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admin 17.01.2014

There were two trains: the four-car Low Voltage train, which ran until the late 1960s, and the “Train of Many Colors," which operated from the late 1960s until 2001. Google also celebrated the anniversary, offering a virtual tour inside the New York Transit Museum, where you can see what the subways looked like throughout the century. The IRT line on the West Side of Manhattan comprises portions of several different subway construction contracts, including the 1904 Contract I "First Subway" from north of Times Square and several extensions to it, and sixteen 1915-1918 Contract III, or "Dual Contracts" stations. The Contract I and Dual Contracts construction is covered in-depth elsewhere on this site (The First Subway, and The Dual Contracts), so this overview will consist of a few brief notes. The contract drawings for the "First Subway" were completed in 1898 by chief engineer William Barclay Parsons. Section 5A, Center of East 41st Street west and north to the center of West 47th Street and Broadway, a 0.82-mile length of four track subway. Section 6A, Center of 60th Street north under Broadway to the center of 82nd Street, 1.20 miles of four-track cut and cover subway.
Section 6B, Center of West 82nd Street 1.07 miles north under Broadway to the center of West 104th Street.
Section 7, a deep rock tunnel under Central Park from 103rd Street to 110th Street, 0.87 miles long.
Section 12, Manhattan Valley Viaduct, three-track steel viaduct 0.41 miles long over Broadway, including an arch over 125th Street (then called Manhattan Street) and a station at that location. Section 15, Portals near Dyckman Street to northern terminus over Broadway, including bridge over the Harlem River Ship Canal. Section 1, Battery Place & Greenwich Street to Vesey Street, including the Rector Street and Cortlandt Street stations.
Section 4, 7th Avenue & Commerce Street to 16th Street, including stations at Christopher Street and 14th Street. The disconnection of the 42nd Street tracks from the main line, and the connection of the new 7th Avenue subway was done on the evening of August 1, 1918 (a Thursday).
As part of the West Side Line construction, a second loop track and platform was constructed on the inside of the first.
After September 11, 2001 the lower West Side IRT line had some upgrading done to it, including the construction of a new island platform station (with straight platform edges, no more loopy curves) at South Ferry. The platform floor is rose colored tile with black, dark brown and dark gray accents and track walks are white melamine.
On October 29, 2012, the new South Ferry station suffered extensive flooding damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The new island platform station is being renovated, with new waterproofing and signal room relocations as part of the project. The late 1960's construction of the World Trade Center eliminated both Greenwich Street and Cortlandt Street above the station.
Mosaic decoration: Original Dual Contracts frieze along the trackside wall near the ceiling, with occasional mosaic "plaques" depicting the first building of Kings College (now Columbia University), which was located around the corner on Park Place. This station has a high ceiling and an active tower on the south end of the southbound platform, the ends of which split--- the local portion rises and the express portion descends, matching the track alignment (a result of the platform lengthening projects). As part of a 2007–2009 renovation, elevators were installed in the station (two from platform level to the mezzanine and one from fare control to the streets) to make it ADA-accessible for people with disabilities.
There are "store window"-style art displays on the southbound platform and a newsstand on the northbound side.
Mosaic decoration: Original Dual Contracts mosaic frieze, large name tablets, and small "C" tablets along the platform walls. Mosaic decoration: Original Dual Contracts frieze on the trackside wall with occasional "14" mosaic tablets. There is a closed passageway to the 8th Avenue IND station, complete with mosaic signing, just past the token booth at 14th Street.
Mosaic decoration: Original Dual Contracts mosaic frieze with small "18" tablets and large "18th STREET" name tablets line the platforms.
While built at different times (1904, 1917-1918, and 1927), 42nd Street-Times Square is a massive station complex, comprising four stations, on the IRT Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle, IRT West Side Line, BMT Broadway Line, and IRT Flushing Line, all joined together by a vast mezzanine and underground warren of connecting passageways; and a fifth station a long way west by underground passageway, on the IND 8th Avenue Line at 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The reconstruction included a new entryway on the south side of 42nd Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway, featuring a bright neon and colored glass flashing sign with the train route symbols and the word "Subway". The station serving the IRT West Side Line is an express station with four tracks and two island platforms. Just north of the station you can see the curved shuttle tracks and the track connection from Shuttle track 4 to the uptown local track. The 7th Avenue line station at Times Square was the site of a 1928 wreck which killed 16 people, the second worst in NYC Transit history. A typical station of the new subway, showing proposed arrangement and architectural details. The downtown platform areas are much larger than necessary for the interchange with the IND.
A renovation project in 2010-2011 restored the original name tablets and mosaics but did not attempt to build the extra platform as described above.
See Also Difficult Engineering in the Subway (1902), a discussion of the construction techniques involved in underpinning the Columbus Circle monument. A renovation ending in 2002 provided a second headhouse on the north side of 72nd Street, additional stairways from the platforms, and a widened uptown platform at the north end. Until 2010, access to the station was provided from stairways along the sidewalks of Broadway to the side platforms; access to the center island platforms is via a crossunder passage running underneath the platforms. Before the advent of ten-car locals the side platforms were used for local trains; since it would have been operationally logical to use the center island to allow local passengers easy transfer to the express, the local trains may never have used the side platforms exclusively for service, and in any event the practice did not last long.
Photo by David Sagarin, Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, August 1978. Stations were built at Grand Central (express) and Times Square (local) along 42nd Street (today's Shuttle operation). This section included the junction of the "West Side" branch and the "East Side", or Lenox Avenue, branch north of 96th Street, as well as the stations at 91st Street (now closed), 96th Street (express), and 103rd Street. Stations at: 110th Street (island platform), 116th Street, 125th Street, and 135th Street (all side platforms). Broadway here is in a deep valley, so rather than build the subway under it, with steep grades, the valley was crossed on an elevated structure. Stations at: 137th Street (City College), 145th Street, 157th Street, 168th Street, and 181st Street.
The first station at this location was a single track loop and platform, built in 1905 as part of the IRT Brooklyn Extension, along with the IRT stations on Broadway south of City Hall (Fulton Street, Wall Street, and Bowling Green). It is extremely short (only five cars fit), so passengers wishing to exit at this station have to ride in the first five cars. The tracks were configured in such a way that the inner loop and platform was directly connected to the tracks from Bowling Green, and the outer (earlier) loop and platform would be served by the trains from the West Side line.


The new station would be able to platform two 10-car trains simultaneously and allow higher speed operation in and out of the station, ostensibly to improve running time of the long local service on the West Side.
The station agent booth is located in the passageway to the BMT Broadway Line at Whitehall Street station-- mere feet from the full time booth at Whitehall Street. This artwork was located in the stairway from station house to platform at the old "outer loop" station. There are exits with separate fare controls at the end of each of the two side platforms, and an additional exit is located at the center of the downtown platform. 29, 2012 and April 4, 2013, trains terminated here due to water damage at South Ferry caused by Hurricane Sandy. Originally situated under Greenwich and Cortlandt Streets, it was a typical Dual Contracts-era side platform station with two tracks, and standard mosiac decoration of the period. The station was redesigned with exits to the World Trade Center concourse in the center and south end, and a street exit to Vesey Street at the north end. The photos below depicting the damage were released to the press by MTA New York City Transit shortly after September 11th.
The wall tile below the frieze and surrounding the name tablets was replaced during a 1990s renovation. The ceilings of the platforms are unusually high and have old-style incandescent light fixtures, which have not been used in a long time.
All fare control areas are on platform level; one area is at the center of each platform, and there are secondary exits at the south end of each platform. Platform configuration here is unusual for an express station but identical to the platform arrangement at the 34th Street-Penn Station station on the IND 8th Avenue Line. The goal is to reduce congestion and improve rider access, comfort and safety by improving visual lines and increasing pedestrian capacity. The street level fare control at this site features restored original "Times Square" mosaics from the Contract One (now Shuttle) station walls. There are stairways leading up to various mezzanine levels, and also down, to connecting passageways to the IRT Flushing Line and the IND 8th Avenue Line. Trackways remain where shuttle tracks 1, 2, and 3 connected to the uptown express and both downtown tracks. If you were riding a train northward from South Ferry, this is the first station you would arrive at along the West Side IRT that was constructed as part of Contract One, the first subway construction contract, which opened in 1904. The side walls of the station feature large name tablet mosaics and both mosaic and faience plaques of Christopher Columbus's three ships. They are deliberately ample to allow for an expansion of this station into a new express stop. Recently renovated with a "retro look" makeover, complete with new plaques and tablets in the original 1904 Heins-LaFarge style.
The widening required cutting into the sidewall of the tunnel and realigning the uptown local track. The express run would have then been from Times Square, to Columbus Circle, to 96th Street.
This station is partly renovated and features mosaic "photograph paintings" and some poetry over most of the platform walls. 96th Street was built in a similar fashion to the Contract I express stops at Brooklyn Bridge and 14th Street: two island platforms for the express trains and two shorter side platforms for the local trains. Because of the location of a large sewer line under 96th Street, no mezzanine was built at this station, thus requiring the underpass.
At Brooklyn Bridge and 14th Street, these side platforms were walled off, but at 96th Street they were kept open because they were used to access the underpass which provided access to the island platforms.
Stations at: 50th Street and 59th Street (Columbus Circle) Construction commenced September 19, 1900. North of 96th Street the express tracks descend and turn eastward northward, becoming three tracks, to the station at 103rd Street.
The subway runs under the west half of the wide Lenox Avenue, having been built here to avoid work under a two track street railway on the east half.
The arched viaduct at 125th Street was added both as an ornamental device as well as to avoid having to reroute street railway trackage along 125th Street. No stations were part of the original design; 191st Street was built later, 181 feet below the surface, and opened January 14, 1911.
North of the Broadway Bridge, the original route turned on 230th Street, crossed the New York Central's Hudson line, and ended at Bailey Avenue near the New York Central's Putnam division station. The loop station served to terminate some trains in Manhattan at a location of high passenger flow (the various ferry terminals and docks in the area). There are also gap fillers (small extendible platform segments) used to bridge the spaces between platform and middle door on the cars.
There is also a black cinder block area on the southbound platform, possibly a sealed up crossunder since there is an apparent seam in the northbound wall at the same location. One of the original Cortlandt Street mosaics is preserved at the New York Transit Museum, and a photo of one of these mosaics in place, prior to renovation, is displayed in the photo gallery.
The station was given a bland beige brick and concrete overhaul, removing its 1918 mosaic tablets and icons. The subway tracks have been rebuilt through this area but the location of the station remains unfinished; to be completed later during reconstruction of the World Trade Center complex.
On the street level there is a kiosk reminiscent of the original IRT kiosks, although this one was installed during the station's renovation. There are no crossovers or crossunders, though evidence of a sealed-up crossunder is present at the north end by the main fare control areas. There are three crossovers (mezzanines) between the platforms with exits at 12th, 13th and 14th Streets.
There's a center island platform for the express trains and two side platforms for the locals. The main corridor is being widened 15 feet and the number of sharp corners reduced; ADA compliance is being introduced with elevators and escalators. This station was renovated in the 1980s or 1990s and most of the original tile work was removed. The downtown local and express tracks would, under an early 1950s NYCTA plan, weave out to accommodate a new center express platform. Also, the renovation work revealed a section of wall with experimental tile installations installed during the construction of the line 1900-1904. The new plaques are made of faience and while they look like they might have been restorations of original work - they are not. It was totally inadequate from its opening day, yet it is the best preserved of the original IRT express stations.
However, the platforms are still fairly narrow considering the passenger load at this station.


While that might have alleviated some crowding at 72nd Street the vibrancy of the neighborhood around 72nd Street probably requires the express trains' stopping here. The ceiling is ornate and has a raised ornate tile border where the ceiling meets the tile. It was this section that was broken in 1918 when the "Dual Contracts" 7th Avenue Subway was tied into the Contract I subway at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street.
This section underpinned the Columbus statue at Columbus Circle, detailed in a 1902 article: Difficult Engineering in the Subway (1902). Some last minute design changes added the third track northbound, and a provision for a third track was also built into the lower level Lenox branch of the junction. The 135th Street station has a third center track intended for use for layups, but now mostly disused. The single loop track and station operated in this manner until the IRT West Side Line reached South Ferry in 1918.
On the platform itself was an active tower which includes indicator lights for the gap filler signal at the front end of the platform.
Because of the sharp curve (even sharper than the outer loop), trains could open only their center doors at the inner loop station, and so instead of a full platform face, the platform was mostly walled off from the track with arched openings along the wall where the cars' center doors would be. A temporary canopy was found here at street level at Peter Minuet Plaza which is still being restored. It was determined that the former Outer Loop station, still in-situ, was in better condition, and so that station was reopened on April 4, 2013. This station was renovated in 1992 by New York City Transit Employees (as opposed to an outside contractor) as indicated by a small plaque near the token booth.
Due to the proximity of Times Square and anticipated passenger traffic, the transfer between express and local was discouraged by the layout. The new plaques have the letters "LC" embossed over the "66"; remember, Lincoln Center did not exist in 1904, when the station was opened. 72nd Street long suffered from narrow platforms and narrow stairways to the headhouse and fare control. It was closed during a system-wide platform lengthening project, to accommodate longer trains. You can see differences in the walls and ceiling at the south end, and you can still spot a seam in the platforms where they were widened.
A single track connection was retained for access to the northernmost of the Shuttle tracks, visible in today's Times Square shuttle station. The ends of this section included short embankments in the middle of Broadway to portals north of 122nd Street and south of 135th Street. Starting in the late 1950s, when the new R-type cars displaced most of the original IRT rolling stock, trains arriving from the Lexington line on nights and weekends were rerouted to share the outer loop, because on the new cars it was not possible to selectively open only the center doors.
Fare control is on platform level for both sides with entrances on both sides of Varick Street on the northern side of Canal Street.
The walls are being refinished with white panels, which are actually large mosaics of tiny opalescent tiles. To maximize the space in the headhouse, free crossover between uptown and downtown directions was artificially denied by the arrangement of the turnstiles and gates. The lengthening created an exit from the 96th Street station only three blocks further north, so it was impractical to lengthen the platforms here and the station was closed to speed service.
Two articles describe the August 1, 1918 service changes that would become known as the "H System": IRT H System Opens (1918), and The H Lines In Service (1918). The third track was added after construction began, detailed in a 1902 article: Difficult Engineering in the Subway (1902). Under the signal a sign reads "GF Signal" which is lit in white when the signal is clear and the gap fillers are fully retracted. The weekday shuttle used specially modified cars that opened only center doors, and continued using the inner loop until service ended in 1977. There is an escalator here and a glass arched canopy at the street level which has access via HEETs. The fare control is in the lower mezzanine, which also connects directly into Penn Station. The 91st Street station is fairly well-preserved if you disregard the graffiti and spray paint cans all over the place. Service in this area was originally operated with some locals and some express trains entering both branches, causing a bottleneck at the crossovers at the junction. The gap fillers retract via a proximity sensor that detects the car moving against the edge of the gap filler.
The track past the inner loop is still used to turn the #5 train when it is terminating at Bowling Green and not running to Brooklyn.
The intermediate level runs from southwest to northeast and allows a train spotter's view of track and platform. Only the northbound local platform has an exit directly to the street, and there is an additional fare control area for that exit.
As part of this plan the 72nd Street station would become a local stop by walling off the express tracks.
The ornate ceiling and plaster rosettes around the old light fixtures have been lovingly restored, but the bulb sockets have been covered over.
As early as 1908 improvement was sought in this area by planning extra flyunder tracks, which were never built.
The inner loop platform at South Ferry is now used for crew quarters, offices, storage, etc.
Better signalling was installed instead; but by the 1950s it was decided that all of the express trains would head toward Lenox Avenue and all of the local trains would continue north along Broadway, which remains the operating pattern today. Escalators bypass the intermediate level which has a gray speckled floor tile and is glass enclosed thereby allowing a train spotter's dream view of trains and the platform.
The station opened in 1905 and closed in 2009, replaced by a new island platform station built adjacent.
The platform walls on the inner loop station were decorated with small mosaic friezes similar to those found at other Dual Contracts-era stations.
The damaged caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, caused that new station to close, and the Outer Loop station was in better shape, thus it was reopened on April 4, 2013. The main mezzanine has a view of a historic wall, made of rubble stone, located on the wall behind the booth.



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