Here's What a Day in the Life of a New York City Subway Train Operator is Like

MTA subway train operator Darren Harv recently answered a question on Quora asking what's it like being a subway train driver in New York with an extremely in-depth response of a typical day spent operating a 6 train in both directions.

The life of a train operator ?

It's about 4 am, I go to My respective terminal lets use pelham bay park as an example. I check in with my dispatcher, talk to my c/r(conductor) grab my bag, you know radio equipment, reverser and brake handle if I'm driving an r62a out of there, and your master key if I'm driving an r142a , i dont know what pelham yard will send me, the train creeps onto pelham bay track 2, it's an r62a.

R62A 6 Train | Layed Up At Buhre
R62A 6 Train | Layed Up At Buhre
Photo: ReconRican_

i nod to the yard operator, he/she dumps the train(puts the Brakes in emergency) I key open the crew door on the lead car, open the cab door and plug in my reverser, then my brake handle, and you hear the c/r do his p.a check and you push the buzzer twice, he does the same.DING the departure bell has rung. You bring the brakes out of emergency into the 2nd notch. “This is a Manhattan bound 6 express train the next stop is buhre avenue, stand clear of the closing doors please” the conductor blares on the p.a, the door close. It is 6:02 am

I ask dispatch

“tower does the 2300 have permission to proceed out of pelham track 2 onto the main ?”

“the 2300 has the lineup out of pelham track two, call back at Westchester square. Have a good trip.” Dispatch responds.

“That's a copy”

I put the throttle in switching, then neutral, rolling brake test is ok, I apply a notch of brake, brakes are fine. I wrap the throttle and make my way to buhre

R142A Lead Motor 7275 on the 6 line | Brooklyn Bridge Bound 6 train. Consist R142-A cars
R142A Lead Motor 7275 on the 6 line | Brooklyn Bridge Bound 6 train. Consist R142-A cars

I call in at Westchester, dispatch gives me a proceed on signal call back at Parkchester. I punch at Castle, proceed into Parkchester approach and see something strange, Green over yellow, what the hell? I wasn't supposed to diverge onto m track, i call into dispatch

“ This is the 2300 and i got the lineup onto m track, do i run express to hunts point”

“Yes, notify your conductor that a train overran at elder and all 6 locals are running on the express to hunts point and local to 3rd avenue.”

“That's a copy”

I notify my conductor of the change, my conductor notifies the passengers and there's the moan and groan from the passengers we get when there's a inconvenience. He closes down, i wrap the throttle and make my way down to hunts point.

42 Street - Grand Central Station, 4, 5 or 6 Train, Uptown Platform 2014.07.26 | Most people don't see it at first, but the woman in the blue baseball cap (to the right) is actually looking directly into the camera.
42 Street - Grand Central Station, 4, 5 or 6 Train, Uptown Platform 2014.07.26 | Most people don't see it at first, but the woman in the blue baseball cap (to the right) is actually looking directly into the camera.

People get off and transfer to the north bound 6 local to get the stops we bypassed, i get a yellow over yellow and a proceed on signal out of hunts point. I gun it on the local down to 138th and call into dispatch they give me lineup onto the local on Lexington. We run without incident, 51st, make sure we're in the correct position, 14th is a bitch with that curve, you have to stop within a foot of the 10 mark, I brake nice and smooth letting the curve slow the train down with the brakes, and pull a full service at about 6 feet away from the car at 8 miles per hour, perfect stop. I wipe the sweat of my brow, push the buzzer and let the c/o open the doors.

14th Street Union Square Subway | The Downtown 4/5 Track, with a City Hall bound 6 train on the extreme right.
14th Street Union Square Subway | The Downtown 4/5 Track, with a City Hall bound 6 train on the extreme right.
Photo: Dan Augood

Problem.

We've got 2 dead doors, i wait for the conductor to cut the doors out and make it back to the cab, we get the proceed on signal and close down i accelerate slowly to allow the gap filler signal to clear, wrap the throttle and have a smooth journey down to brooklyn bridge.

We do 10 on the loop, come back on the northbound track and have a eventless trip back up to pelham, i dump the train and nod to the road operator, i meet up with my c/o and we make our way to the crew office anf explain the holdup at 14th. This is a day in the life of a train operator.

old city hall
old city hall
Photo: _Esc

via Quora

Something wrong with this post? Let us know!

Shop Related Products…

Brought To You By…