to TRANSIT@GITVM1.BITNET


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Last updated: 4 April 1999