BMT Astoria Line

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BMT Astoria Line
The N and Q train services use the entire BMT Astoria Line.
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Ditmars Boulevard
Queensboro Plaza
Stations 7
Opened 1917
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Elevated
No. of tracks 2-3
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600V DC third rail
BMT Astoria Line
Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria Boulevard
30th Avenue
36th Avenue
39th Avenue
IND 63rd Street Line
IRT Flushing Line
Queensboro Plaza
IND Queens Boulevard Line
IRT Flushing Line
60th Street Tunnel Connection
BMT Broadway Line

The Astoria Line is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York City Subway, serving the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. It runs south from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria to 39th Avenue in Long Island City above 31st Street. It then turns west and serves Queensboro Plaza over Queens Plaza.

The entire line is served by the N train at all times, joined by the Q on weekdays. It was built as part of the Dual Contracts and jointly operated by the IRT and BMT using IRT-sized cars until 1949, when the platforms were shaved to accept the wider BMT cars and joint service was discontinued.

Description and service[edit]

All services make all stops on the BMT Astoria Line.

  Time period
Weekdays Weekends
NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg full line
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg full line no service

The north end of the Astoria Line is a two-track terminal at Ditmars Boulevard, with one island platform. South of the station, the center express track, currently not used in revenue service, begins (with crossovers to allow terminating trains to reach the correct track). The next station, Astoria Boulevard, is the only express station on the three-track section. The next four stations are local ones with two side platforms.

South of 39th Avenue, the express track merges with the two outer tracks. The line then curves west and enters Queensboro Plaza, a dual-level station with northbound trains on the upper level, southbound trains on the lower level, and cross-platform transfers to the IRT Flushing Line. Crossover tracks exist between the upper level tracks just north of the station, one of a few connections between the BMT / IND and IRT. After Queensboro Plaza, the line ramps underground, and merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection to become the BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel to Manhattan.


The BMT Astoria Line was originally served by the IRT "8" train.
Entrance to the 60th Street Tunnel
Turning on the Astoria line
Queensboro Plaza station as seen from a southbound Astoria line train

The Astoria Line was originally part of the IRT, as a spur off the IRT Queensboro Line, now the IRT Flushing Line. The whole line north of Queensboro Plaza opened on February 1, 1917 and was used by trains between Grand Central and Astoria.[1] Through IRT service to the Corona Line (now the Flushing Line) began two months later on April 21.[2]

On July 23, 1917, the Queensboro Bridge spur of the elevated IRT Second Avenue Line opened. At that time, all elevated trains to Queensboro Plaza used the Astoria Line while all subway trains used the Corona Line, though this was later changed with trains alternating between branches.[3]

The 60th Street Tunnel opened on August 1, 1920, allowing BMT trains to reach Queensboro Plaza. However, the stations on the Astoria and Corona Lines were built to IRT specifications, which were too narrow for BMT rolling stock. As a result, those trains terminated at Queensboro Plaza using a relay track east of the station to turn around for the return trip to Manhattan.[4]

On April 8, 1923, the BMT, using elevated cars, started running shuttles along the Astoria (numbered BMT 8 in 1924) and Corona Lines (BMT 9) in addition to the existing IRT service. On June 23, 1942, the IRT Second Avenue Line spur to Queensboro Plaza closed.[5]

The IRT services were numbered in 1948, with 7 being assigned to the Flushing Line and 8 to the Astoria Line. A year later on October 17, 1949, the Flushing Line became IRT-only. The platforms on the Astoria Line were shaved back to allow through BMT trains to operate on it, the first ones being the Brighton Local (BMT 1) weekdays & Broadway - Fourth Avenue Local (BMT 2) at all times. Since then, the Astoria Line has hosted the northern end of various services running from Brooklyn through Manhattan; see B, N, Q, R, T and W for details.[6]

Extension Proposals[edit]

In the early 2000s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority considered extending the Astoria Line to LaGuardia Airport, but this was shelved in July 2003 due to heavy opposition from residents.[7]

A 1920s Transit Commission study proposed extending the line northwest across or under Randalls and Wards Islands back into Manhattan as a crosstown line at 125th Street, roughly following the route of what is now the Triborough Bridge.[8] It is unclear whether the MTA has since considered reviving the plan.

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 rush hours in peak direction only Stops rush hours in the peak direction only
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station Tracks Services Opened Transfers and notes
Astoria Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] originally Ditmars Avenue
Center Express track begins (No Regular Service)
Astoria Boulevard all N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport
originally Hoyt Avenue
30th Avenue local N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] originally Grand Avenue
Broadway local N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1]
36th Avenue local N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] originally Washington Avenue
Long Island City 39th Avenue local N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] originally Beebe Avenue
Center Express track ends
connecting tracks to IRT Flushing Line (No regular service)
Queensboro Plaza all N all times Q weekdays February 1, 1917[1] 7 all times <7>rush hours until 9:30 p.m., peak direction (IRT Flushing Line)
merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection (R all except late nights) and becomes the
BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel (N all times Q weekdays R all except late nights)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "First Train Runs On Elevated Line to Astoria Section". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 1, 1917. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "New Astoria Line Opened". The New York Times. February 2, 1917. p. 14. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  3. ^ "Subway Link Over Queensboro Bridge". The New York Times. July 22, 1917. p. 31. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  4. ^ "New Subway Link Opens". The New York Times. August 1, 1920. p. 12. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Additional Subway Service to Borough of Queens". The New York Times. April 8, 1923. p. RE1. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  6. ^ "Direct Subway Runs to Flushing, Astoria". The New York Times. October 15, 1949. p. 17. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  7. ^ Toscano, John (July 16, 2003). "N Train Extension To LaG Scrapped". Queens Gazette. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

Media related to BMT Astoria Line at Wikimedia Commons