Missed Connections

I’ve discussed before the topic of missed connections on subway systems, both here and on City Metric. I’ve for the most part taken it for granted that on a rapid transit network, it’s important to ensure that whenever two lines intersect, they offer a transfer. This seems like common sense. The point of this post is not to argue for this principle, but to distinguish two different kinds of missed connections: city center misses, and outlying misses. Both are bad; if I had to say which is worse I’d say it’s the city center miss, but city center misses and outlying misses are bad for distinct reasons.

A useful principle is that every pair of rapid transit lines should intersect, unless one is a shuttle, or both are circumferential. If the city is so large that it has multiple circular lines at different radii (Beijing has two, and London vaguely has two as well depending on how one counts the Overground), then they shouldn’t intersect, but rapid transit networks should be radial, and every radial line should connect to every other line, with all radial-radial transfers ideally located within the center. City center misses weaken the network by making some radials not connect, or perhaps connect at an inconvenient spot. Outlying misses often permit more central transfers, and their problem is that they make it harder to transfer to the better or less crowded radial on the way to the center. London supplies a wealth of examples of the latter without the former.

What counts as a missed connection?

Fundamentally, the following picture is a missed subway connection:

The red and blue lines intersect without a transfer. Even if a few stations later there is a transfer, this is a miss. In contrast, the following picture is not a missed connection:

It might be faster for riders to transfer between the southern and western leg if there were a station at the exact physical intersection point, but as long as the next station on the red line has a transfer to the blue line it counts, even if the blue line has one (or more) stations in the middle. Washington supplies an example of this non-miss: it frustrates riders that there’s no connection between Farragut West and Farragut North, but at the next station south from the intersection on the Red Line, Metro Center, there is a transfer to the Blue and Orange Lines. London supplies another pair of examples: the Northern line and the Waterloo and City line appear to intersect the District line without a transfer, but their next station north from the physical intersection point, Bank, has an in-system transfer to Monument on the District.

There are still a few judgment calls in this system. One is what to do at the end of the line. In this case, I rule it a missed connection if the terminal clearly has an intersection without a transfer; if the terminal is roughly between the two stations on the through-line, it doesn’t count. Another is what to do about two lines that intersect twice in close succession, such as the Bakerloo and Hammersmith and City lines in London, and Metro Lines 4 and 10 in Paris. In such cases, I rule that, if there’s just one station on the wrong side (Paddington on Bakerloo, Mabillon on M10) then I rule it a single intersection and allow transfers at the next station over, by which standard London has a missed connection (Edgware Road has no Bakerloo/H&C transfer) and Paris doesn’t (Odeon has an M4/M10 transfer).

How many missed connections are there?

In Paris, there are three missed connections on the Metro there is one missed connection on the Metro (update: see comments below): M9/M12, M5/M14, M9/M14. As I discuss on City Metric, it’s no coincidence that two of these misses involve this miss involves Line 14, which has wide stop spacing. Narrow stop spacing makes it easier to connect within line-dense city centers, and Paris famously has the densest stop spacing of any major metro system. M9/M12 and M9/M14 morally should connect at Saint-Augustin and Saint-Lazare, but in fact there is no in-system transfer. M5/M14 should connect at Gare de Lyon, but when M5 was built it was not possible to get the line to the station underground and then have it cross the Seine above-ground, so instead it meets M1 at Bastille, while M14 doesn’t serve since it expresses from Gare de Lyon to Chatelet. A fourth missed connection is under construction: the extension of M14 to the north misses M2 at Rome, prioritizing long stop spacing over the connection to the M2/M6 circumferential.

In Tokyo, there are many misses. I am not sure why this is, but judging by line layout, Tokyo Metro and Toei try to stick to major roads whenever possible, to avoid tunneling under private property, and this constrains the ability of newer lines to hit station locations on older lines. If I understand this map correctly, there are 19 missed connections: Ginza/Hibiya (Toranomon and Kasumigaseki should connect), Ginza/Mita, Ginza/Yurakucho, Ginza/Shinjuku, Marunouchi/Mita (Ginza and Hibiya should connect), Marunouchi/Yurakucho, Asakusa/Yurakucho, Asakusa/Hanzomon, Hibiya/Namboku, Hibiya/Yurakucho (Tsukiji and Shintomicho should connect), Hibiya/Hanzomon, Hibiya/Shinjuku, Hibiya/Oedo, Tozai/Oedo, Tozai/Fukutoshin, Mita/Oedo, Chiyoda/Oedo twice, and Oedo/Fukutoshin. Oedo is particularly notable for being a circumferential line that misses a large number of transfers.

In New York, there are even more misses. Here the culprit is clear: the two older layers of the subway, the IRT and BMT, have just two missed connections. One, 3/L at Junius Street and Livonia Avenue, is an outlying miss. The other is central: Bowling Green on the 4-5 and Whitehall on the R-W should connect. But the newer layer, the IND, was built to drive the IRT and BMT into bankruptcy through competition rather than to complement them, and has a brutal number of misses: ABCD/2-3, ACE/1-2-3, AC-F/2-3-4-5, AC-G/2-3-4-5-BQ-DNR, BD/NQRW, BDFM/NQRW, BD/JZ, E/1, E/F, M/NW, R/7, F/BD-NQ, F/NRW, F-Q/4-5-6, F/NW, G/7, G/JMZ. Counting individual track pairs, this is 46 misses, for a total of 48 including the two IRT/BMT misses; I’m excluding local-only transfers, such as Columbus Circle and 53rd/Lex, and counting the 42nd Street Shuttle as an express version of the 7, so it doesn’t miss the BDFM transfer.

Finally, London only has eight misses. In Central London there are three: the Metropolitan or Hammersmith and City line misses the Bakerloo line as discussed above, and also the Victoria line and Charing Cross branch of the Northern line at Euston. The other five are outlying: the Central line misses the Hammersmith and City line at Wood Lane/White City, and its branches miss the Piccadilly line’s Uxbridge branch three times; the fifth miss is Metropolitan/Bakerloo. But one more miss is under construction: the Battersea extension of the Northern line is going to intersect the Victoria line without a transfer.

The difference between the two kinds of miss

Many misses are located just a few stations away from a transfer. In New York, some misses are just a station away from a transfer, including the G/7 miss in Long Island City, the E/1 miss between 50th Street and 59th Street, and several more are a few stations away, such as the various BDFM/NQRW misses. In London, these include two of the three Central London transfers: there is an H&C/Bakerloo transfer at Baker Street and an H&C-Met/Victoria transfer at King’s Cross-St. Pancras. As a result, not counting the Waterloo and City line, only two trunk lines in the system do not have any transfer: the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line and the Metropolitan/H&C line.

On a radial network, if two lines don’t have any transfer, then the network is degraded, since passengers can’t easily connect. In New York, this is a huge problem: some station pairs even within the inner networks require two transfers, or even three counting a cross-platform local/express transfer. My interest in subway networks and how they function came about when I lived in Morningside Heights on the 1 and tried socializing with bloggers in Williamsburg near the JMZ.

In Paris the three misses are also a problem. Line 4 is the only with a transfer to every other main line. Line 9 intersects every other line, and Line 14 will when its northern extension opens, but both miss connections, requiring some passengers to take three-seat rides, in a city infamous for its labyrinthine transfer stations. Fundamentally, the problem is that the Paris Metro is less radial than it should be: some lines are laid out as grid routes, including Lines 3, 5, and 10; moreover, Lines 8, 9, 12, and 13 are radial but oriented toward a different center from Lines 1, 4, 7, and 11.

In London, in contrast, there is almost no pair of stations that require a three-seat ride. The Charing Cross branch of the Northern line doesn’t make any stop that passengers from the H&C or Met line can’t get to from another line with one interchange (Goodge Street is walking distance to Warren Street). A bigger problem is the lack of interchange to the Central line on the west, which makes the connections between the H&C stations on the west and some Central line stations awkward, but it’s still only a small number of stations on each line. So the problem in London is not network robustness.

Rather, the problem in London is severe capacity limitations on some lines. Without good outlying interchanges, passengers who want to get between two lines need to ride all the way to the center. Most likely, passengers between the Piccadilly and Central line branches to the west end up driving, as car ownership in West London is relatively high. Passengers without a car have to instead overload the Central line trunk.

The same problem applies to misses that are strictly speaking not missed connections because the two lines do not actually intersect. In Paris, this occurs on Line 7, which swings by the Opera but doesn’t go far enough west to meet Lines 12 and 13. In London, the best example is Hammersmith station: the H&C and District lines have separate stations without an interchange, but they do not intersect since it’s the terminus of the H&C line and therefore I don’t count it as a miss. But morally it’s an outlying miss, preventing District line riders from changing to the H&C line to reach key destinations like Euston, King’s Cross, and Moorgate without overloading the Victoria or Northern line.

In New York this problem is much less acute. The only outlying misses are the 3/L and the ABCD/2-3; the 3/L connects two very low-ridership tails, so the only serious miss is on the Upper West Side. There, passengers originating in Harlem can walk to either line, since the two trunks are two long blocks apart, and passengers originating in Washington Heights can transfer from the A-C to the 1 at 168th Street; at the other end, passengers bound for Midtown can transfer at Columbus Circle, using the underfull 1 rather than the overcrowded 2 and 3.

The role of circumferential lines

Outlying transfers are useful in distributing passengers better to avoid capacity crunches, but they are incidental. They occur when formerly competing suburban lines get shoehorned into the same subway network, or when two straight roads intersect, as in Queens. But the task of distributing passengers between radial lines remains important and requires good connections between as many pairs of radials as possible.

The usual solution to this is a circumferential line. In Moscow, there are several missed connections in the center (Lines 3/6, 3/7, 6/9) and one more planned (8/9), but the Circle Line helps tie in nearly all the radii together, with just one missed connection (to Line 10 to the north) and one more under construction (to Line 8 to the west). The point of the Circle Line is to allow riders to connect between two outlying legs without congesting the center. This is especially important in the context of Moscow, where there are only a handful of interchange stations in the center, most of which connect more than two lines.

In London, the Overground is supposed to play this role. However, the connections between the Underground and Overground are weak. From Highbury and Islington clockwise, the Overground misses connections to the Central line, the Victoria line, the main line of the District line, the Piccadilly line, the Hammersmith and City line, both branches of the Northern line, and the Piccadilly line (it also misses the Metropolitan line, but that’s on a four-track stretch where it is express and local service is provided by the Jubilee line, with which there is a transfer). Much of this is an unforced error, since the Underground lines are often above-ground this far out, and stations could be moved to be better located for transfers.

In New York, the only circumferential line is the G train, which has uniquely bad transfers, legacy of the IND’s unwillingness to build a system working together with the older subways. Triboro RX (in the original version, not the more recent version) would play this role better: with very little tunneling, it could connect to every subway line going counterclockwise from the R in Bay Ridge to the B-D and 4 at Yankee Stadium. On the way, it would connect to some major intermediate centers, including Brooklyn College and Jackson Heights, but the point is not just to connect to these destinations in the circumferential direction but also to facilitate transfers between different lines.

Going forward, cities with large metro network should aim to construct transfers where feasible. In New York there are perennial proposals to connect the 3 and L trains; these should be implemented. In London, the missed outlying transfers involve above-ground stations, which can be moved. The most important miss, White City/Wood Lane, is already indicated as an interchange on the map, but does not to my understanding have an in-system transfer; this should be fixed.

Moreover, it is especially important to have transfers from the radial lines to the circumferential ones. These improve network connectivity by allowing passengers to change direction (from radial to circumferential, e.g. from east-west to north-south within Queens), but also help passengers avoid congested city centers like outlying radial-radial transfers. Where circumferential lines don’t exist, they should be constructed, including Triboro in New York and Line 15 in Paris; where they do, it’s important to ensure they don’t miss connections the way the Overground does.


  1. jack (@jlichyen)

    Correction on the Tokyo lines: Ginza line meets Hibiya line at Ginza station, Yurakucho line meets Hibiya line at a connection made between the Yurakucho and Hibiya stations (lol), Oedo connects with Fukutoshin at Higashi-Shinjuku, Mita and Oedo meet at Kasuga (and don’t need to connect on south side because Namboku meets Oedo at Azabu-Juban)… etc etc.

    The map you referenced is awful, and this is *generally* easier to understand but also highlights another complaint you’ve leveled against Tokyo systems, that changing between different companies charges an extra fee.

    The most egregious miss is probably the Chiyoda/Oedo in the southwest, which I suspect might partially because these lines are newer? But also egregious because they sit around Roppongi, which was already emerging as a major secondary business center and is the largest/most traveled part of the city without easy train access – traveling on the northwest/southeast access towards Shinagawa is notably more difficult compared to any other destination in the city unless you’re close enough to JR, and is one of the few spots I find myself regularly looking at bus schedules when on foot.

    • Alon Levy

      Is there an in-station transfer between Ginza and Hibiya/Yurakucho? I tried looking at Wikipedia descriptions of stations to figure out which stations have in-system connections (like Yurakucho and Hibiya) and which stations make you get out. I count Hibiya/Yurakucho because a few stations east of the stations they’re named after there’s a Shintomicho/Tsukiji miss.

      And yeah, I was going to ask a Tokyo railfan why the subway access to Shinagawa is so awful. Is it that Shinagawa is too well-served by JR or something?

      • jack (@jlichyen)

        Best way to check in-station transfers is actually Google Maps, where if you zoom in close enough you get a red overlay that displays the underground passages. The link below, for example, is for Bakuro-yokoyama (on the left) and Higashi-Nihonbashi (on the right) which are technically two different stations but connected in the middle. This station is, incidentally, connected to Bakurocho station on the JR Sobu Rapid line, which you wouldn’t get from most subway maps because they won’t always list mainline/private rail station transfers.

        As for Shinagawa, the stats I’ve seen say it developed late and its post-bubble development was impressive but below the rates of Shinjuku & Shibuya (in terms of office workers added) It also exists on parallel lines to Marunouchi, unlike Shibuya/Shinjuku. Shinagawa gets about the same passenger traffic as Takadanobaba, and nearby stations (ie: Takanawa-dai) are not busy. I know that at some point in the Fukutoshin line’s planning history they considered running it past Shibuya towards Shinagawa station, basically in the southeasterly route I was complaining about above.

  2. Michael James

    in a city infamous for its labyrinthine transfer stations. Fundamentally, the problem is that the Paris Metro is less radial than it should be

    Deja vu all over again, here. Those labryinthine transfers are a glass-half-full, not half-empty as you are prone to label them. They are designed, and succeed, in fufilling exactly what you are on about: connecting otherwise difficult to connect lines/stations. We might grumble about them while trudging them but I reckon we’d grumble even more if they weren’t there.
    Also given the number of lines and density of stations in Paris intramuros, you are grumbling about not having your cake and eating it. You can’t have them all converge and still have that 400m coverage across 100 square kilometres.
    Finally, another thing I keep repeating: your focus is on the lines and stations, but in mature cities like the usual suspects, I reckon the future is not in building more lines or more interchange stations on the same lines at ever-increasing cost. It could be in connecting them with new-tech pax movement, namely those ThyssenKrupp maglev travellators. In NYC and Tokyo, unlike Paris and London, it could even be above ground which will make them even cheaper.
    Given the time it takes to build new metro, I reckon this technology will be implementable at scale …

  3. Kevin Lynch

    For London, the H+C and Bakerloo has an official Out-of-Station transfer at both Paddington and Edgware Road, so it isn’t really a missed connection. In fact, all the ones you mention have permitted Out-of-Station transfers (Kenton/Northwick Park, Wood Lane/White City, etc), though admittedly, these are not as well advertised as they should be.
    For Paris, St-Augustin has an internal connection to St-Lazare (albeit with a long passageway), therefore making the connection b/w Line 9 and Lines 12 and 14.
    Not major omissions obviously, though I think these only strengthen your point about the problematic NYC missed connections.

    • Alon Levy

      New York has an out-of-system transfer between the F or the Q at 63rd Street/Lexington and the 4-5-6 at 59th Street. But I still count it as a missed connection because you need to cross the faregates, even if there’s a free transfer.

      Can you connect between Saint-Augustin and Saint-Lazare without crossing faregates? When I was last at Saint-Lazare I saw signage to Line 9 as well as 3, 12, 13, and 14 but it wasn’t clear if the stations were connected. For what it’s worth, the ridership statistics separate these two stations (whereas the ones in London lump Bank and Monument together).

      • Gallia

        Hi Alon, yes, you can transfer from the 9 to the 12 and 14 (and I think the 3 and 13 as well) without crossing faregates, although the signage is indeed confusing (it’s a bit of a walk in both cases but nothing in comparison to what you have to walk in Chatelet or Monparnasse…). I’ll take a picture for you next time I’m there.

        • Alon Levy

          It’s really strange that they’re not signing it as one station, then – Montparnasse-Bienvenue is historically two stations and yet they’re signed as one station with both names.

          • Gallia

            Thanks, agreed. There are some other mistakes/misses in the metro map – for example, you can transfer between the 8 and the 9 in Grands Boulevards and Bonne Nouvelle, but for some reason it’s not marked. But in the case of Saint-Lazare it’s really a shame because it’s a useful transfer.

          • Michael James

            Gallia 2018/03/16 – 08:13

            There are some other mistakes/misses in the metro map – for example, you can transfer between the 8 and the 9 in Grands Boulevards and Bonne Nouvelle

            I don’t think it’s a map error. There is no internal connection between these stations (I don’t know if the e-ticketing allows you to transfer without incurring another entry charge–it doesn’t seem likely and you can transfer at both of the next stations in both directions so there is no real need). I presume the reason is that these lines are built one directly on top of the other, and very close to the street so there is no space for a passage above, while one below would be too deep (even for transferring from one platform to the other on the same line).

          • Gallia

            @Michael, I am sorry but this is simply not correct. You can freely transfer between the 9 & 8 in both these stations, as you would in any other station that connects two lines (you don’t pass through any gates or anything). Possibly initially they were not connected and just ran in parallel, but they are now, I’ve done it myself multiple times. There’s no difference b/w Bonne Nouvelle and Starsbourg-Saint-Denis in that respect, but for the latter the transfer is marked in the map but not for the former.

        • Michael James

          Gallia 2018/03/16 – 10:52

          @Michael, I am sorry but this is simply not correct. You can freely transfer between the 9 & 8 in both these stations …

          Hmm. I will provisionally take your word. OK, not to be mealy mouthed, it seems quite unlikely the maps and descriptions would get something like that soooo wrong. Sure, all maps doubtless originate from one master map so all maps could propagate the same error. But it seems unlikely. So it would be good to get another independent eye-witness (I no longer live in Paris but Alon has no excuse as he is practically within walking distance). Then there is the Wiki entry:

          The platforms are at the sides and the box containing the lines and supporting the road above is strengthened by a central wall between the tracks. There is no interconnection between the lines at Bonne Nouvelle, with each level having different accesses to the street.

          One can see why interconnection was an issue: this is not the usual station layout with two tracks next to each other with their two (separate) platforms on opposite sides of the tunnel. There are two side-by-side tunnels; there are a few narrow interconnecting passages in the central massive supporting wall but it is in a DMZ that pax cannot access. On the Wiki page for Grand Boulevards it says the same thing and even has a diagram of the tracks.

          Now, it is not unknown for Wiki to be wrong (though Metrophiles are an obsessive bunch when it comes to this kind of thing). I’d change it if I could be sure of the reality. So, one question to you is, at what level do you cross over to the other platform? Is it just below the street (ie. above the top tracks) or in-between the top and lower tracks, or below the lower track? (I have assumed that the way these two lines/four tracks were engineered there wasn’t 2.5-3m clearance to allow a passageway.) Doubtless they could have always connected same-side platforms of the two lines but I am guessing that, if there was no way to get to the other-direction platform then it would just lead a lot of pax into confusion (better that they stay on the train and change at the next station). It is possible they have changed this (since 2003) however 1. how and 2. when and 3. why would it not be in the maps and information.

          Are you sure you’re not getting confused with the adjoining stations (Richelieu-Drouot and Strasbourg-St-Denis; note that lines 8 & 9 diverge at Richelieu-Drouot so at some point they won’t be above each other; and 3 lines cross at Strasbourg-St-Denis so probably a very different arrangement of tunnels).

          • Gallia

            Hi Michael, thanks a lot for the detailed reply. I’m quite sure I’m not confusing between these two and the other two, but I’ll go and check today (I hope you could then take my word for it – I’ll take a picture though :)). I am not sure about what you say about transfers possible only in the same direction – perhaps you’re right about that, but now that I’m aware I’ll check both. (In this case I agree it would be less confusing to show them as not connected in the map, however from memory, I’ve had a bad late night experience with the G and the F trains in New York just because of that – I wanted to switch in the other direction and the map didn’t show it was possible…).

          • Michael James

            OK. There should be explicit “Correspondance” signs if you can do it without returning to the street.
            On the Wiki page for the line (previously I was looking at the Wiki entry for the stations) it says:

            The double-decker tunnel, which is located between stations Richelieu – Drouot and République (and carries Line 9 on the lower level, while Line 8 is situated on the upper level) was especially problematic due to unstable ground at Grand Boulevards. As a result, this particular section had to be reinforced by central piers.

            This explains why this stretch is different to most (though not necessarily why they didn’t put in ped tunnels for correspondances; that was my assumption, ie. that a passageway would cause a weakness in such a structural wall). The Wikis on lines 8 & 9 don’t say anything about the lack of correspondance but the map does imply exactly that (in the diagram it shows the short stretch of overlap with the other line (8/9) and shows correspondances only* for Richelieu-Drouot & Strasbourg-St-Denis; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_M%C3%A9tro_Line_9#Route).
            I think it is clear from all the maps and the Wiki entries that there was no correspondance for most of its existence. It remains possible that more recently they were confident that modern engineering could make the connections without compromising the structural integrity. (Though connecting the same-side platforms would have always been simple as it doesn’t have to broach that central wall. My assumption was they didn’t do this to avoid confusing pax.)

            *Addendum: I found an anomaly on the Wiki page for line 8. The route map (vertically along the side of the page) shows the same as that for line 9, ie. no correspondances with line 9 for those two stations. But in the list of stations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_M%C3%A9tro_Line_8#List_of_stations) it does list M9 in the “connections” column for both! Not exactly sure what that means (obviously one could “correspond” by exiting to the street and then going down the other line’s entrance; with the “new” Navigo cards it may not matter–ie. assuming they are smart enough; I haven’t lived in Paris since it came in so don’t really know. But then even with the old Carte Orange I don’t think I ever used any of those “surface” correspondances like Bir-Hakeim to Champs-de-Mars-RER-C.)

          • Gallia

            Hi again, so mission accomplished 🙂 I’ve just checked both, on the street level (the entrance) it says 8 & 9. On all platforms there are signs directing to the other line, in both directions, and you can transfer freely – but yes, you do need to climb all the way up to the below-street level (and 9 is below the 8), but I don’t think this is much different than in other cases, and pretty sure the average user wouldn’t think twice about it. It’s also very weird that your map and line map on the metro say no transfer but just as you get off the train you see a sign directing you to another line… (I have photos of everything, just not sure how to share them with you).

          • Michael James

            Gallia 2018/03/17 – 05:29

            I’ve just checked both, on the street level (the entrance) it says 8 & 9. On all platforms there are signs directing to the other line, in both directions, and you can transfer freely – but yes, you do need to climb all the way up to the below-street level (and 9 is below the 8),

            OK, sounds good. I don’t suppose it would be possible to detect if any of the connections are recent (no, they put the same white tiles on everything–you couldn’t really tell if it was done yesterday or 20 years ago).
            But the correspondance itself–is it connections to the stairways that go to both lines? Or perhaps the old ones that were exclusively street-to-8 and street-to-9 still there? Or is there a common vestibule/foyer at the top at which these “independent” stairways begin?
            Still a bit of mystery. Thanks for doing the on-ground sleuthing. Wish I was there:-)

          • Alon Levy

            (I no longer live in Paris but Alon has no excuse as he is practically within walking distance)

            Good timing, I’m visiting New York for a couple weeks. If I were home I’d double-check the Saint-Lazare/Saint-Augustin connection, too.

          • Gallia

            You can show a little more faith 😛 I am confident about the 9/12/14 but will check again sometime next week.
            Michael, thanks 🙂 I think this was already the situation when I came to Paris, 2.5 years ago, but can’t say for sure (though I’m pretty sure no work carried out there since I got here) / can’t say what it was like before. There is more than one street entrance/exit so I didn’t check all of them, in the one that I checked, it was like your third option, “a common vestibule/foyer at the top [just below street level, where the ticket machines etc are] at which these “independent” stairways begin” – a long one for 9 and a shorter one for the 8.

          • Michael James

            Gallia 2018/03/17 – 07:50

            I think this was already the situation when I came to Paris, 2.5 years ago, but can’t say for sure (though I’m pretty sure no work carried out there since I got here) / can’t say what it was like before.

            Earlier I mentioned 2003, because it seems the Wiki info came from (in addition to official RATP maps):
            Roland, Gerard (2003) Stations de métro. D’Abbesses à Wagram
            ISBN-13 978-2862533070

            But it is an out-of-print French publication and who knows …
            I am more confused than ever. There is a mystery here; we need to get Maigret on the case … unless Commissaire Levy takes it up.

          • michaelrjames

            Amazing detail on those maps. The blobs you mention are only visible at high magnification. It also shows service tracks, and dates each station. eg. it shows the old alignment of M4 before (1908) it was realigned (1977) eastwards when they built the Forum and RER lines.

            Re the issue of M9-M8 correspondence at Bonne-Nouvelle and Grands Boulevards, it does show it at their far eastern end. Though technically that could feasibly be just vertical links, ie. same-direction platforms. It also shows for these two stations (plus Strasbourg-St-Denis & Saint-Martin), in a box marked “voies superposées” and has a solid line between the two platforms (which is to indicate you cannot go from one to the other–due to that structural wall). Curiously (sorry this is all too much!) at Strasbourg-St Denis, it shows only M8 with correspondence to north-south M4, and the south platform of M9 doesn’t have correspondence to M8! This might be one of those transfers where you run around in circles tearing your hair out. Oh no (wait, there’s more!), the next station St-Martin, doesn’t have correspondences between M8 and M9!!
            Georges Perec could probably write a whole book about it.

    • anonymouse

      Line 14 isn’t really a metro line, it’s an existing railway with a new passenger service, so its alignment is fixed by where the rail line was built over 100 years ago. The problem is that it is too far away from the center in the northern section to be a “middle ring”, and too close in in the south to be an “outer ring” should Moscow want such a thing. Also, the connections from Line 14 to the rest of the network are often quite poor, because most intersecting lines weren’t built with connections in mind given that at the time it was a busy freight railway. The result is that line 11 needs to be built at least on the northern half to feed into the “Moscow City” business district and to provide some relief to the circle line.

  4. RichardB

    You reference the new Battersea extension of the Northern line in London and that no interchange station with the adjacent Victoria line has been planned. This is no mistake. I agree that logically looking at the Tube map as a circuit diagram you would have built an interchange station at Vauxhall which would provide the connection you note as missing. The deciding issue was not cost but the fact that an additional interchange with the Victoria line is not practical due to the enormous congestion that would be engendered. The Victoria line In the three hour morning peak period provides 36 trains per hour. They are already uncomfortably full going north and indeed on some days the queues at Vauxhall spread up the escalators and onto the street. In an ideal universe a connection would have built but the practicalities of accommodating significant additional pax on a line which is already close to capacity meant it made more sense to not build the interchange. You must understand that on some mornings at the southern terminus (Brixton) there is already a significant problem in that passengers wishing to travel north often have to queue in the street. With that level of demand at Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall the line is close to being maxed out. The proposed interchange would not therefore be viable.

    I cannot speak for missing connection in Paris or New York but it is at least possible that building these missing interchanges would not always provide the benefits you mention precisely because current demand and commuting patterns might make them unusable as per the Victoria line.

    • Alon Levy

      I understand the reasoning behind this, I just don’t agree with it. The problem is that the Victoria line is overcrowded, esp. going north of Victoria. But it’s not really likely that transferring passengers are going to add to the crowding, because people from Battersea who want to get to Victoria line destinations can take a commuter train to Victoria and transfer there. So the net volume in the morning would probably be Victoria -> Northern, for passengers who want to travel from Brixton to Charing Cross or Leicester Square. The Vauxhall transfer would let them do so, on a line that’s currently not so crowded.

      The missed connections in Paris are because M9 and M12 were built by separate companies and because M14 was built to be express. The Metro isn’t all that crowded at the peak, except M13, which M14 does actually hit. In New York they’re because the IND didn’t care about connecting to the IRT and BMT, leading to a lot of missed connections that, if they were present, would do a lot to reduce crowding and increase ridership on less busy lines, especially between the IND lines and Atlantic-Pacific (that’s the AC-G/2-3-4-5-BQ-DNR miss).

      • RichardB

        I don’t agree Alon as passengers travelling from Brixton already can transfer to the Northern line at Stockwell and passengers using the new Battersea extension wishing to use the Victoria line will be able to make a transfer at Warren Street or Euston. The huge crowds that arise at Vauxhall and Brixton in the morning will not dissipate and adding to them from the Battersea extension will not add some magical lubrication. The crowds regularly lead to temporary closure of Vauxhall station to manage the flow and to avoid the likelihood of deaths through crushes occurring in the tunnels.

        Sometimes the counter intuitive makes more sense. For example I have regularly needed to travel to Euston from Waterloo and all the official guidance pushes you either to use the Northern line (no changes required) or if travelling to Waterloo on South Western trains to make the transfer to the Victoria line at Vauxhall. Both are hellish. The clever but counter intuitive mode is to take the Bakerloo line from Waterloo to Oxford Circus and to change there to the Victoria line going north. The interchange is especially easy at this station and as the bulk of Vic line passengers get off at Oxford Circus you can usually get a seat on both the Bakerloo and get Victoria and this is at the height of the rush hour!

        • Alon Levy

          Stockwell gets you to the Bank branch but not to the Charing Cross branch. For destinations in the north it’s possible to connect at Euston, but for more central destinations like Charing Cross that would involve a lot of backtracking.

        • Alon Levy

          By the way, I do want to talk about London’s station pedestrian circulation problems eventually. There’s an obvious explanation why they should be so much worse than in peer cities – London has old lines built with TBMs – but the explanation may not be true; evidently it’s not good on the Victoria line either. But evidently these problems are fixable – TfL is investing in that at Bank. Spending money on improving circulation at Vauxhall is likely to have high benefit/cost ratio, since it makes Crossrail 2 less urgent.

          • RichardB

            Alon thank you for your response. One point – you are mistaken you can access both the Charing Cross and the City Northern line branches at Stockwell as well as the Victoria. The two Northern line branches bifurcate beyond Stockwell at Kennington. A further advantage of interchange stations on the Victoria is that in many cases the change is especially easy if you are travelling in the same direction. A good example is Oxford Circus where the two north bound and the two south bound lines of the Bakerloo and Victoria lines are paired by direction with a very short pedestrian interchange entirely on the level (i.e. no stairs are required to make the interchange). This was one of the design features of Victoria line stations. Of course such facilities do not work if a third line is present for example the Central line platforms at Oxford Circus.

          • Alon Levy

            I thought that the plan was to only send Bank trains to Morden and Charing Cross trains to Battersea? Already today my understanding is that most Charing Cross branch trains terminate at Kennington and only a few continue to Morden. And London Reconnections is saying that there’s work being done at Camden Town to improve transfer capacity, so that after the Battersea extension opens the Northern line can be severed in two, with one of the northern branches permanently going to Charing Cross and Battersea and the other to Bank and Morden, so that the two central branches can have different frequencies (peakier on Bank, less peaky on Charing Cross, presumably).

            And yes, Victoria has the problem of being too useful, so everyone crowds it. I doubt anyone’s going to transfer Victoria -> Northern to go to Tottenham Court Road, unless maybe they’re trying to connect to Crossrail. This is why I bring up Trafalgar Square – that area is kind of far from the Victoria line, and is very well-served by the Charing Cross branch. It doesn’t have the ridership of Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus, but it’s still pretty busy.

          • Michael James

            Alon Levy 2018/03/14 – 15:47

            By the way, I do want to talk about London’s station pedestrian circulation problems eventually. There’s an obvious explanation why they should be so much worse than in peer cities – London has old lines built with TBMs …

            By that I guess you are referring to the fact that most of the LU is deep underground and bringing people up to the street is a slow process (and over-caution in running those looong escalators slower than they should; so slow I can actually outpace them by walking up the adjacent steps). That must be part of it, but I have always thought it was institutional too. Before e-ticketing (and maybe still …) they were obsessed with checking tickets at exits and this caused a pile-up of people trying to exit. (Yet another irritating aspect of using the LU and which I compared unfavourably to Paris. Even at Chatelet, with the biggest crowds in Europe, you don’t get a pileup at exits because you just walk quickly thru.) The entire rail network is afflicted with this kind of nickel-and-dime nitpicking, and this outcome is a part of the real cost. The convoluted fare structures make it worse (and I suppose the need for enforcement).

          • Michael James

            Hah, the coincidences in life. Just after writing my last comment complaining about London ticket inspectors I read this (below) in France magazine. It is the 27th anniversary of Serge Gainsbourg’s death (2 March 1991) and in a few weeks the 90th anniversary of his birth (2 April 1928) so there will be plenty of musings on the artist. The Anglophone world will know him thru the banned 60’s classic “Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus” with his then partner (and mother of Charlotte) Jane Birkin doing an early Meg Ryan/Sally performance; and perhaps some hits like Brigitte Bardot’s Harley Davidson, but he wrote 550 songs and here’s one specially for this blog or Metrophiles/Peridromophiles:

            “Unrepentantly provocative from the start, he melded a fierce intellect and a clear suspicion of authority to produce controversial lyrics and uncomfortable personal appearances.
            One of his first recorded successes was 1958’s Le Poinconneur des Lilas a song that described the humanity-sapping work of a Paris metro worker who spent all day punching holes in endless tickets. The song ends with the main character fantasising about punching a hole in his own head—with a bullet.

            It is not clear if this song is the reason for creating the Jardin Serge Gainsbourg, a park directly above the covered portion of the Peripherique at the Porte des Lilas in the south-western corner of the 19th arrondissement. Next to the Metro station Porte des Lilas of line 11.

            The park was inaugurated in 2010 in a ceremony by Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

            I’m sure Alon will be rushing off to pay homage at the restful park while dreaming of ticket collectors …

          • Steve

            Alon, you are right that all trains from Morden will go to Bank, but that doesn’t really matter, since both Stockwell and Kennington are cross-platform interchanges. Unless it would be a cross-platform interchange at Vauxhall, passengers from Brixton to Charing cross can still go faster by transfering at Stockwell and Kennington.

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  6. adirondacker12800

    has a brutal number of misses: ABCD/2-3, ACE/1-2-3, AC-F/2-3-4-5, AC-G/2-3-4-5-BQ-DNR, BD/NQRW, BDFM/NQRW, BD/JZ, E/1, E/F, M/NW, R/7, F/BD-NQ, F/NRW, F-Q/4-5-6, F/NW, G/7, G/JMZ.

    You are going to have to be more specific. I’m trying really reallly realllllly hard to understand why if I’m on a 1 train I’d want to transfer to an E train or vice versa. Reallly hard. If I was possessed of that odd and peculiar urge there is a free transfer at Times Square. ABCD/2,3? At Columbus Circle? There’s the 1 train. ACE/1,2,3? At 14th? You don’t mean at Greenwich and Seventh Ave. South? R/7? where? there’s a free transfer at Times Square. ….there was someone, I think on Second Ave. Sagas, about how on Saturdays he had a three seat ride. Something to do with the B train.. there were at least two ways to work around his conundrum using Saturday service patterns. With all the options in New York there is usually more than one way to skin a cat. Be more specific.

    • Alon Levy

      The 1/E miss at 50th-53rd is big for connections from the Upper West Side or Morningside Heights to Queens. It would always be a chore to get from Columbia to JFK on the subway, so I’d shell out for the LIRR. From the East Side it was a piece of cake, and I vaguely remember using the subway from 145th on the A/B/C/D and connecting to the E via Columbus Circle and 7th/53rd; A-B-E is a three-seat ride, but one of the transfers is cross-platform, and if I get the D then it’s a two-seat ride.

      • adirondacker12800

        Huh? I’m not going to go look at maps of where platforms are. I imagine that 50th and Broadway is closer to 50th and 8th than it is to 53rd and 7th. If you have an unlimited Metro Card go right ahead and do whatever you want. Digging a concourse so you can get to the airport 5 minutes faster isn’t a top priority. Change at Times Square if you don’t want to spring for an LIRR fare.

        • HalMallon

          Looking @ Google maps, the north end of the 1 50th St station ends around mid-block on Broadway between 51st/52nd…The west end of the E/B/D 7th Ave/53rd station is just east of Broadway/53rd…A connection tunnel could probably be built, but it would be a long walk @ about a block and a half…

      • HalMallon

        Coming from Columbia on the Upper West Side/Morningside Heights, you probably would have been better off just staying on the A train and transferring to the AirTrain @ Howard Beach…the trip may have been a few minutes longer, but with luggage, it would probably be worth it…

        • adirondacker12800

          He can go to Times Square, a whole extra stop! and change trains there. He can get on a B or D if he isn’t already on one. Or he could go to Penn Station and use the LIRR. Or just take the A to Howard Beach. Or do something odd like change to the J at Fulton Street or Broadway Junction. Or odd like take the L from 14th Street to Broadway Junction and change to the J for Jamaica or the A for Howard Beach. Or the 7 to Jackson Heights and change to the E there. None of those are good enough, there should be a free transfer, off the street, in the general vicinity of Broadway and 52nd.

  7. Adam

    What’s your opinion on how the new radial line in Los Angeles, the west Santa Ana branch, should intersect the four lines downtown?

    Basically locals around union station have said they don’t want any more rail construction (after twenty years of rail construction in their area), and now metro is considering the west Santa Ana branch not terminating at union station.

    This is possibly Good as metro used to have A yellow line that was supposed to be radial to downtown, bisecting Glendale, and this yellow line proposal could be revived as a northern extension of the west Santa Ana branch.

    And this is good because the WSAB Terminating downtown is where all the jobs are, and potentially connects to the other four lines

    You can see their map here.

    Keep in mind that the regional connector had a potential infill station at 5th and flower (mixed due to lack of funding) which is currently a gigantic cavern used to extract the TBM.

    Also keep in mind that prior studies have concluded that the foundations of the fourth street traffic tunnel means notunneling can be done under 4th Street.

    It would seem to me the ideal radial connections would be to intersect the red&purple lines at Pershing square and intersect the blue, expo, and gold lines at fifth and flower with an infill station.

    Metro seems to think that a single connection point at Pershing square or at 7th metro would be sufficient. But 7th metro would probably be one of the most insanely expensive options to engineer.

    What do you think, would a single connection point be sufficient, or should it connect at two stations instead?


  8. Wanderer

    To me, missing Union Station on new rail lines in Los Angeles is questionable. That means missing Amtrak, intercity buses, Metrolink (which someday could be a real regional rail network), Flyaway to LAX, some El Monte Busway services. Not to mention High Speed Rail if we manage to get it. Union Station is also a better place to connect to buses to the north and east (like Glendale) than Downtown. From Downtown on those buses you’re slogging through an extra mile or two of terrible traffic.

    The good thing about the LA rail system is that it’s increasingly serving the region’s multiple job centers. Downtown LA is one of those centers, but shouldn’t necessarily be the single determining destination. Nobody loves having rail construction, but the value of property near Union Station has been multiplied by the rail construction.

    • Eric

      One can expect that as Union Station develops more service (upgraded Metrolink as well as HSR) it will tend to sprout an “edge city” of dense development, similar to Midtown Manhattan in relation to Downtown Manhattan, and property values will rise even more.

    • Herbert

      There are a number of cities in Germany that have a historic bus or tramway interchange point that is different from the central station. However, most of them are slowly but surely moving lines so they also serve the central station (e.g. Dresden has most of its tram lines connect at Postplatz, but you can also get a few connections at Hauptbahnhof)

      The most egregious example of missing local-intercity connections is Berlin, where the new Hauptbahnhof was built without any U-Bahn link (whereas the previous central station of West Berlin, Bahnhof Zoo has three U-Bahn lines) and no North-South S-Bahn or any Tram. They are now fixing all of that but at horrific cost and I must ask why they didn’t chose a location for the main station that was better connected to begin with.

      I mean yes, Hauptbahnhof sits on the existing East-West Stadtbahn, which is the main trunk for the Berlin S-Bahn but it is missed by the 1930s North South S-Bahn (the intersection of those is the former border station Friedrichstraße) and they had to build a totally new tunnel for long distance trains approaching from north or south (which is incompatible with S-Bahn). In addition to that critics say it is oversized, but I’d consider that a feature not a bug, after all, traffic will increase a lot as Berlin gets better connected; there is a lot of potential towards the East and North in particular

      • adirondacker12800

        Because 90 years ago people didn’t curl up in a fetal position clutching their smartphone at the prospect of changing trams/trains/buses and they did something cheap not especially bestest goodest ever?

      • Alon Levy

        Was it not possible to use Friedrichstrasse as the new Hauptbahnhof? I guess there would be no north-south capacity, but maybe Berlin could have gotten away with a two- rather than four-track north-south intercity tunnel.

          • Herbert

            Plus there was quite a bit of unused space at Lehrter Bahnhof, not so much at Friedrichstraße

          • Michael James

            Berlin lays claim to be the capital of Europe. Looking at transit maps the Hauptbahnhof looks entirely logical. Indeed it was specifically built for those (new & old) North-South links, esp. the links to the (eventual) new mega-airport (merged from Berlin’s previous three airports). Though entirely practical this was also heavily sympolic (meeting of new north-south with east-west rail connections in the reunified Germany). So it has mainline rail, S-bahn, eventual U-bahn and airport fast links–almost a combo of Gare du Nord + Chatelet–so exactly what is anyone complaining about? The cost! Typically Anglophone economic rationalism, and precisely why the Anglohone world of big-city transit is in such an unmitigated mess. (It seems Trump is determined to wreck Gateway, seemingly for entirely petty political/personal reasons–or Christie told him too, same thing.)
            Guys, it’s called planning.

            Besides it is magnificent (and I haven’t been there but I am sure it is where I will arrive on my next visit to the city). I doubt any new media in Berlin will fail to feature it. It is the closing scenes of the Liam Neeson, Diane Kruge thriller Unknown) and has featured several times in the tv spy-thriller Berlin Station (whose name may even be inspired by it?). It was the central station Berlin deserved.

          • Alon Levy

            People in Germany are complaining about the very high costs of infrastructure, like the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport disaster, or the Berlin-Munich high-speed line, which has been compromised down from 3 hours to 4 hours one-way trip and has more tunnels than SNCF would ever build.

            Trump is wrecking Gateway because he doesn’t like Schumer. Christie has nothing to do with it – Christie supported Gateway, and isn’t especially close to Trump anymore, Trump having used him to gain legitimacy in 2016 and then purged him over his having put Jared Kushner’s father in prison for corruption.

          • Michael James

            Alon Levy 2018/03/18 – 11:14

            People in Germany are complaining about the very high costs of infrastructure, like the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport disaster

            Yes, as I have commented before, this is due to Germany’s insidious adoption of neoliberal economics, especially under the totally inflexible ideologue Schäuble (finally he has been moved out of the treasury). Many media commentators are saying the new coalition, with initially unwilling partners SPD, is awful. I agree but for diametrically opposite reasons. It seems the extreme partisanship seen in the Anglosphere infects Germany too. They say the problem is the largest opposition party will be the far-right AfD, but they’re wrong, that is merely the symptom. The real problem is the size of the CDU/CSU and their inflexibility–indeed Merkel is the ultimate cause and nothing much will change until she retires. They need a Macron-style total realignment of members/parties.

            At any rate, the high costs of infrastructure don’t have a history of ever reversing, so what is one to do? Build nothing for decades like the increasingly decrepit Anglosphere? These governments end up spending the same amount of their country’s wealth just on very unproductive things like wars or tax cuts for the already-wealthy. I don’t think it is coincidental that the BBI debacle occurred during this neo-lib period of German politics; note the initial attempts to privatise it.

  9. le_loup

    NYC: I noticed this week that they just opened up a corridor that runs by the the oculus and that now links R/W to E and therefore to Chambers A-C/1-2-3 as well . Basically Fulton / WTC / Chambers is one big station where A-C-E-1-2-3-J-Z-R-W are linked. The WTC 1 station is still under construction but you can stay in the transfer zone and pick up the 1 at Chambers

  10. le_loup

    Sorry . New correction. Just thought it through in my head: you can’t get to WTC from Fulton Sta and stay within the transfer zone. So there are two separate stations: Fulton: (4/5/6-J/Z-A/C-2/3) and WTC/Chambers (R/W-1/2/3-A/C/E). Really too bad as there is a new underground tunnel linking the two.

  11. po8crg

    The one big central miss in London is the SSL (Metro/H&C/Circle) connection to the Victoria and Northern lines at Euston. There is a connection to the Victoria and to the Bank branch of the Northern at the next stop (King’s Cross-St Pancras), but the Charing Cross branch has no connection.

    However, the current redevelopment of Euston station is going to include an in-system transfer between Euston and Euston Square stations, which will provide that connection. It’ll probably be a long walk – it is a long walk above ground at the moment – but it will be a connection, and you won’t have to face the weather.

    A number of the misses are OSIs (free transfers if you walk above ground from station to station), and some are physically very close, and for some others there are good alternative connections (e.g. Central to Overground northbound has an alternative connection at Stratford) but the Piccadilly/Central gaps in West London are awful, especially as there are so many missed connections with national rail out there.

  12. Herbert

    What about moving existing stations to make a transfer possible?

    In Berlin they currently extend U5 to link with U55 (as in “fuse the two lines into one) and will move a stop along U6 slightly north to have an interchange station (U5/U6) at “Unter den Linden”

    Is this a good idea? When is it not worth the cost? When is it?

    • Eric

      Depends what the cost is.

      I don’t want to speak for Alon, but I would think “definitely yes” when the station is above ground, and “usually not” when it’s below ground.

      • James

        They’re moving the U6 station literally two blocks, which seems useless. But they are building the new U5 station anyway, and I have no idea what kind of infrastructure is already there on the U6.

  13. Alex

    also the Victoria line and Charing Cross branch of the Northern line at Euston

    This paragraph needs re-organising. I think you mean the gap between Euston Square on the subsurface lines and Euston on the Northern and Victoria lines. You *can* transfer between the Victoria and either branch of the Northern at Euston, although the Victoria-Northern (Charing Cross) transfer is shorter at Warren Street and lets you stay on the faster Victoria line another stop.

  14. Bgriff

    I assume you already realize this but not totally clear — the Toei and Tokyo Metro lines are actually separate systems, like the IRT, BMT and IND once were in New York. Even at stations where they are marked for transfer, like Roppongi, the connections actually require exiting the fare gates and re-entering, often after walking a long distance through underground tunnels, and paying a separate fare (though they do allow you to stay underground, at least). Most of the missed connections you mention involve the Toei-Tokyo Metro divide. So while it might be marginally more convenient for passengers if the connections were not missed, if those connections were filled in they likely wouldn’t be used all that much as it would get expensive for passengers.

    And for that matter, there are actually many more rail lines in Tokyo that function as rapid transit, so arguably if you are going to count Tokyo Metro-Toei missed connections, you should also count missed connections to the main JR lines (the Yamanote and Chuo) and to some of the other mainline rail lines that run near to Tokyo. Though in all of those cases, making such a connection would require paying a second fare.

    • Bgriff

      (I guess I should correct myself to say that Tokyo Metro and Toei do have integrated fares so it’s not really a second fare, though you pay a bit more to switch between the two, and you do have to pass faregates regardless. So if you count any connection that requires passing faregates as a missed connection, all Tokyo Metro line-Toei line transfers would be missed connections.)

    • Alon Levy

      In New York, there are no missed connections within each of the original three systems (and only two between the IRT and BMT); there are a handful between postwar lines like 63rd Street Tunnel and the rest, but for the most part the misses are IND/IRT and IND/BMT. But in Tokyo there are a bunch of misses within each of the two systems, like Asakusa/Shinjuku, Tozai/Fukutoshin, and Chiyoda/Marunouchi around Ochanomizu.

      • adirondacker12800

        If you are in Queens and want to change to the Lexington Avenue line there are other places you can do that. Or in Manhattan.

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