IND Eighth Avenue Line

IND Eighth Avenue Line

Infobox rail line
name=IND Eighth Avenue Line

caption=The A, C, and E, which use the Eighth Avenue Line through Midtown Manhattan, are colored blue.
type=Rapid transit
system=New York City Subway
start=207th Street
end=North of Jay Street–Borough Hall
owner=City of New York
operator=New York City Transit Authority
linelength=14 mi [cite news|title=New Subway Link Opens Wednesday|url=|work=New York Times|date=January 29, 1933|page=3] (23 km)
el=600V DC third rail

The Eighth Avenue Line (officially the Washington Heights, Eighth Avenue and Church Street Line, [cite news|title=New York's Subways: the Network Today and Its Future|url=|work=New York Times|date=March 6, 1932|page=XX3] [New York Appellate Division Reports - OSBORN v. O’BRIEN, 239 App. Div. 453 (1933)] and commonly known as the A-C-E) is a rapid transit line in New York City, United States, and is part of the B Division of the New York City Subway. Opened in 1932, it was the first line of the Independent Subway System (IND), and the "Eighth Avenue Subway" name was also applied by New Yorkers to the entire IND system. [cite news|title=Old Jamaica Farm Divided for Homes|url=|work=New York Times|date=October 8, 1939|page=153: "the property is near the Woodhaven Boulevard station of the Eighth Avenue subway"] [cite news|title=Delaney Assails Transit Sitdowns|url=|work=New York Times|date=January 31, 1943|page=26: "the Jamaica inspection barn of the Eighth Avenue Subway System, in Kew Gardens, Queens"] Most of the line has four tracks, with one local and one express track in each direction, except for the extreme north and south ends, where only the two express tracks continue. The line is signaled as Line "A", with tracks A1, A3, A4, and A2 from west to east, [cite map|publisher=New York City Transit Authority Maintenance of Way Department|title=PDFlink| [ General Signal Arrangement, Sta. 943+00 to Sta. 971+50] |1.49 MiB |edition=November 15, 1968] running from approximately 800 at the south end [cite web|author=Joseph Brennan|url=|title=Abandoned Stations: Court St, and Hoyt-Schermerhorns Sts platforms|accessdate=2007-04-19] to 1540 at the north end (measured in feet). [Calculated from the length of 14 mil]

The line runs from 207th Street in Inwood, Manhattan south to an interlocking north of Jay Street–Borough Hall in Brooklyn Heights, including large sections under St. Nicholas Avenue, Central Park West, and Eighth Avenue. The entire length is underground, though the 207th Street Yard, which branches off near the north end, is on the surface. Flying junctions are provided with the IND Concourse Line, IND Sixth Avenue Line, and IND Queens Boulevard Line.

The whole line is served at all times by the A train, which runs express except during late nights. The C provides local service south of 168th Street while the A runs express. In addition, the B provides weekday local service and the D full-time express service between the Concourse Line (145th Street) and Sixth Avenue Line (59th Street–Columbus Circle) junctions, and the E runs local from the Queens Boulevard Line junction at 50th Street south to World Trade Center. The A, C, and E are colored blue on signs, while the B and D are orange since they use the Sixth Avenue Line through Midtown Manhattan.


The Eighth Avenue begins as a two-track subway under Broadway at 207th Street in Inwood. A flying junction just to the south brings two tracks from the 207th Street Yard between the main tracks, merging after Dyckman Street. The subway leaves Broadway to pass under Fort Tryon Park to the north end of Fort Washington Avenue, which it follows to roughly 175th Street before turning southeast under private property.

The small 174th Street Yard lies under Broadway, with two tracks exiting to the south under that roadway. When the George Washington Bridge was designed in the 1920s, provisions were made for a lower deck that would carry these two tracks north from the yard and across the bridge, as well as two commuter rail tracks. [cite news|first=Austin J.|last=Tobin|authorlink=Austin J. Tobin|title=Addition to Bridge Upheld|url=|work=New York Times|date=May 10, 1960|page=36] [cite news|title=Across the Hudson by Rapid Transit|url=|work=New York Times|date=January 30, 1984|page=A16] However, when the lower level was added in 1962, it instead carried a roadway.

The two main tracks from Fort Washington Avenue enter Broadway near 171st Street, running underneath the yard tracks in a double-decker tunnel. A few blocks later, the lower tracks separate to straddle the yard tracks at 168th Street. The local/express split begins here, with the local tracks coming from the yard and the express tracks coming from Inwood. Contrary to standard practice, the two local tracks are in the center and the two express tracks are on the outside. Except during late nights, the local service (C) ends at 168th Street, reversing direction on the yard tracks; the A runs to 207th Street at all times, express except during late nights. South of 168th Street, the express (outer) tracks lower below the local tracks, forming another double-decker tunnel, this time under St. Nicholas Avenue.

North of 145th Street, the lower (express) tracks again rise into the center, and the three-track IND Concourse Line enters St. Nicholas Avenue below the four-track Eighth Avenue Line. 145th Street is a two-level transfer station, with two island platforms on each level. To the south, the Concourse Line tracks rise and merge with the Eighth Avenue Line, carrying the B onto the local tracks and the D onto the express tracks. The resulting four-track line continues south under St. Nicholas Avenue and Eighth Avenue (Frederick Douglass Boulevard), which becomes Central Park West at 110th Street.

Most of the line under Central Park West is built in two levels, with both local tracks to the west and only local stations. The two northbound tracks are above the two southbound tracks, allowing afternoon commuters to only climb one flight of stairs.Fact|date=April 2007 Approaching 59th Street–Columbus Circle, where Central Park West becomes Eighth Avenue, the subway again spreads out into a single four-track level.

A flying junction south of 59th Street takes B and D trains east under 53rd Street, merging with two tracks from 57th Street to become the four-track IND Sixth Avenue Line. The two-track IND Queens Boulevard Line, also in 53rd Street, curves south into a lower level of the 50th Street station, and merges to the south, taking E trains onto the local tracks. An unused southbound-only lower level at 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal was formerly accessed only from the southbound track from the Queens Boulevard Line. Plans for the 7 Subway Extension include partially demolishing the lower level to make room for the new IRT Flushing Line tracks.

The four-track line continues south under Eighth Avenue to 14th Street, where it turns southeast under Greenwich Avenue and south under Sixth Avenue, above the four-track IND Sixth Avenue Line. The two-level West Fourth Street–Washington Square station allows easy transfers between the two lines. Just to the south are track connections between the local tracks of each line, not used by current normal service patterns. The Sixth Avenue Line turns east into Houston Street after passing the connections.

Canal Street, under Sixth Avenue, is the last normal four-track station on the line. Crossovers in each direction, beyond the station, take C and late night A trains between the local tracks to the north and the express tracks to the south. As the subway turns from Sixth Avenue into Church Street, the southbound local track passes under the express tracks, bringing E trains to the east. At this point, a bellmouth originally intended for the never-built |date=October 2005|accessdate=2007-04-18]

The four tracks continue south under Church Street, with two separate but connected stations at World Trade Center at the end of the local tracks and Chambers Street on the express tracks. The two express tracks turn east under Fulton Street, crossing the East River through the Cranberry Street Tunnel into Cranberry Street in Brooklyn. Cranberry Street leads to High Street, from which the line turns south into Jay Street, straddled by the two-track IND Sixth Avenue Line from the Rutgers Street Tunnel. The Eighth and Sixth Avenue Lines end, becoming the IND Fulton Street Line and IND Culver Line, at crossovers (currently unused) allowing trains to switch between the two, north of Jay Street–Borough Hall. Both the A and C continue along the Fulton Street Line.


As early as March 1918, soon after the BMT Broadway Line opened to Times Square–42nd Street, plans were being considered for an extension beyond the stubs at 57th Street (which was not yet open) to the Upper West Side and Washington Heights via Central Park West (Eighth Avenue). [cite news|title=Plan a New Subway on Upper West Side|url=|work=New York Times|date=March 3, 1918|page=27] On August 3, 1923, the New York City Board of Estimate approved the Washington Heights Line, an extension of the Broadway Line to Washington Heights. The line was to have four tracks from Central Park West at 64th Street under Central Park West, Eighth Avenue, Saint Nicholas Avenue, and private property to 173rd Street, and two tracks under Fort Washington Avenue to 193rd Street. South of 64th Street, one two-track line would connect to the Broadway Line stubs at 57th Street, and another would continue under Eighth Avenue to 30th Street at Penn Station, with provisions to continue downtown. [cite news|title=Two Subway Routes Adopted by City|url=|work=New York Times|date=August 4, 1923|page=9] [cite news|title=Plans Now Ready to Start Subways|url=|work=New York Times|date=March 12, 1924|page=1]

Mayor John Hylan instead wanted to build an independent subway system, operated by the city. The New York City Board of Transportation gave preliminary approval to several lines in Manhattan, including one on Eighth Avenue, on December 9, 1924. The main portion of the already-approved Washington Heights Line - the mostly-four track line north of 64th Street - was included, but was to continue north from 193rd Street to 207th Street. South of 64th Street, the plan called for four tracks in Eighth Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, the planned extension of Sixth Avenue, and Church Street. Two tracks would turn east under Fulton Street or Wall Street and under the East River to Downtown Brooklyn. [cite news|title=Hylan Subway Plan Links Four Boroughs at $450,000,000 Cost|url=|work=New York Times|date=December 10, 1924|page=1]

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at St. Nicholas Avenue and 123rd Street on March 14, 1925. [cite news|title=Will Break Ground Today for New Uptown Subway|url=|work=New York Times|date=March 14, 1925|page=15] The majority of the Eighth Avenue Line, from Chambers Street north to 207th Street, was opened to the public just after midnight on September 10, 1932 after three days of operation on a normal schedule but without passengers.cite news|title=Gay Midnight Crowd Rides First Trains in New Subway|url=|work=New York Times|date=September 10, 1932|page=1] The Cranberry Street Tunnel, extending the express tracks east under Fulton Street to Jay Street–Borough Hall in Brooklyn, was opened for the morning rush hour on February 1, 1933.cite news|title=City Opens Subway to Brooklyn Today|url=|work=New York Times|date=February 1, 1933|page=19] The Jay–Smith–Ninth Street Line opened on March 20, 1933, extending the line beyond Jay Street–Borough Hall. [cite news|title=City Subway Adds a New Link Today|url=|work=New York Times|date=March 20, 1933|page=17]

When the subway opened in 1932, express (A) and local (AA) trains served the line; expresses did not run during late nights or Sundays. Expresses and late night/Sunday locals were sent south into Brooklyn in February 1933, and, when the IND Concourse Line opened on July 1, 1933, [cite news|title=New Bronx Subway Starts Operation|url=|work=New York Times|date=July 1, 1933|page=15] the C was added to the express service, while all locals became CC trains to the Concourse Line, forcing A trains to run local north of 145th Street. [cite map|publisher=Courtesy of the Board of Transportation of N.Y.C., printed in the Clarified Telephone Directories (Red Books) for New York City|title=PDFlink| [ Station Guide] |1.23 MiB , Independent City Owned Rapid Transit Railroad|edition=ca. 1937] The E was added to the local tracks south of 50th Street on August 19, 1933, when the IND Queens Boulevard Line opened. [cite news|title=Two Subway Units Open at Midnight|url=|work=New York Times|date=August 18, 1933|page=17] The final major change came on December 15, 1940, when the IND Sixth Avenue Line opened. The AA was brought back as a non-rush hour local service, becoming the BB and switching to the Sixth Avenue Line at 59th Street–Columbus Circle during rush hours. The CC was kept only during rush hours to provide local service south past 59th Street. Additionally the C became a rush hour-only service, replaced by a full-time D over the express tracks between the Concourse and Sixth Avenue Lines. [cite news|title=6th Ave. Tube Adds Two New Services|url=|work=New York Times|date=December 5, 1940|page=27] This created the pattern that has remained to this day, with five services during normal hours: the A express, B part-time local via Sixth Avenue (then BB), C local (then AA and CC), D express via Sixth Avenue, and E local from Queens.


tation listing

The IND Eighth Avenue lines serves the following stations.: *50th Street is accessible only in the southbound direction.


The line and track descriptions use information in [ track maps on] , later published in cite book|last=Dougherty|first=Peter|title=Tracks of the New York City Subway|year=2002|publisher=Peter Dougherty|oclc=49777633

External links

* [ IND 8th Avenue Line] (

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