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.
IND Rockaway Line
The A trains and Rockaway Park Shuttle serve the IND Rockaway Line.
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Aqueduct Racetrack
Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street (Rockaway Park Branch)
Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue (Far Rockaway Branch)
Stations 14
Daily ridership 32,264[1][note 1]
2,821[1][note 2]
35,085[1][note 3]
Opened 1956-1958
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Elevated
Number of tracks 2-4
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Direct Current traction
IND Rockaway Line
IND Fulton Street Line
Aqueduct Racetrack
Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue
Howard Beach – JFK Airport
North Channel Swing Bridge (fixed span)
Broad Channel
Beach Channel Drawbridge
Hammels Wye
Beach 67th Street
Beach 60th Street
Beach 44th Street
Beach 36th Street
Beach 25th Street
Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue
Far Rockaway Branch
Beach 90th Street
Beach 98th Street
Beach 105th Street
Rockaway Park Yard
Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street
Rockaway Park 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
Broad Channel
Broad Channel
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 summer weekend days only 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 operate 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.

Plans for the New York City Subway to take over the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)'s Rockaway branches were put forth as early as 1932.[8] This would become a reality by the 1950s, after a serious track fire between The Raunt and Broad Channel stations destroyed the trestle across Jamaica Bay in 1950. As a result, the LIRR deemed the line useless, and 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.[3][9] As part of the construction to convert the line to subway use, two new steel bridges were built to cross the North and South Channels, and two artificial islands were built to provide a roadbed for the subway trestle.[10]

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[9] 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.[9] The unpopular double fare was abolished on September 1, 1975.[11][12]

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 non-rush hours, 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.[13] 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.[14][15][16][17]

As of June 2016, the Rockaway Shuttle has been extended on weekend days during the summer to Rockaway Boulevard.

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. ^ Ridership from Aqueduct Racetrack to Far Rockaway. Does not include the Rockaway Park section
  2. ^ Ridership for Rockaway Park section only
  3. ^ Total ridership for entire line and both branches


  1. ^ a b c MTA. "Average weekday subway ridership". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Hammels Wye (IND Rockaway)
  3. ^ a b Bresiger, Gregory (July 18, 2012). "The Trains Stopped Running Here 50 Years Ago". Queens Gazette. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Lucev, Emil (June 18, 2010). "Historical Views of the Rockaways: The old Far Rockaway Station Plaza, Mott and Central Avenues, 1922". The Wave. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "L Trains to Rockaway". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 16, 1898. p. 14. 
  6. ^ "New Rockaway Route Open". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 17, 1898. p. 9. 
  7. ^ PRR Chronology, Discontinuance/Last Runs of Passenger Service PDF (40.6 KiB), Edition of June 30, 2003
  8. ^ "The New York Times: Saturday December 23, 1933". 1933-12-23. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  9. ^ a b c Freeman, Ira Henry (June 28, 1956). "Rockaway Trains to Operate Today". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "SUBWAY IS ADDING 2 ISLANDS TO CITY; Realty Is Created in Jamaica Bay as Trestle Is Built for Rockaway Line". New York Times. June 30, 1955. Retrieved February 22, 2016. 
  11. ^ Joseph B. Raskin (1 November 2013). The Routes Not Taken: A Trip Through New York City's Unbuilt Subway System. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-5369-2. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Beachcomber" (PDF). Wave of Long Island. March 23, 1977. p. 11. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Rebuilding the Rockaways After Hurricane Sandy
  14. ^ MTA's tweet on partially restoring the Rockaway shuttle
  15. ^ Hurricane Sandy Recovery Service As of November 20
  16. ^ Beginning Tuesday, Fare-Free H Shuttle Replaces Portion of A Line in Rockaways
  17. ^ A Train Service Restored to Rockaways

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google