The New York City Subway Lines Project:
The MTA That Used To Be

The original governing body of the three subway systems (IRT, BMT, IND) was known as the Board of Transportation, taking over in June 1940 under the watch of Fiorello LaGuardia. The BoT proved to be an ineffective governing body, unable to operate the lines at anything resembling a profit. In 1953, it was replaced by the New York City Transit Authority, or the TA. Under the TA, the many connections between the IND and BMT were built. They purchased the Rockaway line from the LIRR, connected the Queens Blvd. line to the 60th Street tunnel, and ordered most of the subway cars that are in operation today. The Metropolitan Transit Authority took over in 1968, also taking over the LIRR, the Staten Island trains, the municipal bus lines, the Metro-North, and the various bridges and tunnels that connect the islands of New York City. In the 1980s, they started to overhaul the system, rebuilding track, removing graffitti, and renaming most of the lines.

The JFK Express -- Popularly known as "The Train To The Plane", started in the 1970s. This was an attempt to provide better service from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan, and was a spectacular failure. It ran from 57th Street and 6th Avenue over the Sixth Avenue Line to West 4th Street, where it switched over to the A Train|Eighth Avenue] trackage, making all express stops to Jay Street, Brooklyn. From Jay Street it ran non-stop to Howard Beach station, where a shuttle bus traveled the remaining mile to the air terminal.

Of course, "non-stop" was not exactly accurate. The train shared an express track with the A train, which was making all its regular stops. Those more astute can see how this led to bottlenecks, with the TttP either stuck behind an A that was making an actual stop or possibly shunted quickly to a local track, provided that there was no local train running there and also that the switches could be aligned so quickly without causing other major delays. Also, the train didn't go directly to the airport; you had to get off at Howard Beach and transfer to a bus, which could still get caught in traffic (This is still the case, and will be until the AirTrain is finished in 2002). Add to this the fact that the fare was $3.50, 4 times as expensive as the standard fare at the time, and that the A train STILL MADE THIS SAME STOP, and one can see the downfall. The TttP was basically aimed at tourists and businessmen who were afraid to travel through the seamier parts of Brooklyn and were willing to pay more for this feature.

K--also known as the KK, this service briefly operated between Broadway-East New York and 57th Street-6th Avenue in the late 60s and early 70s. It operated over the Williamsburg Bridge to a connection with the F at Essex Street, and up the 6th Avenue line from there.

EE--71st-Continental, Queens, to Whitehall Street, Manhattan, via Queens Blvd., the 60th Street tunnel, and the Broadway line. All local stops. Presently operated as the northern half of the R train. Discontinued in the early 1980s, sometime prior to the N and RR exchanging terminals.

Back to the The Lines That Used To Be

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