Todd's Railfan Guide to


In General
Getting Here
the Subways


In General

Location / Name:
New York City NY, AKA, the Big Apple

What's Here:
Grand Central Terminal (GCT)
Penn Station
Hell Gate Bridge
Sunnyside Yard
the Jamaica Long Island RR station, it's a BIG one!
Subway, Subways, and more Subways

GPS Coordinates: as needed

Access by train/transit:
Take your pick:
    Amtrak into Penn Station
    the New York City/MTA Subway and Bus system
    the Metro-North commuter rail into GCT
    New Jersey Transit commuter rail into Penn Station
    the Long Island Railroad commuter rail into Penn Station

The Scoop:

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
A trip report on my trip to NYC on National Train Day 2012 - almost all subway stuff: https://railroadsignals.us/trips/trip3/index.htm
A trip report on a trip to NYC in 2014 to see Dave Letterman - lots more subway stuff: https://railroadsignals.us/trips/trip6/index.htm
A trip to NYC via commuter and light rail: https://railroadsignals.us/trips/trip7/index.htm

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

The guide is divided into the following sections:

the Bronx
the Queens
    Hell Gate Bridge
    Sunnyside Yard
    Jamaica Station
Staten Island
    the Staten Island Rapid Transit


Getting Here

Getting to G



Because there is a lot on this page to view, I've included the shortcuts below to make it easier.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   F1

    1      Hell

  Can't get much better than this for someone into trains and planes!  :-)

    2      Els







A shot from Google Streetview at the tail end of Sunnyside Yard, adjacent to 53rd Street, kinda under 11th St.  I don't know if any of it is active, but there is "exposed" third rail at some of the street crossings here in the neighborhood.




the Subways

It is impossible, or damn near impossible to come to New York City and NOT have an experience on the subway.

Today's subway system in New York is operated my the Mass Transit Administration, which was called the New York City Transit Authority until 1994.  It is also called the New York City Transit, or just the Transit Authority (TA).

The subway system as we know it today is a mixture of three systems: the IRT, the BMT, and the IND.  The first subway system to be built in 1904 was the IRT.  It was a private company.  IRT was short for the Interborough Transit Company.  Also built as a private company was the BMT, or the Bronx-Manhattan Transit Company.  The IND was a city owned venture.

The trains still use the original route designations that they carried almost from the beginning.  The IRT uses numbered routes, and the BMT and IND use letter designations.

The system runs in four of the five boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.  Staten Island has it's own system called SIR (small compared to the rest of the system), or what most of still call SIRT (because it sounds better) for the Staten Island Rapid Transit.  It is a subsidiary of the MTA.






I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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NEW 07/07/2016
Last Modified 13-Jul-2016