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
The M train serves the entire BMT Myrtle Avenue Line at all times
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Metropolitan Avenue
west of Central Avenue
Stations 7
Opened 1889–1915
Closed 1969 (segment west of Central Avenue)
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Street level (Metropolitan Avenue only)
Number 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 the Myrtle Avenue station.[2] The still-existing upper level of the station, which was called "Broadway", opened in 1889 and closed on October 4, 1969.


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 (formerly Broadway)
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 IND Fulton Street Line
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 Company, which was leased to the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad for its operation.[3][4][5] 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.[3][5]

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.[5][6][7][8]

On July 29, 1914, the connection to the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line was opened, allowing Myrtle Avenue Line trains to operate via the Williamsburg Bridge.[7]Construction on this connection began in August 1913.[8] 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 by 1946.

On March 5, 1944, the line west of Bridge–Jay Streets was closed coincident with the end of elevated service over the Brooklyn Bridge.[5] On January 21, 1953, the Grand Avenue station was closed so that it could be torn down and therefore complete the demolition of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line.[9] The rest of the line from Broadway to Jay Street closed on October 4, 1969 and was demolished soon after, ending the MJ service.[10] A free transfer to the B54 bus replaced the MJ, and service was increased on that bus. The free transfer at Jay Street was also replaced with a bus transfer.[11]

Starting in summer 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to rehabilitate two parts of the viaduct between the Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue stations, necessitating the closure of that segment of the line for ten months. This work is being undertaken in preparation for a reconstruction of the BMT Canarsie Line tunnels under the East River, which will begin in 2019.[12][13][14] The work will be done in two parts: one part will rebuild the 310-foot-long (94 m) approaches to the line's junction with the BMT Jamaica Line, and another part will rebuild the Fresh Pond Bridge over the Montauk Branch in Queens.[14] The Fresh Pond Bridge will be replaced during two months in summer 2017, while the connection with the Jamaica Line will be rebuilt from July 2017 to April 2018.[15]

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'.[2]
  • The tracks on the line are M1 towards Metropolitan Avenue and M2 towards Manhattan.[2]
  • Chaining zero is BMT Eastern, located at the intersection of the line of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chambers Street station on the BMT Nassau Street Line by way of the now-dismantled original BMT Brooklyn Bridge Elevated Line and the original Myrtle Avenue Elevated through downtown Brooklyn.[2]
  • 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.[2]

Station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station Services Opened Transfers and notes
Middle Village 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.
Ridgewood 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[16] 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[17][18] 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[19] Station still in place; tracks removed; closed October 4, 1969[11]
Structure removed west of Reid Avenue
Sumner Avenue April 27, 1889[19] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Tompkins Avenue April 27, 1889[19] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Nostrand Avenue April 27, 1889[19] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Franklin Avenue April 27, 1889[19] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Clinton Hill Grand Avenue April 27, 1889[19] Closed January 21, 1953[9]
Washington Avenue December 4, 1888[20] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Vanderbilt Avenue April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Fort Greene Navy Street April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Downtown Brooklyn Bridge–Jay Streets April 10, 1888[citation needed] Earlier known as Bridge Street. Closed October 4, 1969[11]
Adams Street April 10, 1888[21] Closed March 5, 1944
Sands Street September 1, 1888[22] Closed March 5, 1944
Brooklyn Bridge
Civic Center Park Row June 18, 1898[citation needed] Closed March 5, 1944


  1. ^ "Remembering the Myrtle Avenue El". October 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Dougherty, Peter (2006). Tracks of the New York City Subway 2006 (3rd ed.). Dougherty – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ a b Report. 1890-01-01. 
  4. ^ "NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY HISTORY - BMT DIVISION". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  5. ^ a b c d Roess, Roger P.; Sansone, Gene (2012-08-23). The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642304842. 
  6. ^ "Article 11 -- No Title". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  7. ^ a b Senate, New York (State) Legislature (1916-01-01). Documents of the Senate of the State of New York. E. Croswell. 
  8. ^ a b Senate, New York (State) Legislature (1916-01-01). Documents of the Senate of the State of New York. E. Croswell. 
  9. ^ a b "EL' STATION TO BE RAZED; Grand Ave. Stop on Myrtle Ave. Line to End Wednesday". The New York Times. 1953-01-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  10. ^ "1,200 on Last Trip On Myrtle Ave. El; Cars Are Stripped". The New York Times. 1969-10-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Myrtle Ave El". Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  12. ^ Rivoli, Dan (March 17, 2016). "M line to be shut down next year for repairs". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 
  13. ^ Brown, Nicole (March 18, 2016). "MTA: M line will shut down for part of next year". am New York. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 
  14. ^ a b "Myrtle Avenue Line Infrastructure Projects". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 
  15. ^ " | Myrtle Av Line Infrastructure Projects". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 
  16. ^ "Lost the Second Game". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. July 21, 1889. p. 2. 
  17. ^ "To Greenwood on Thursday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 14, 1889. p. 1. 
  18. ^ "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 15, 1889. p. 6. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f "Will Open on Saturday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. April 25, 1889. p. 1. 
  20. ^ "Opening the Washington Avenue Station". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. December 4, 1888. p. 6. 
  21. ^ "A Start Made". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. April 10, 1888. p. 6. 
  22. ^ "To the Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 30, 1888. p. 4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata