Broadway Subway Opens (1918)
Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 51, No. 2 · January 12, 1918 · p. 100.
Broadway Subway Opened. Local Service by B.R.T. on Line Between Rector and Forty-second Streets, Backbone of System.
On Jan. 5, at about noon, New York City celebrated the opening of another new rapid transit line, namely, the Broadway subway in Manhattan, for operation by the New York Municipal Railway Corporation. The new operation consists of local service between Rector Street on the south and Forty-second Street, or Times Square, on the north.
For some time past the Broadway subway has been in operation between Canal and Fourteenth Streets in connection with trains from the Sea Beach line in Brooklyn, the trains passing over the Manhattan Bridge and the Canal Street subway to the Broadway line. The new service extends the 5-cent zone for Brooklyn travelers northward from Fourteenth Street, therefore, to Times Square, but for a while it will be necessary to change cars at Fourteenth Street. Eventually all the tracks of the Broadway subway, which is a four-tracked line, will be placed in service, and then both local and express trains will traverse the whole length of the line.
How Line Will Operate Finally. When the line is placed in operation in its entirety it will run from the Battery northerly through Church Street, Broadway and Seventh Avenue to Fifty-ninth Street, thence easterly under Fifty-ninth Street and the East River to a connection with the new rapid transit lines in Queens Borough. On the southern end there will be a tunnel to Brooklyn connecting with the Fourth Avenue subway, and connection is also made with that line through Canal Street and over the Manhattan Bridge.
The construction of the Broadway subway, Manhattan, was first proposed in 1911 as a means of relieving transportation conditions in that section of Manhattan south of Fifty-ninth Street, and as a distributing line through the heart of Manhattan for the people of Brooklyn and Queens. The proposal was made by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company. Two full years of discussion and planning followed before an agreement was finally reached and the plan ratified. Construction was begun, however, before the contract was executed, and the city has been building the subway for about six years. Two tracks have been placed in operation between Whitehall Street and Forty-second Street. It will be some time before all four tracks will be ready for express and local service, and before connections will be made with Brooklyn and Queens via the tunnels at the Battery and at Sixtieth Street respectively.
In a pamphlet which it prepared for distribution among its patrons the company said:
"For intermediate imperfections of service the operating company begs the indulgence of its patrons. The limitations at terminals will temporarily restrict the number of trains to be operated, and the other evidences of incompletion will produce some complaint and inconvenience. But both the Public Service Com'mission and the operating company feel that it is better to begin operation with facilities as they are than to wait until the work is entirely finished."
Brooklyn subway trains now operated to Union Square via Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street will continue to be thus operated, but will use the express tracks between Canal Street and Union Square, with intervening stops. Change may be made there for local subway trains to Forty-second Street and vice versa.