The Steinway Tunnel carries the 7 <7> trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between 42nd Street in Manhattan and 51st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, in New York City. It was originally designed and built as an interurban trolley tunnel (hence the narrow loading gauge and height), with stations near the 7 <7> trains' current Hunters Point Avenue and Grand Central stations. It is named for William Steinway, who was a major promoter of its construction, although he died in 1896 before it was completed.
Tunnel construction began in 1892. The project was difficult due to complex geological formations beneath the river, and there were frequent blowouts and floods. Construction stopped in 1893 due to financial problems and flooding. The project was revived in 1902 with financial support from August Belmont, Jr., and completed in 1907. Some demonstration trolley car runs were conducted through the tunnels in 1907; however Belmont did not have a franchise to operate a transit line. The tunnels remained idle until Belmont sold them to the city in 1913.
The tunnels were modified to accommodate IRT subway cars in 1914. The first IRT Steinway test train between Grand Central and Vernon Avenue (today's Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue station) ran June 13, 1915, with regularly scheduled service beginning June 22.
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