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The Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, also known as the West Side Line, is one of the lines of the IRT division of the New York City Subway. It runs along the west side of Manhattan and into the Bronx; the part north of 42nd Street was built as part of the first subway in New York. The line serves places such as Lincoln Center, Columbia University, and the City College of New York. The line is often referred to as the 1–2–3, since the 1, 2, and 3 services operate together over much of the line. The line sees 3 service limited rush hours in the peak direction (two trains heading to Brooklyn and four trains heading to the Bronx) to clear congestion. In the past, the 1 operated as a skip-stop service in tandem with the 3, which was discontinued after May 27, 2005; this skip-stop service existed only in upper Manhattan during rush hours.

Extent and serviceEdit

The following services use part or all of the Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line:

Current service Section of line
1 Local Full line (to South Ferry)
2 Express (local late nights) 96th Street to Chambers Street, then Brooklyn Branch
3 Express, all but late nights 96th Street to Chambers Street, then Brooklyn Branch


The IRT line on the West Side of Manhattan comprises portions of several different subway construction contracts, including the original 1904 Contract I subway from north of Times Square and several extensions to it, and sixteen Contract II (Dual Contracts) stations built between 1915 and 1918.

As the The Contract I and II construction is covered in-depth elsewhere on this site (The IRT Subway, and The Dual Contracts), this overview will consist of a few brief notes.

Service opened in stages, with opening dates identified on each station's description page, but to summarize: October 27, 1904, Times Square – 145th Street, with the rest of the northward part of the line to 242nd Street opening by 1907. On June 3, 1917, shuttle service began between the new Times Square station and 34th Street. On July 1, 1918, the line was extended to South Ferry, with shuttle service between Wall Street and Chambers Street. On August 1, 1918, the entire line from South Ferry to 242nd Street was completed.

The contract drawings for the "First Subway" were completed in 1898 by chief engineer William Barclay Parsons. The engineering and design of the Contract I subway was divided into 15 sub-sections. The portion of the work included in today's West Side line include:

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. Stations were built at Grand Central (express) and Times Square (local) along 42nd Street (today's 42nd Street Shuttle operation). Work on this section commenced on February 25, 1901. It was this section that was broken in 1918 when the "Dual Contracts" 7th Avenue Subway was tied into the Contract I subway at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street. A single track connection was retained for access to the northernmost of the shuttle tracks, visible in today's Times Square shuttle station. Two articles describe the August 1, 1918 service changes that would become known as the "H System": Great H System Put in Operation, and Approaching Operation of the H Lines/The H Lines In Service.

Section 5B, Center of West 47th Street north to the center of West 60th Street. 0.69 miles of four track cut and cover subway under Broadway. Stations at: 50th Street and 59th Street (Columbus Circle) Construction commenced September 19, 1900. This section underpinned the Columbus statue at Columbus Circle, detailed in a 1902 article: Difficult Engineering in the 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. Stations at: 66th Street, 72nd Street (express), and 79th Street. Construction commenced August 22, 1900.

Section 6B, Center of West 82nd Street 1.07 miles north under Broadway to the center of West 104th Street. 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. North of 96th Street the express tracks descend and turn eastward. The local tracks continue northward, becoming three tracks, to the station at 103rd Street. 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. This accounts for the extra space seen alongside the active tracks in this area. Construction of this section began on August 22, 1900. 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. As early as 1908 improvement was sought in this area by planning extra flyunder tracks, which were never built. 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.

Section 11, 104th Street north under Broadway for 1.07 miles to the portals near W. 122nd Street. Three tracks of cut and cover subway, with a concrete arch roof north of 116th Street. Stations at: 110th Street (Cathedral Parkway), 116th Street (Columbia University). Construction began June 18, 1900. The third track was added after construction began, detailed in a 1902 article: Difficult Engineering in the Subway.

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. 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. 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. The span of the arch is 168 feet, and 55 feet above the street. The ends of this section included short embankments in the middle of Broadway to portals north of 122nd Street and south of 135th Street. Construction began June 1, 1901.

Section 13, 133rd Street portals to 182nd Street, 2.42 miles of three/two track subway and a five track underground yard between 137th Street and 145th Street; cut and cover south of 145th Street, rock tunnel northward. Stations at: 137th Street (City College), 145th Street, 157th Street, 168th Street, and 181st Street. Work began May 14, 1900.

Section 14, 182nd Street to Dyckman Street, continuation of the Fort George Tunnel; 0.81 miles of two track subway. Work began on March 27, 1901. No stations were part of the original design; 191st Street was built later, 181 feet below the surface, and opened January 14, 1911.

Section 15, Portals near Dyckman Street to northern terminus over Broadway, including bridge over Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Stations at Dyckman Street, 207th Street, 215th Street, 230th Street. North of the Broadway Bridge, the original route turned on 230th Street, crossed the New York Central Railroad's Hudson line, and ended at Bailey Avenue near the New York Central's Putnam division station. The 230th St. station was a two track, single island, elevated station. Service to 230th & Bailey began in March 1906. By 1907 the line was altered to include stations at 225th Street, 231st Street, 238th Street, and 242nd Street-Van Cortlandt Park; and 230th & Bailey was abandoned.

The 7th Avenue subway south of Times Square was known as Dual Contracts Route No. 4/38 and was divided into several subsections:

Section 1a, South Ferry to Battery Place & Greenwich Street; included the conversion of South Ferry station, which was built under Contract I but converted to West Side use.

Section 1, Battery Place & Greenwich Street to Vesey Street, including the Rector Street and Cortlandt Street stations.

Section 2, West Broadway & Vesey Street to Varick Street & Beach Street; including stations at Chambers Street and Franklin Street.

Section 3, Varick Street & Beach Street to 7th Avenue & Commerce Street (just south of Bleecker Street), including stations at Canal Street and Houston Street.

Section 4, 7th Avenue & Commerce Street to 16th Street, including stations at Christopher Street and 14th Street.

Section 5, 7th Avenue & 16th Street to 30th Street; including stations at 18th Street, 23rd Street, and 28th Street.

Section 6, 7th Avenue & 30th Street to 43rd Street; including stations at 34th Street/Penn Station, and Times Square/42nd Street. Section 6A included various reconstruction work required to tie the new line to the old between 43rd Street and 45th 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). The preparation for the work was so extensive that the cutover took only a few hours. Work began at 8:00 p.m. and shuttles were running on the crosstown tracks by 10:00 p.m.. The "H" system was in operation! (So-called because the lines of the IRT now resembled the letter "H".) The IRT installed at Times Square and Grand Central a system of red and green lines and lights to direct passengers to the shuttle stations from the new main line stations (colors which continue to identify these two main lines of the IRT).

A Brooklyn branch included stations at Wall Street, Fulton Street, and Park Place.

Station listingEdit

Station Tracks Services Opened Transfers, connections and notes
Main Line
Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street All 1 always August 1, 1908
238th Street All 1 always August 1, 1908 No northbound entrance
former 1-only skip-stop station
231st Street All 1 always August 1, 1908
Marble Hill-225th Street All 1 always January 14, 1907 Connection to Metro-North Railroad at Marble Hill
former 3-only skip-stop station
Broadway Bridge
215th Street All 1 always March 12, 1906 former 1-only skip-stop station
207th Street All 1 always March 16, 1906 former 3-only skip-stop station
Dyckman Street All 1 always March 12, 1906 Former 1-only skip-stop station
191st Street All 1 always January 14, 1911
181st Street All 1 always March 16, 1906
168th Street All 1 always March 16, 1906 A C

  (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

157th Street All 1 always November 12, 1904 Former 1-only skip-stop station
145th Street All 1 always October 27, 1904 Former 3-only skip-stop station
137th Street–City College All 1 always October 27, 1904
125th Street All 1 always October 27, 1904
116th Street–Columbia University All 1 always October 27, 1904
Cathedral Parkway-110th Street All 1 always October 27, 1904
103rd Street All 1 always October 27, 1904
Merge from IRT Lenox Avenue Line (2 always, 3 all but late nights)
96th Street All 1 always,
2 always,
3 all but late nights
October 27, 1904
91st Street Local Closed October 27, 1904 Closed February 2, 1959
86th Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
October 27, 1904
79th Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
October 27, 1904
72nd Street All 1 always,
2 always,
3 all but late nights
October 27, 1904
66th Street–Lincoln Center Local 1 always,
2 late nights
October 27, 1904
59th Street–Columbus Circle Local 1 always,
2 late nights
October 27, 1904 A B

  C   D (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

50th Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
October 27, 1904
Times Square–42nd Street All 1
2 always,
3 all but late nights
June 3, 1917 7 <7> 

  (IRT Flushing Line)
S   (42nd Street Shuttle)
N,Q & R(BMT Broadway Line)
A C    E (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

34th Street–Penn Station All 1 always,
2 always,
3 all but late nights
June 3, 1917 Connection to Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit at New York Penn Station & M34 & M34A SBS
28th Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
23rd Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
18th Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
14th Street All 1 always,
2 always,
3 all but late nights
July 1, 1918 L (BMT Canarsie Line)
F &M(IND Sixth Avenue Line)
Connection to PATH at 14th Street
Christopher Street–Sheridan Square Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
Houston Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
Canal Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
Franklin Street Local 1 always,
2 late nights
July 1, 1918
Chambers Street All 1 always,
2 always,
3 all but late nights
July 1, 1918
Split with Brooklyn branch (2 always, 3 all but late nights)
Cortlandt Street–World Trade Center Local Closed July 1, 1918 Closed September 11, 2001
Rector Street Local 1 always July 1, 1918
South Ferry Local 1 always July 10, 1905 Template:NYCS R(except late nights),Template:NYCS N(Late Nights only) & M15 SBS. Connection to Staten Island Ferry
Brooklyn Branch
Park Place Express 2 always,
3 all but late nights
August 1, 1918 A C

  E (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

Fulton Street Express 2 always,
3 all but late nights
August 1, 1918 4 5

  (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
Template:NYCS Cranberry (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
J & Z(BMT Nassau Street Line)

Wall Street Express 2 always,
3 all but late nights
August 1, 1918
Clark Street Tunnel
Clark Street Express 2 always,
3 all but late nights
April 15, 1919
Borough Hall Express 2 always,
3 all but late nights
April 15, 1919 4 5

  (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
{{NYCS R(except late nights) & Template:NYCS N(Late Nights only)(BMT Fourth Avenue Line)


  • The New York Subway: Its Construction and Equipment. The New York Subway Souvenir. New Subways for New York, the Dual System of Rapid Transit. David Rogoff, "Contract I Construction", July 1962, revised July 1985, New York Division E.R.A. Bernard Linder, "IRT Broadway-7th Avenue Line Opening Dates and Schedule Changes," December 1990, New York Division E.R.A.

External linksEdit

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New York City Subway Lines
IRT Manhattan: 42nd St ShuttleBroadway-7th AvLenox AvLexington Av
Bronx: Dyre AvJerome AvPelhamWhite Plains Rd
Brooklyn/Queens: Eastern PkwyFlushingNostrand Av
Former: 2nd Av3rd Av6th Av9th Av
BMT Manhattan trunks and branches: 63rd StAstoriaBroadwayManhattan BridgeNassau St
Eastern Division: Archer AvCanarsieJamaicaMyrtle Av
Southern Division: 4th AvBrightonCulverFranklin AvSea BeachWest End
Former: 3rd Av5th AvBrooklyn BridgeFulton StLexington Av
IND Manhattan/Bronx trunks: 6th Av8th AvConcourse
Brooklyn/Queens: 63rd StArcher AvCrosstownCulverFulton StRockawayQueens Blvd
Former: World's Fair
Connections Chrystie St60th St
Future 2nd Av

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Shuttles NYCS Route S (42nd StreetFranklin AvenueRockaway Park)
Defunct NYCS 89HKTVWJFK Express
BMT 12345678910111213141516Brooklyn Loops
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