The Bay Ridge freight line is owned by MTA Long Island Rail Road and CSX.Photo – MTA Facebook
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) yesterday announced it has awarded AECOM a $1.3 million contract to study the feasibility of initiating passenger service on a freight-only rail line that runs from Bay Ridge/Sunset Park in Brooklyn to Astoria in Queens, New York.
The study will evaluate cost and feasibility for subway, commuter-rail, light-rail or bus service that would operate in conjunction with existing freight-rail service to connect riders within Brooklyn and Queens, and create a potential for reverse commutes to the suburbs, MTA officials said in a press release.
MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) owns the line's southern part, which is used exclusively by freight trains operated by the New York & Atlantic Railway. The line's northern part is owned by CSX. The 16-mile line crosses or nears 19 MTA New York City Transit subways lines and the LIRR.
New transit service could offer potential connections or transfers to those intersecting passenger-rail lines, MTA officials said.
“This project is hugely exciting — partly because it is based on the concept of squeezing more out of our already existing infrastructure so we don’t always have to build new subway lines from scratch,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “Putting mass transit on the Bay Ridge Branch could allow the MTA to serve more neighborhoods and provide better connections to thousands of people throughout Brooklyn and Queens – all while also creating opportunities for increasing environmentally friendly freight rail in years to come.”
WSP will be the subcontractor.