Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Subway Turnstiles In Brooklyn to Go 'Green,' Power Trains

Brooklyn will be the first borough to experiment with new "green" subway turnstiles that may actually produce enough "man power" to move the trains running through Brooklyn.

Starting today, turnstiles in Downtown Brooklyn stations from Borough Hall to Atlantic Avenue along the 2 and 3 line will be retrofitted with a nearly friction-free crankshaft arrangement that will allow them to "collect" energy as they are rotated by subway passengers.

"The loss from friction has been reduced so much that an amazing percentage of the energy from rotation is conserved," said Dr. Gregory Harris, physics professor at Polytechnic University of NYU in Downtown Brooklyn, a consultant on the project.

Phyllis Mulligan, of the MTA's Conservation Board, estimated that an average subway train, not quite fully loaded, would achieve a 10 mph forward thrust with every thousand passenger turns.

"The more passengers going through the turnstiles, the faster the trains will go," she said, adding that number 2 and 3 trains would "zoom" during rush hour.

There is a downside, she said. "There will be significant slowdown on holidays and off hours. But most people don't have to get anywhere quickly at those times."

"We're hoping that passengers will be so enthusiastic about this new technology that they'll each give the turnstiles a couple of extra spins," she told McBrooklyn.

But Mike Stephens, spokesperson for the Straphangers Campaign, pointed out that passengers would have to swipe their Metrocards for each spin of the turnstile. "No matter how 'green' passengers feel, we suspect that the MTA is looking to unfairly profit from consumer enthusiasm," he said.

Happy April 1.
Photo courtesy of Avon Engineering

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1 comment:

Frances said...

This is surely good news regarding how a security turnstile could produce enough energy to run trains!