BMT Jamaica Line

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BMT Jamaica Line
NYCS-line-black-Jamaica.svg
The J and Z trains serve the entire BMT Jamaica Line. The M serves the line west of Myrtle Avenue.
Overview
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Marcy Avenue
121st Street
Stations 22
Operation
Opening 1885-1918
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Elevated
Technical
No. of tracks 2-3
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600V DC third rail
BMT Jamaica Line
168th Street (demolished)
160th Street (demolished)
Sutphin Boulevard (demolished)
Queens Boulevard (demolished)
Metropolitan Avenue (demolished)
BMT Archer Avenue Line
121st Street
111th Street
104th Street
Woodhaven Boulevard
85th Street – Forest Parkway
75th Street – Elderts Lane
Cypress Hills
Crescent Street
Norwood Avenue
Cleveland Street
Van Siclen Avenue
Alabama Avenue
IND Fulton Street Line
East New York Yard
BMT Canarsie Line
Broadway Junction
IND Fulton Street Line
Chauncey Street
Halsey Street
Gates Avenue
former connection to BMT Lexington Avenue Line
Kosciuszko Street
BMT Myrtle Avenue Line
Myrtle Avenue (upper level abandoned)
BMT Myrtle Avenue Line
Park Avenue (demolished)
Flushing Avenue
Lorimer Street
IND Crosstown Line
Hewes Street
Marcy Avenue
Driggs Avenue (demolished)
Broadway Ferry (demolished)
BMT Nassau Street Line
Elevated ramp to Archer Avenue
Powerhouse formerly adjacent to elevated tracks

The Jamaica Line (also known as the Broadway Line or Broadway (Brooklyn) Line) is an elevated rapid transit line of the B Division of the New York City Subway, in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City, United States. It runs from the Williamsburg Bridge southeast over Broadway to East New York, Brooklyn, and then east over Fulton Street and Jamaica Avenue to Jamaica, Queens. In western Jamaica, the line goes into a tunnel, becoming the lower level of the Archer Avenue Line in central Jamaica. The J and Z trains serve the entire length of the Jamaica Line, and the M serves the line west of Myrtle Avenue.

The longest elevated line in the system, the Jamaica Line includes the oldest existing elevated structure in the subway system - the original 1885 line of the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad, the BMT Lexington Avenue Line - between Gates Avenue and Van Siclen Avenue, as well as the newest elevated structure - the 1988 ramp into the underground Archer Avenue Line.

When the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) operated the line railroad directions were east and west, generally in agreement with compass direction.[citation needed] However under NYCT, the directions used are north and south, which replaced the BMT's old west and east respectively. This reclassification resulted in services which ran through the BMT Nassau Street Line to Downtown Brooklyn having two south ends. To eliminate any confusion, the directions of train services in the eastern division were switched, with trains running towards Jamaica being considered Northbound.[1] The KK (later K) and current M services were an exception to this, with Jamaica or Metropolitan Avenue remaining the south terminal, since they used the Chrystie Street Connection from the Jamaica Line to the IND Sixth Avenue Line.

Description[edit]

The Jamaica Line includes a variety of structures. The original BMT Jamaica Line started from Broadway Ferry, Brooklyn. The line was two tracks, and connected with Marcy Avenue, from the west. This section, which was called the "Broadway Spur", has a short, but easily seen remnant (about one-half of a block in length, no tracks, just maintenance buildings) west and south of where the line curves toward the Williamsburg Bridge. From Marcy Avenue to a point just before Alabama Avenue the line operates on the structure of old elevated railways, but substantially rebuilt and upgraded to a three-track line around World War I under the Dual Contracts of 1913. From Alabama Avenue to just before the current Cypress Hills station, the Jamaica Line operates on the oldest elevated structure in New York City, a steel-reinforced cast iron line opened in 1893. Interestingly enough, west of Alabama Avenue, a third middle trackway exists and elevates over the other two tracks, ending just west of the Alabama Avenue station. This track was intended to be an express track, but engineering studies completed after the work started indicated that the vibration of trains passing over the stations would be too severe and would literally shake the stations apart.

At Cypress Hills, the line turns northeast onto Jamaica Avenue on what was known as the Jamaica Avenue Line, a Dual Contracts structure. This structure has provisions on its entire length for three tracks, but a center track was never built, with the exception of a layup track at 111th Street and another between 160th Street and 168th Street on the now-demolished original end of the line.

History[edit]

The Union Elevated Railroad, leased to the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad, opened an elevated line above Broadway from Gates Avenue northwest to Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg on June 25, 1888.[2] This was a branch of the existing Lexington Avenue Elevated, which then ended at Van Siclen Avenue; Broadway trains ran between Driggs and Van Siclen Avenues.[3] A popular free transfer was available at Gates Avenue to Lexington Avenue trains towards Downtown Brooklyn.[4] The Broadway Elevated was extended to Broadway Ferry on July 14, 1888.[5]

An extension of the Broadway Elevated east to Cypress Hills, over Fulton Street and Crescent Street, opened on May 30, 1893,[6] and the company extended both Lexington Avenue and Broadway trains to the new terminal.[6] This extension incorporated portions of the recently demolished Park Avenue Elevated.[7]

Service patterns[edit]

  Time period Section of line
Rush hours Middays,
evenings,
and weekends
Late nights
NYCS J
  • peak-direction express west of Myrtle Avenue
  • skip-stop east of Myrtle Avenue
local entire line
NYCS Z no service
NYCS M local Myrtle Avenue
only
  • north of Myrtle Avenue (all times except nights)
  • Myrtle Avenue only (late nights)

The line has had two major service patterns - the 14 Broadway (Brooklyn) Line (earlier called the Canarsie Line, before that line was connected to the 14th Street Line) and the 15 Jamaica Line. Eventually the 14 became the KK (which became the K in 1974) and the 15 the J; the K was eliminated in 1976. The Z was introduced in 1988 to provide skip-stop service, which had been done by the 14/K and 15/J at times.

The line name[edit]

From its accession by the BRT to and beyond city ownership in 1940, the portion of the line from its western terminus to Cypress Hills was known as the Broadway El or the Broadway-Brooklyn Line. Beyond that point it was known as the Jamaica Avenue El or the Jamaica Line. Subsequent to city takeover, the dividing line between the Broadway and Jamaica Avenue Lines was often considered to be the more westerly station at Eastern Parkway, now known as Broadway Junction.

Since the discontinuance of separate Broadway-Brooklyn services, the entire line is now known as the Jamaica Line.

Station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops all times except late nights Stops all times except late nights
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Stops all times except rush hours in the peak direction Stops all times except rush hours in the peak direction
Stops rush hours in peak direction only Stops rush hours in the peak direction only
Time period details
Neighborhood
(approximate)
Handicapped/disabled access Station Tracks Services Opened Transfers and notes
Jamaica demolished section of original line
168th Street July 3, 1918[8] Closed September 10, 1977,[9] replaced by Q49 bus. Bus abandoned December 11, 1988.
160th Street July 3, 1918[8] Closed September 10, 1977,[9] replaced by Q49 bus. Bus abandoned December 11, 1988.
Sutphin Boulevard July 3, 1918[8] Closed September 10, 1977,[9] replaced by Q49 bus. Bus abandoned December 11, 1988.
Queens Boulevard July 3, 1918[8] Closed April 15, 1985,[10] replaced by Q49 bus. Bus abandoned December 11, 1988.
Metropolitan Avenue July 3, 1918[8] Closed April 15, 1985,[11] replaced by Q49 bus. Bus abandoned December 11, 1988.
 
begins as continuation of BMT Archer Avenue Line (J all times Z rush hours, peak direction)
Richmond Hill 121st Street all J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction July 3, 1918[8] Q10 bus to JFK Airport
111th Street all J all times May 28, 1917[citation needed]
104th Street all J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction May 28, 1917[citation needed] Earlier 102nd Street
Woodhaven Woodhaven Boulevard all J all times Z rush hours, peak direction May 28, 1917[citation needed]
85th Street – Forest Parkway all J all times May 28, 1917[citation needed]
75th Street – Elderts Lane all J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction May 28, 1917[citation needed] Earlier Elderts Lane
Cypress Hills Cypress Hills all J all times May 30, 1893[6]
Crescent Street all J all times Z rush hours, peak direction May 30, 1893[6]
Norwood Avenue all J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction May 30, 1893[6]
Cleveland Street all J all times May 30, 1893[6] Earlier Cleveland Avenue
East New York Van Siclen Avenue all J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction December 3, 1885[12]
Alabama Avenue all J all times September 5, 1885[13]
connecting tracks to East New York Yard
Center Express track begins (No Regular Service to Myrtle Ave)
merge to local tracks with connection from BMT Canarsie Line (no regular service)
Broadway Junction all J all times Z rush hours, peak direction June 14, 1885[14] A all times C all except late nights (IND Fulton Street Line)
L all times (BMT Canarsie Line)
Connection to LIRR at East New York
Earlier Manhattan Beach Crossing or Manhattan Junction or Eastern Parkway
connecting track to East New York Yard
Bedford–Stuyvesant/
Bushwick
Chauncey Street local J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction July 18, 1885[15]
Halsey Street local J all times August 19, 1885[16]
Gates Avenue local J all except rush hours, peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction May 13, 1885[17]
Kosciuszko Street local J all times June 25, 1888[citation needed]
merge with BMT Myrtle Avenue Line (M all times)
Myrtle Avenue all J all times M all times Z rush hours, peak direction June 25, 1888[citation needed] moved from Stuyvesant Avenue for the Myrtle Avenue Elevated transfer in April 1889[18]
Park Avenue June 25, 1888[citation needed] Closed and demolished between 1912 and 1924
Williamsburg Handicapped/disabled access Flushing Avenue local J all times except weekdays 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., peak direction M all times except late nights June 25, 1888[citation needed]
Lorimer Street local J all times except weekdays 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., peak direction M all times except late nights June 25, 1888[citation needed]
Hewes Street local J all times except weekdays 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., peak direction M all times except late nights June 25, 1888[citation needed]
Crossovers to local tracks (J weekdays until 8:00 p.m., peak direction Z rush hours, peak direction)
Handicapped/disabled access Marcy Avenue local J all times M all times except late nights Z rush hours, peak direction June 25, 1888[citation needed]
Center Express track ends as stub within Marcy Ave station
continues over Williamsburg Bridge and becomes the BMT Nassau Street Line (J all times M all times except late nights Z rush hours, peak direction)
 
Williamsburg demolished section of original line
Driggs Avenue June 25, 1888[2] Closed 1916[citation needed]
Broadway Ferry July 14, 1888[5] Closed 1916[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The service table on the 1967 New York City Rapid Transit Map and Station Guide refers to southbound a.m. skip-stop service on the JJ and QJ.
  2. ^ a b "The Broadway Line Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 25, 1888. p. 6. 
  3. ^ "Trains Running This Morning". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 30, 1893. p. 10. 
  4. ^ "Pushing the Road Along". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 20, 1888. p. 4. 
  5. ^ a b "When the Union Road will be Finished". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 13, 1888. p. 1. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Trains Running This Morning". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 30, 1893. p. 10. 
  7. ^ "Elevated Railroad Extensions". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 28, 1893. p. 16. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f New York Times, New Subway Line, July 7, 1918, page 30
  9. ^ a b c Lee Dembart, New York Times, A Sentimental Journey on the BMT, September 9, 1977, page 61
  10. ^ Queens Boulevard (Demolished) (BMT Nassau St./Jamaica Line) (NYCSubway.org)
  11. ^ Metropolitan Avenue (Demolished) (BMT Nassau St./Jamaica Line) (NYCSubway.org)
  12. ^ "Finished at Last". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 3, 1885. p. 4. 
  13. ^ "Still Extending Its Lines". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). September 5, 1885. p. 6. 
  14. ^ "East New York". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 13, 1885. p. 6. 
  15. ^ "A New Station Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 18, 1885. p. 4. 
  16. ^ "Halsey Street Station Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 19, 1885. p. 4. 
  17. ^ "Done at Last". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 13, 1885. p. 1. 
  18. ^ "It Reaches Broadway". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 5, 1889. p. 6.