The surprising return of the three-borough ‘X line’ subway
By Dana Rubinstein 10:08 a.m. | Apr. 25, 2012
To the surprise of the idea’s originators, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer earlier this month unearthed a dusty old proposal for a new subway line that would serve the outer boroughs.
“The X Line would connect all but three subway lines in the city and join Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, which no other line does today,” said Stringer, speaking to a room full of New York establishment types at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York.
“Here’s why it’s not a pipe dream: The line is built entirely along existing rights of way,” said Stringer. “That means no tunneling, which is the biggest hurdle in this day and age to building new subways.”
Stringer’s championing of the X line took some transportation advocates (pleasantly) aback.
…The idea goes something like this.
There are, for the most part, existing freight tracks running from Bay Ridge up through Queens and across the Hell Gate Bridge into the Bronx. Freight traffic on those rails is light. And there is, theoretically, enough space alongside them to accommodate some form of commuter rail.
“It doesn’t have to be a subway type car,” said Zupan. “It could be somewhat smaller, but still operate as a train with multiple cars.”
The train would run above ground and intersect with nearly every subway line in the city, avoiding Manhattan altogether.