W-w-what!? W trains mysteriously appearing in Brooklyn

W stands for what?: Patrick Gooney was puzzled by the Manhattan-to-Queens W train’s appearance in Bay Ridge during his morning commute on Jan. 9.
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W-elcome to Brooklyn.

Rogue W trains are moonlighting on the R line in Brooklyn, and puzzled straphangers aren’t sure what to make of it.

“Yeah W stands for ‘What the hell is going on?’ because this is the second time I’ve seen a W train on the R line and both times I’m confused,” said Sunset Parker Alex Li, who was hesitant to get on the W at 59th Street. “I just want to make sure when I get on the train, I don’t wind up in the wrong part of the town. It’s not a huge deal, but come on — how hard is it to put up the right letter or a sign or something so people aren’t confused?”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority revived the W ahead of the opening of the long-awaited Second Avenue subway. It moved the Q train to the new Manhattan line and brought the W back in November to fill in for the Q by ferrying riders from Queens to lower Manhattan.

But detours into Brooklyn are no mistake — the authority stores some W trains in Brooklyn, and uses them to supplement R trains in a pinch, said a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman.

“W’s only go to Bay Ridge if there’s a problem with R service,” said Kevin Ortiz. “Supplement­ing R’s with W trains is a good thing as it helps to mitigate the impact of service issues on the R on customers.”

The three local locomotives roll out of their home in the Coney Island Yard (technically in Gravesend) just after 6:20 am. Two of the three shuttles head back to the train yard at the end of morning rush hour, but the third treks on into Manhattan and eventually Queens, according to Ortiz.

The W recently caught one unsuspecting straphanger by surprise — because he did not see any service announcements — but no one turns down an open train, he said.

“I thought it was weird to see the W here and I didn’t see any posters saying it’d be running,” said Dyker Heights resident Patrick Gooney. “But I just got on anyway.”

Others got a kick out of the unusual sight and really welcomed the W to the borough, according to one rider who is just happy to have more service.

“I think it’s pretty funny. I saw it pull up into the station and I was like, ‘Well, that’s something you don’t usually see,’” said Bay Ridgite Whitney Williams, who got on the dubious W at the 86th Street station in Bay Ridge. “The trains can be so cockamamy, but maybe they’re just trying to use every train they can to give us better service. If that’s the case then more power to the W.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Keep in mind that: 1) Every weekday, the first few trains and the last few days of the W train will be served from Astoria, Queens to 86th Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn because of train storage to the Coney Island Yard; 2) W trains will serve Brooklyn if there is no R train service; and 3) Assuming there is much higher ridership along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, W trains could run along the line during Rush Hours in the not too distant future.
Jan. 10, 2017, 9:44 am
Bay Ridge from MJ says:
if the W train runs to Bay Ridge on weekday rush hours, then people won't have to wait 30 minutes at 59 Street station all the time for the one R train.
Jan. 10, 2017, 10:54 am
Bay Ridge from MJ says:
The MTA should seriously consider restoring the old RR line that goes from Bay Ridge 95 Street to Chamber Street (via the old M train tunnel that goes to Broad Street).
Jan. 10, 2017, 10:56 am
Jjm from C. Hill says:
Big freakin' deal. Anything makes the news nowadays smh.
Jan. 10, 2017, 11:08 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Pardon me for asking this, but isn't there something more interesting going on to write about? Actually, no...Never mind. I'm sorry. As you were.
John Wasserman
Jan. 10, 2017, 11:44 am
Steven O from Bronx says:
If you guys knew anything, you would know that 1: locomotives run on railroads and come in units with large engines or power converters in them and 2: these TRAINS are movements to and from yards because you would've noticed in the morning you only see Manhattan bound Ws and in the evening you only see 86th Street Ws. People are dying out here and this makes news. Don't waste time.
Jan. 10, 2017, 1:23 pm
Trevor L. from Bronx says:
Um actually, there is 4 scheduled trips per day on the W line to and from Brooklyn. Please find something more interesting and more factual to write about.
Jan. 10, 2017, 1:46 pm
Derek G from Riverdale says:
Are you kidding, Caroline? Did you even bother to look at the W schedule on the mta website? W trains that come out of and go to Coney Island Yard will stay in service in Brooklyn.....did you actually write an article to COMPLAIN about extra service???? This is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen, I would expect it from gothamist.
Jan. 10, 2017, 2:51 pm
Alex M from Far Rockaway says:
Some lines have scheduled trains that are "put in"-to or "layed up" from service from yards during rush hours. Those WS are just that. They are either coming from or going to the yard. Just like those morning and afternoon N's that run up Second Ave. Its not news. Its how they run the subway. The W has no direct access to a full yard along its normal route.
Jan. 10, 2017, 5:16 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
ahhhh - to be so self entitled and whiney
Jan. 10, 2017, 6:35 pm
Tony from Carroll Gardens says:
When the W ran in the past it was the same type of setup. No news here.
Jan. 10, 2017, 7:17 pm
Debbie from Park Slope says:
Anything to get better service on the r. Much slower since W came back.
Jan. 11, 2017, 11:38 am

Comments closed.

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