Montague Street Tunnel

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Montague Street Tunnel
Montague Tube 2 vc.jpg
Line BMT Fourth Avenue Line (N R W trains)
Location East River between Manhattan, New York and Brooklyn, New York
Coordinates 40°41′53″N 74°00′20″W / 40.69806°N 74.00556°W / 40.69806; -74.00556Coordinates: 40°41′53″N 74°00′20″W / 40.69806°N 74.00556°W / 40.69806; -74.00556
System New York City Subway
Opened August 1, 1920; 97 years ago (August 1, 1920)
Closed August 2, 2013; 4 years ago (August 2, 2013) (for reconstruction)
Rebuilt September 14, 2014; 3 years ago (September 14, 2014)
Operator Metropolitan Transportation Authority
No. of tracks 2 tracks
Route map

The Montague Street Tunnel carries the N, R, and W services of the New York City Subway under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The R uses the tunnel at all times, and the N also uses it during late nights, when it is designated "via Financial District". During rush hours, three W trains per day in each direction also use the tunnel.


Brooklyn ventilation building

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.[1][2] The north tube of the tunnel was holed through on June 2, 1917, and the south tube was holed through on June 20, 1917.[3][4]

It opened to revenue service on August 1, 1920, the same day as the 60th Street Tunnel, on a holiday schedule; regular service began the next day. The two new tunnels allowed passengers to make an 18-mile (29 km) trip from Coney Island, through Manhattan on the BMT Broadway Line, to Queens for a 5-cent fare.[5] The original construction cost was $9,867,906.52, almost twice that of the 60th Street Tunnel.

On December 27, 1920, more than ten thousand passengers were forced to evacuate the tunnel. Power to the third rail was shut off after a shoe beam on a train approaching Whitehall Street fell and caused a short circuit, stranding ten subway trains inside the tunnel.[6]

On October 29, 2012, the tunnel suffered severe flooding from Hurricane Sandy. As a result, the tunnel was closed to all train service while repairs were being made. Service in the tunnel was restored using temporary equipment on December 21. However, the MTA had announced that a complete reconstruction of the tunnel systems was needed, so the tunnel was closed for a second time on August 2, 2013. The tunnel was completely closed during that time.[7][8] Originally slated to open by October 2014, it reopened a month early on September 15, 2014.[9][10][11][12]


Use of the Montague Street Tunnel, the Cranberry Street Tunnel, or a combination of the two tunnels were considered as alternatives in lieu of constructing a new tunnel under the East River for the proposed Lower Manhattan – Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project.[13][14] Use of the existing tunnel was considered as an option because the Montague Street Tunnel had surplus capacity, having carried the M train until its reroute from the BMT Nassau Street Line to the IND Sixth Avenue Line in 2010, and the N train during the reconstruction of the Manhattan Bridge from 1986 until 2004.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Work Begins on New Tubes Under River". The New York Times. October 11, 1914. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  2. ^ Aronson, Michael (June 15, 1999). "The Digger Clifford Holland". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  3. ^ "New River Tunnel Opened". The New York Times. June 3, 1917. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Last Down-town Tunnel Holed Through". Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  5. ^ "New Subway Link Opens; Service Started Through Queens and Montague Street Tubes". The New York Times. August 1, 1920. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Thousands Penned in River Tunnel". The New York Times. December 28, 1920. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  7. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (2013-08-04). "On R Train, Unwelcome Reminder of Storm’s Impact". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  8. ^ " - R Service affected by 14 month closure of Montague Under River Tube". Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  9. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (12 September 2014). "Subway Tunnel to Open, Storm Repairs Finished". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Newman, Andy; Goodman, J. David (September 15, 2014). "The R Roars Back". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  11. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: R train’s East River tunnel may reopen early". Brooklyn Daily. Brooklyn Daily. September 8, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  12. ^ "R Train To Resume Service Between Brooklyn And Manhattan Monday". CBS Local. September 14, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Airport Link Options Narrowed to Four". Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. 2004-02-05. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  14. ^ Dunlap, David W.; Baker, Al (May 4, 2004). "Rail Tunnel Is Considered For L.I. Link To Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  15. ^ Rogers, Josh (February 6, 2004). "Debating L.I.R.R.-Link Options". Downtown Express. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  16. ^ Pierre-Pierre, Garry (April 10, 1996). "Neglect of Manhattan Bridge Takes Toll in Time and Money". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 

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