The New York City Subway Lines Project:
TheTimes Square Station
What is it?
A major transfer point of the New York City Subway system, the busiest station in the system. This probably makes it the busiest public transit point in the world.
Transfers are available between all lines.
What's interesting About It
The Times Square station was built as four separate stations on the West Side IRT, BMT, IND, and Flushing Lines. This station was part of the original subway line which ran from City Hall up the Lexington Avenue tracks to Grand Central Terminal, across what is now the 42nd Street Shuttle to Times Square, then north along the current 1/9 line to 145th Street. From the north end of the IRT (1/2/3/9) platform, you can see where the current shuttle tracks connect to the Seventh Avenue tracks; you can also see this junction from the west end of the shuttle platform.
There are five station levels in the Times Square complex:
- Shuttle, 20 feet below street level
- 8th Avenue IND (A/C/E), 30 feet below street level
- 7th Avenue IRT (1/2/3/9), 40 feet below street level
- Broadway BMT (N/R), 50 feet below street level
- Flushing IRT (7), 60 feet below street level
There is also an abandoned platform below the southbound platform of the 8th Avenue IND; it was built with the rest of the station in 1932, but was only used from 1959 to 1981 for unusual service, such as the special-fare Aqueduct Racetrack
trains and rush hour E train
s. There is a rumor about the reason for this platform: allegedly, the Flushing IRT (7 Train
) tracks end against the wall of the IND station lower platform. Its existence was to keep the IRT (which was, at the time, a separate company) from continuing those tracks to provide service to the West Side
. By 1989, all but one entrance to the lower platform had been sealed up. The remaining entrance (for the brave or foolish) is under a lift-up trap door
at the south end of the southbound platform.
The 42nd Street West Side station was built in 1932; at the time, it was a local stop, and the surrounding area was known as Longacre Square. Later, the New York Times moved into the area, and Times Square was born. As demand grew, more tracks were built into the area and it is now the busiest station in the entire system.
This station was the site of a 1928 train wreck which killed 16 people, making it the second worst accident in New York City Transit history.