Chrystie Street Connection

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Chrystie Street Connection
Chrystie Street Connection
other lines
Bleecker Street
Broadway – Lafayette Street
Second Avenue
Prince Street
East River
Spring Street
Williamsburg Bridge
BMT Jamaica Line
Grand Street
Delancey Street – Essex Street
East Broadway
IND Culver Line
Rutgers Street Tunnel
Canal Street
Manhattan Bridge

The Chrystie Street Connection is one of the few connections between lines of the (former) BMT and IND divisions of the New York City Subway. A major branch of the IND Sixth Avenue Line, it connects to the BMT Manhattan Bridge north tracks (over the Manhattan Bridge) and BMT Jamaica Line (over the Williamsburg Bridge). As a road, Chrystie Street extends northward beyond Houston Street to become Manhattan's Second Avenue, and the Chrystie Street Connection is currently the only part of the long-planned Second Avenue Subway to be opened to service. It is one of several vestiges of the unbuilt Second Avenue Subway, which include two existing tunnels under Second Avenue, a subway extension from Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street to 96th Street opening in 2016, a recession in the ceiling at Second Avenue station, and a short tunnel under Bowery. The Chrystie Street Connection comprises two of the six existing parts of the long-planned Second Avenue subway line—the other four parts being the BMT 63rd Street Line (which is being connected to one of two unused subway segments under Second Avenue in East Harlem in the part of the line opening in 2016), and an unused subway segment under Confucius Plaza just to the south.


The line, which opened on November 26, 1967, connects the IND Sixth Avenue Line east of Broadway – Lafayette Street with the Williamsburg Bridge (via the BMT Nassau Street Line, connecting to the BMT Jamaica Line) and the Manhattan Bridge (connecting to the BMT Fourth Avenue Line and BMT Brighton Line).

It was the first actual integration of BMT and IND lines after the unification of all major lines under New York City municipal ownership in 1940. Prior to that, the nearest integration of the two previous systems was the operation of BMT trains over part of the IND Queens Boulevard Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection connecting Lexington Avenue / 59th Street on the BMT Broadway Line to Queens Plaza on the IND Queens Boulevard Line in 1955. In that case, however, BMT trains operated on the IND by trackage rights, using BMT equipment and crews.

Manhattan Bridge connection[edit]

Tracks on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge, looking toward Brooklyn

The two tracks that run the full length of the connection begin as a continuation of the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks east of Broadway – Lafayette Street. These tracks include the line's only station, Grand Street, and connections to the two northern tracks over the Manhattan Bridge. The IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks formerly continued east, ending slightly east of the Second Avenue station, and were planned to extend into Brooklyn and beyond as part of a major system expansion. Those tracks still exist at Second Avenue station, but now connect to the local tracks west of the station.

The two tracks on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge formerly carried trains to the BMT Broadway Line. The Broadway Line now connects to the tracks on the south side of the bridge, which before 1967 had connected to the BMT Nassau Street Line, carrying the Nassau Street Loop service via Chambers Street. The connection to the Nassau Street Line was cut north of Chambers Street at the Manhattan Bridge end, and is used for storage from the Nassau Street end.

The opening of the Chrystie Street Connection to the Manhattan Bridge allowed the integration of four major routes of the combined system. The BB service of the IND was through-routed with the T BMT West End Line service as the B, and the D service of the IND was through-routed with the Q BMT Brighton Line service as the D, although in 2004, the Brooklyn routes and terminals of the B and D trains were swapped as part of the Manhattan Bridge reconstruction from 1986 to 2004.

Williamsburg Bridge connection[edit]

The Williamsburg Bridge and two trains on it, seen from the Marcy Avenue station

The two tracks that connect to the Williamsburg Bridge split from the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks east of Broadway – Lafayette Street and feed into the BMT Nassau Street Line west of Essex Street. The purpose of this portion of the connector was to allow trains originating in northern and eastern Brooklyn and southern and eastern Queens to operate into Midtown Manhattan via the Sixth Avenue Line, rather than having to turn south along Nassau Street. This service did not prove popular, and only operated from July 1, 1968 to August 29, 1976, when it was cut as part of an ongoing retrenchment of service during New York City's fiscal crisis. The only service on these tracks during that time was the KK, later renamed to the K.

The connection was used for a time to move equipment to and from the BMT Eastern Division, but was not used in regular service until budget cuts forced a reroute of the M train starting on June 27, 2010. The connection was reactivated for the M train, which was rerouted to replace the V train to the IND Sixth Avenue Line and then to 71st – Continental Avenues station in Queens.

Service changes[edit]

Two major service changes were inaugurated with the opening of the connection. The first went into effect on Sunday, November 26, 1967, when the Manhattan Bridge connection opened. The second occurred on Monday, July 1, 1968, when the Williamsburg Bridge connection opened. Additionally, for the 1967 opening, every service in the system was labeled with a letter or number and a color.

Original changes[edit]

Changes following the Manhattan Bridge connection opening[edit]

The opening of the Manhattan Bridge connection on November 26, 1967 was concurrent with the opening of the new express tracks on the Sixth Avenue Line between West Fourth Street – Washington Square and 34th Street, providing additional capacity for the extra trains on the IND via the connection. The following service changes were made:

  • The rush-hour only BB, which had run between Washington Heights – 168th Street on the IND Eighth Avenue Line and 34th Street, was relabeled the B. It was extended via the new Sixth Avenue Line express tracks and the Chrystie Street Connection, then express on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line and local on the BMT West End Line, terminating at Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue. This latter segment replaced the T (express via bridge) and TT (local via tunnel) services, leaving only the TT West End Shuttle from the BMT Fourth Avenue Line running to Coney Island during late evenings, late nights and all day Sundays. B service was added during middays, early evenings, and the same time on Saturdays, but only south of West Fourth Street – Washington Square.
  • The Q (BMT Brighton Line express) service was "absorbed" by a rerouted D, which used the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks (except rush hours, when it ran express). It used the Chrystie Street Connection to the BMT Brighton Line to Stillwell Avenue (running express in Brooklyn from morning rush hours through early evenings). Formerly, the Q had run local in Brooklyn (except during morning rush hours and early evenings) and express on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan, terminating at 57th Street. The pre-1967 Q ran only weekdays until the mid-evening. The D had previously used the Sixth Avenue Line and IND Culver Line to Coney Island; this service was replaced by the F (see below).
  • The EE service was added, running weekday rush hours, middays and early evenings, as a local train between Forest Hills – 71st Avenue on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and Whitehall Street – South Ferry on the Broadway Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection and the Broadway Line in Manhattan. This replaced the RR, which had formerly used the 60th Street connection during the same times (and was cut back to 57th Street in Manhattan other times). The RR was rerouted to Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard full-time. The QT and QB had served Astoria from the BMT Brighton Line; the QT was partly replaced with the QJ (see below), and the QB was truncated to 57th Street for rush hour-only service. The D (see above) now served the Brighton Line.
  • In a major rerouting affecting Queens riders, the F train was considerably extended from its original terminal stops, Broadway – Lafayette Street (morning rush hour to early evening) and 34th Street on the Sixth Avenue Line (other times), into Brooklyn to Stillwell Avenue along the Culver Line (previously serviced by the D). It continued to run express east of Forest Hills – 71st Avenue only during rush hours. For the first time, riders from central Queens had a one-seat ride to southern Brooklyn destinations and Coney Island.
  • The QJ was added as a rerouting of the old QT, combined with an extension of the old J Jamaica Express, entering Manhattan via the tunnel and extending via the BMT Jamaica Line to 168th Street. Its service hours remained the same, running from morning rush hours through early evening. It continued to run express in western Brooklyn and skip-stop in morning rush hours only in eastern Brooklyn.
  • The RJ service was added as an extension of former RR special service on the Nassau Street line, continuing local along the Jamaica Line to 168th Street. It operated only during rush hours.
  • The NX was added for a "super-express" service from Brighton Beach through the Stillwell Avenue terminal (the only service to do so) and along the BMT Sea Beach Line's middle express tracks and Fourth Avenue Line to 57th Street in Manhattan.
  • A free transfer was established between the Atlantic Avenue on the IRT Eastern Parkway Line and Atlantic Avenue on the BMT Brighton Line. While these two stations are both adjacent to the LIRR Atlantic Terminal and each other, their respective fare-control zones had previously been separated.

Changes following the Williamsburg Bridge connection opening[edit]

The following changes went into effect on July 1, 1968, concurrent with the opening of the 57th Street station at Sixth Avenue and the bridge connection:

The following adjustments to the new service were put into effect on August 18, 1968:

  • The D service was truncated to Brighton Beach when it ran express on the BMT Brighton Line (morning rush hours through early evenings). The QB (rush-hour peak direction only) and QJ (morning rush hours through early evenings) were extended from Brighton Beach to Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue.
  • The F ran express on the IND Culver Line during rush hours north of Church Avenue. Several peak-direction rush hour trains were truncated to Kings Highway; the rest provide express service north of Kings Highway. The GG train was extended to Church Avenue during rush hours to replace F local service (this service pattern was discontinued on January 18, 1976).

Later changes[edit]

These new services began to unravel in response to commuter complaints about the various routings. Many of the new extensions like the NX and RJ quickly disappeared (April 12, 1968 and June 28, 1968, respectively[1]). The KK (since renamed the K) was discontinued in 1976, ending service via the Williamsburg Bridge connection. Manhattan Bridge reconstruction began in 1986, at times making the Chrystie Street Connection unavailable for through trains, and making the Grand Street station a terminal for shuttle service along Houston Street. The Manhattan Bridge reopened fully in 2004.

Current service routing[edit]

The Chrystie Street Connection returned to full revenue service on June 28, 2010. The Manhattan Bridge connection continues to be used by the B and D services, both of which operate into the Bronx along the IND Concourse Line, the former being local and the latter being express north of 59th Street – Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Both head south toward Brighton Beach and Coney Island, respectively. The Williamsburg Bridge connection is now used by the M service, which had formerly come into Manhattan on the BMT Nassau Street Line. The M was re-routed via Chrystie Street onto the IND Sixth Avenue Line, continuing from there along the route formerly taken by the V service, which was eliminated in a round of service cuts to close a budget gap. As of 2010, the M service makes all former V stops (except for Second Avenue), starting from Broadway – Lafayette Street, and terminating at Forest Hills – 71st Avenue.

Routing and station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station Tracks Services Opened Notes
Williamsburg Bridge Connection:
begins as a split from the IND Sixth Avenue Line local tracks south of Broadway – Lafayette Street
(no stations) local M weekdays until 11:00 p.m. July 1, 1968 unused in revenue service 1976-2010
connects with the BMT Nassau Street Line railroad north (compass west) of Essex Street, and then over the Williamsburg Bridge
Manhattan Bridge Connection:
begins as a ramp from the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks south of Broadway – Lafayette Street
Grand Street express B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. D all times November 26, 1967
continues over the Manhattan Bridge, north tracks


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Further reading[edit]

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