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Wikipedia logo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at IRT Third Avenue Line. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Metro Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

The Third Avenue Line, or Third Avenue El, was an elevated railway in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York City. It passed into the ownership of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and eventually the New York City Subway.

In the 1940s, as part of the integration of the different subway companies in New York City—the IRT along with Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit (BMT) and Independent Subway System (IND)—the Third Avenue El and its counterparts on Second, Sixth, and Ninth Avenues came under criticism from New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and his successors. The Els were regarded as blights to their communities and obsolete, given that subways were being built, or were on the drawing board, to replace them.

The IND Sixth Avenue Line and the IND Eighth Avenue Line did indeed render the Sixth and Ninth Avenue Els obsolete. Save for a small shuttle service for the Wikia:baseball:Polo Grounds on the Ninth Avenue Line, they were closed by 1940 and demolished by 1941. The Second Avenue El was also gradually demolished from 1940 to 1942, leaving only the Third Avenue El, which was intended to stay in use until and the Second Avenue Subway was built to replace it. However, government bureaucracy and pressure from private developers, eager to redevelop Third Avenue, forced the closure of the El prematurely with no adequate subway replacement, leaving residents on the East Side of Manhattan with the overcrowded IRT Lexington Avenue Line as the only subway east of Fifth Avenue.

The system was closed in sections from 1950 to 1973. First, the South Ferry spur was closed in 1950, which connected South Ferry to Chatham Square in Manhattan. This forever closed the South Ferry elevated station, which had serviced all four IRT El lines that originally ran in Manhattan. Next to close was the City Hall spur in 1953, which started at Park Row in Manhattan and then connected with the South Ferry spur at Chatham Square. On May 12, 1955 the main portion of the line from Chatham Square to East 149th Street in the Bronx closed, ending the operation of elevated service in Manhattan. Finally, the remaining portion of the line in the Bronx from East 149th Street to Gun Hill Road closed in April 1973.

In the Bronx, the portion of the line between The Hub and Fordham Center was replaced by the Bx55 Limited bus route making the same stops the former line made. Other than a route extension on weekdays (on 15-minute headways, 7:00 AM–7:00 PM), the portion between Gun Hill Road and Fordham Road is serviced by the Bx41. TheBx41 throughout its route runs close to where the el formerly was. The route still mimics a subway line headway and employs articulated buses. While no night service is provided, the Bx15, a local complement of the Bx55 Limited, runs every 20 minutes, a standard subway headway for late nights. The Bx41 also offers late night el replacement service between Gun Hill Road and Fordham Road.

In popular cultureEdit

The El was most prominently featured in:

In the alternate history book Sideslip by Ted White and Dave van Arnam, depicting a alternate reality where Earth is ruled by aliens from space, the Third Avenue El survives into 1968.

Station listingEdit

Station Tracks Opening date Closing date Transfers and notes
South Ferry all August 26, 1878 December 22, 1950
merge from IRT Ninth Avenue Line
Hanover Square all August 26, 1878 December 22, 1950
Fulton Street all August 26, 1878 December 22, 1950
Franklin Square all August 26, 1878 December 22, 1950
split for IRT Second Avenue Line
Chatham Square all May 12, 1955 original station was north of an at-grade merge from the spur
City Hall City Hall spur March 17, 1879 December 31, 1953
Chatham Square City Hall spur December 31, 1953
merge from City Hall Spur
Canal Street all May 12, 1955
Grand Street all May 12, 1955
Houston Street all May 12, 1955
Ninth Street all August 26, 1878 May 12, 1955
14th Street local August 26, 1878 May 12, 1955
18th Street local May 12, 1955
23rd Street all May 12, 1955
28th Street local August 26, 1878 May 12, 1955
34th Street local August 26, 1878 May 12, 1955
34th Street Ferry 34th Street Spur July 14, 1930
Second Avenue 34th Street Spur July 14, 1930 IRT Second Avenue Line
34th Street 34th Street Spur July 14, 1930
merge from 34th Street Spur
split for 42nd Street Spur
42nd Street all August 26, 1878 May 12, 1955 IRT Flushing Line, IRT Lexington Avenue Line and IRT 42nd Street Shuttle at 42nd Street-Grand Central (details on the free transfer)
42nd Street 42nd Street Spur December 6, 1923
Grand Central Station 42nd Street Spur December 6, 1923
47th Street local May 12, 1955
53rd Street local May 12, 1955
59th Street local May 12, 1955
67th Street local May 12, 1955
76th Street local May 12, 1955
84th Street local May 12, 1955
89th Street local May 12, 1955
split for 98th Street Yard
99th Street local May 12, 1955
106th Street all May 12, 1955
116th Street local May 12, 1955
125th Street all May 12, 1955
split for IRT Second Avenue Line
129th Street local May 12, 1955
merge with IRT Second Avenue Line
split for Willis Avenue Spur
Willis Avenue Willis Avenue Spur April 14, 1924 transfer to the New York, Westchester and Boston Railwa and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad's Harlem River Line
133rd Street all May 12, 1955 transfer to the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway (April 15, 1924 to December 31, 1937) and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad's Harlem River Line (April 15, 1924 to 1931)
138th Street all May 12, 1955
143rd Street all May 12, 1955
split for IRT White Plains Road Line from express tracks (also called the Bergen Avenue By-pass)
149th Street all April 28, 1973 IRT White Plains Road Line
split for IRT White Plains Road Line from local tracks
156th Street all April 28, 1973
161st Street local April 28, 1973
166th Street local April 28, 1973
169th Street local April 28, 1973
Claremont Parkway local April 28, 1973 originally Wendover Avenue
174th Street local April 28, 1973
East Tremont Avenue all April 28, 1973 originally 177th Street, then Tremont Avenue-177th Street
split for 179th Street Yard
180th Street local April 28, 1973 not part of the original construction
183rd Street local April 28, 1973
Fordham Road all April 28, 1973 originally Pelham Avenue
split for Bronx Park Spur
Bronx Park Bronx Park Spur
200th Street local April 28, 1973
204th Street local April 28, 1973
210th Street local April 28, 1973 originally Williams Bridge-210th Street
Gun Hill Road all April 28, 1973 IRT White Plains Road Line
merges with IRT White Plains Road Line

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Rapid Transit on the Bowery, New York Times August 26, 1878 page 8
  • Crossings on Elevated Roads, New York Times March 14, 1879 page 8
  • 42d St. Elevated Stops, New York Times December 7, 1923 page 19
  • City Brevities, New York Times April 15, 1924 page 10
  • 34th St. Elevated Ends Long Service, New York Times July 15, 1930 page 15
  • Westchester Line Passes with 1937, New York Times January 1, 1938 page 36
  • Old 'El' Link Ends Its 72-Year Uproar, New York Times December 23, 1950 page 23
  • City Hall 'El' Spur at End of the Line, New York Times January 1, 1954 page 25
  • Last Train Rumbles on Third Ave. 'El', New York Times May 13, 1955 page 1
  • Cars are Packed for Last 'El' Trip, New York Times May 13, 1955 page 16
  • Third Ave. El Reaches the End of Its Long, Noisy, Blighted, Nostalgic Life, New York Times April 29, 1973 page 24


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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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MTA: New York City Subway
Routes NYCS Route 1NYCS Route 2NYCS Route 3NYCS Route 4NYCS Route 5NYCS Route 6NYCS Route 6dNYCS Route 7NYCS Route 7dNYCS Route ANYCS Route BNYCS Route CNYCS Route DNYCS Route ENYCS Route FNYCS Route GNYCS Route JNYCS Route LNYCS Route MNYCS Route NNYCS Route QNYCS Route RNYCS Route Z
Shuttles NYCS Route S (42nd StreetFranklin AvenueRockaway Park)
Defunct NYCS 89HKTVWJFK Express
BMT 12345678910111213141516Brooklyn Loops
Shuttles 63rd StreetBowling GreenCulverGrand StreetOther
Unused 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • P • U • X • Y
Expansion Second Avenue Subway7 Subway ExtensionFulton Street Transit Center
Divisions A Division: IRTB Division: BMTIND (Second System)
Lists Inter-division connectionsInter-division transfersLinesServicesStationsTerminalsYards
Miscellaneous AccessibilityChainingHistoryMetroCardNomenclatureRolling stock
Other NYC transit Rail: AirTrain JFKAmtrakLIRRMetro-NorthNJT (rail)PATHStaten Island Railway
Other: NJT (buses)NYCT busesRoosevelt Island Tramway

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