IND Rockaway Line

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This article is about the New York City Subway line. For the former Long Island Rail Road branch to the Rockaways from the north (Rego Park and Glendale), see Rockaway Beach Branch.

The IND Rockaway Line is a rapid transit line of the IND Division of the New York City Subway, operating in Queens. It branches from the IND Fulton Street Line at Rockaway Boulevard, extending over the Jamaica Bay, into the Rockaways. The A train serves the line on the Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue branch and north of Hammels Wye.[2] The Rockaway Park Shuttle runs between Broad Channel and Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street. Five rush hour A trains provide service between Rockaway Park and Manhattan in the peak direction.

History and service[edit]

Service Between
  Time period Aqueduct Racetrack
Far Rockaway
Broad Channel
Rockaway Park
NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg Rush peak service
Other times service no service
NYCS-bull-trans-S.svg All times no service service
An A train made up of R32 cars turns from the IND Rockaway Line towards the IND Fulton Street Line.
Construction work at Beach 60th Street
Washed out track support after Hurricane Sandy

Most of the Rockaway Line dates back to the 1880s when it was operated as the New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway Railroad;[3] the Far Rockaway station had been in operation since 1869 as part of the South Side Railroad of Long Island.[4] In 1892, the line first saw service by the Long Island Rail Road from its Atlantic Branch. In the late 1890s, the Brooklyn Elevated Railway (later the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company) received permission to operated elevated trains from Brooklyn on the line for beach access. The city soon began eyeing the line as popularity soared.[5][6][7] Additionally, the Ocean Electric Railway used part of the line as a connection between the Far Rockaway and Rockaway Beach Branches.

In 1950, a serious track fire between The Raunt and Broad Channel stations destroyed the trestle across Jamaica Bay, and as a result, the line was deemed useless. Instead of repairing it, the LIRR decided to abandon the line in favor of their "land route" to Far Rockaway via Nassau County. The city bought the line in 1955 for $8.5 million and spent an additional $47.5 million to convert it for subway use, something they were planning to do as far back as the late 1920s.[8][3]

The line was incorporated into the Independent Subway System (IND) and connected to the IND Fulton Street Line. All of the stations opened on June 28, 1956[8] except Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue, which opened on January 16, 1958. The crossing across Jamaica Bay between Howard Beach – JFK Airport and Broad Channel is the longest distance between any two stations in the system.

The line charged a double fare south of Howard Beach which entailed the deposit of two tokens for those entering along the line or one token on exit for those arriving from other parts of the system.[8] The unpopular double fare was abolished in 1975.[9]

A significant service improvement on the Rockaway Line took effect in 1993, when direct late-night service between Far Rockaway (but not Rockaway Park) and Brooklyn and Manhattan began; previously, only shuttle service was provided during these hours, with a transfer at Euclid Avenue (the Rockaway Park branch remains a shuttle during late nights, with a transfer at Broad Channel).

In the late 1990s, outer tracks were installed to the north of Broad Channel. The track to the west of the original tracks extends slightly less than two miles, and is used for testing of equipment. The track to the east of the original tracks is used for reversing trains on the Rockaway Park shuttle, and is approximately as long as a standard full length train. This track allows the shuttle to turn around significantly faster than it had been able to do before, when it was forced to relay at Howard Beach – JFK Airport or Euclid Avenue.

The segment of the line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula suffered serious damage during Hurricane Sandy and was out of service for several months.[10] On November 20, 2012, a free H shuttle train began service between Far Rockaway and Beach 90th Street. On May 30, 2013, full service was restored.[11][12][13][14]

Station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops rush hours in peak direction only Stops rush hours in the peak direction only
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station Services Opened Transfers and notes
Ozone Park splits from the IND Fulton Street Line (A all times)
Handicapped/disabled access Aqueduct Racetrack A Northbound only (Northbound only) June 28, 1956 (subway) Single side platform for northbound service only
Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Howard Beach Handicapped/disabled access Howard Beach – JFK Airport A all times June 28, 1956 (subway) Connection to Airport AirTrain JFK
Broad Channel Broad Channel A all times S all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Hammels Wye
splits to Far Rockaway Branch (A all times) & Rockaway Park Branch (A rush hours, peak direction S all times)
with a connecting track between the two branches (No Regular Service)
Far Rockaway Branch
Arverne Beach 67th Street A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Beach 60th Street A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Edgemere Beach 44th Street A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Beach 36th Street A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Far Rockaway Beach 25th Street A all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Handicapped/disabled access Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue A all times January 16, 1958 (subway) Connection to Long Island Rail Road at Far Rockaway
Rockaway Park Branch
Rockaway Beach Beach 90th Street A rush hours, peak direction S all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Beach 98th Street A rush hours, peak direction S all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Rockaway Park Beach 105th Street A rush hours, peak direction S all times June 28, 1956 (subway)
Handicapped/disabled access Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street A rush hours, peak direction S all times June 28, 1956 (subway)


  1. ^ The special rush hour A trips to Rockaway Park are designated NYCS-bull-trans-Ad.svg in the schedule and NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg on trains.
  2. ^ Ridership from Aqueduct Racetrack to Far Rockaway. Does not include the Rockaway Park section
  3. ^ Ridership for Rockaway Park section only
  4. ^ Total ridership for entire line and both branches


External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google