What the F? MTA tests longer train — then decides against it

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Reports of the F train’s improvement were, alas, greatly exaggerated.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent shockwaves through Brownstone Brooklyn last Wednesday night when it tested an 11-car train along the perpetually packed Culver Line.

But two days later, the transit agency told The Brooklyn Paper that it actually can’t afford to roll out the longer train.

“I doubt if we’re ever going to [add the 11th car] in light of the current budgetary crisis,” said MTA spokesman James Anyansi. “The F line is pretty choked up — it’s at full capacity — so adding an extra car might be a good solution, but I wouldn’t expect [it] right now.”

That dashed the hopes of, well, virtually everyone who has stepped in that sardine can with the orange logo during rush hour. Just adding one car to the normal, 10-car train could increase capacity by 10 percent at rush hour, said Gary Reilly, a F-line advocate and Council candidate for the Windsor Terrace-Park Slope seat being vacated by Councilman Bill DeBlasio.

The difficulties are not just financial: Part of the purpose of the MTA’s test run was to figure out which platforms can accommodate an 11-car train.

“Some platforms are longer than others [so] it would probably just run on express stops,” said Anyansi.

That concerned Reilly. “The older platforms at stations south of Church Avenue might not be long enough to fit the 11-car train,” he said.

Riders, of course, love the idea of an extra car — after all, they hate the current system, which includes tardy trains and the threat of a fare hike.

“I’d rather see more frequency for the F train,” said Kerri O’Brien. “I’d rather crowd into one car than wait.”

David Kallis, who said he has been riding the F train for 40 years, also said “the frequency is not enough.”

“The F train is always crowded,” he added. “There used to be a local and an express on the neighboring track. They eliminated it many years ago and never restored it.”

Then as now, of course, the main problem remains cost. Adding one car does requires more power, as well as extra maintenance and cleaning costs — not something the cash-strapped agency wants right now, Anyansi said.

— with Roland Li

Updated 4:25 pm, April 9, 2009: Updated to add rider reaction.
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Reader Feedback

wondering from park slope says:
what about an express F?
April 3, 2009, 7:15 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
The problem with the F express is that all the trains run on one track from Bergen Street to Broadway Lafayette. They used to run a F express many years ago but then they had much less trains running on the local tracks...The Express then ended at Church Street with them only running expresses out to Coney Island and back during the rush hour one way....

Bergen Street used to be two levels. they closed off the lower level(so that people could change to the G-unless they extend the G to Fourth Avenue it doesn't cross with the express any more)...and built a switching/electronic something else on the lower level besides allowing it to deteriorate...good advance planning..
April 4, 2009, 2:06 am
Ruben from Midwood says:
Let me get this straight. The MTA can't measure 11 cars and measure the stations to know for certain that they can or can not run 11 cars?

And you wonder why they are bleeding red?

April 4, 2009, 3:29 am
Ruben from Midwood says:
Sid - they don't care and that is why they destroyed the lower platform. When it comes to the LIRR and the Upper east side, they can. Brooklyn isn't even a second thought to them.

April 4, 2009, 3:31 am
Shawn from Park Slope says:
They need to build a train car 75 foot long (Like the one's they run now) and put five doorways on eash side. (Right now it's four doorways) Things would move faster.
April 4, 2009, 8:43 am
sid from Boerum Hill says:
Ruben boy do I agree with you. The Plan to allow the Long Island Railroad going into lower Manhattan included taking over the A track tunnel to Manhattan thereby displacing 200,000 Brooklyn riders for about 70,000 from Long Island...
They can spend 4 billion dollars for a transit hub in Manhattan and then a scant 100 million for a Brooklyn and no second avenue subway extension into Brooklyn. BTW its not just the MTA that treats us badly...the City does too. the City NOT the MTA is paying for the extension of the number 7 line to the Convention center. Its all city funds but the City wouldn't do the same thing by paying for the second avenue to be extended to downtown Brooklyn.
April 6, 2009, 1:32 pm
Mike from Carroll Gardens says:
Adding an extra car is a bad idea.
Just add more trains, make sure people dont stampede into a train that can only hold so many people. There are more trains behind the one you are trying to stuff yourselves into.
Stop blocking the doors when there is ENOUGH standing room towards the middle of the car.

Oh and also, the G Should be going to Church Ave sometime later this year. That will be a great help for the people who commute from parts of Brooklyn on the G line that need the R line
April 8, 2009, 8:06 pm

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