Jamaica (LIRR station)

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Jamaica
Jamaica station sunset, waiting.jpg
Looking west at Jamaica
Station statistics
Address Sutphin Boulevard & Archer Avenue
Jamaica, Queens, New York
Coordinates 40°41′58″N 73°48′31″W / 40.699511°N 73.808727°W / 40.699511; -73.808727Coordinates: 40°41′58″N 73°48′31″W / 40.699511°N 73.808727°W / 40.699511; -73.808727
Line(s)

Long Island Rail Road:

AirTrain JFK:

  Jamaica Station Route
Connections New York City Subway:
NYCS E NYCS J NYCS Z at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport
Local Transit NYCT Bus: Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56
Local Transit MTA Bus: Q6, Q8, Q9, Q25, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q60, Q65
Bus transport NICE Bus: N4
Platforms 5 island platforms
cross-platform interchange
Tracks 8
Parking Yes
Other information
Opened 1876
Rebuilt 1912–1913, 2001–2006
Electrified 750V (DC) third rail
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Owned by Long Island Rail Road
Fare zone 3
Traffic
Passengers (2006) 21,765[1]
Services
Preceding station   MTA NYC logo.svg LIRR   Following station
toward Penn Station
Main Line
(City Terminal Zone)
toward Long Island
(employees only)
Atlantic Branch
(City Terminal Zone)
Main Line
(Hempstead Branch)
(also Oyster Bay Branch,
Port Jefferson Branch,
and Ronkonkoma Branch)
(employees only)
Montauk Branch
(West Hempstead Branch)
(also Babylon Branch)
Atlantic Branch
(Far Rockaway Branch)
Belmont Park Branch
Terminus
AirTrain JFK
Terminus Jamaica Station Route
toward Terminal 8

Jamaica is a major hub station of the Long Island Rail Road, and is located in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. It is the largest transit hub on Long Island and is one of the busiest railroad stations in the country with over 200,000 daily passengers. In the New York City area, it ranks only behind Pennsylvania Station, Grand Central Terminal, and Secaucus Junction, with over 1,000 trains passing through it every day, while there is a direct rail connection to John F. Kennedy International Airport via AirTrain JFK. There are also elevator connections to the Archer Avenue Lines of the New York City Subway at a separate station directly below. The area just outside is served by several local bus routes, with more available within a few blocks of the station.

All LIRR services except the Port Washington Branch pass through Jamaica Station. The Main Line westwards leads to Long Island City, Queens and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, while the Atlantic Branch diverges along Atlantic Avenue to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. The Montauk Branch also serves one daily trip to Long Island City. East of Jamaica, these three lines diverge, with some branch services using the Main Line, some using the Atlantic Branch, and some using the Montauk Branch.

Because of its central location on all services (except the Port Washington Branch), it is common for commuters to "change at Jamaica," i.e., switch trains to reach their final destination.

History[edit]

The present Jamaica Station was designed by Kenneth M. Murchison[2] and built between 1912 and 1913 as a replacement for two former stations in Jamaica. The first was the LIRR's original Jamaica Station (“Old Jamaica”), built c. 1836 as the terminus of the LIRR. It was remodeled in 1869 and again in 1872, only to be completely rebuilt between 1882–83 adjacent to and in use concurrently with the original depot. Covered platforms were later installed. The other station known as Jamaica–Beaver Street was built by the South Side Railroad of Long Island on the Atlantic Branch (see below).

Both stations were discontinued as station stops. "Old Jamaica" station at what is now 153rd Street (0.4 mile east of the present station) was razed in 1912 with the grade elimination project, the "Jamaica Improvements"; Jamaica–Beaver Street Station was razed with the grade elimination in 1913. The 1912–13 "Jamaica Improvement" was the final step in consolidating the branch lines of the LIRR. To the west of the station "Jay Interlocking" was built, and to the east "Hall Interlocking." These interlockings allowed any line to reach any other line, allowing easy transfer between lines at Jamaica Station, which is the hallmark of current day LIRR service.

When the new station opened residents of Jamaica were dissatisfied with its location; downtown Jamaica was centered around Union Hall Street, 0.6 mile east of the new station at Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue. The LIRR thus decided to add a new Union Hall Street station in 1913.

Beaver Street Station[edit]

Jamaica-Beaver Street station was built by the South Side Railroad of Long Island for what is today the Atlantic Branch on October 28, 1867. It was razed in 1871 and replaced on Christmas Day of the same year. When the LIRR acquired the SSRRLI in 1867, the depot was moved to the south side of Beaver Street crossing on a stub track. Low platforms for this station stop were located on the north side of Beaver Street crossing.[3] Timetables of the period show station stop as "Jamaica" for Atlantic Branch trains bound for Locust Avenue, Springfield, and Valley Stream, as "Old Southern Road" Station. From 1908–1913, the station stop was listed as "Jamaica (Beaver Street)." Jamaica–Beaver Street Station was razed with the grade elimination in 1913 and relocation into the current complex during the Jamaica Improvement Project. No trace of the station exists today.

South Street Station[edit]

After the merging of Beaver Street station with the new Jamaica Station, the LIRR built a replacement along the Atlantic/Far Rockaway Branch southeast of the former SSRRLI depot. It was named "South Street Station" and was located on what is today South Road between 157th and 159th Streets. Originally the site of the "SJ Tower," which was used to keep trolleys and trains from colliding with one another until the grade crossing was eliminated in 1913, it was built on November 15, 1917. Due to the close proximity to Jamaica Station, the New York Public Service Commission granted them permission to close the station on March 28, 1922. It was finally closed in June of that year.[4]

2001–2006 expansion[edit]

The new steel glass canopy

In 2006, the MTA completed a $387 million renovation project, begun in 2001 and carried out in conjunction with the construction of AirTrain JFK's terminal (the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contributed $100 million toward the project).

The project had two goals: Passenger-oriented renovations included new platforms and pedestrian bridge, a central elevator bank linking the LIRR to the street and to the Sutphin Blvd subway station, a new mezzanine connecting to AirTrain and a new steel and glass canopy over the elevated tracks.[5] The focal point of the project was the Jamaica Control Center, built by Tishman Construction Corporation and Bechtel. The JCC houses the LIRR offices, railroad control center and MTA Police.[6] Overall, the renovations enlarged the station and have made it more modern and efficient, providing easier access to all eight LIRR tracks. The entire station complex, including AirTrain and the subway, is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The project was named "2006 Project of the Year" by the Long Island branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.[7]

Station layout[edit]

Jamaica is the Long Island Rail Road's hub station. There are five high-level island platforms each 1000 feet long, almost 12 cars; a train on track 2 or track 7 can be entered from platforms on either side, allowing passengers to quickly transfer between three trains at once. During the morning rush westbound trains from three different lines bound for three different terminals are scheduled to arrive at Jamaica simultaneously on tracks 1, 2, and 3. Passengers can cross to the train for their destination by passing through the train on track 2 (or by the stairs). In the evening the process is reversed: trains from three New York terminals destined for three branches arrive on tracks 6, 7, and 8 and allow commuters to cross to the desired outbound train. The middle tracks – 4 and 5 – share a platform which is used during rush hours to allow passengers to transfer to their destination train on the other side of the platform.

Travel time is around the same 20 minutes for the 11.3 miles from Jamaica station to Penn Station in Midtown or for the 9.3 miles to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. As of April 3, 2011 the public timetables show 169 weekday trains from Penn Station to or through Jamaica, 62 from Brooklyn, and nine from Long Island City / Hunterspoint Ave. All but two of those trains continue east from Jamaica, along with 28 weekday trains that originate there.

The main entrance to the station, where tickets may be purchased and where waiting areas are located, is a 100-year old building that also serves as the offices and headquarters of the Long Island Rail Road Company.

Platform layout[edit]

Inbound Main Line toward New York (Kew Gardens)
Atlantic Branch toward Atlantic Terminal (East New York)
Montauk Branch toward Long Island City (Hunterspoint Avenue)
Outbound Main Line toward Greenport, Hempstead, Oyster Bay, or Port Jefferson (Hollis)
Atlantic Branch toward Far Rockaway or Long Beach (Locust Manor)
Belmont Park Branch toward Belmont Park racing days only (Terminus)
Montauk Branch toward Montauk or West Hempstead (St. Albans)

Bus and rail connections[edit]

New York City Subway:

MTA New York City Bus:

MTA Bus Company:

AirTrain JFK

AirTrain station[edit]

Entrance in 2007

The AirTrain station, located in an enclosed glass structure to the south of the LIRR platforms, has 2 tracks and 1 island platform. It is accessed by escalator or elevator from street level as well via as an enclosed bridge connecting it to the LIRR station. The station features platform screen doors, which prevent passengers from accessing the trackbed. An array of sensors detect a train's position on the track, and only when it is properly aligned will the doors open. This enables the AirTrain to operate automatically without drivers. West of the station the track curves to the left and runs south, above the Van Wyck Expressway.

Trains depart for JFK every 7 minutes during peak hours, and every 10 minutes during other times of the day. Between 8pm and 4am there are 4 trains per hour. Displays at the station indicate train departure times along with flight status information. Entering or exiting the station costs $5 and must be paid by MetroCard, which can be obtained from ticket machines at the station.

Station layout[edit]

2F Inbound Jamaica toward Terminal 8/9 (Federal Circle)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Inbound Jamaica toward Terminal 8/9 (Federal Circle)
1F Lobby Fare control, LIRR platforms
G Street level Exit/ Entrance

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Average weekday, 2006 LIRR Origin and Destination Study
  2. ^ Images of Rail: Jamaica Station, by David D. Morrison (Arcadia Publishing; 2011)
  3. ^ 1874 view of Beaver Street (SSRLI station) from Beaver Street Overpass (TrainsAreFun)
  4. ^ Westbridge Station and South Street Station (Arrt's Arrchives)
  5. ^ "MTA Long Island Rail Road President James J. Dermody to Retire September 1st" (Press release). Long Island Rail Road. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  6. ^ "A Transportation Hub for the 21st Century". Buildings. September 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  7. ^ "Project of the Year Award". ASCE Metropolitan Section. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 

External links[edit]