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Extent and serviceEdit
The north end of the Astoria Line is a two-track terminal at Ditmars Boulevard-Astoria, with one island platform. South of the station, the center express track begins (with crossovers to allow trains relaying at Ditmars Boulevard-Astoria to reach the correct track). The next station, Astoria Boulevard-Hoyt Avenue, is the only express station on the three-track section.
North of Queensboro Plaza, the express track ends. Queensboro Plaza is set up with northbound trains on the upper level, southbound trains on the lower level, and cross-platform transfers to the IRT Flushing Line. Crossover tracks exist between the upper level tracks just north of the station, one of a few connections between the BMT/IND and IRT. After Queensboro Plaza, the line turns west and merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection to become the BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel.
The Astoria Line was originally part of the IRT or, as a spur off the IRT Queensboro Line, now part of the IRT Flushing Line or 3 (which didn't open to the north until April 21, 1917). The whole Astoria Line north of Queensboro Plaza opened on February 1, 1917, and was used by trains between 42nd Street-Grand Central and Astoria.
On July 23, 1917, the Queensboro Bridge spur of the elevated IRT Second Avenue Line opened. At that time, all elevated trains to Queensboro Plaza used the Astoria Line, and all subway trains used the Corona Line (now the Flushing Line), though this was later changed with trains alternating between branches.
The 60th Street Tunnel opened on August 1, 1920, allowing BMT trains to reach Queensboro Plaza. However, the stations on the Astoria and Corona Lines were built to IRT specifications, which were too narrow for BMT rolling stock. Thus the BMT trains terminated at Queensboro Plaza.
On April 8, 1923, the BMT, using elevated cars, started running shuttles along the Astoria Line (numbered BMT 8 in 1924) and the Corona Line (BMT 9). The IRT lines were numbered in 1948, with 3 being assigned to the Flushing Line (former Corona Line) and 3 to the Astoria Line.
Only a year later, on October 17, 1949, the Flushing Line became IRT-only, and the platforms on the Astoria Line were shaved back to allow through BMT trains to operate on it, the first being the Brighton Local (BMT 1). The IRT Second Avenue Line spur to Queensboro Plaza closed on June 13, 1942. Since then, the Astoria Line has hosted the "other end" of various services running from Brooklyn through Manhattan; see B, N, Q, R, T and W for details.
|Station||Tracks||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|Ditmars Boulevard-Astoria||all||February 1, 1917||originally Ditmars Avenue|
|Astoria Boulevard-Hoyt Avenue||all||February 1, 1917||originally Hoyt Avenue|
|30th Avenue-Grand Avenue||local||February 1, 1917||originally Grand Avenue|
|Broadway||local||February 1, 1917|
|36th Avenue-Washington Avenue||local||February 1, 1917||originally Washington Avenue|
|39th Avenue-Beebe Avenue||local||February 1, 1917||originally Beebe Avenue|
|Queensboro Plaza||all||February 1, 1917||7 <7>|
|merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection (R all but late nights) and becomes the BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel (N always, R all but late nights, W morning rush hours through early evening)|
- New Astoria Line Opened, New York Times February 2, 1917 page 14
- Subway Link Over Queensboro Bridge, New York Times July 22, 1917 page 31
- New Subway Link Opens, New York Times August 1, 1920 page 12
- Additional Subway Service to Borough of Queens, New York Times April 8, 1923 page RE1
- Direct Subway Runs to Flushing, Astoria, New York Times October 15, 1949 page 17