BMT Broadway Line
|BMT Broadway Line|
Services that use the BMT Broadway Line have been colored yellow since 1979.
|Type||Rapid transit line|
|System||New York City Subway|
|Locale||Manhattan, New York City, NY|
|Termini||east of Lexington Avenue / 59th Street
south of Whitehall Street – South Ferry
|Daily ridership||1.3 million (about 338 million annually)|
|Opening||4 September 1917|
|Owner||City of New York|
|Operator(s)||New York City Transit Authority|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||600V DC third rail|
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 2010[update], it is served by three services, all colored sunflower yellow: the Q on the express tracks and the N R on the local tracks. The line is often referred to as the "N and R", 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 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 as a two-track subway line under 60th Street (east of Fifth Avenue) and 59th Street (west of Fifth Avenue), 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 – Seventh Avenue. This segment of the line carries the N Q services from the BMT Astoria Line and the 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 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 Q train on late nights and weekends.
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 N Q R services descend and turn sharply east into the Canal Street (formerly Broadway) station of the BMT Broadway – Manhattan 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, formerly used as the south terminal for now defunct W service. Now, the center track is currently only used during service disruptions. 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.
The New York 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.
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 Grand Central – 42nd Street. 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.
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 use 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.
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 under 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 Line, and became a walkway connecting the two side platforms of the IRT's 59th Street station.
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.
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. An extension north to Times Square – 42nd Street and south to Rector Street was completed on January 5, 1918. Further portions were opened south to Whitehall Street – South Ferry on September 20, 1918, north to 57th Street on July 10, 1919, and east to Lexington Avenue / 59th Street on September 1, 1919. 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.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2007)|
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/QT (BMT Brighton Line) local trains ran until 1967, when the QT was discontinued. At that time, the EE was introduced, becoming part of the N in 1976; the N became express and the W became local in 2004.
- 1/Q (BMT Brighton Line) express trains were mostly moved to the IND Sixth Avenue Line as a relocated D in 1967, but a few trips stayed as the QB, later the 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 Q became full-time, replacing the D on the Brighton Line.
- 2/RR (BMT Fourth Avenue Line) trains (later R) have run local over the Broadway Line since 1920.
- 3/T (BMT West End Line) trains ran express on the Broadway Line until 1967, when the T became part of the realigned B via the IND Sixth Avenue Line.
- 4/N (BMT Sea Beach Line) trains used the express tracks until the Manhattan Bridge reconstruction in the 1980s, when all N trips became local. (Some had run local since the EE was merged into the N in 1976.) When the Manhattan Bridge south tracks reopened in 2001, the 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 NX (Sea Beach, 1967–1968) and the B (West End) and D (Brighton) during closures of the Manhattan Bridge north tracks in the 1980s and 1990s.
- On June 28, 2010, the N began running local north of Canal Street at all times and the Q train was extended to/from Astoria, Queens via the 60th Street Tunnel in place of the W service (which was discontinued after June 25, 2010 due to MTA budget problems) on weekdays, and began stopping on the local tracks starting at Times Square – 42nd Street.
The current set of three services — N Q R trains — 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 N was local and the now defunct W was express.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops late nights and weekends only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours only|
|Stops rush hours in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
|Station||Tracks||Services||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|begins as a merge of the BMT Astoria Line (N Q ) and the 60th Street Tunnel Connection (R ) and
passes through the 60th Street Tunnel
|Midtown Manhattan||Lexington Avenue / 59th Street||local||N Q R||September 1, 1919||4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
MetroCard-only transfer to F (IND 63rd Street Line at Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street)
Roosevelt Island Tramway
|Fifth Avenue / 59th Street||local||N Q R||September 1, 1919|
|express tracks begin from the BMT 63rd Street Line (no regular service)|
|57th Street – Seventh Avenue||all||N Q R||July 10, 1919||Northern Terminal for Q service|
|*||49th Street||local||N Q R||July 10, 1919|
|Times Square – 42nd Street||all||N Q R||January 5, 1918||1 2 3 (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line)
7 <7> (IRT Flushing Line)
S (42nd Street Shuttle)
A C E (IND Eighth Avenue Line at 42nd Street – Port Authority Bus Terminal)
Port Authority Bus Terminal
|34th Street – Herald Square||all||N Q R||January 5, 1918||B D F M (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
M34 / M34A Select Bus Service
Connection to PATH at 33rd Street
|Flatiron District||28th Street||local||N R||January 5, 1918|
|23rd Street||local||N R||January 5, 1918|
|Union Square||14th Street – Union Square||all||N Q R||September 4, 1917||4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
L (BMT Canarsie Line)
|Greenwich Village||Eighth Street – New York University||local||N R||September 4, 1917|
|SoHo||Prince Street||local||N R||September 4, 1917|
|N Q R (express)
|September 4, 1917 (express)
January 5, 1918 (local)
|4 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
J Z (BMT Nassau Street Line)
Express station originally known as Broadway
|express tracks continue into Brooklyn via Manhattan Bridge south tracks (N Q R )|
|Civic Center||City Hall||local||R||January 5, 1918|
|Financial District||Cortlandt Street||local||R||January 5, 1918||Connection to PATH at World Trade Center|
|Rector Street||local||R||January 5, 1918|
|Whitehall Street – South Ferry||all||R||September 20, 1918||1 (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line)
M15 Select Bus Service
Staten Island Ferry at South Ferry
|merges with BMT Nassau Street Line (no regular service)|
|continues into Brooklyn via the Montague Street Tunnel and becomes the BMT Fourth Avenue Line (R )|
- *49th Street is accessible northbound only
- 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."
- Community Consulting Services, Inc. in association with George Haikalis, Transportation Consultant, PDF (2.46 MiB), revised April 2003, page 49
- Regional Rail Working Group, PDF (687 KiB), page 4 (includes a map)
- 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
- James Blaine Walker, Fifty Years of Rapid Transit, 1864-1917, published 1918, pp. 224-241
- Joseph Brennan, Abandoned Stations: City Hall (BMT) lower level, accessed March 21, 2007
- Joseph Brennan, Abandoned Stations: Lexington Ave (BMT) unfinished platforms, accessed March 21, 2007
- Transit Commission, New Subways: Proposed Additions to Rapid Transit System, 1922
- New York Times,  Open First Section of Broadway Line, September 5, 1917
- New York Times, Open New Subway to Times Square, January 6, 1918
- New York Times, Broadway End of Subway Opened, July 10, 1919, page 36
- New York Times, Subway to Open Two New Stations, August 31, 1919, page 25
- 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
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