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The tunnel was built as part of the Dual Contracts period of New York City subway construction. The original plan provided for trackage over the Queensboro Bridge, which spans the East River from about 59th Street in Manhattan to Queens Plaza in Queens. However, it was determined that the bridge would not be able to handle the additional weight of subway trains; thus, the tunnel was constructed to the north.
Originally, the tunnel only connected the BMT Broadway Line to the Queensboro Plaza station, where trains could continue along either the BMT Astoria Line or the IRT Flushing Line (which at this point could still handle trains built to BMT specifications). After 1949, service patterns were changed so that all BMT trains ran over the Astoria Line and all IRT trains on the Flushing Line. In the 1960s, the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection opened, allowing Broadway trains to connect to the local tracks of the IND Queens Boulevard Line at Queens Plaza. This track connection is currently utilized by the R train; the N and W continue to use the connection to Queensboro Plaza.
|Crossings of the East River|
63rd Street Tunnel
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| 60th Street Tunnel|
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