BMT Myrtle Avenue Line

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For the bus, formerly streetcar, line along Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, see Myrtle Avenue Line (surface). For the surface line in Queens, see Richmond Hill Line.
BMT Myrtle Avenue Line
NYCS-bull-trans-M.svg
The M train serves the entire BMT Myrtle Avenue Line at all times
Overview
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Metropolitan Avenue
Central Avenue
Stations 7
Operation
Opening 1889–1915
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Street level (Metropolitan Avenue only)
Elevated
Technical
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600V DC third rail

The Myrtle Avenue Line, also called the Myrtle Avenue Elevated,[1] is a fully elevated line of the New York City Subway as part of the BMT division. The line is the last surviving remnant of one of the original Brooklyn elevated railroads. The remnant line operates as a spur branch from the Jamaica Line to Bushwick, Ridgewood and Middle Village, terminating at its original Eastern terminal across the street from Lutheran Cemetery. Until 1969, the line continued west into Downtown Brooklyn and until 1944, over the Brooklyn Bridge to a terminal at Park Row in Manhattan.

Extent and service[edit]

  Time period Section of line
M All times Entire line

The Myrtle Avenue Line is currently served by the M service. The line begins at Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Queens. It heads southwest along a private right-of-way, eventually joining an elevated structure above Palmetto Street in Ridgewood and Myrtle Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. Just before reaching Broadway (on which the BMT Jamaica Line operates), the line curves to the left and merges into the Jamaica Line tracks just east of Myrtle Avenue. The upper level of the station (called "Broadway") opened in 1889 and closed on October 4, 1969, still exists. During late nights, the M shuttle service terminates here. During this period, the M operates as OPTO (one person train operation) with only four car trains. Like the other lines in the BMT Eastern Division, the station platforms on the Myrtle Avenue Line can only hold 480 feet long trains (eight 60 feet cars), 120 feet shorter than the standard 600 feet length (eight 75 feet cars or ten 60 feet cars) of other "B" Division stations.

Background[edit]

BMT Myrtle Avenue Line
Middle Village – Metropolitan Avenue
Fresh Pond Yard
Fresh Pond Road
Forest Avenue
Seneca Avenue
Knickerbocker Avenue
Central Avenue
BMT Jamaica Line
Myrtle Avenue
BMT Jamaica Line
Sumner Avenue
Tompkins Avenue
IND Crosstown Line
Nostrand Avenue
Franklin Avenue
Grand Avenue
BMT Lexington Avenue Line
Washington Avenue
Vanderbilt Avenue
Navy Street
BMT Fifth Avenue Line
BMT Brighton Line
BMT Fourth Avenue Line
Bridge–Jay Streets
Adams Street
BMT Fulton Street Line
Sands Street
Brooklyn Bridge over East River
Park Row

The first section of the line ran over Myrtle Avenue from Johnson and Adams Streets to a junction with what was then known as the Main Line at Grand Avenue and was opened on April 10, 1888 by the Union Elevated Railroad. Trains continued along Grand Avenue and Lexington Avenue to Broadway, where the line joined the Broadway Elevated, and then along Broadway to East New York. On September 1, 1888, the line was extended westward along Adams Street and Sands Street, to a terminal at Washington Street for the Brooklyn Bridge. On April 27, 1889, the line was extended east along Myrtle Avenue to Broadway.

The west end of the line was extended north along Adams Street to an elevated station over Sands Street and High Street in 1896. The connection to the Brooklyn Bridge tracks opened on June 18, 1898, along a private right-of-way halfway between Concord Street and Cathedral Place. The first trains to use it came from the Fifth Avenue Elevated (using the Myrtle Avenue El west of Hudson Avenue).

The line was later extended east to Wyckoff Avenue (at the Brooklyn/Queens border). In 1906 the el was connected via a ramp to the Lutheran Cemetery Line, a former steam dummy line to Metropolitan Avenue that had opened on September 3, 1881. That section was elevated as part of the Dual Contracts on February 22, 1915.

On July 29, 1914, the connection to the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line was opened, allowing Myrtle Avenue Line trains to operate via the Williamsburg Bridge. This service became BMT 10 in 1924, and the original Myrtle Avenue Line service to Park Row became BMT 11, later referred to as M and MJ.

As part of the Dual Contracts rebuilding of the Myrtle Avenue El, a third track was installed north of Myrtle Avenue. This track started from a point south of Central Avenue through Myrtle – Wyckoff Avenues to a bumper just south of Seneca Avenue. The only switches were at the southern end so the center track could only be used for layups. It was never used in revenue service and removed sometime after World War II.

On March 5, 1944, the line west of Bridge–Jay Streets was closed coincident with the end of elevated service over the Brooklyn Bridge. The rest of the line from Broadway to Jay Street closed on October 4, 1969 and demolished soon after, ending the MJ service.

Chaining information[edit]

  • The entire line is chained BMT M. This has no relation to the fact that the M service operates on the line, though both letters may have been chosen because 'Myrtle' begins with 'M'.
  • The tracks on the line are M1 towards Metropolitan Avenue and M2 towards Manhattan.
  • As originally surveyed, this line was measured in a railroad east direction from Park Row. Once the Board of Transportation took over the system, the direction was reversed so that railroad north on this line became towards Manhattan, and corresponds roughly to a westerly to southwesterly compass direction.

Station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Time period details
Neighborhood
(approximate)
Handicapped/disabled access Station Services Opened Transfers and notes
Ridgewood Handicapped/disabled access Middle Village – Metropolitan Avenue M all times October 1, 1906 Service extended to pre-existing Lutheran Line station.
Current station is ~100 feet west of the 1906 one.
connecting track to Fresh Pond Yard
Fresh Pond Road M all times February 22, 1915
Forest Avenue M all times February 22, 1915
Seneca Avenue M all times February 22, 1915
Bushwick Handicapped/disabled access Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues M all times July 21, 1889[2] BMT Canarsie Line (L all times)
Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
Knickerbocker Avenue M all times August 15, 1889[3][4] Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
Central Avenue M all times July 21, 1889[citation needed] Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
merges into BMT Jamaica Line (M all times) just east of Myrtle Avenue (connector added July 29, 1914)
 
Closed section
Bedford–Stuyvesant Broadway April 27, 1889[5] Station still in place; tracks removed; closed October 4, 1969
Structure removed west of Reid Avenue
Sumner Avenue April 27, 1889[5] Closed October 4, 1969
Tompkins Avenue April 27, 1889[5] Closed October 4, 1969
Nostrand Avenue April 27, 1889[5] Closed October 4, 1969
Franklin Avenue April 27, 1889[5] Closed October 4, 1969
Clinton Hill Grand Avenue April 27, 1889[5] Closed January 21, 1953
Washington Avenue December 4, 1888[6] Closed October 4, 1969
Vanderbilt Avenue April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969
Fort Greene Navy Street April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969
Downtown Brooklyn Bridge–Jay Streets April 10, 1888[citation needed] Earlier known as Bridge Street. Closed October 4, 1969
Adams Street April 10, 1888[7] Closed March 5, 1944
Sands Street September 1, 1888[8] Closed March 5, 1944
Brooklyn Bridge
Civic Center Park Row June 18, 1898[citation needed] Closed March 5, 1944

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Remembering the Myrtle Avenue El". MTA.info. October 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  2. ^ "Lost the Second Game". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 21, 1889. p. 2. 
  3. ^ "To Greenwood on Thursday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 14, 1889. p. 1. 
  4. ^ "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 15, 1889. p. 6. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Will Open on Saturday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 25, 1889. p. 1. 
  6. ^ "Opening the Washington Avenue Station". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 4, 1888. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "A Start Made". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 10, 1888. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "To the Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 30, 1888. p. 4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]