R (New York City Subway service)
|Northern end||71st Avenue, 36th Street (late nights)|
|Southern end||Bay Ridge – 95th Street|
The R Broadway Local is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. It is colored sunflower yellow on route signs, on station signs, and on the official subway map, because it runs on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan.
The R service operates at all times. During the day, trains run between 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens and 95th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn via the IND Queens Boulevard Line, 60th Street Tunnel, Montague Street Tunnel, and BMT Fourth Avenue Line, making all stops. During late nights, it operates as a shuttle within Brooklyn between 36th and 95th Streets with northbound trains bypassing 53rd and 45th Streets.
The R has no elevated or ground level stations and is the longest service without one, although a small section of the Fourth Avenue Line between 59th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue passes over a cut containing the Long Island Rail Road's Bay Ridge Branch tracks.
The service that later became the R was the BMT 2. When it entered service on January 15, 1916, it ran between Chambers Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line and 86th Street, using the Manhattan Bridge to cross the East River. Service on the BMT Broadway Line (which at the time was only between Whitehall Street and Times Square) began exactly two years later on January 15, 1918. On July 10, 1919 service may have been extended to 57th Street. The Montague Street Tunnel opened on October 1, 1920, and at that time it took its current shape, running local from Queensboro Plaza to 86th Street. Bay Ridge – 95th Street station opened on October 31, 1925. During this time, rush-hour specials to Chambers Street were added and later removed, only to be added again. At one time, including 1931, additional midday service operated local between 57th Street and Whitehall Street – South Ferry. The 2 also used the Nassau Street Loop during rush hours, entering Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge or Montague Street Tunnel and leaving via the other.
On October 17, 1949, the platform edges on the BMT Astoria Line had been shaved back, and the BMT's Astoria Shuttle was replaced with through service from the 2 Fourth Avenue Line (now R) operating from Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens to Bay Ridge – 95th Street in Brooklyn at all times. On June 29, 1950, special rush hour trains began running between Bay Ridge – 95th Street and Chambers Street via the south side of the Manhattan Bridge and/or the Montague Street Tunnel. This was discontinued two years later. On January 1, 1961, the northern terminal was relocated to its current location at Forest Hills – 71st Avenue, via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection, which is also known as the "11th Street Cut". Night and weekend RR train still terminated at 57th Avenue in Manhattan.
In winter 1960–61, letters started to appear on the RR, which was known as the "Fourth Avenue Local via Tunnel", from Forest Hills – 71st Avenue to Bay Ridge – 95th Street, like current R service. On November 27, 1967, the day after the IND Chrystie Street Connection opened, the RR was moved back to Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard on the BMT Astoria Line. (EE service began at Whitehall Street (with additional trains starting at Canal Street) and used the former route to 71st Avenue). The Nassau Street specials were through-routed from Bay Ridge – 95th Street to 168th Street in Jamaica as RJ. Under the first color scheme, RR was colored green and RJ was red. In the original Chrystie Street routing plans, the TA planned to totally eliminate the "RR" service, and maintain the "RJ" route as the main Bay Ridge to Jamaica line.
The RJ service only lasted from November 1967 to June 1968 before it was cut back to Chambers Street and renamed as additional RR rush-hour peak-direction service. In May 1985, when double letters were eliminated, RR service became the R. R service was assigned the color yellow (because it used the BMT Broadway Line), and the special Chambers Street-Bay Ridge rush-hour service was assigned a brown diamond rollsign with a white R inside because its route ran along the BMT Nassau Street Line. Effective May 24, 1987, the north terminals of the N and R were swapped, taking the R along the IND Queens Boulevard Line to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue. The change was made to give the R direct access to the Jamaica Yard (where the train is now assigned to this day) previously, R trains had to run light to/from the Coney Island Yard. Starting on April 28, 1986, the Chambers Street R service was extended to Metropolitan Avenue for layups and put-ins from Fresh Pond Yard. After the N/R swap the Nassau swap used East New York Yard equipment. Service on the BMT Nassau Street Line-based rush hour Chambers Street-Bay Ridge service was discontinued and eliminated completely on November 22, 1987.
When the IND Archer Avenue Line opened on December 11, 1988, E service was rerouted along to Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer, and the R was extended to replace the E to Jamaica – 179th Street. The extension to Jamaica was short-lived, and the R was cut back on September 30, 1990 outside of rush hours, and then during rush hours in October 25, 1992 to 71st–Continental Avenue in favor of making the F local between 71 Avenue and 179 Street at all times, eliminating express service along Hillside Avenue.
On September 30, 1990, late-night R service became a shuttle between 36th Street and Bay Ridge – 95th Street in Brooklyn. Starting in October 2000, northbound late-night trains began skipping 53rd Street and 45th Street to speed up the relay process, leaving the N as the only service stopping at these stations.
On September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center, the BMT Broadway Line was damaged, and the R service was cut back to run only south of Court Street. On September 17, R service was completely suspended, replaced with J service in Brooklyn and Q service in Manhattan and Queens  All three trains returned to normal service by October 28.
On September 8, 2002, Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue was closed for reconstruction. Late night R service was extended to Pacific Street from 36th Street in order to avoid delaying the B and N trains, running express between that station and 36th Street. Service was cut back to 36th Street when the north side of the Manhattan Bridge reopened on February 22, 2004.
Hurricane Sandy effects
After Hurricane Sandy flooded the system, the Montague Street Tunnel was completely flooded. When service was restored, the R train was split into two sections (between Forest Hills and 34th Street – Herald Square and between Jay Street – MetroTech and Bay Ridge – 95th Street). On December 4, the Queens–Manhattan section was extended to Whitehall Street – South Ferry. On December 21, full service was restored between Manhattan and Brooklyn after the Montague Street Tubes were drained.
However, on August 2, 2013, the Montague Street Tunnel closed again until fall 2014 due to extra repairs needed, which brought back similar storm changes to the R train. On weekdays, the divided R ran in two sections; one section between Forest Hills and Whitehall Street – South Ferry and the other between Court Street and Bay Ridge – 95th Street. On weekends, the R train ran its full route but via the Manhattan Bridge, skipping all stations between Canal Street and DeKalb Avenue. Originally slated to open by October 2014, it re-opened a few weeks early, on September 15, 2014, and $58 million under budget.
The following table shows the lines used by the R service, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|IND Queens Boulevard Line||Forest Hills – 71st Avenue||Queens Plaza||local|
|60th Street Tunnel Connection and 60th Street Tunnel||all|
|BMT Broadway Line (full line)||Lexington Avenue / 59th Street||Canal Street||local|
|City Hall||Whitehall Street – South Ferry||all|
|Montague Street Tunnel||all|
|BMT Fourth Avenue Line (full line)||Court Street||Jay Street – MetroTech||all|
|DeKalb Avenue||25th Street||local|
|36th Street||59th Street|
|Bay Ridge Avenue||Bay Ridge – 95th Street||all|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Stops weekends only|
|Time period details|
- Announcing Service Changes on the N and R Routes, Advertising Supplement to The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and Newsday, © 1987 New York City Transit Authority
- New York Times, Shifts on N and R Lines Are Planned in Queens, October 16, 1986, section B, page 10
- Page 2 A history of the R train by George Chiasson.
- Map of the Subway System showing service changes on 2001-09-17.
- Map of the Subway System show service returning to normal 2001-10-28.
- R Service affected by 14 month closure of Montague Under River Tube
- R Service Changes During Montague Tube Closure Beginning August, 2013
- McGeehan, Patrick (12 September 2014). "Subway Tunnel to Open, Storm Repairs Finished". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- Andy Newman and J. David Goodman (2014-09-15). "The R Roars Back". New York Times.