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- This article is about the modern New York City Subway station. For the former IRT elevated station, see South Ferry (IRT elevated station). For the location after which these stations are named, see South Ferry (Manhattan).
South Ferry is the southern terminal of the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line, carrying 1 service, which was supplemented by 9 service during rush hours until May 2005. The single platform is on the outside of the outer track of a two-track loop. The platform is extremely short (rear five cars cannot load or unload). Gap fillers are used to bridge the gap between the platform and the doors. Spray nozzles lubricate the track to reduce the friction caused by the tight curve. The sharp curvature slows train operation and generates excessive noise. This causes delays for the entire line. 
In mid-2005 construction commenced on a new South Ferry station which will be located underneath the present one. It will be built as a two-track terminal which will allow all ten cars of the train to platform so that all the doors can be opened. The new station will also have a free transfer to the Whitehall Street station (N (5) R (1234) W (123a)) on the BMT Broadway Line. It is anticipated that the new station will be completed in 2007. In November and Wikipedia:December 2005, centuries-old walls were discovered in two places in the proposed right-of-way. The walls will be placed on display in the park, and in the new terminal when construction is completed.
The outer platform is used by IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line trains, but it was originally built for the IRT Lexington Avenue Line. When the Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line opened in 1918, it started using the outer platform, and the Lexington Avenue Line was moved to a new inner track and inner platform. This platform has an even sharper curve, and only the center doors opened at South Ferry, with special arched openings in a wall between the platform and track at the locations of the doors.
In the late 1950s, the IRT division began to use mostly R-type cars, which could not have only the center doors opened, and 5 trains (which ended at South Ferry evenings and weekends only) and 6 trains (which ended at South Ferry late nights) were rerouted to the outer loop. The Bowling Green-South Ferry Shuttle, which ran weekdays and at first also late nights, continued to use the inner loop, running to the west platform at Bowling Green until 1977, when the inner platform was closed and Lexington Avenue trains stopped using the outer loop. A pair of specially modified R12 cars were used starting in the late 1960s until the service ended. These cars had two different door controls; the first opened the outer two sets of doors while the second opened the center set of doors only.
There was never a free transfer between the two platforms. The inner track is now used to turn 5 trains at all times except rush hours (when some trains extend into Brooklyn; the rest still turn here) and late nights (when they don't run into Manhattan at all).
- South Ferry Terminal Project - Official MTA South Ferry Station Project Page
- nycsubway.org — IRT West Side Line: South Ferry
- Abandoned Stations - Bowling Green & South Ferry platforms