Independent Subway System

Independent Subway System

The Independent Subway System (IND or ISS), formerly known as the Independent City–Owned Subway System (ICOS) or the Independent City–Owned Rapid Transit Railroad, was a rapid transit rail system in New York City that is now part of the New York City Subway. It was first constructed as the "Eighth Avenue Line" in Manhattan in 1932.

One of three rail networks that became part of the modern New York City subway, the IND was intended to be fully owned and operated by the municipal government, in contrast to the privately operated or jointly-funded Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) companies. It was merged with these two networks in 1940.

The original IND service lines are the modern subways, A through G lines. In addition, the BMT's R now runs partly on IND trackage, and the Rockaway Park Shuttle and V supplement the A and F, respectively. For operational purposes, the IND and BMT lines are referred to jointly as the B Division.


s of the IRT and BMT.

The first IND line was the Eighth Avenue Line in Manhattan, opened on September 10, 1932; for a while the whole system was colloquially known as the Eighth Avenue Subway. The original IND system was entirely underground in the four boroughs that it served, with the exception of a short section of the IND Culver Line containing two stations spanning the Gowanus Canal in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.


In the early 1920s, Mayor John Hylan proposed a complex series of city-owned and operated rapid transit lines to compete with the BMT and IRT, especially their elevated lines. The New York City Transit Commission was formed in 1921 to develop a plan to reduce overcrowding on the subways. The original plans included:

*Two major trunk lines in midtown Manhattan, with one running under Eighth Avenue and one under Sixth Avenue, which already had an elevated line
*A crosstown subway under 53rd Street (connecting with the Eighth and Sixth Avenue subways) running under the East River to Queens Plaza (Long Island City), meeting with a BrooklynQueens crosstown line, and continuing under Queens Boulevard and Hillside Avenue to 179th Street, where bus service would converge
*A subway under the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, diverging from the Eighth Avenue Line in Manhattan at 145th Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue

These lines were completely built as planned. All but a short portion of the Culver Line (over the Gowanus Canal) are underground.

Opening and progress through 1933

On September 10, 1932, the Eighth Avenue Line opened from 207th Street to Chambers Street, inaugurating the IND. In February 1933 the Cranberry Street Tunnel opened, along with the Eighth Avenue Line from Chambers Street to Jay Street–Borough Hall. On the northern end of the construction, in the Bronx, the connecting Concourse Line opened on July 1, 1933 from 205th Street to 145th Street.

The following month, the Queens Boulevard Line opened from Roosevelt Avenue–Jackson Heights to the lower level of 50th Street on the Eighth Avenue Line, connecting the Queens and Manhattan lines. In Queens, the Crosstown Line opened from Queens Plaza to Nassau Avenue.

Finally, on October 7, 1933, the Culver Line opened from Jay Street to Church Avenue.

econd Manhattan trunk line, 1936–1937

On January 1, 1936, the Sixth Avenue Line opened from West Fourth Street (where it splits from the Eighth Avenue Line) to East Broadway.

On April 9, 1936 the Fulton Street Line opened from Court Street to Rockaway Avenue, along with connecting tracks from Jay Street. The Sixth Avenue Line and Rutgers Street Tunnel opened from East Broadway to Jay Street.

On December 31, 1936, the Queens Boulevard Line was extended from Roosevelt Avenue to Kew Gardens–Union Turnpike. In 1937, service was extended again to 169th Street.

On July 1, 1937, the Crosstown Line opened from Nassau Avenue to Bergen Street.


A major expansion of the IND was first planned in 1929. It would have added over 100 miles of new routes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, merging with, intersecting or extending the existing IND rights-of way. It was claimed that this expansion, combined with the operating IRT, BMT, and IND lines, would provide subway service within a half mile of anyone's doorstep. Pricing—excluding acquisition and equipment costs—was estimated at US$438 million; the entire first phase had only cost US$338 million ("including" acquisition and equipment costs). Not long after these plans were unveiled, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred and the Great Depression was ushered in. The plans essentially became history overnight. Various forms of the expansion resurfaced in 1931, 1939, 1940, 1968, and 1972 but were never realized. This was the time when the IND had planned widespread elevated construction.

The Second Avenue Subway, one of the main parts of the plan, is under construction as of 2007.

1940 Unification

On December 15, 1940, the unbroken local tracks of the Sixth Avenue Line opened from its connection to the Eighth Avenue Line at 59th Street–Columbus Circle to West Fourth Street–Washington Square, along with the express tracks north of 34th Street–Herald Square.
*December 30, 1946: The Fulton Street Line opens from Rockaway Avenue to Broadway–East New York.
*June 1, 1946: The Fulton Street Line spur to Court Street closes. (This spur would have been extended into lower Manhattan under 1939 plans.)
*November 28, 1948: The Fulton Street Line opens from Broadway–East New York to Euclid Avenue.
*December 11, 1950: The Queens Boulevard Line is extended from 169th Street to its current terminus at 179th Street.
*October 30, 1954: The Culver Ramp opens, connecting the IND Culver Line to the BMT Culver Line at Ditmas Avenue. IND trains begin operating over the BMT Culver Line to Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue.
*April 29, 1956: The Liberty Avenue Elevated, the easternmost section of the former BMT Fulton Street Line, is connected to the IND Fulton Street Line. IND service is extended from Euclid Avenue out to Lefferts Boulevard.
*November 26, 1967: The Chrystie Street Connection opens, connecting the Sixth Avenue Line to the Manhattan Bridge.
*November 27, 1967: The Sixth Avenue Line express tracks open from 34th Street–Herald Square to West Fourth Street–Washington Square.
*July 1, 1968: The Sixth Avenue Line is extended from 47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center to 57th Street; the remaining portion of the Chrystie Street Connection opens, connecting the Sixth Avenue Line to the Williamsburg Bridge.
*December 11, 1988: The IND Archer Avenue Line opens from Jamaica Center to Briarwood–Van Wyck Boulevard.
*October 29, 1989: The IND 63rd Street Line—including the 63rd Street Tunnel—opens from 57th Street to 21st Street–Queensbridge.
*December 16, 2001: The 63rd Street Line is extended from 21st Street to 36th Street, where it merges with the Queens Boulevard Line.

In the 1950s, the IND was extended over two pieces of elevated line that were disconnected from the original BMT system: the BMT Culver Line in 1954, and the Liberty Avenue extension of the BMT Fulton Street Line in 1956. The IND had surface running to and across Jamaica Bay, along with elevated tracks on the viaduct on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, the same year. The Queens additions occurred when the Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road was added to the division after the 1950 fire on the trestle across Jamaica Bay.

The IND as built

The Bronx and Manhattan

*Concourse Line: under the Grand Concourse from 206th Street south to 161st Street, then west under the Harlem River into Manhattan and south to the Eighth Avenue Line (parallel to the IRT Jerome Avenue Line)
*Eighth Avenue Line: from 207th Street, south roughly under Broadway; under Saint Nicholas Avenue, Eighth Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, Sixth Avenue (with a junction with the Sixth Avenue Line/Houston Street Line), Church Street, and Fulton Street; under the East River via the Cranberry Street Tunnel into Brooklyn, to the Fulton Street Line (parallel to the IRT Ninth Avenue Line)
*Sixth Avenue Line: from a split from the Eighth Avenue Line at 53rd Street, two blocks east to Sixth Avenue, then south under Sixth Avenue to a junction with the Eighth Avenue Line north of Houston Street, then east under Houston Street and south under Essex Street and Rutgers Street to the Rutgers Street Tunnel to Brooklyn - parallel to the IRT Sixth Avenue Elevated
*Queens Boulevard Line: from the 53rd Street Tunnel from Queens, west under 53rd Street past a junction with the Sixth Avenue Line to merge with the Eighth Avenue Line - partly parallel to the IRT Sixth Avenue Elevated connection to the IRT Ninth Avenue Elevated along 53rd Street

East River Crossings

*53rd Street Tunnel - along the Queens Boulevard Line
*Rutgers Street Tunnel - connecting the Sixth Avenue Line to the Culver Line
*Cranberry Street Tunnel - connecting the Eighth Avenue Line to the Fulton Street Line

Brooklyn and Queens

*Queens Boulevard Line from 169th Street, west under Hillside Avenue, Queens Boulevard, Broadway, Northern Boulevard and 44th Drive to the 53rd Street Tunnel to Manhattan
*Crosstown Line from the Queens Boulevard Line at Queens Plaza, south under Jackson Avenue, Manhattan Avenue, Union Avenue, Marcy Avenue and Lafayette Avenue, coming into the middle of the Fulton Street Line and connecting south into the Culver Line
*Culver Line (originally the Smith Street Line, later the Coney Island Line) from the Rutgers Street Tunnel, south under Jay Street and Smith Street, coming to the surface and turning east over the Gowanus Canal at Ninth Street, then back underground, under Ninth Street, Prospect Park West, Prospect Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Mcdonald Avenue, ending at Church Street (later extended south along the BMT Culver Line)
*Fulton Street Line from Court Street (now the New York Transit Museum) and the Cranberry Street Tunnel east under Fulton Street to Rockaway Avenue (later extended east along the BMT Liberty Avenue Elevated) - parallel to the BMT Fulton Street Elevated

The following extra extensions and connections were built after consolidation in 1940:
*Queens Boulevard Line extended east to 179th Street
*Archer Avenue Line from the Queens Boulevard Line at Van Wyck Boulevard south and east to Jamaica Center
*60th Street Tunnel Connection, connecting the BMT's 60th Street Tunnel to the Queens Boulevard Line
*63rd Street Line, connecting the Sixth Avenue Line and the Queens Boulevard Line through the 63rd Street Tunnel, and connecting to the BMT 63rd Street Line
*Chrystie Street Connection, connecting the Houston Street Line under Second Avenue to the BMT lines over the Williamsburg Bridge (Nassau Street Line) and Manhattan Bridge (Manhattan Bridge Line)
*Culver Line extended south along the ex-BMT Culver Line
*Fulton Street Line extended east to and over the BMT Liberty Avenue Elevated

ervice letters

Pre-Chrystie Street Connection service is shown here; for more details, see the individual service pages. Terminals shown are the furthest the line reached.

External links

* [ - The Independent Subway]

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