IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line

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This article is about a rapid transit line. For the surface (bus, formerly streetcar) line along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, see Broadway Line (lower Manhattan surface).
IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Train services that use the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line have been colored red since 1979.
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street
South Ferry (Manhattan branch)
Borough Hall (Brooklyn branch)
Stations 44
Daily ridership 1,093,105 (south of 96th Street)
348,027 (north of 96th Street)[1]
Opened 1904-1919
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Underground (Brooklyn and most of Manhattan)
Elevated (125th Street and North of Inwood)
Number of tracks 1–4
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 625V DC third rail
IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street
240th Street Yard
238th Street
231st Street
Marble Hill–225th Street
Hudson Line (Metro-North)
Broadway Bridge
over Harlem River
215th Street
207th Street Yard
207th Street
Dyckman Street
191st Street
181st Street
168th Street IND Eighth Avenue Line
157th Street
145th Street
137th Street Yard
137th Street–City College
125th Street
116th Street–Columbia University
Cathedral Parkway–110th Street
103rd Street
IRT Lenox Avenue Line
96th Street
91st Street (closed)
86th Street
79th Street
72nd Street
66th Street–Lincoln Center
IND Eighth Avenue Line
59th Street–Columbus Circle
IND Sixth Avenue Line
IND Queens Boulevard Line
50th Street BMT Broadway Line
42nd Street Shuttle
IRT Flushing Line
Times Square–42nd Street
34th Street–Penn Station
Pennsylvania Station
on Northeast Corridor Line
28th Street
23rd Street
18th Street
14th Street
BMT Canarsie Line
IND Sixth Avenue Line
IND Eighth Avenue Line
Christopher Street–Sheridan Square
Houston Street
Canal Street
Franklin Street
Chambers Street
Chambers Street (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
Park Place
World Trade Center (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
BMT Broadway Line
IRT Lexington Avenue Line
BMT Nassau Street Line
Cortlandt Street (closed)
IND Eighth Avenue Line
Fulton Street
Wall Street
Rector Street
South Ferry loops
South Ferry (closed) Staten Island Ferry Staten Island Ferry
South Ferry (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
Joralemon Street TunnelClark Street Tunnel
under East River
Clark Street
Borough Hall
IRT Eastern Parkway Line

The IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line (also known as the Seventh Avenue Line or the West Side Line) is a New York City Subway line. It is one of several lines that serves the A Division (IRT), stretching from South Ferry in Lower Manhattan north to Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street in Riverdale, Bronx.[2] The Brooklyn Branch, known as the Wall and William Streets Branch during construction,[3][4] from the main line at Chambers Street southeast through the Clark Street Tunnel to Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn, is also part of the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line.[5]


The south end of the Brooklyn Branch is unclear. In a 1981 list of "most deteriorated subway stations", the MTA listed Borough Hall and Clark Street stations as part of the IRT New Lots Line.[6] However, as of 2007, emergency exit signs label Borough Hall as an IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line station, and the two parts of Borough Hall are signed as being along the Broadway–Seventh Avenue and IRT Eastern Parkway Lines. The chaining designations "K" (Clark Street Tunnel) and "M" (Joralemon Street Tunnel) join and become "E" (Eastern Parkway Line) at Borough Hall.[7]

The line is also known as the IRT West Side Line, since it runs along the west side of Manhattan; the part north of 42nd Street was built as part of the first subway in New York. The line serves places such as Lincoln Center, Columbia University, and the City College of New York.

Train services that use the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line are colored tomato red on subway signage and literature. The line is served by the 1 2 3 trains, which operate together over much of the line. In the past, the 1 train operated as a skip-stop service in tandem with the 9, which was discontinued after May 27, 2005; from 1994 onward, this skip-stop separation existed only in Upper Manhattan during rush hours.

An unused third track along much of the line north of 96th Street has been used in the past for peak direction express service, at least between 96th Street and 137th Street.[8] This center track is currently used only during construction reroutes. There is another unused third track between Dyckman Street and Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street.[7]

Clark Street tunnel[edit]

Emergency exit, Furman Street, Brooklyn
1915 Seventh Avenue subway collapse with car fallen in tunnel

The Clark Street tunnel carries the 2 3 trains under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was opened for revenue service on Tuesday, April 15, 1919, relieving crowding on the Joralemon Street tunnel and providing passengers with a direct route to travel between Brooklyn and the west side of Manhattan.[9] It is about 5,900 feet long, with about 3,100 feet underwater.

Construction of the tunnel began on October 12, 1914, using a tunneling shield in conjunction with compressed air. The tunnel was designed by civil engineer Clifford Milburn Holland, who would later serve as the first chief engineer of the Holland Tunnel.[10][11] The north tube was holed through on November 28, 1916.[12]

On December 28, 1990, an electrical fire in the Clark Street tunnel trapped passengers on a subway train for over half an hour, killed two people, and injured 149 passengers.[13]


Contracts 1 and 2[edit]

Operation of the first subway began on October 27, 1904, with the opening of all stations from City Hall to 145th Street on the West Side Branch.[14] Service was extended to 157th Street on November 12, 1904, as the station was delayed because there was still painting and plastering work going on in the station.[15] The West Side Branch was extended northward to a temporary terminus of 221st Street and Broadway on March 12, 1906. This extension was served by shuttle trains operating between 157th Street and 221st Street.[16] However, only the Dyckman Street, 215th Street, and 221st Street stations opened on this date as the other stations were not yet completed.[17][18] The 168th Street station opened on April 14, 1906.[17][19] The 181st Street station opened on May 30, 1906, and on this date express trains on the Broadway branch began running through to 221st Street, eliminating the need to transfer at 157th Street to shuttles.[20] The station at 207th Street was completed in 1906, but since it was located in a sparsely occupied area, the station was opened in 1907.[17][18] The original system as included in Contract 1 was completed on January 14, 1907, when trains started running across the Harlem Ship Canal on the Broadway Bridge to 225th Street,[18] meaning that 221st Street could be closed.

Once the line was extended to 225th Street on January 14, 1907, the structure of the 221st Street was dismantled and was moved to 230th Street for a new temporary terminus.[18] Service was extended to the temporary terminus at 230th Street on January 27, 1907. An extension of Contract 1 north to 242nd Street at Van Cortlandt Park was approved in 1906[21] and opened on August 1, 1908.[22][23] (The original plan had been to turn east on 230th Street to just west of Bailey Avenue, at the New York Central Railroad's Kings Bridge station.[24]) When the line was extended to 242nd Street the temporary platforms at 230th Street were dismantled, and were rumored to be brought to 242 Street to serve as the station's side platforms. The 191st Street was not open until January 14, 1911 because the elevators and other work at the station had not yet been completed.[17][23][25]

Between 1904 and 1908, one of the main service patterns was the West Side Branch, running from Lower Manhattan to Van Cortlandt Park via what is now the Lexington Avenue, 42nd Street, and Broadway–Seventh Avenue Lines. There was both local and express service with express trains using the express tracks south of 96th Street. Some express trains ran to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn via the Joralemon Street Tunnel during rush hours while all other trains turned around at City Hall or South Ferry.[26][27]

On September 22, 1915, there was an explosion during construction of the 23rd Street subway station that caused the tunnel to collapse.[28]

Dual Contracts[edit]

The Dual Contracts, which were signed on March 19, 1913, were contracts for the construction and/or rehabilitation and operation of rapid transit lines in the City of New York. The contracts were "dual" in that they were signed between the City and two separate private companies (the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company), all working together to make the construction of the Dual Contracts possible. The Dual Contracts promised the construction of several lines in Brooklyn. As part of Contract 4, the IRT agreed to build a branch of the original subway line south down Seventh Avenue, Varick Street, and West Broadway to serve the West Side of Manhattan.[29][30][31]

The construction of this line, in conjunction with the construction of the Lexington Avenue Line, would change the operations of the IRT system. Instead of having trains go via Broadway, before turning onto 42nd Street, before finally turning onto Park Avenue, there would be two trunk lines connected by the 42nd Street Shuttle. The system would be changed from a "Z" system to an "H" system. One trunk would run via the new Lexington Avenue Line down Park Avenue, and the other trunk would run via the new Seventh Avenue Line up Broadway. In order for the line to continue down Varick Street and West Broadway, these streets needed to be widened. It was predicted that the subway extension would lead to the growth of the Lower West Side, and to neighborhoods such as Chelsea and Greenwich Village.[32][33]

South of Chambers Street, there were to be two branches constructed. The first branch would run to the Battery via Greenwich Street, while the second branch would turn eastward under Park Place and Beeckman Street and down William Street running under the East River through a tunnel before running under Clark Street and Fulton Street until it reaches a junction at Borough Hall with the existing Contract 2 IRT Brooklyn Line.[32][33]

On June 3, 1917, the first portion of the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line south of Times Square–42nd Street, a shuttle to 34th Street–Penn Station, opened; a separate shuttle service, running between 42nd and 34th Streets, was created.[34][35] This short extension was opened even though the rest of the route was not yet completed in order to handle the mass of traffic to and from Pennsylvania Station. Only the northern part of the station was opened at this time, and piles of plaster, rails, and debris could be seen on the rest of the platforms.[36] This shuttle was extended south to South Ferry, with a shorter shuttle on the Brooklyn branch between Chambers Street and Wall Street, on July 1, 1918.[37] Finally, the new "H" system was implemented on August 1, 1918, joining the two halves of the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line and sending all West Side trains south from Times Square.[38] An immediate result of the switch was the need to transfer using the 42nd Street Shuttle. The completion of the "H" system doubled the capacity of the IRT system.[32]

The local tracks ran to South Ferry, while the express tracks used the Brooklyn Branch to Wall Street, extended into Brooklyn to Atlantic Avenue via the Clark Street Tunnel on April 15, 1919.[39] Extensions of the Eastern Parkway Line and the connecting Nostrand Avenue Line and New Lots Line opened in the next few years, with the end result being that West Side trains ran to Flatbush Avenue or New Lots Avenue.


In 1948, platforms on the line from 103rd Street to 238th Street were lengthened to 514 feet to allow full ten-car express trains to platform. Previously the stations could only platform six car local trains. The platform extensions were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the stations from 103rd Street to Dyckman Street had their platform extensions opened, with the exception of the 125th Street, which had its opened on June 11, 1948. On July 9, 1948, the platform extensions at stations between 207th Street and 238th Street were opened for use at the cost of $423,000.[40][41]


Under a $100,000,000 rebuilding program, increased and lengthened service was implemented during peak hours on the 1 train. Switching at a junction north of 96th Street, delayed service as trains from the Lenox Avenue Line which ran local switched from the express to the local, while trains from the Broadway Branch that ran express switched from the local to the express. This bottleneck was removed on February 6, 1959. All Broadway trains were locals, and all Lenox Avenue trains were expresses, eliminating the need to switch tracks. All 3 trains began to run express south of 96th Street on that date running to Brooklyn. 1 trains began to run between 242nd Street and South Ferry all times. Trains began to be branded as Hi-Speed Locals, being as fast as the old express service was with 8-car trains consisting of new R21s and R22s on the line.[42][43] During rush hour in the peak direction, alternate trains, those running from 242nd Street, made no stops except 168th Street between Dyckman and 137th Streets in the direction of heavy traffic. The bypassed stations were served by locals originating from Dyckman Street.[44]

The improved service could not be implemented until the platform extensions at stations on the line were completed. The original IRT stations north of Times Square could barely fit five or six car locals based on whether the trains had one or two ends with cars that had manually operated doors. In 1958, the platform extensions at the local stations were nearly completed, but there were more problems with the platform extensions at the two express stations, 72nd Street and 96th Street. To make room for the platform extension at 72nd Street, the track layout was changed. However, in order to fit the platform extension at 96th Street, the local tracks and the outside walls had to be moved. A new mezzanine with stairways to the street was built between West 93rd Street and West 94th Street. Since the 86th Street and 96th Street stations had their platforms extended in order to accommodate 10-car trains, the 91st Street station was closed on February 2, 1959 because if could not have its platforms extended since they would already be to close to the other two stations.[45][46]

During the 1964–1965 fiscal year, the platforms at Park Place, Fulton Street, Wall Street, Clark Street and Borough Hall were lengthened to 525 feet to accommodate a ten-car train of 51-foot IRT cars.[47]

On August 21, 1989, the 1/9 weekday skip-stop service started. The plan was to have skip-stop service begin north of 116th Street–Columbia University, but due to criticism, most notably that riders did not want 125th Street to be a skip-stop station, skip-stop service operated north of 137th Street–City College between the hours of 6:30 am and 7:00 pm. All 1 trains skipped Marble Hill–225th, 207th, 191st and 145th Streets, while all 9 trains skipped 238th, 215th, Dyckman and 157th Streets.[48][49][50][51] On September 4, 1994, midday skip-stop service was discontinued,[52] and 191st Street was no longer a skip-stop station.

After the September 11 attacks, all 1 trains had to be rerouted since the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line ran directly under the World Trade Center site and was heavily damaged in the collapse of the Twin Towers. It ran only between 242nd Street and 14th Street, making local stops north of and express stops south of 96th Street. The skip-stop service with the 9 train was suspended. On September 19, after a few switching delays at 96th Street, service was changed. All 1 trains made all stops from 242nd Street to New Lots Avenue via the Clark Street Tunnel and IRT Eastern Parkway Line, to replace all 3 trains (which terminated at 14th Street) at all times except late nights, when it terminated at Chambers Street in Manhattan instead. On September 15, 2002, all 1 trains returned to the South Ferry Loop and 9 skip-stop service was reinstated. But Cortlandt Street, which was directly underneath the World Trade Center, was demolished as part of the clean-up and will be rebuilt as part of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.[53]

On May 27, 2005, the 9 train was discontinued and all 1 trains now made all stops.[52][54] The skip-stop service made less sense by 2005 because of the increased number of trains being run and the higher ridership at the bypassed stations; the MTA estimated that eliminating skip-stop service only added 212 to 3 minutes of travel time (for passengers at the northernmost stations at 242nd Street and 238th Street) but many passengers would see trains frequencies double, resulting in decreased overall travel time (because of less time waiting for trains).[55]

On March 16, 2009, the new South Ferry station opened, replacing the original loop station.[56] The loop station could only accommodate the first five cars of a train and it required the use of gap fillers.[57][58] The new station was built as a two-track, full (10-car)-length island platform on a less severe curve, permitting the operation of a typical terminal station.[57][59] The newer station does not have a connection to the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, and is located underneath the loop station. The MTA claimed that the new station saved four to six minutes of a passenger's trip time and increased the peak capacity of the 1 service to 24 trains per hour, as opposed to 16 to 17 trains per hour with the loop station.[60] This was the first new station to open since 1989 when the IND 63rd Street Line stations opened. However, 1 service was affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, following serious flood damage at South Ferry. Rector Street served as a temporary terminal until April 4, 2013,[61][62] when the 1 returned to the reopened loop station, also serving as a temporary terminal until the new South Ferry Station opens again in the summer of 2017.[63][64][65]

Extent and service[edit]

The following services use part or all of the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, whose services' bullets are colored tomato red:

  Time period Section of line
All except
late nights
Late nights
NYCS-bull-trans-1.svg local full line to South Ferry
NYCS-bull-trans-2.svg express local south of 96th Street to Borough Hall
NYCS-bull-trans-3.svg express south of 96th Street to Borough Hall (all except late nights)
between 96th Street and Times Square (late nights)

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 late nights only Stops late nights only
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Stops rush hours only Stops rush hours 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
Riverdale Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street 1 all times August 1, 1908[22]
Center Express track begins (no regular service)
Connecting Tracks to 240th Street Yard
Kingsbridge and Riverdale 238th Street local 1 all times August 1, 1908[22]
Handicapped/disabled access 231st Street local 1 all times January 27, 1907
Marble Hill Marble Hill–225th Street local 1 all times January 14, 1907[18] Connection to Metro-North Railroad (Hudson Line at Marble Hill)
Broadway Bridge
Inwood 221st Street local March 12, 1906[17] Closed January 14, 1907
215th Street local 1 all times March 12, 1906[17]
Connecting Track to 207th Street Yard
207th Street local 1 all times 1907[18] Bx12 Select Bus Service
Center Express track ends
Handicapped/disabled access Dyckman Street 1 all times March 12, 1906[17] Station is ADA-accessible in the southbound direction only.
Washington Heights 191st Street 1 all times January 14, 1911[25]
181st Street 1 all times May 30, 1906[20]
168th Street 1 all times April 14, 1906[19] IND Eighth Avenue Line (A all times C all except late nights)
157th Street 1 all times November 12, 1904[66]
Center Express track begins (No Regular Service)
Harlem 145th Street local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67]
137th Street Yard tracks surround Main Line
137th Street–City College local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67]
125th Street local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67]
Morningside Heights 116th Street–Columbia University local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67] M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport
Cathedral Parkway–110th Street local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67]
Upper West Side 103rd Street local 1 all times October 27, 1904[67]
Center Express track ends
IRT Lenox Avenue Line joins as the express tracks (2 all times 3 all times)
Handicapped/disabled access 96th Street all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all times October 27, 1904[67]
91st Street local October 27, 1904[67] Closed February 2, 1959
86th Street local 1 all times 2 late nights October 27, 1904[67] M86 Select Bus Service
79th Street local 1 all times 2 late nights October 27, 1904[67]
Handicapped/disabled access 72nd Street all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all times October 27, 1904[67]
Handicapped/disabled access 66th Street–Lincoln Center local 1 all times 2 late nights October 27, 1904[67]
Midtown Handicapped/disabled access 59th Street–Columbus Circle local 1 all times 2 late nights October 27, 1904[67] IND Eighth Avenue Line (A all times B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. C all except late nights D all times)
50th Street local 1 all times 2 late nights October 27, 1904[67]
merge on northbound local track to IRT 42nd Street Shuttle (no regular service)
Handicapped/disabled access Times Square–42nd Street all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all times June 3, 1917[34] IRT Flushing Line (7 all times <7>rush hours until 9:30 p.m., peak direction)
IND Eighth Avenue Line (A all times C all except late nights E all times) at 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal
BMT Broadway Line (N all times Q all times R all except late nights W weekdays only)
42nd Street Shuttle (S all except late nights)
Port Authority Bus Terminal
Handicapped/disabled access 34th Street–Penn Station all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all except late nights June 3, 1917[34] Connection to Amtrak, LIRR, and N.J. Transit at Pennsylvania Station
M34 / M34A Select Bus Service
Chelsea 28th Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37]
23rd Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37] M23 Select Bus Service
18th Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37]
14th Street all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all except late nights July 1, 1918[37] IND Sixth Avenue Line (F all times M weekdays until 11:00 p.m.) at 14th Street
BMT Canarsie Line (L all times) at Sixth Avenue
Connection to PATH at 14th Street
Greenwich Village Christopher Street–Sheridan Square local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37] Connection to PATH at Christopher Street
Houston Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37]
TriBeCa Canal Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37]
Franklin Street local 1 all times 2 late nights July 1, 1918[37]
Financial District Handicapped/disabled access Chambers Street all 1 all times 2 all times 3 all except late nights July 1, 1918[37]
Express tracks split to Brooklyn Branch (2 all times 3 all except late nights); Local tracks continue as Main line (1 all times)
Cortlandt Street local July 1, 1918[37] Closed since September 11, 2001, scheduled to reopen in 2018
Connection to PATH at World Trade Center
Rector Street local 1 all times July 1, 1918[37]
Split between Main line and Outer loop at South Ferry loops
South Ferry
(Loop Platform)
outer loop only 1 all times July 1, 1918[37] Closed on March 16, 2009 with the opening of the new terminal
Reopened on April 4, 2013 as temporary station and terminal for the 1 train
Handicapped/disabled access South Ferry
(New Platform)
local March 16, 2009[68] Closed November 2012 due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy; pending reconstruction
BMT Broadway Line (N late nights R all except late nights W weekdays only)
M15 Select Bus Service
Staten Island Ferry at South Ferry
Main line terminates (1 all times)
Brooklyn Branch (2 all times 3 all except late nights)
Financial District Park Place express 2 all times 3 all except late nights August 1, 1918 IND Eighth Avenue Line (A all times C all except late nights) at Chambers Street
IND Eighth Avenue Line (E all times) at World Trade Center
Connection to PATH at World Trade Center
Handicapped/disabled access Fulton Street express 2 all times 3 all except late nights August 1, 1918 IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 all times 5 all except late nights)
IND Eighth Avenue Line (A all times C all except late nights)
BMT Nassau Street Line (J all times Z rush hours, peak direction)
Connection to BMT Broadway Line (N late nights R all except late nights W weekdays only) at Cortlandt Street via Dey Street Passageway
Wall Street express 2 all times 3 all except late nights August 1, 1918
Clark Street Tunnel
Brooklyn Heights Clark Street express 2 all times 3 all except late nights April 15, 1919
Downtown Brooklyn Handicapped/disabled access Borough Hall express 2 all times 3 all except late nights April 15, 1919 IRT Eastern Parkway Line (4 all times 5 weekdays until 8:45 p.m.)
BMT Fourth Avenue Line (N late nights R all times) at Court Street
becomes the local tracks of the IRT Eastern Parkway Line (2 all times 3 all except late nights)


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External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata