H System Subway Service Started - H System Trouble (1918)
Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 52, No. 5 · August 3, 1918 · p. 208.
"H" System Subway Service Started
On Aug. 2 the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in New York City began subway operation under what is termed the "H" plan. This involves such a combination and separation of the old and new subway lines as to form distinct East Side and West Side systems, furnishing through service north and south. Connection between the two is provided by a transfer shuttle service on Forty-second Street between Times Square and Grand Central Station, and the old through service via Fourth Avenue, Forty-second Street and Broadway is discontinued.
The inauguration of the new through services was celebrated by a meeting at the Hotel Astor on the evening of Aug. 1 after a special train carrying the guests of the Public Service Commission had made the circuit of the Fourth Avenue and Seventh Avenue lines from Grand Central Station to Times Square with Mayor John F. Hylan acting as motorman. The rapid transit situation in the city was covered from various angles in addresses by Charles B. Hubbell, chairman of the Public Service Commission for the First District; Mayor Hylan; Oscar S. Straus and William R. Willcox, ex-chairmen of the commission; George McAneny, former president of the Board of Aldermen; Theodore P. Shonts, president of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, and A. E. Marling, president of the New York Chamber of Commerce.
Present and former Interborough Subway in New York City.
Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 52, No. 7 · August 17, 1918 · p. 300.
"H" System Troubles. Confusion Follows Initial Separate Operation of New York's East and West Side Lines.
For about two weeks the subway system operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, in New York City has been divided into two sections, the east side and the west side systems. The completion of the Seventh Avenue line and the Lexington Avenue line made this division possible. The principle underlying the present plan is that the streams of travel from the lower part of Manhattan Island to the west side and Washington Heights section and to the Bronx section, respectively, shall be separated as much as possible so as to avoid congestion.
Provision for connection between the two main lines is made by utilizing the section of the original subway on Forty-second Street between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal as a shuttle line.
Shuttle service on Forty-second Street was attempted on Aug. 1, as stated in the issue of the Electric Railway Journal for Aug. 3, page 208, but owing to the fact that the construction of the transfer stations was not complete, and further because the public seemed not to be fully informed as to the modus operandi, the congestion was so great that the service had to be discontinued temporarily. The stations are now in process of modification, and shuttle service will be resumed as soon as practicable.
At a hearing before the Public Service Commission on Aug. 15, Frank Hedley, vice-president and general manager Interborough Rapid Transit Company, said that the difficulties experienced in the operation of the new system were due to the newness of the mechanism, especially the intricate signaling apparatus, to lack of proper terminal facilities and to shortage of men. He stated that more than 500 men are still needed to handle the system properly in spite of the addition of 500 women to the company's payroll.
The accompanying outline maps of the Interborough subway system show the several component parts and the relations of these to each other. At the left is the entire system as completed to date, with further connections now under construction represented by light lines. On the right is the system before the Seventh Avenue and the Lexington Avenue lines were opened. The west side lines in the left-hand map ere indicated by dash lines, the east side lines by dotted lines. Those portions of the system which are common to both east and west side are indicated by dot-and-dash lines.
From the left-hand map it is evident that, so far as Manhattan island itself is concerned, it should be possible for a large proportion of the patrons of the road employed in the southern section of the island and living in the northern section, either east side or west side, to be carried between their homes and places of business by a direct line.
There will be no direct service to the Borough of Queens on Long Island from either east side or west side lines, but passengers who desire to go to Queens can do so by using the present tunnel from Grand Central Terminal under the East River. Unfortunately, the tunnel connecting the west side line or Seventh Avenue line with Brooklyn is not yet completed, and for the present it will be necessary for west side passengers who desire to go to Brooklyn to use the shuttle or walk a short distance down town.
The whole system of rapid transit in New York is rapidly approaching completion, but its progress has been hampered by war conditions. The policy of the Public Service Commission and the operating company has been to put each section into service as soon as available. The difficulty with the Forty-second Street shuttle service was, however, much greater than anticipated, bat when the transfer stations have been permanently improved and the traffic diverted to its normal channels the "H" plan should work out smoothly.