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This is how your name and profile photo will appear on Panoramio if you connect this Google+ account. Get faster updatesDownload the free Breaking News app for faster updates, alerts and live video. Jamaica is the location of several government buildings including Queens Civil Court, the civil branch of the Queens County Supreme Court, the Queens County Family Court and the Joseph P. It would seem, looking back, that the New York City Transit Authority didn't have a chance in the 1970s. The rapid transit infrastructure of NYC in the 1970s was suffering from the effects of "deferred maintenance" initiatives started in the 1960s. The Virginia Slims cigarette commercial used to say, "You've Come a Long Way, Baby", and this saying could also apply to NYC Transit. This document will examine the grand plans put forth by the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA), the predecessor to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the MTA), at its formation in 1968.
The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (what the MTA was called when it was first formed in 1968) released its "Program for Action" on February 28th, 1968.
Phase I considered projects for immediate action and would run over a ten-year period costing $1.6 billion. Phase II was to be carried out at the completion of phase I, at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, most of which would come from the Federal Government. The plan considered all aspects of regional travel, affecting the subway, the LIRR, the Penn Central, Erie-Lackawanna and New Haven railroads, as well as the regional airports. Aggressive completion of the 63rd Street tunnel (at the time this project was already planned) as well as the connections to the IND 6th Avenue Line and the BMT Broadway Line. The Second Avenue Subway from 34th St to the Bronx, with a connection to the 63rd St tunnel.
The IRT Division would see its Nostrand Avenue line extended along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to Avenue U.
The purchase of about 500 high-speed air-conditioned subway cars for operation on the new subway extensions. Yards and shops would be expanded to serve the new subway lines and the increased fleet size.
A new "Metropolitan Transportation Center" at 48th Street and 3rd Avenue would be built to provide a terminal for the new LIRR line that would use the lower level of the 63rd Street tunnel. Completion of the Second Avenue Subway from 34th Street south to the Financial District along Water Street to Whitehall Street. A midtown distribution system along 57th, 48th, 42nd and 33rd Sts., using some kind of guided systems technology to link terminals, offices and other travel points. Extension of the subway east of Jamaica to Hollis, Queens and razing the El along Jamaica Avenue.
Extending the IND Concourse Line to White Plains Road, providing easy transfers to the IRT White Plains Road line.
A new railroad station at 149th Street in the Bronx to provide a convenient interchange between the Penn Central, the New Haven and the subway system. Some revisions to the plan that were approved by the Board of Estimate in May 1968 were a new IRT Utica Ave Line to Kings Highway (later Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U) extended from the IRT New Lots Ave Line, extension of the IRT Nostrand Ave Line along Nostrand Ave to Ave W in Sheepshead Bay (instead of Flatbush Ave to Ave U as originally proposed) and the relocation of the Canarsie Line (open portion) to the LIRR Bay Ridge Line cut.
Construction on the Second Avenue Subway began on October 27th, 1972, when both the mayor and governor broke ground for the new line at East 103rd St.
Concurrent with the building of the Confucius Apartment complex in Chinatown, a third 700-foot section of the Second Avenue line was built.
On July 25th, 1974, construction began on the section of the Second Avenue Subway between 2nd and 9th Streets in the East Village. The 63rd Street tunnel was designed to accommodate subway trains on the top level and LIRR trains from Sunnyside Yard on the lower level. Work began on the segment of the 63rd Street line that ran under Central Park in the summer of 1971. When it came time to build an unplanned shaft for construction vehicles to enter and exit the 63rd St tunnel, East Side residents and businesses opposed it vehemently, and battles over its location actually delayed the project somewhat.
Construction on the Archer Avenue subway began on August 15th, 1972, at Archer Avenue and 151st Street, paving the way for the southeast Queens subway line and the demolition of the Jamaica Avenue El from 121st Street to 169th Street.
New subway cars, the R-44s, were designed and built in anticipation of running 70mph trains under 2nd Avenue.
The 63rd Street tunnel was completed and outfitting for the new lines that were to run through it was to begin in early 1974. Three new subway lines were under construction (63rd Street, Second Avenue, Archer Avenue).
The first 8-car train of R-44s was placed into revenue service on December 16th, 1971 on a one-month trial. 50 BMT stations had their platforms extended (or were currently being extended) to accommodate 10 cars.
980 new on-train radios were installed aboard subway cars that did not previously have them.
On June 15th, 1972, the SIRT placed three of five borrowed air-conditioned LIRR cars built in 1955 into service to keep service going until the R-44s would arrive. It finally received 52 new R-44 subway cars, the first of which went into service on February 28th, 1973. The SIRT was considered to be in the worst physical condition of any facility ever taken over by the MTA. The subway and commuter rail cars ordered during these 5 years had a distinctive "MTA look", with a common front end, and all cars had a silver finish with a blue stripe along the beltline. In 1972, tolls along all Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority crossings were raised and the additional funds produced by the toll increase were split between the subway and the commuter rail lines 50-50. On January 28th, 1973, Mayor Lindsay and MTA Chairman William Ronan announced plans to air-condition "all existing subway cars" by 1980. The 1970s also brought some major service terminations, three of which were part of the "Program for Action".
The IRT Low-V museum train (before there WAS a Transit Museum) on a fan trip on the 3rd Avenue El April 29, 1973, one day after the El ceased revenue service. In August of 1972, MTA Chairman William Ronan announced plans to discontinue service on the Third Avenue El in the Bronx during the summer of 1973.
On August 28th, 1972, the last grade crossing on the New York subway at East 105th Street on the Canarsie Line was eliminated. On June 14th, 1974, MTA Chairman Yunich and Mayor Beame announced plans to discontinue service on the Jamaica El north of Queens Blvd sometime in 1975. On September 10th, 1977, the Jamaica Elevated was permanently closed between Queens Blvd and 168th Street.
In 1972, the planned extension to northeast Queens along the Long Island Expressway was "deferred". On April 18th, 1974, MTA chairman William Ronan resigned his post to take over the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The New York City Transit System played host to the Urban Mass Transit Administration's State-of-the-Art car (or SOAC). On November 2nd, 1971, state voters turned down a $2.5 billion state transportation bond issue.
Another branch off the Queens Blvd IND line at 63rd Drive to Rockaway (the very same branch proposed in 1929 and 1939). Finally, in April of 1975, due to the City's fiscal crisis and the need to maintain the existing infrastructure, the Second Avenue subway construction was stopped. In January of 1977, to both save money and increase safety, subway trains were shortened during off hours. Trains were taken out of service very often, usually because the motorman lost indication that the doors were closed and locked. The brand new R-46 models, like their R-44 brethren, were plagued with problems from the start.
Ridership dropped by 25 million passengers between June 30th, 1976 and June 30th, 1977, continuing an eight-year decline that saw 327 million passengers leave the system.
In October of 1978, Mayor Koch was ridiculed by the New York Post for praising the job that Harold L Fisher was doing.
On July 2nd, 1976, the NY Transit Exhibit opened for business in the long-closed Court Street station in downtown Brooklyn.
Bicentennially-painted R-46 "1776" (680) sits in the New York Transit Exhibit, July 5, 1976. Even throughout the dark period of the late 1970s, there were improvement plans, many of which really were implemented. Power substation renovations to the substations at Flatbush Avenue and Empire Blvd, and Joralemon Street and Willow Place. In 1976, the Transit Authority, as a cost saving measure, looked to discontinue the Franklin Avenue Shuttle, but neighborhood support for it always saved from being closed. In 1977, the Linden Shop opened in Brooklyn, enabling the Transit Authority to prefabricate track panels indoors year-round.
The basis for today's subway map debuted at the Cityana Gallery on East 53rd Street on February 1st, 1977. Between November 1977 and February 1978, despite the snowy winter, 97% of trains were on time. In early 1978, it appeared that the Carter Administration was going to provide New York City with substantial Federal funds for modernizing its subway, bus and commuter rail operations. President Carter also visited the New York Subway in September of 1979, and vowed to provide the funds to revitalize it. Despite the fiscal issues and uncertain funding, construction of the 63rd St subway continued on.
By June of 1978, it was expected that 120 IRT cars would be retrofitted with air conditioning. The seeds for converting the original IRT City Hall station into a restaurant were sown in October of 1978. The Transit Authority introduced the "Train to the Plane", the JFK Express, on September 23rd, 1978.
The Sunday half fare program was abolished in 1979 as an attempt to save the TA money and avoid a fare increase.
Noted subway photographer Steve Zabel captures this rooftop view of the Diamond Jubilee IRT special train, at the IRT Contract One station at 125th St.
In some ways, it was a political event, too, where Governor Carey, Mayor Koch, MTA Chairman Harold L. Phyllis Cerf Wagner, the previously mentioned aesthetics chairman, announced "Operation Facelift", a new program where new paint, better lighting, increased platform seating and faster window and door replacement would make its way into the system.
In late 1978, New Yorkers had a better opinion of public education, sanitation and law enforcement that they did of the transit system. Voted "Worst Cars" in 1978, this train of graffiti-scarred R-10s rests at Rockaway Park Yard, September 1978. It is interesting to note that the Stillwell Avenue terminal, only now undergoing complete reconstruction, was slated to be reconstructed in 1980! While New Yorkers were receptive to the improvements, most didn't believe the TA would get the promised money. A City Planning Commission report recommended that free bus to subway transfers be implemented for passengers in Coney Island. For the Diamond Jubilee, on March 8th, 1979, a special run of the Lo-Vs for the press and invited guests traced the route of the first IRT line, as best it could since the "H" system was begun in 1918. In May and again in October of 1979, the Transit Authority brought out the 5-car Lo-V museum set, and ran it in local service on the Lexington Avenue line between Brooklyn Bridge and 59th Street. A new subway token was minted in 1979 for the Diamond Jubilee, containing an off-center diamond shaped hole in it.
Official festivities ended with a re-enactment of the trip around the City Hall Loop in flatcars on November 2nd, 1979.
And just one month after "the whole new subway was coming at ya", a Daily News two part series questioned the safety of the subway. Ironically, "The Warriors", a movie about a gang's attempt to travel the subway between the Bronx and Coney Island while being taunted by other gangs and transit police, was playing in theatres just as a crime wave was overtaking the subways in real life.
The first cracked R-46 Rockwell HPT2 truck was discovered in March of 1977, just a few years after the R-46s appeared on the subway, when a transom arm cracked off its parent-side frame casing, causing a traction motor to fall onto an axle. R-46s placed on the Brighton Line were withdrawn after residents complained about severe vibrations.
By early 1978, the R-46s had 264 trucks with various cracks, gouges and sand holes in them. A plan to allow Pullman to repair rather than replace the trucks was recommended by Senior Executive John G. In July of 1979, Pullman Standard informed the TA that the hand brake assemblies for the R-46 could be defective and they should be removed.
By December of 1979, twenty other defects in the R-46 were found, and the Transit Authority filed another $80 million suit against Pullman Standard and a number of other subcontractors. The 1979 election enabled New York state residents to vote on a $500 million bond issue to finance improvements to mass transit. 260 IRT cars, each being 64 feet long instead of the usual 51 feet (tentatively labeled R-62). 15 self propelled vehicles for the Hudson and Harlem Lines for Poughkeepsie and Dover Plains service, respectively. Creation of a West Side storage yard for the LIRR to reduce deadhead runs to storage yards on Long Island.
Of the proposed financing pie, metropolitan New York would receive the lion's share of $675 million. Until 1973, an elevated highway ran along the west side of Manhattan called (appropriately enough) the West Side Highway.
A section of the West Side Highway at Gansevoort Street collapsed on December 15th, 1973, while under reconstruction.
On May 20th, 1970, two people were killed and 60 were injured when an IND passenger train of R-40M cars (lead car 4501) on the GG and a disabled train of R-16s collided at a switch west of the Roosevelt Avenue station in Queens.
On March 20th, 1973, IND Rockaway Service was curtailed due to a sinking pier found south of Broad Channel. On August 28th, 1973, one passenger was fatally injured when part of a concrete duct fell from the roof of the IRT Steinway Tunnel and struck the roof of the first car of a Queens-bound Flushing local. On October 25th, 1973, service on the IRT Pelham Line was disrupted for several hours when a controller exploded on a Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 train in the early evening near the Longwood Avenue station.
On July 16th, 1974, a fire at the Metropolitan Avenue terminal of the Myrtle Avenue line destroyed a four-car length strip of the station.
On August 20th, 1974, a fire in the Clark Street tunnel just before the start of the afternoon rush disrupted IRT service and caused quite a commotion. Addabbo Federal Building, home to the Social Security Administration's Northeastern Program Service Center. Only 4 days into 1970, the fare was raised from 20 cents to 30 cents, with riders to Rockaway paying a double fare. With MetroCard Gold, dual fare zones (bus to subway transfers) were eliminated and ridership increased markedly. This is the story of the NYC Transit, then known as the Transit Authority, during the 1970s. This line would reduce overcrowding on the IND Queens Blvd line, through the 53rd Street tunnel, on the IRT Flushing Line and through the 60th Street tunnel. The portion of the line from 63rd St, Manhattan to 138th St, the Bronx, would be built as two tracks, with provisions to expand it to four tracks "easily".
It would also have a terminal for a proposed new high-speed line to JFK Airport that would run via Jamaica. It would pass through the Grand Street station of the Chrystie Street connection to allow a cross platform transfer with IND 6th Avenue trains.
One guided system under consideration was the same proposed as a replacement for the 42nd Street shuttle back in the 1950s. El in the Bronx with a new subway line running adjacent to the New Haven Line ROW along Park Avenue.
Stations proposed for the Utica Avenue line were (on Utica Avenue) Winthrop Street, Church Avenue, Kings Highway, Flatlands Avenue, terminating at Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue.
The southern portions of the trackways begin separating for cross-platform transfers at Grand Street.
Tunneling proceeded in a westerly direction from Queens and in both directions under Welfare (now Roosevelt) Island. By June 20th, 1973, this portion was completed and the area of Central Park above this portion became a children's water playground, and was turned over to the NYC Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration.
The MTA actually announced a plan for 80mph trains, but it was reduced to 70mph because the TA didn't want to consider a new, lightweight truck to enable these speeds.
Left: Car 262 and mates speed testing on the Long Island Rail Road at Forest Hills, November 1972. Half way through Phase-I of the 1968 "Program for Action", a report that answered the question, "how are we doing halfway through the plan" was issued.
This was in the five-year checkpoint even though it wasn't part of the "Program for Action". The first train of R-44s in "permanent" revenue service left 179th Street - Jamaica on the "F" train on April 19th, 1972.
Again, this was in the five-year checkpoint even though it wasn't part of the "Program for Action".

This project started on July 19th, 1972 to relieve overcrowding as a result of new office development in the area. Two IRT cars completed a two-year air conditioning test on September 5th, 1973, and the first two 10-car IRT trains retrofitted with air conditioning entered service on June 24th, 1975. The southeast Queens line connecting to the Jamaica Avenue line was close to having a final design approved. The Culver Line had been reduced to a 2-track shuttle between these stations on May 28th, 1959. Louis Car, the R-44's builder, was unable to bid on the R-46 order that eventually went to Pullman Standard. Left, a nearly new R-44 at Pleasant Plains heads south to Tottenville on the Staten Island Rapid Transit line. Some progress was made in combating it in late 1973, but in the winter, the car-washing program stopped. The sections actually finished (completed tunnel, no track) are from the Bowery to Chrystie Street, East 2nd to East 9th Streets (filled back in), East 99th to East 105th Streets, and East 110th to East 120th Streets.
The TA was considering drastic cutbacks in late night service to make up the lost money from fewer fares.
By October of 1977, the planned Metropolitan Transportation Center at 3rd Avenue and 48th Street was dropped. Work on the 63rd Street Tunnel (soon to be called "the tunnel to nowhere") managed to soldier on, too.
The frequency of reports about "shrapnel" on Els raining down onto city streets grew in the late 1970s.
It happened so often, in fact, that riders began revolting and refused to leave the trains. There were reports circulating in the news media that the TA would cancel the R-46 contract and accept only the 200 that had been built as of December 1975. Manhattan residents at the vicinity of York Ave and East 63rd Street protested over the MTAs intention to build a ventilation shaft for the 63rd Street subway.
On October 27th, 1976, loose chunks of concrete were falling from a retaining wall on the southbound side of the Brighton Line at a point just south of the Beverley Road station. One incident on October 5th, where a miscreant threw a paving block from an overpass on the Brighton Line, injured a motorman. An analysis of trends at that time forecast that if this rate of decline would continue, there would be no passengers on the system by 2002. In the first two weeks of December of 1977, "Operation Subway Sweep" resulted in the arrest of over 200 robbery suspects. Originally planned as a temporary exhibit for the nation's bicentennial, it became a permanent museum. One of the reasons for keeping it open, the neighborhood spokesmen would say, was to carry people to Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. One of its first products was a 350-foot long by 40-foot wide diamond crossover installed just south of the BMT Jamaica Line at Queens Blvd. The prototype had all lines drawn in red, which was not done when the production versions were released. Perhaps with these funds, the 63rd Street line could be extended to Forest Hills by 1988, following the plans outlined in the "Program for Action".
1,350 retrofitted IRT cars, about half the fleet, were expected to be completed by 1980, then revised to 1982, financed by a $35.3 million program with city, state and federal contributions. Phyllis Cerf Wagner, the head of the beautification committee advising the MTA, led numerous excursions into the station with city officials, and expressed her desire to make this conversion. Even though the ride was more comfortable aboard new R-46 subway cars, and a premium fare was charged ($3.50), the JFK Express usually took longer to reach the airport that the A train did. It'll be clean, quiet, air conditioned, safe, cheap - and soon", headlined a multi-part Daily News series on the subway on the eve of its 75th birthday. Originally built of wood and resting on an embankment, fire destroyed it and it was made usable with temporary shoring. As of 1978, there had been no work performed on the line since it was expanded to a 4-track open cut in 1915! The Daily News said that the terminal would emerge "with a bright, new airy look" and would be one of the first to benefit from continuously welded rail. Part of this belief stemmed from the fact that the TA, at the end of 1978, still had not received the full $62.5 million allocated for the noise abatement program. Free transfers between the B-36 and B-74 bus routes to and from the Stillwell Avenue station were proposed. It ran from Times Square to Grand Central, south to South Ferry via the Lexington Avenue line, then north to 137th St via the IRT West Side Line.
Left to right: IRT Low-V 5443, BMT D-Type 6095, and BMT Standard 2390, in fan trip service at Chambers Street. One side of the token said "NYC Subway 1904-1979 People Moving People", and the other said "Diamond Jubilee Seventy-Fifth Anniversary". The statistics cited by transit police spokesmen of declining crime were being questioned in light of a rash of violent crimes on the subway in the last week of 1978.
Transit Police Chief Sanford Garelik insisted that crime was not as bad as that on the streets, and it was the perception of rampant crime that was keeping people on edge. The lightweight trucks operated under stress forces three times greater than what they were designed to handle. In addition, part of the 754-car order was very late due to a strike at the builder, Pullman Standard. As these trucks were pulled out of service for repair, the remaining R-46s had to be inspected three times a week. Thanks to the R-46 truck problems, these cars were pressed into continued service even after they had been mothballed. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority would chip in an additional $300 million and local matching funds would add up to another $180 million. In 1979, repairs to the M-1 series of cars were made at the Morris Park shop, built in 1873! When Richard Ravitch took over the MTA shortly thereafter, he gave an address to the press in New York City and highlighted the fact that it was the temptation to take money earmarked for capital improvements and apply it to operating funds that forced the Transit Authority into its "deferred maintenance program" (and New York City to the brink of bankruptcy), and the bond issue proceeds would not be used to keep the fare at 50 cents. It was built between 1927 and 1931 between 72nd Street and Chambers Street, and then later extended to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel when it was completed in 1948.
Engineering inspections determined that the roadway was unsafe and the elevated highway was closed from the Battery to 42nd Street, and later to 57th Street.
Once he became MTA chairman, his viewpoint changed because he felt the need to improve mass transit service for a greater number of people outweighed the need for Westway. The R-40M consist on the Brooklyn-bound GG left Forest Hills and developed brake trouble in the first and second cars. The tunnel was built in 1907 for use by trolley cars and retrofitted for IRT subway car operation in 1913. Panicking passengers walked the tracks to escape, even though the fire was extinguished quickly, necessitating the power to be shut off until 7:45pm. Jamaica was the county seat of Queens County from the formation of the county in 1683 until March 7, 1788, when the town was reorganized by the state government and the county seat was moved to Mineola (now part of Nassau County). The fare increase was supposed to plug up large deficits in operations, and whatever surplus was available could go to infrastructure repairs.
Unlimited ride MetroCards were introduced, including the railfan friendly $4.00 Fun Pass, though you had to go outside the system to purchase one, until a MetroCard vending machine was installed in your station.
It marked the first decade in the history of the subway system that real, physical mileage was lost and not replaced.
During this time, the Transit Authority (the TA) was placed under the umbrella of the MCTA whereas before it was its own agency reporting to no other entity. The connections planned with the Second Avenue subway would allow direct access to the West Side for Pelham Bay Park riders.
This would be a two-track line that would serve Lefrak City, Fresh Meadows, the Pomonok Houses and Electchester, as well as Queens College and St.
The Brook Avenue station would be reconstructed to allow a cross-platform transfer between Second Avenue and Lexington Avenue trains.
It would get new cars to replace the "BMT Standard look-alikes" that had run on the line since the mid-1920s.
Legend has it that the walls of the Grand Street station are built to be "easily" knocked down and there are trackways for the Second Avenue Line behind these walls.
Trenches in the riverbed were dug to receive four prefabricated concrete tubes that were sunk into place and connected. On August 30th, 1974, construction began on the section of this line between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue.
In 1968, 27% of the fleet was considered to be beyond retirement age ("30 years if a subway car is properly maintained"); in 1973, this was reduced by half to about 14%.
By 1973, 300 R-44s were placed in service and 745 R-46 subway cars were ordered from Pullman Standard (and this would increase slightly to 754 cars). Design was coming along on the extension of the Nostrand Avenue IRT line to Avenue W, and the new line leaving the New Lots Avenue line at Utica Avenue, running along Utica Avenue to Avenue U.
The last elevated line that could trace its history back to the Manhattan Els, the Third Avenue El in the Bronx, was closed for good on April 29th, 1973.
On December 12th, 1960, a snowstorm reduced capacity to a single track, and it was decided to keep the line as a single-track shuttle on December 29th, 1960 because the line had very poor ridership. Oddly, it was the politicians and the businesses in the area that wanted the El closed before the Archer Avenue subway would open. On September 11th, 1977, two post-abandonment fantrips were run on the Jamaica El using D-Types and AB standards. Wiring problems with a "P-wire" plagued the cars for months after initial delivery, stalling trains.
In September of 1974, exterior washing with an acid solution resumed, but there was little noticeable effect. Yunich, former vice chairman of the Macy's department store chain, took over as chairman on May 2nd.
Louis Car and looked very much like R-44s (and in fact were based on the R-44 car body.) Before they ran in regular service on various transit systems in the US, they were involved in a mishap on August 11th, 1973, in the DOT Test Center in Pueblo, CO.
Former head of the MTA William Ronan complained in an article written for the Journal of the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies of White Plains that one of the major problems with getting transit improvements done in New York City was that the public had too much to say about them. However, New York's fiscal crisis meant that it couldn't increase its TA subsidy, so on September 1st, 1975, the fare rose from 35 cents to 50 cents with no change in the subway token. LIRR trains using the 63rd Street tunnel would run to Grand Central, whenever that line would be built. One individual in the shadow of the Astoria El displayed for the New York Post a collection of assorted doo-dads that came down from the line as trains passed over it.
A $62.5 million track welding and wheel-truing program would be underway to reduce noise on the subway. Residents didn't trust the MTA, thinking the ventilation shaft would eventually become a construction shaft for the ingress and egress of construction vehicles.
After a series of temporary reroutes, and bi-directional running on the Manhattan-bound express track, the southbound track alignment had to be changed.
As a result of declining ridership, the number of subway cars used during the morning rush dropped from 5,557 in 1974 to about 4,900 in 1978. Passengers were afraid of crime, fed up with long waits for short trains (train lengths were cut during off hours as a cost saving measure), upset over malfunctioning equipment, noise and the condition of stations.
The mezzanine contained various exhibits and models; the platform level contained numerous subway and elevated cars from the museum collection.
Prior to the plant's opening, track fabrication was performed in Westchester Yard in the Bronx and the 38th Street yard in Brooklyn. This map would replace the London Underground style map created by Massimo Vignelli in 1972. On October 1st, 1979, groundbreaking for a 1,300 cut and cover section of the Archer Avenue line occurred. The remaining half of the IRT subway cars would be retrofitted or replaced outright by 1990.
A glass partition would be installed at the platform's edge to cut down on the noise and prevent restaurant patrons from falling onto the tracks. The service was not popular with airport passengers, but did become popular with residents of Howard Beach, Queens, who felt that the premium fare was worth the comfortable trip to and from work. Other cost saving measures that were recommended in 1979 were the closing of some token booths at night, and allowing the sale of tokens at supermarkets and banks.
Under her leadership, she persuaded the MTA to back off on painting everything silver with a blue stripe. There was no funding to purchase new subway cars until the early 1980s, and that expenditure went to replace IRT cars first. While Stillwell Ave did get new rails and roadbed, it wouldn't happen until much later - into the early 1990s.
The study noted that this was the only portion of New York City that once had direct rapid transit service in a single zone which didn't get free bus to subway transfers when service was discontinued. On March 23rd, after a special run of Lo-Vs across the Williamsburgh Bridge, they laid up at the Chambers Street BMT station along with the museum D-Types and AB Standards for public display until 6pm.
It also had an outline of a 1904 IRT subway kiosk on one side and a Gibbs car on the other. 1979 started off with six murders on the NY subway in the first two months of the year; in 1978, there were nine for the entire year. He even suggested that the fear was exaggerated because adults were not comfortable in close quarters with young people who are "loud, long haired and casually dressed". At the time, some cops on the beat were privately complaining that they were asked to look only for the high profile or more serious crimes and not the less-serious "quality of life" crimes. Filters were installed in test instrumentation when Pullman Standard, the builder, tested the trucks in 1973, and these filters were used improperly, masking stress forces. The Transit Authority filed a $112.3 million suit against Pullman Standard and Rockwell International for damages for both the defective trucks and the late delivery.
To make matters worse, the remaining R-46s due in 1978 were delayed because of the Pullman Standard strike.
The TA determined that welding the trucks would not resolve the problem, and wanted them replaced at whatever cost it required, which is part of the reason why it filed the lawsuit.
On July 30th, inspectors reported that steel was wearing away in the spot where the car body is joined to the truck, and that this situation could be potentially hazardous. They would be air-conditioned but lack the sophisticated technology that plagued the R-44s and R-46s.
A fare increase, many thought, was just around the corner, even though Governor Carey pledged to keep the fare frozen until the end of 1981.
An underground replacement called "Westway" was supposed to ease the traffic situation while at the same time making the Hudson River more accessible for recreation. As the 1970s ended, the West Side Highway was still closed with portions of it torn down, and still no decision was made regarding whether or not to trade the funds in for mass transit improvements.
Passengers were discharged at Woodhaven Blvd and the brakes from the two first cars were "cut out". Slow orders, then limited shuttle service and bus shuttles through the area commenced as emergency repairs were made. The express train behind it ran into extremely poor visibility and rear-ended the disabled train, causing minor damage to some of the cars on that train. Food and Drug Administration's Northeast Regional Laboratory as well as the New York District Office are also located in Jamaica.
The IRT Redbirds, from class R-26 up, went through a general overhaul program (GOH) and were retrofitted with new components, a new paint job, and air conditioning. The New Technology Trains, the R-110A and R-110B, ran on various lines for several years, testing and refining technology that would become essential componentry of the new R-142(A)s and R-143s that were delivered in the first part of the 21st Century. No new extensions or lines were built, but the 3rd Avenue El in the Bronx, the Culver Shuttle in Brooklyn and the Jamaica Avenue El in Queens north of Queens Blvd closed, with no rail lines replacing them. This line would be two tracks, and would include a new station adjacent to the LIRR Jamaica station that would serve as a transfer point between the LIRR, this subway line and JFK airport trains. The line would continue from 138th St along the ROW of the former New York, Westchester, and Boston Railway to Dyre Ave. The stations originally planned for in Manhattan were 125th Street, 34th Street, Houston St. Dimensions of the tubes in the west channel of the East River were 375 feet long; the east channel had tube sizes of 380 feet long.
The BMT Jamaica El would be razed from 121st Street to 169th Street, and the Jamaica Line would run into the lower level of the Archer Ave. It carried over 158 million passengers in 1917; when it closed, it carried just under 6 million yearly passengers. A derailment that occurred a few months before termination revealed poor track conditions that would cost the TA nearly $1 million to repair. On April 20th, 1974, state comptroller Arthur Levitt released a report detailing the breakdown rate of R-44s (3 times higher than all other subway car classes at the time) and suggested that the TA sue St.
Yunich resigned the chairmanship on December 30th, 1976, expressing a desire to go back into private business and was replaced on April 1st, 1977 by Harold L. The train traveled through an open switch, crashed into standing freight cars and killed the motorman. In January of 1979, another individual was nearly killed while walking under the Pelham line between Zerega and Castle Hill Avenues as debris from the structure rained down on him.

Even the US General Accounting Office criticized them indirectly, by blaming the Urban Mass Transportation Administration for approving subsidies for these cars without having monitored their reliability and performance. Starting November 1st, all trains ran express to Church Avenue, and then continued along the express track to a point just south of the problem. Another incident on May 11th, 1979 on the LL Canarsie Line occurred when a 16-year-old boy threw a 16-pound rock over a fence separating the line from the LIRR near the Wilson Ave station, critically injuring the motorman. Oddly, the biggest rush hour cuts made between 1974 and 1978 were to the Queens Blvd lines, which were always terribly crowded to begin with! Even with another infusion of $800 million of state funds promised in 1978, less than half of the $600 million authorized in the 1967 bond issue for major construction had been spent! A blackout caused by multiple lightning hits on a main transmission line near the Indian Point Power Plant knocked all of New York City (except the Rockaways) and Westchester into darkness. Estimates of $1 billion a year for ten years would be the price tag to bring the system back to a state of good repair, but without a fare increase, and New York City in a fiscal crisis, where would this additional money come from? With the opening of the indoor facility, production increased nearly 50% over the previous year.
Transit advocates at that time felt that the 63rd Street subway, in particular, would benefit very few people. Subway cars were bring inspected every 7,500 miles, and the air conditioning systems were checked eight times between June 1st and Labor Day. A real kiosk replica was placed on Astor Place and 4th Avenue that was used to enter or exit the IRT Astor Place station. The Lexington Avenue Express was ordained with the dubious title of the "mugger's express". The problem, these cops said, was that by not going after the less serious crimes, you didn't establish a sense of order. Skeptical TA engineers as far back as 1972 cautioned against the purchase of the Rockwell trucks. Rockwell in its defense claimed that TA specifications for stress tests on the trucks were lower than those the company wanted to run themselves. It was the voiding of this agreement that led to deRoos resignation, amid criticism of handling this problem poorly.
A prototype refurbished R-16 (6429) was put on display at the 207th Street shop during an open house in September 1979. The motorman operated from the third car getting signals from the conductor, holding a flashlight, from the front of the train. Passengers were evacuated through the two trains, into the tunnel, and back to the Hunts Point Avenue station.
When Queens was incorporated into the City of Greater New York in 1898, both the Town of Jamaica and the Village of Jamaica were dissolved, but the neighborhood of Jamaica regained its role as county seat.
Jamaica Center, the area around Jamaica Avenue and 165th Street, is a major commercial center, as well as the home of the Central Library of the Queens Borough Public Library. Track conditions were horrible, too - there were hundreds of "red flag" zones where subway trains had to slow to 10mph or less. We will then examine the state of the Transit Authority and its subway system in the late 1970s. This one-track line would provide additional express service in the peak direction, and would have no stops between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills. Construction costs would be offset by building office space above the transportation center.
In 1968, there were 6,975 subway cars in the fleet, of which 1,883 were beyond their useful lives. After the R-46 order, they would never build a subway car for New York, or anyone else, ever again.
The marker lights would distinguish the destination only, not the train's origin or whether it was running local or express. Plans to extend the Second Avenue subway into the Pelham Line were changed to extend it to Co-op City via the New Haven Railroad right of way.
As the line was very lightly used, the TA chose not to repair the line, and to close it down. In fact, on September 20th, the TA ordered demolition of the structure to stop and they wanted to determine the cost of restoring the service. In September of 1979, multiple claims of "stuff falling from the (West End) El" along New Utrecht Avenue led attorneys for a Bensonhurst anti-noise group called the Big Screechers and State Senator Martin Solomon to file suit against the Transit Authority to fix the structure. The track then switched to the local side (severing the express track and the local track at that location), where all trains continued making all local stops to Kings Highway. Headways were increased, too, so people were waiting longer periods of time for shorter trains that were intensely crowded. New Yorkers' attitude towards the subway was that it was a 19th century relic barely adequate for the 20th century, let alone trying to get into the 21st!
Because some of the power plants from the IRT and BMT days were still operational, many IRT and BMT trains were able to make their way to the nearest station to discharge passengers. Hopeful eyes turned to a larger piece of the federal pie and increasing ridership as the tools to dig out of the mess the subway was in. The Transit Authority felt that people could be convinced to leave the E and F trains along Queens Blvd and transfer to the new line in Queensbridge.
All 460 stations would see some kind of improvement made to them between 1979 and 1984, at a cost of $304 million. The study also felt that it would help integrate Mark Twain JHS and attract a stable middle class. For the Diamond Jubilee year, these runs were supplanted with the museum Lo-V train and passengers had choices of destination - Rockaway Park, Coney Island or the Cloisters.
In February of 1979, a group headed by Curtis Sliwa, called "the Magnificent 13", began unarmed patrols of the #4 line between 8pm and 4am, in an effort to discourage crime. One other issue was that the Transit Police radios and the New York City Police radios transmitted at different frequencies, and if additional help above ground was needed, it could not be summoned because no one above ground would hear the request. The result was that cracks developed in them, and these cracks could lead to a truck failure resulting in a derailment.
Allegations of bribery by TA officials to accept substandard subway cars was denied by the TA, but was investigated by New York City's Department of Investigation.
The cracking became so bad that on June 14th, 1979, Mayor Koch ordered 109 R-46s with trucks that had 2 or more cracks out of service. Also in late December, because so many R-46s were out of service, the Transit Authority removed 100 R-16 cars from storage, got them in running order and placed them in service on the subway. For years, the proposal was debated and argued in the courts, mainly as to whether or not Hudson River fish would be displaced as a result of the construction, or whether the new highway would cause excessive amounts of air pollution. The R-16 GG train, which had been diverted to the express track to get around the disabled train, was switching back to its normal track south of the Roosevelt Avenue station as the disabled train was approaching the same switch. Power to all three tracks was shut off for a few hours until the damaged trains could be cleared. Today, some locals group Jamaica's surrounding neighborhoods into an unofficial Greater Jamaica, roughly corresponding to the former Town of Jamaica, including Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, St. The New York Racing Association, based at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, lists its official address as Jamaica (Central Jamaica once housed NYRA's Jamaica Racetrack, now the massive Rochdale Village housing development). Although the R-44 and R-46 subway cars were introduced during this time, the introduction was extremely problematic. The R-30s were given a light overhaul, but did not receive air conditioning, because they would have become too heavy.
We'll wrap up with a list of incidents and accidents that were newsworthy during the 1970s, and list some "odds and ends" that didn't fit "nicely" in the text below. It was felt that construction of this line would double rush-hour capacity along Queens Blvd. The layout of the subway station beneath the center would be similar to that of West 4th Street on the IND, except the mezzanine would be above the two track levels instead of sandwiched in between them. The MTC would facilitate easy intermodal transfers between the LIRR, the Second Avenue line, the IRT East Side Line at Grand Central as well as Grand Central Terminal. The new cars would have automatic speed control and were planned for one-person train operation.
The first four R-46 cars would be delivered on March 27th, 1975, and would be tested on the express tracks of the Sea Beach Line. In later years, trains would lose the destination signs in front, showing just a letter or number. There was never a plan to connect the upper IND level and the lower BMT level of the Archer Avenue subway. While Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Hirsch agreed with the plaintiffs that the West End El was in bad shape, he dismissed the suit because the Court was powerless to dictate repair priorities to the TA, which said that a repair program on the El was already underway. By December 13th, a PM rush hour shuttle train consisting of R-42s was put into service to serve the Beverley Road station. The IND didn't fare so well, because the IND always got their power directly from Con Edison. TA management felt that ridership levels were tied to the prevailing economic conditions, and didn't consider that improvement of services could bring in new customers.
The following year, on April 24th, 1977, the museum AB standards 2390, 2391 and 2392 would be used as well. The Magnificent 13 eventually became the Guardian Angels, and would eventually expand their operations into other parts of the five boroughs.
Finally, on March 6th, 1979, Mayor Koch asked the city's top law enforcement officials to devise a plan to counteract rising subway violence and to stop insisting that the subways were safer than the streets. Subway patrols were also rigidly scheduled, and it wasn't long before felons (and even the general riders) knew exactly when police would be on their train, or at particular stations. When the R-46s were purchased, the TA did not buy a few samples of the trucks to test out on the subway first, which ran counter to its long standing policy to test out new components before making a bulk purchase of them. As of that date, 1,200 cracks categorized into seven different types were found to affect these trucks. Only a few years before, it was the R-16 series of subway cars that were considered the least reliable in the system, and they were ironically taking the place of the newest cars in the fleet.
Proponents claimed that Westway would provide New York City with much needed jobs, more than those that would be created if the money was traded in for mass transit improvements. Because the first two cars were "cut out", the automatic tripper did not cause the train to make an emergency stop, and the disabled train crashed into the diverted GG train at the switch. Albans, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Hollis, Laurelton, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Howard Beach and Ozone Park. The MTA embarked on the first of what became many capital plans, bringing the subway to a state of good repair.
The junction at East 180th Street, as well as the approach of the IRT White Plains Road Line to East 180th St would be reconstructed to allow cross-platform transfers between White Plains Road and Second Avenue trains, as well as remove the sharp curves along that area of the line to improve travel times.
The double-deck, 3,140-foot tunnel under the East River was holed through on October 10th, 1972. The report also did not consider the effect of deferred maintenance, which would catch up with the Transit Authority in a big way later in the 1970s. Ironically, Macy's announced the impending closure of their Jamaica store shortly after El service ended. The 50-cent fare also ushered in the elimination of the only double fare zone on the subway for passengers traveling south of Howard Beach in Queens.
Meanwhile, the Big Screechers measured the decibel level of the B train along New Utrecht Avenue at 116 decibels. It had to do this with a smaller amount of funding than available in the past due to the fiscal crisis, and keep the subway operating 24 hours a day. Widespread looting in parts of the Bronx and Brooklyn, especially along Brooklyn's Broadway El, didn't spread to the subway lines, but to this day, parts of the affected neighborhoods never completely recovered from the looting. MTA Chief William Ronan had permitted the purchase without the initial test samples because he felt that the TA was pressured to get new equipment on the system.
The R-16s suffered from controllers that frequently shorted out, preventing the cars from accelerating. This crash was the first fatal crash on IND tracks since the IND started operations in 1932, and the first crash with fatalities going back to the 1927 IRT derailment at Times Square. The R-46's untested Rockwell International trucks began cracking, forcing them to run during rush hours only. Mean time between failure (MDBF) measurements began to improve markedly, and continue to improve to this day.
The number of stops added negated the possibility of expanding the line to four tracks in the future. Oddly, the structure would not be torn down until the late 1980s, and the right of way under which this portion of the line ran would remain intact until the late 1990s. Regular service with the SOAC cars began May 17th, 1974 during the mid-day hours, and the cars ran on the A, D, E and N lines through July. Yet still more cuts were made, such as the closure of part time token booths, consolidation of existing subway lines, discontinuing lightly used lines and the consideration of closing the subway during late night hours.
This service pattern continued until February 14th, 1977, when the local track was restored. The completion of the 63rd Street subway to Forest Hills was projected to be completed by 1990. Late in the summer, it was planned to have cross-platform transfers to the restored BU cars at Euclid Avenue for the ride to Rockaway or Ditmas Avenue for the ride to Coney Island.
Two weeks after Koch's request, top TA cops were publicly requesting Garelik's resignation because they claimed that he lost control of the fight against subway crime.
Years later, Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein would accuse Ronan of making a highly suspect deal with Rockwell. Initially placed into service in 1955, the R-16s were removed from service only 20 years later because of this problem.
Then Mayor-elect Koch favored trading the funds in for mass transit, while Governor Hugh Carey wanted Westway built.
A thorough investigation of this accident resulted in many changes to rules and procedures that had been in place for many years. The subway cars that were supposed to be replaced by the R-46s, the R-16s, were taken out of mothballs to replace the R-46s instead - how ironic! Graffiti was finally eradicated from all subway cars by the end of the decade (though it has been replaced by "scratchitti" in the 1990s). The end of the Culver El was not part of the "Program for Action" but a victim of service cuts made to try and keep subway service afloat in the midst of the 1975 fiscal crisis. The latter didn't go over well with politicians, and they demanded an audit of MTA operations to find areas where costs could be saved.
The cause of this loudness was most likely flat wheels which were abundant in the deferred maintenance era. However, due to problems with the cars that could not be fixed in time, the BUs never ran in Nostalgia Special service. Finally, on September 11th, 1979, Garelik was fired, and replaced with Deputy Chief of Personnel James B. Carey had promised a substantial package of mass transit aid if Koch were to change his mind and allow the project to proceed. The section between 149th and 161st Street remained until a new substation could be built for the White Plains Road line that passed underground in that area.
People assumed that crime was out of control, and for a while it was, but this assumption was maintained even during periods of reduced crime. They did carry guests of the Coney Island open house held as part of the Diamond Jubilee in October 1979. In 1978, President Carter asked Congress for $50 billion for highways and mass transit projects, and this legislation would allow New York City to trade in the Westway funds for mass transit funds without penalty.
Second Avenue trains, like today's White Plains Road line above 180th Street, would have two branches - one to Dyre Avenue, one to Pelham Bay Park. On February 28th, 1973, the first R-44s were placed in service on the Staten Island Rapid Transit. This substation was completed on October 17th, 1975 and demolition of this final section of the 3rd Ave El began on March 9th, 1977. There are people to this day who assume that the subway is a filthy, crime infested rat hole. Louis Car out of the passenger car business, the R-46 order put Pullman Standard out of business. On February 27th, 1978, Mayor Koch took federal transportation planners on a rush hour "tour" of the subway, pitching to them the need for more federal contributions. In conjunction with this project, the sharp curves connecting the Lexington Avenue Line to the White Plains Road line at 149th Street and the Grand Concourse would also be eliminated. When the R-44s initially entered service, failure rates increased tremendously because of a combination of new technology and inadequate training. The lower level of Gun Hill Road would be retained for several years for reverse moves and layups. Koch told them that the NY subway carried 30% of the nations mass transit passengers during the morning rush hour but was getting back only 14% of the revenue share. Some of the original station signs and wooden platforms existed on the lower level until approximately 1998.

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