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The R Broadway Local is a service of the New York City Subway. It is colored yellow 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 BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan. Normal service is local from 71st-Continental Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens, to 95th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; during late nights it operates as a shuttle within Brooklyn from 36th Street to 95th Street. The R is one of only two services that have two or more stations with the same name (the other being the B); it serves two 36th Street stations (one in Queens on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and one in Brooklyn on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line). It is also a rare line in that it remains fully underground throughout its entire route.
- The line that later became the R was the BMT 2. In its very early days, it ran between Chambers Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line and 86th Street, using the Manhattan Bridge to cross the East River. The Montague Street Tunnel opened on October 1, 1920, and at that time it took its current shape, running local from Queensboro Plaza to 86th Street. 95th Street station opened on October 31, 1925. During this time, rush-hour specials to Chambers Street were added and later removed, only to be added again. At one time, including 1931, additional midday service operated local between 57th Street-7th Avenue and Whitehall Street. The 2 also used the Nassau Street Loop during rush hours, entering Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge or Montague Street Tunnel and leaving via the other.
- On October 17, 1949, the platforms on the BMT Astoria Line had been shaved, and the BMT's Astoria Shuttle was replaced with through service from the Fourth Avenue Line. On January 1, 1961, the northern terminal was relocated to its current location at 71st-Continental Avenue, via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection.
- In winter 1960–61, letters started to appear on the RR, which was known as the "Fourth Avenue Local via Tunnel," from 71st-Continental Avenue to 95th Street, like current R service. On November 27, 1967, the day after the IND Chrystie Street Connection opened, the RR was moved back to Ditmars Boulevard on the BMT Astoria Line. (EE service began at Whitehall Street and used the former route to 71st Avenue). The Nassau Street specials were through-routed from 95th Street to 168th Street in Jamaica as RJ. Under the first color scheme, RR was colored green and RJ was red.
- The RJ service only lasted a few months before it was cut back to Chambers Street and renamed as additional RR rush-hour "diamond" service. In 1986, when double letters were eliminated, RR service became R. R service was assigned the color yellow (because it used the BMT Broadway Line), and special Chambers Street rush-hour service was brown (using the Nassau Street Line). In 1986 or 1987, the special rush-hour service was removed, and the R was moved back to its original route, once again going to 71st-Continental Avenue in May 1987 in order to gain access to Jamaica Yard.
- When the IND Archer Avenue Line opened on December 11, 1988, E service was rerouted along to Jamaica Center–Parsons Boulevard, and the R was extended to replace the E to 179th Street. This was short-lived, and the R was cut back to 71st-Continental Avenue in favor of an extension of the F, which runs express west of 71st Avenue.
- On September 30, 1990, R service became a shuttle between 36th Street and 95th Street in Brooklyn. In the late '90s, northbound late-night trains began skipping 53rd Street and 45th Street.
- On September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center, the BMT Broadway Line was damaged, and the R service was cut back to run only south of Court Street. On September 17, R service was totally suspended, replaced with J service in Brooklyn and Q service in Manhattan and Queens . All three lines returned to normal service on October 28.
- On September 8, 2002, Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue was closed for reconstruction. Late night R service was extended to Pacific Street, running express between that station and 36th Street. Service was cut back to 36th Street when the north side of the Manhattan Bridge reopened on February 22, 2004.
The following table shows the lines used by Route R, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|IND Queens Boulevard Line||Forest Hills – 71st Avenue||Queens Plaza||local|
|60th Street Tunnel Connection and 60th Street Tunnel||all|
|BMT Broadway Line (full line)||Lexington Avenue / 59th Street||Canal Street||local|
|City Hall||Whitehall Street – South Ferry||all|
|Montague Street Tunnel||all||Closed|
|BMT Fourth Avenue Line (full line)||Court Street||Jay Street – MetroTech||all|
|DeKalb Avenue||25th Street||local|
|36th Street||59th Street|
|Bay Ridge Avenue||Bay Ridge – 95th Street||all|
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Stops weekends only|