BMT Nassau Street-Jamaica Line
M service with R-160A-1 no. 8328 in the lead at Hewes Street on the BMT Nassau Street/Jamaica Line. Photo by David Pirmann, August 2008.
The Broadway Elevated line is a study in contrasts. The line starts as the Nassau Street subway with a mixture of renovated, partially renovated, and unrenovated stations. The line then emerges to cross the Williamsburg Bridge and becomes the Brooklyn Broadway El. Here too the line shows the neglect of the years. The line features the oldest structure still in use in the subway with the S curve in the section from Alabama to Cypress Hills. Past the S curve the line has modern canopies and renovated mezzanines. After 121 Street, the line leaves Jamaica Avenue and reenters the subway via the new Archer Avenue tunnel (shared with the IND Queens Boulevard Line) to Jamaica Center. The original outer end of the line was elevated into Jamaica. It is said that the businesses who pushed for the demolition of the end of the Jamaica Ave. El lost a lot of business after the El was demolished. On Archer Avenue, the Broadway line uses the lower level which extends past the Jamaica Center Station and was to be a new line to southeast Queens. This extension project has not been undertaken to this date.
The Center Track East of Alabama Avenue
Reports have been conflicting on this issue but it seems most likely that center track was only installed in the following two locations: Between 111th St. and 116th St., and again between 160th and 168th Street on the outer end of the el. At 111th St. station, the center track, J4/J3, is still in place but in poor condition. It was formerly used as the turnback track for Lexington Avenue El trains (from 1917 until the mid-1940s) and then for a while as midday and weekend layup space. The 160-168th St. portion was also used for midday layovers.
The rest of the Jamaica Avenue branch was built with provision for a third track which was never installed. In 1958, a proposal was made to install a third track, eliminate the "S" curve at Crescent St. and extend the line directly down Jamaica Avenue to Broadway Junction. There would have been express stations at Woodhaven and Sutphin Boulevards. That proposal was shot down by locals who did not want more noise and less daylight. The alternative proposed was the Archer Avenue subway, which finally got (partially) built in the late '80's, to the everlasting regret of the merchants who had championed its construction. (Thanks to John Vigliotti for the above notes.)
|BMT Nassau Street-Jamaica Line
Williamsburg Bridge · Metropolitan Avenue · Queens Boulevard · Sutphin Boulevard · 160th Street · 168th Street
By Peggy Darlington and David Pirmann.