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The A Eighth Avenue Express is a service of the New York City Subway. It is colored blue on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the IND Eighth Avenue Line through Manhattan. The longest one-seat ride on the subway system is on the A: over 31 miles (50 km) from 207th Street station in Inwood, Manhattan, to Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway, Queens. The normal A service pattern is from 207th Street to Mott Avenue or to Lefferts Boulevard in Ozone Park, Queens, running express in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some rush hour trips run to Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, Queens; the S Rockaway Park Shuttle serves Beach 116th Street at all times. During late nights, when C service doesn't operate, A service runs local to Far Rockaway only; a special shuttle (the Lefferts Boulevard Shuttle) runs from Euclid Avenue to Lefferts Boulevard.
- The A and AA were the first services on the IND Eighth Avenue Line when it opened on September 10, 1932. The A ran express between 207th Street and Hudson Terminal (today's World Trade Center station), and the AA was a local between 168th Street and Chambers Street (adjacent to Hudson Terminal). During late nights and Sundays, the A didn't run and the AA made all stops along the line.
- The A was extended to Jay Street–Borough Hall on February 1, 1933, when the Cranberry Street Tunnel to Brooklyn opened; an extension to Bergen Street opened on March 20, and to Church Avenue on October 7.
- On April 9, 1936, the IND Fulton Street Line was opened to Rockaway Avenue. On December 30, 1946 and November 28, 1948, the line was extended to Broadway–East New York (now Broadway Junction) and Euclid Avenue, respectively.
- On April 29, 1956, Grant Avenue was opened, and the line was extended over the BMT Fulton Street Line to Lefferts Boulevard.
- Two months later, on June 28, 1956, the former Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Line was converted to subway specifications, and service began to Rockaway Park and Wavecrest (Beach 25th Street). At this time, rush hour express service on the Fulton Street Line with the E train began.
- On January 16, 1958, a new terminal was created at Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue, and the through connection to the Long Island Rail Road's Far Rockaway station was severed.
- In 1963, the E train was extended to the Rockaways, and the A train ran local to Euclid Avenue or Lefferts Boulevard at all times. (CC shuttle service from Euclid Avenue provided all service to the Rockaways).
- On July 9, 1967, the A train was extended to Far Rockaway middays, evenings, and weekends, replacing the CC shuttle on that branch. Five years later, it would also be extended during rush hours.
- On January 2, 1973, the A train became the express service along Fulton Street and the E train became the local.
- In 1986, the IND practice of using double letters to indicate local service was discontinued. The AA service was renamed the K. In 1988, it was discontinued and replaced by the C.
- Until 1990, the main service was to Lefferts Boulevard, while the Far Rockaway service did not run late nights; at this time, a transfer to a shuttle at Euclid Avenue was available. In 1990, this pattern was switched, with late-night A service running to Far Rockaway only. A shuttle now provides service from Euclid Avenue to Lefferts Boulevard during late nights. A few years later, special A service began running from Rockaway Park to 59th Street-Columbus Circle during the morning rush, and from 59th Street–Columbus Circle to Rockaway Park during the evening rush.
- In 1999, the A became the express on the Fulton Street Line on weekends after C service was moved from World Trade Center to Euclid Avenue during that time.
- On January 23, 2005, a fire at the Chambers Street signal room crippled A and C service. Initial assessments suggested that it would take several years to restore normal service, but the damaged equipment was replaced with available spare parts, and normal service resumed on April 21.
The following table shows the lines used by Route A, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
| all ex.|
| all ex.|
|IND Eighth Avenue Line (full line)||Inwood – 207th Street||168th Street||all|
|163rd Street – Amsterdam Avenue||Canal Street||express|
|Chambers Street||High Street||all|
|IND Fulton Street Line (full line)||Jay Street – MetroTech||Shepherd Avenue||express|
|Grant Avenue||Rockaway Boulevard||local|
|104th Street||Ozone Park – Lefferts Boulevard|
|IND Rockaway Line (full line)||Aqueduct Racetrack||Howard Beach – JFK Airport|
|Beach 67th Street||Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue|
|Beach 90th Street||Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street|
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
- Line By Line History
- IND Subway Services
- "City Opens Subway to Brooklyn Today," New York Times, February 1, 1933; page 19
- "City Subway Adds a New Link Today," New York Times, March 20, 1933; page 17
- "New Bronx Subway Starts Operation," New York Times, July 1, 1933; page 15