BMT Broadway Line

BMT Broadway Line

The BMT Broadway Line is a rapid transit line of the B Division of the New York City Subway in Manhattan, New York City, United States. As of 2007, it is served by four services, all colored yellow: the N and Q on the express tracks and the R and W on the local tracks. The line is often referred to as the "N and R", [Randy Kennedy, New York Times, [ Honoring the Champions] , October 31, 2000, section B, page 10: "And the only reason she was standing in the middle of Broadway was that she was below it. Underground. In the N and R subway station."] [Susan Saulny, New York Times, [ In Subway Changes, W Follows V, but for Riders It's Not So Simple] , section B, page 1: "The Q, N, R and W trains would all run on N and R tracks in Manhattan."] since those were the only services on the line during the long years that the Manhattan Bridge south tracks were closed for rebuilding. The Broadway Line was built to give the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (later the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation) access to Midtown Manhattan. The BMT Broadway Line currently consists of mostly R160B, R68, R68A, and R46. It also consists of R32 and R40 as well as some R40M and R160A.

The line is named for its location under Broadway between Vesey Street and Seventh Avenue (Times Square). It also passes under Vesey Street, Whitehall Street, Trinity Place, and Church Street in Lower Manhattan, and Seventh Avenue, 59th Street, and 60th Street in Midtown. The local tracks stretch the entire length between the two East River tunnels: the Montague Street Tunnel to the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn and the 60th Street Tunnel to the BMT Astoria Line and 60th Street Tunnel Connection in Queens. Center express tracks exist between Canal Street and 57th Street, turning off at Canal Street to feed the south tracks on the Manhattan Bridge, and continuing north and east under Central Park as the BMT 63rd Street Line (presently unused, but planned to connect with the Second Avenue Subway). The Broadway Line was the only Manhattan outlet north of Delancey Street for the BMT's Brooklyn lines until 1967, when most BMT Brighton Line and BMT West End Line trains were moved to the IND Sixth Avenue Line via the new Chrystie Street Connection.

Extent and service

The BMT Broadway Line begins at the 60th Street Tunnel from Queens. It runs west under 60th Street as a two-track subway line, with stations at Lexington Avenue/59th Street and Fifth Avenue/59th Street. It then turns south to Seventh Avenue into the local tracks at 57th Street. This segment of the line carries the NYCS|N and NYCS|W services from the BMT Astoria Line and the NYCS|R service from the IND Queens Boulevard Line.

At the 57th Street station, the line joins two express tracks that enter the station from the north via the BMT 63rd Street Line. There is no scheduled BMT service on the 63rd Street Line at present. The BMT 63rd Street Line will carry the NYCS|Q service across 63rd Street and up the proposed Second Avenue Line. The express tracks at 57th Street are currently used as terminal tracks for the NYCS|Q train.

The BMT Broadway Line proceeds as a four-track subway down Seventh Avenue to its intersection with Broadway, and then continues down Broadway to a point north of Canal Street, where the express tracks carrying the NYCS|N and NYCS|Q services are lowered and turn sharply east into the Canal Street (formerly Broadway) station of the BMT Broadway Bridge Line.

Immediately after Canal Street, the express tracks resume again (originally they had been intended to run through) and serve as storage and turning tracks, bypassing the Canal Street local station and ending in the disused lower level of City Hall. The local tracks continue south as a two-track subway to Whitehall Street–South Ferry station. Whitehall Street–South Ferry is a three track, two-platform station, with the center track set up as a terminal track, currently used as the south terminal for NYCS|W trains. A pair of bellmouths exists here, allowing for a connection to a never-built East River tunnel south of the Montague Street Tunnel. It has been proposed to use this as part of the Lower Manhattan-Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project, connecting to the Court Street station (New York Transit Museum) in Brooklyn. [Community Consulting Services, Inc. in association with George Haikalis, Transportation Consultant, PDFlink| [ Better Transit for Brooklyn: A Proposal for a Brooklyn Transit Agenda] |2.46 MiB , revised April 2003, page 49] [Regional Rail Working Group, PDFlink| [ East River Tunnel] |687 KiB , page 4 (includes a map)]

The BMT Broadway Line then curves east carrying the NYCS|R service to a trailing junction with the BMT Nassau Street Line and enters the Montague Street Tunnel to Brooklyn.


The Public Service Commission adopted plans for what was known as the Broadway–Lexington Avenue route on December 31, 1907. This route began at the Battery and ran under Greenwich Street, Vesey Street, Broadway to Ninth Street, private property to Irving Place, and Irving Place and Lexington Avenue to the Harlem River. After crossing under the Harlem River into the Bronx, the route split at Park Avenue and 138th Street, with one branch continuing north to and along Jerome Avenue to Woodlawn Cemetery, and the other heading east and northeast along 138th Street, Southern Boulevard, and Westchester Avenue to Pelham Bay Park. In early 1908, the Tri-borough plan was formed, combining this route, the under-construction Centre Street Loop Subway in Manhattan and Fourth Avenue Subway in Brooklyn, a Canal Street Subway from the Fourth Avenue Subway via the Manhattan Bridge to the Hudson River, and several other lines in Brooklyn. [James Blaine Walker, [ Fifty Years of Rapid Transit, 1864-1917] , published 1918, pp. 207-223] [Engineering News, [ A New Subway Line for New York City] , Volume 63, No. 10, March 10, 1910]

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company submitted a proposal to the Commission, dated March 2, 1911, to operate the Tri-borough system (but under Church Street instead of Greenwich Street), as well as a branch along Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 59th Street from Ninth Street north and east to the Queensboro Bridge; the Canal Street Subway was to merge with the Broadway Line instead of continuing to the Hudson River. The city, the BRT, and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (which operated the first subway and four elevated lines in Manhattan) came to an agreement, and sent a report to the Board of Estimate on June 5, 1911. The line along Broadway to 59th Street was assigned to the BRT, while the IRT obtained the Lexington Avenue line, connecting with its existing route at 42nd Street–Grand Central. Construction began on Lexington Avenue on July 31, and on Broadway the next year. The Dual Contracts, two operating contracts between the city and the BMT and IRT, were adopted on March 4, 1913. [James Blaine Walker, [ Fifty Years of Rapid Transit, 1864-1917] , published 1918, pp. 224-241]

Because of the complicated history, the Broadway Line includes several remnants of earlier plans. The line was built as four tracks south to City Hall, where the local tracks were to end at the upper level, and the express tracks were to pass through the lower level, curving through Vesey Street into Church Street. However, the final plan had the express tracks splitting at Canal Street and passing under the northbound local track to the Manhattan Bridge. The tunnel south of City Hall was rebuilt to bring the upper local tracks down to the lower level north of Vesey Street, and the lower level at City Hall was never used for passenger service. [Joseph Brennan, [ Abandoned Stations: City Hall (BMT) lower level] , accessed March 21, 2007]

Unused construction is also present near the west end of the Queensboro Bridge. The original plan there was to build two one-track tunnels under 59th and 60th Streets, rising onto the bridge to Queens. However, plans were changed in 1915 to place both tracks in 60th Street and cross the East River in the 60th Street Tunnel, in part due to heavy vehicular traffic over the bridge. A piece of the 59th Street tunnel had already been built, concurrent with the construction of the IRT Lexington Avenue Subway, and became a walkway connecting the two side platforms of the IRT's 59th Street station. [Joseph Brennan, [ Abandoned Stations: Lexington Ave (BMT) unfinished platforms] , accessed March 21, 2007]

Another unused provision existed for many years north of 57th Street, where the two express tracks ended before being connected to the BMT 63rd Street Line in 1989. Plans were made, but never carried through, to build a line northwest through Central Park and under Eighth Avenue through the Upper West Side to Inwood, along the route later built as the IND Eighth Avenue Line. [Transit Commission, [ New Subways: Proposed Additions to Rapid Transit System] , 1922]

A short portion of the line, coming off the north side of the Manhattan Bridge through Canal Street to 14th Street–Union Square, opened on September 4, 1917.New York Times, [] "Open First Section of Broadway Line", September 5, 1917] An extension north to 42nd Street and south to Rector Street was completed on January 5, 1918.New York Times, [ Open New Subway to Times Square] , January 6, 1918] Further portions were opened south to Whitehall Street–South Ferry on September 20, 1918,Fact|date=March 2007 north to 57th Street on July 10, 1919,New York Times, [ Broadway End of Subway Opened] , July 10, 1919, page 36] and east to Lexington Avenue on September 1, 1919.New York Times, [ Subway to Open Two New Stations] , August 31, 1919, page 25] Both East River tunnels - the 60th Street Tunnel to Queensboro Plaza and the Montague Street Tunnel to DeKalb Avenue - opened on August 1, 1920, completing the Broadway Line. [New York Times, [ Broadway-Fifty-Ninth Street Extension of B.R.T. Subway] , August 1, 1920, page 92] [New York Times, [ New B.R.T. Lines Open] , August 2, 1920, page 17]

ervice history

At most times, the Broadway Line has had four services — two local and two express — during the day, with a third express service until the 1967 opening of the Chrystie Street Connection.
*1/NYCS|QT (BMT Brighton Line) local trains ran until 1967, when the NYCS|QT was discontinued. At that time, the EE was introduced, becoming part of the NYCS|N in 1976; the N became express and the NYCS|W became local in 2004.
*1/NYCS|Q (BMT Brighton Line) express trains were mostly moved to the IND Sixth Avenue Line as a relocated NYCS|D in 1967, but a few trips stayed as the NYCS|QB, later the NYCS|Q again. During the Manhattan Bridge reconstruction, from the 1980s until 2001, the Q mostly used the IND Sixth Avenue Line. When restored in 2001, the NYCS|Q became full-time, replacing the NYCS|D on the Brighton Line.
*2/NYCS|RR (BMT Fourth Avenue Line) trains (later NYCS|R) have run local over the Broadway Line since 1920.
*3/NYCS|T (BMT West End Line) trains ran express on the Broadway Line until 1967, when the T became part of the realigned NYCS|B} via the IND Sixth Avenue Line.
*4/NYCS|N (BMT Sea Beach Line) trains used the express tracks until the Manhattan Bridge reconstruction in the 1980s, when all NYCS|N trips became local. (Some had run local since the NYCS|EE was merged into the NYCS|N in 1976.) When the Manhattan Bridge south tracks reopened in 2001, the NYCS|W was introduced, at first running express; it became local in 2004, and the N moved back to the express tracks.
*Several other services have used the express tracks, including the NYCS|NX (Sea Beach, 1967-1968) and the NYCS|B (West End) and NYCS|D (Brighton) during closures of the Manhattan Bridge north tracks in the 1980s and 1990s.

The current set of four services — NYCS|N, NYCS|Q, NYCS|R, and NYCS|W — have used the line since July 22, 2001, when the south tracks on the Manhattan Bridge reopened, but until February 22, 2004, when the north tracks reopened, the NYCS|N was local and the NYCS|W express.

tation listing

NYCS service legend
alltimes = show
allexceptnights = show
nightsonly = show
nightsweekends = show
weekdaysonly = show
rushonly = show
rushpeak = show

* *49th Street is accessible northbound only; Cortlandt Street is accessible southbound only


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