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BMT Myrtle Avenue Line

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The Myrtle Avenue Line, also called the Myrtle Avenue El., is a fully elevated line of the New York City Subway, as part of the BMT division. The extant line is the final remnant of one of the original Brooklyn elevated railroads. The remnant line operates as a spur branch from the Jamaica Line to Bushwick, Ridgewood and Middle Village, and terminates at its original Eastern terminal across the street from Lutheran Cemetery. Until 1969, the line continued west into downtown Brooklyn, even earlier continuing on to the Brooklyn Bridge to a terminal at Park Row in Manhattan.

Extent and serviceEdit

The Myrtle Avenue Line is currently served by only M service. Until 1969, MJ service ran over the full line to downtown Brooklyn; the J in the designation came from the line's end at Bridge–Jay Streets.

The line begins at Middle Village–Metropolitan Avenue in Queens. It heads southwest along private right-of-way, eventually coming to rest on an elevated structure above Palmetto Street and Myrtle Avenue]. Just before reaching Broadway (on which the BMT Jamaica Line operates), the line curves to the left and merges into the Jamaica Line tracks just east of Myrtle Avenue station. The upper level of the station (called "Broadway"), which opened in 1889 and closed on October 4, 1969, still exists, but is no longer used. During evenings, late nights and all day on weekends, the M service terminates here. During this period the M uses the new R-143 trains, but are operated as OPTO (one person train operation) with only 4 cars.

BackgroundEdit

The first section of the line, over Myrtle Avenue from Johnson and Adams Streets via Adams Street and Myrtle Avenue to a junction with what was then known as the Main line at Grand Avenue, was opened at 11:00 on April 10, 1888 by the Union Elevated Railroad. Trains continued along Grand Avenue and Lexington Avenue to Broadway, where the line joined the Broadway Elevated, and then along Broadway to East New York. On September 1, 1888, the line was extended westward along Adams Street and Sands Street, to a terminal at Washington Street for the Brooklyn Bridge. On April 27, 1889, the line was extended east along Myrtle Avenue to Broadway, probably at the station above the Broadway Elevated.

The west end of the line was extended north along Adams Street to an elevated loop, over Sands Street and High Street west to Liberty Street, in 1896. The connection to the Brooklyn Bridge tracks opened at 16:00 on June 18, 1898, along private right-of-way halfway between Concord Street and Cathedral Place. The first trains to use it came from the Fifth Avenue Elevated (using the Myrtle Avenue El west of Hudson Avenue).

The line was later extended east to Wyckoff Avenue (at the Brooklyn/Queens border). In 1906 the el was connected via a ramp to the Lutheran Cemetery Line, a former steam dummy line to Metropolitan Avenue that had opened on September 3, 1881. That section was elevated as part of the Dual Contracts on February 22, 1915.

On July 29, 1914, the connection to the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line was opened, allowing Myrtle Avenue Line trains to operate via the Williamsburg Bridge. This service became BMT 10 in 1924, and the original Myrtle Avenue Line service to Park Row became BMT 11, later referred to as (M and MJ).

On March 5, 1944, the line west of Jay Street was abandoned coincident with the end of elevated service over the Brooklyn Bridge. The rest of the line from Broadway to Jay Street was abandoned on October 4, 1969, with the last train running just after midnight that morning.

Chaining informationEdit

  • The entire line is chained BMT M. This has no relation to the fact that the M train service operates on the line, though both letters may have been chosen because 'Myrtle' begins with 'M'.
  • The tracks on the line are M1 towards Metropolitan Avenue and M2 towards Manhattan.
  • Chaining zero is BMT Eastern, located at the intersection of the line of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chambers Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line by way of the now-dismantled original BMT Brooklyn Bridge Elevated Line and the original Myrtle Avenue Elevated through downtown Brooklyn.
  • As originally surveyed, this line was measured in a Railroad East direction from Park Row. Once the Board of Transportation took over the system, the direction was reversed so that Railroad north on this line became towards Manhattan, and corresponds roughly to a westerly to southwesterly compass direction.

Station listingEdit

Every station is served by M trains and only M trains, 24 hours a day.

Station Opened Transfers & Notes
Middle Village–Metropolitan Avenue October 1, 1906 Service extended to pre-existing Lutheran Line station.
Current station is ~100 feet west of the 1906 one.
Fresh Pond Road February 22, 1915 Current elevated station
Forest Avenue February 22, 1915 Current elevated station
Seneca Avenue February 22, 1915 Current elevated station
Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues July 20, 1889 Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914
Knickerbocker Avenue July 20, 1889 Station rebuilt to 3 Tracks July 29, 1914
Central Avenue July 20, 1889 Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914
merges into BMT Jamaica Line (J Z

 ) just east of Myrtle Avenue

Connector added July 29, 1914; still in place
Below is the closed section
Broadway April 27, 1889 closed October 4, 1969 Still in place
Structure removed West of Reid Avenue
Sumner Avenue April 27, 1889 closed October 4, 1969
Tompkins Avenue April 27, 1889 closed October 4, 1969
Nostrand Avenue April 27, 1889 closed October 4, 1969
Franklin Avenue April 27, 1889 closed October 4, 1969
Grand Avenue April 27, 1889 closed January 21, 1953
Washington Avenue April 10, 1888 closed October 4, 1969
Vanderbilt Avenue April 10, 1888 closed October 4, 1969
Navy Street April 10, 1888 closed October 4, 1969
Bridge–Jay Streets April 10, 1888 closed October 4, 1969
originally Bridge Street
Adams Street April 10, 1888 closed March 5, 1944
split for tracks along Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row (June 18, 1898)
Sands Street June 14, 1896 closed March 5, 1944

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • The New Road Opened, New York Times April 11, 1888 page 8
  • City and Suburban News, New York Times April 28, 1889 page 6
  • New of the Railroads, ''New York Times January 9, 1896 page 15
  • Park Row to Sheepshead Bay, New York Times June 19, 1898 page 5
  • 1,200 on Last Trip on Myrtle Ave. El; Cars Are Stripped, New York Times October 4, 1969 page 23


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