Q (New York City Subway service)
|Northern end||57th Street–Seventh Avenue|
|Southern end||Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue|
|Rolling stock||190 R160A/R160Bs (19 trains)|
|Depot||Coney Island Yard|
(predecessor, along with current Franklin Avenue Shuttle)|
August 1, 1920 (current Q service)
The Q Broadway Express is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", is colored sunflower yellow since it uses the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan. The Q operates between 57th Street–Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn at all times, running express in Manhattan (except at night when it runs local), crossing over the Manhattan Bridge south side, and serving all stops on the BMT Brighton Line in Brooklyn.
Q was introduced as a service identifier for the Brighton Beach Express via Broadway (Manhattan) on the rollsigns of the R27 class of subway cars as they were delivered beginning in 1960 and on all subsequent equipment ordered for the IND/BMT divisions of the New York City subway system. The former designation for the service was the number 1, itself introduced in 1924, a designation shared by all Brighton Line mainline services. The letter designations did not appear on earlier equipment that carried the former route numbers. Therefore, older equipment that carried the number 1 (notably the D-type Triplex) continued to be signed 1 until they were withdrawn from service in 1965.
Also with the introduction of the R27 fleet, the mainline local services on the Brighton Line (and other BMT services) were given double letters in conformance with IND practice. Ordinarily this would have produced a QQ service, but this designation was never used. There were two local services, the Brighton Local via Montague Street Tunnel, designated QT, which operated when the express service was running, and the Brighton Local via Manhattan Bridge, designated QB, which operated when the express did not. The so-called "Banker's Special" express, which operated a few trains in the morning and evening rush hours to the Wall Street financial district was not given a separate designation. As this service continued to use older equipment for years after the letters were introduced, this was not usually a problem. When R27 and later cars were used on these specials, they often carried the M designation in the morning that was originally (and eventually) used on Myrtle Avenue trains, and the evening sometimes carried Q or sometimes no designation at all.
With the advent of the Chrystie Street services, the Q designation was suspended as Brighton Line express service was provided by the D service via 6th Avenue in Manhattan. The QT and QB designations were both to be dropped as the Brighton Locals were rerouted to the Nassau Street Loop in lower Manhattan and through routed to Jamaica via the BMT Jamaica Line. This service was designated QJ. The QB designation was retained as it was decided to run a few special local trains up the BMT Broadway Line to answer complaints that the new services provided no access to the Broadway Line.
The service history below includes predecessor services that became the Q service before the identifier was introduced.
On July 2, 1878, steam railroad trains of the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railway began operations from Prospect Park to the Brighton Beach Hotel, which opened at the same time, located on Coney Island at the Atlantic Ocean at the foot of modern-day Coney Island Avenue at The Boardwalk. Passengers could make connections with the horsecars of the Brooklyn City Railroad at the Prospect Park terminal. On August 19, 1878, service was extended north from Prospect Park to Atlantic Avenue west of Franklin Avenue, a location known as Bedford Terminal of the BB&CI and Bedford Station of the Long Island Rail Road. A physical connection was made there both east and west to the LIRR as Bedford Junction. By mutual agreement trains of the BB&CI operated on the LIRR to its terminal at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, provided a much better connection to Downtown Brooklyn and ferries to Manhattan. LIRR trains also operated to Brighton Beach from Flatbush and Atlantic and from its own terminal in Long Island City, with ferry access to Midtown Manhattan. Initially, service operated during the summer season only. At the end of the 1882 summer season, the LIRR abrogated its agreement to allow Brighton trains to access its Flatbush Avenue terminal and beginning with the 1883 summer season, only BF&CI trains operated between Bedford Terminal and Brighton Beach.
In 1896, a short northerly elevated extension of the Brighton Line (since reorganized as the Brooklyn & Brighton Beach Railroad) to the corner of Franklin Avenue and Fulton Street allowed rapid transit trains of the Fulton Street Line of the Kings County Elevated Railroad to operate from the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge to Brighton Beach, where a walking or cable car service connection over the bridge allowed access to New York City Hall at Park Row. In 1900, elevated trains were through-routed to Park Row without need to change trains. By 1903, a surface extension of the Brighton Beach Line on what is now Brighton Beach Avenue permitted through service from Park Row, Manhattan west to Culver Depot at Surf Avenue near West 8th Street, much nearer to the growing amusement center known then as West Brighton and now simply as Coney Island.
In 1908, a massive grade crossing elimination project was completed with a 4-track line from south of Church Avenue station to Neptune Avenue near the Coney Island Creek, permitting true local- and express service, as pioneered on the New York City Subway that opened in 1904. Brighton Beach local and express service was extended to a new West End terminal at Stillwell and Surf Avenues, the location of the terminal for the BMT Southern Division, in May 1919.
On August 1, 1920, subway service on the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation's BMT Brighton Line officially began upon opening of Montague Street Tunnel and a two track line connecting Prospect Park and DeKalb Avenue. Brighton Express service was operated during the daytime every day except Sunday between Brighton Beach and Times Square via the Montague Street Tunnel while local service operated between Coney Island and 57th Street–Seventh Avenue via the north side of the Manhattan Bridge. During late nights, all trains used the tunnel. Three years later, the Brighton Locals and Expresses switched Manhattan access methods with the express using the bridge when it ran and the Locals using the tunnel except in the evenings and on Sunday, when it too used the bridge. During the 1930s, limited morning rush hour service ran via the south side of the Manhattan Bridge to Chambers Street. On June 29, 1950, trains began running there during the evening rush as well.
On October 17, 1949, the IRT Astoria Line was converted to BMT operation. Local trains were extended via this line to Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard. Number 2 Fourth Avenue Locals ran here at all times, and Brighton Locals during rush hours. On April 27, 1950, Brighton Locals operated through to Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria all day on weekdays and Saturdays. On June 26, 1952, Brighton Express trains were extended to 57th Street – Seventh Avenue on weekdays after the morning rush hour and all day on Saturdays.
The 60th Street Tunnel Connection opened on December 1, 1955. Brighton Local trains were rerouted to this new connector to serve the IND Queens Boulevard Line to Forest Hills–71st Avenue. They were replaced on the BMT Astoria Line by Brighton Express trains on weekdays. On May 4, 1957, Brighton Express trains ran to Astoria on Saturdays as well, but made local stops in Manhattan as the Brighton Local trains now ran to Chambers Street via the BMT Montague Street Line. The express tracks between Times Square–42nd Street and 57th Street–Seventh Avenue were placed in service on May 2, 1957, and were used at all times by West End and Sea Beach Expresses. An interesting aspect of this service was that Brighton Expresses ran local in Manhattan on Saturdays while Brighton Locals ran express here during evenings and on Sundays. This lasted only until the next service change. On October 24, 1957, Brighton Local trains ran via bridge and local in Manhattan, all day on Sundays as well as evenings and midnight hours. Brighton Expresses on weekdays began using the express tracks between Times Square–42nd Street and 57th Street–Seventh Avenue.
A December 1957 strike shut down much of the BMT Division. Brighton Local trains ran in two sections, from Coney Island via tunnel to 57th Street and from Whitehall Street to Jamaica–179th Street on the IND Queens Boulevard Line. Due to the differing unions predominating on the various divisions, the IND was completely knocked out of service, while the IRT ran virtually normal service. The BMT was about half affected, with makeshift service patterns being set up for the duration of the strike.
On May 28, 1959, Brighton Express trains midday on weekdays were cut back to 57th Street–Seventh Avenue and made local stops in Brooklyn midday. Nassau Specials returned, running via the Montague Street tunnel during the morning rush and via the Manhattan Bridge during the evening rush. As part of the same service change, Brighton Local trains (beginning June 6) ran to Franklin Avenue on Saturdays. This was not seasonal and ran the entire day, being quite distinct from the Sunday service which still operated.
On November 15, 1960, with the arrival of the R27s, service on the Brighton Line was as follows: Express was designated as Q, local via tunnel as QT, and local via bridge as QB. Single letters were used to refer to express lines and double letters for local lines, a practice that began thirty years earlier with the Independent Subway System (IND). However, these designations were not as yet in common usage, and the R27 signs continued to display the old route names. For the above reasons and for the sake of continuity and consistency, these services were referred to by the old route names until the time of the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection. Moreover, it was deemed more important and informative to indicate how the trains actually operated rather than how the letters were manipulated. Starting January 1, 1961, weekday Brighton Express service terminated at 57th Street – Seventh Avenue all day. On Saturdays, these trains provided local service between Franklin Avenue and Brighton Beach. This service was merged into the Franklin Avenue Shuttle service on October 14, 1961, and was discontinued altogether in February 1963. (The Sunday service to Brighton Beach had been discontinued on January 1, 1961.) Brighton Local service ran to Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard at all times. On Saturdays, they provided express service on the Brighton Line, and ran local all other times. This service change was essentially a swap between the north terminals of the Brighton Local and Fourth Avenue Local, and between the Brighton Express and West End Express. Prior to this time, both Brighton services operated via the 60th Street Tunnel to Queens. This change served to keep one Brighton service available in the event of a massive delay in the 60th Street Tunnel.
From February 10 to November 2, 1964, the Brighton Express tracks were closed for platform extensions. Skip-stop service was instituted along the Brighton Line.
On November 26, 1967, the Chrystie Street Connection opened, connecting the Brighton Line to the IND Sixth Avenue Line via the Manahttan Bridge. Originally, the D and QJ were to replace all three Q services. However, due to riders' opposition to the expected loss of all Broadway service, two limited rush-hour only services were added. The QB ran between Coney Island and 57th Street - 7th Avenue, running local in Brooklyn and express in Manhattan, similar to the current Q service. A "super express" NX service was introduced that operated from Brighton Beach compass west to Coney Island, then north via the BMT Sea Beach Line express tracks, making no stops at all on that line, then stopping at 59th Street station and then N express stops to 57th Street and Seventh Avenue on the BMT Broadway Line. The NX was eliminated only five months later due to low ridership.  On May 5, 1985, the double-letter naming scheme for local services was dropped; the QB was renamed the Q the next day.
Starting on April 26, 1986, the Brighton Line's express tracks underwent reconstruction; at the same time, reconstruction of the Manhattan Bridge started which would disrupt subway service until 2004. The bridge's north side tracks (leading to the Sixth Avenue Line) closed. The Q now ran all day weekdays (7 AM to 8 PM) between 57th Street - 7th Avenue and Brighton Beach. To substitute Brighton Line express service, the Q ran skip-stop service with the D between Prospect Park and Sheepshead Bay. Because the Manhattan Bridge's north side tracks closed, the D also ran on the bridge's south side tracks, running via Broadway Express to 57th Street - 7th Avenue.
On December 11, 1988, the north side tracks reopened and the south side tracks closed. The Q became the weekday Brighton Express to Brighton Beach and was rerouted via the north side of the bridge and the IND Sixth Avenue Line to 57th Street, Midtown Manhattan. This service, using an orange bullet, ran weekdays daytime only, and on weekday evenings and late nights, a shuttle ran between 57th Street and Second Avenue. Weekend service was provided by the B. On October 29, 1989, the IND 63rd Street Line opened and the B, Q and shuttle were extended to 21st Street – Queensbridge in Long Island City. The shuttle was replaced by B service weekday evenings and F late nights on September 30, 1990.
On April 30, 1995, the north side of the Manhattan Bridge closed during middays and weekends, in addition to the already-closed south side. During these times, the Q ran between Coney Island and 21st Street-Queensbridge, via Brighton Local (replacing the D), the Montague Street Tunnel, Broadway Express (switching between the local and express tracks at Canal Street) and the BMT 63rd Street Line, one of the rare instances the line was used for passenger service. Rush hour and evening service was unchanged. Normal service resumed on November 12, 1995.
On February 22, 1998, construction on the IND 63rd Street Line cut B and Q service to 57th Street–Sixth Avenue. Service on the 63rd Street Line was replaced by a shuttle to the BMT Broadway Line. Normal service resumed on May 22, 1999.
On July 22, 2001, the Manhattan Bridge's north side tracks closed and the south side tracks reopened. There were now two Q services. In Brooklyn, the circle Q (Q local) replaced the D as the full-time Brighton Local to Stillwell Avenue while the <Q> (Q express or Q diamond) replaced the Sixth Avenue Q as the weekday-only Brighton Express to Brighton Beach. Both Qs used the south side of the Manhattan Bridge to travel into Manhattan and then ran to 57th Street–Seventh Avenue via Broadway Express. Service on the IND 63rd Street Line was replaced by a shuttle, which would be permanently replaced by the F in December 2001.
After September 11, 2001, Broadway Line service through Lower Manhattan, and R service were suspended. The Q local replaced the R between Canal Street and Forest Hills–71st Avenue, making local stops in Manhattan and Queens at all times except late nights, when it terminated at 57th Street–Seventh Avenue. Both services returned to normal on October 28, 2001. On September 8, 2002, Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (the Q's southern terminal) was closed for reconstruction and the Q local terminated at Brighton Beach. During this time, service at stations between Brighton Beach and Stillwell Avenue was replaced by an extension of the B68 bus. Q service to Stillwell Avenue resumed on May 23, 2004.
From April 27 to November 2, 2003, the south side of the Manhattan Bridge was closed on weekends and Q service was rerouted via the Montague Street Tunnel. On February 22, 2004, full service on the Manhattan Bridge was restored. The <Q> express was entirely discontinued and was replaced with the B in Brooklyn and N in Manhattan. The Q remained unchanged.
On June 28, 2010, the Q was extended to/from Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard via the 60th Street Tunnel and BMT Astoria Line on weekdays to replace the W, which was discontinued due to budget problems.
On December 7, 2014, the Q began operating local in Manhattan between 57th Street–Seventh Avenue and Canal Street during late nights, in order to decrease waiting time at the local stations.
The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is expected to open in December 2016; the Q will be rerouted from 57th Street to 96th Street via the BMT 63rd Street Line and the IND Second Avenue Line. The Q will stop at Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station with a cross-platform transfer to the IND 63rd Street Line (served by the F train) before serving new stations under Second Avenue at 72nd Street, 86th Street, and 96th Street, where it will originate/terminate. To prepare for this, on November 7, 2016, the Q was cut back from Astoria to 57th Street, making express stops between 57th Street and Canal Street at all times except during late night hours. Service in Queens was replaced by the restored W.
The second phase of the Second Avenue Line will extend the Q to a new northern terminal at 125th Street, providing residents of Spanish Harlem and the Upper East Side with direct subway service via Second Avenue and Broadway to western Midtown, Lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn.
The following table shows the lines used by the Q, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|BMT Broadway Line||57th Street–Seventh Avenue||Canal Street||local|
|BMT Brighton Line (full line)||DeKalb Avenue||Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue||local|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
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