IRT Brooklyn Line

From nycsubway.org


No. 3 train departing New Lots Avenue on the IRT Brooklyn Line, viewed from Van Siclen Avenue. Photo by: David Tropiansky, July 2010.


Brooklyn IRT Map - Contract 2 Construction

Brooklyn IRT Map - Dual Contracts Construction

Opening/Closing Dates

Station Opened Closed
Contract Two Section
Borough Hall (Contract Two station) 5/1/1908
Hoyt Street 5/1/1908
Nevins Street 5/1/1908
Atlantic Avenue 5/1/1908
Dual Contracts Extension
Clark Street 4/15/1919
Borough Hall (Dual Contracts station) 4/15/1919
Bergen Street 8/23/1920
Grand Army Plaza 8/23/1920
Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum 8/23/1920
Franklin Avenue 8/23/1920
Flatbush Avenue Line
President Street 8/23/1920
Sterling Street 8/23/1920
Winthrop Street 8/23/1920
Church Avenue 8/23/1920
Beverly Road 8/23/1920
Newkirk Avenue 8/23/1920
Flatbush Avenue 8/23/1920
New Lots Avenue Line
Nostrand Avenue 8/23/1920
Kingston Avenue 8/23/1920
Utica Avenue 8/23/1920
Sutter Avenue-Rutland Road 12/24/1920
Saratoga Avenue 12/24/1920
Rockaway Avenue 12/24/1920
Junius Street 12/24/1920
Pennsylvania Avenue 12/24/1920
Van Siclen Avenue 10/16/1922
New Lots Avenue 10/16/1922

Station by Station (Contract Two Segment)

Borough Hall


Photo by: Jason R. DeCesare

Collection of: Ed Levine
More Images: 1-50 51-62

After passing through the Joralemon Street Tunnel, the first station in Brooklyn is in fact Brooklyn's first subway station: Borough Hall (East Side Branch). This station is physically separate from the Borough Hall station serving the West Side IRT branch described above. In the southeast corner of the mezzanine, a plaque commemorating the subway's arrival in Brooklyn is found. The platform and mezzanine walls feature an intricate intertwined "BH" mosaic. Also in the mezzanine is a remnant of New York's Past: a bank teller window which used to be served by a local bank.

Some relatives depths of stations in the Borough Hall complex are as follows (measurements unscientific, +/- 10 feet).

  • IRT (4 & 5 Station, 2 & 3 Manhattan-bound), 15 feet below street
  • IRT (2 & 3 Brooklyn-bound), 30 feet below street
  • BMT (M/N/R) Station, Brooklyn-bound end, 40 feet below street

Artwork Borough Hall Station, First Subway In Brooklyn, Susan Morrison, 2007

Transfer to BMT Broadway Line

Hoyt Street


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne
More Images: 1-14

South of Borough Hall, the Contract I (East Side) and Dual Contract (West Side) IRT lines join to form a four track line, with a local (2/3 trains) and express (4/5 trains) layout. The Flatbush Avenue trunk line is quite complex, with the BMT Brighton Line trains using the two innermost of the six tracks in this area. The express tracks are at a lower level for a stretch.

Hoyt Street station has four tracks and two side platforms. This station has been renovated extensively in the 1980s. Old signs on the center I-beams between the local and express tracks read "Hoyt Street/Bridge Street". There is a closed entrace to the Macy's department store behind a grille at the north end of the southbound platform, which also used to serve as a crossunder between platforms. At the south end of the northbound platform is a closed-off passageway used by the police. One of the original ceramic cartouches has been preserved at the New York Transit Museum.

Cross-section of tracks at Hoyt St. Click to enlarge.
Plan of Hoyt Street Station. Click to enlarge.

Nevins Street


Photo by: Danny Molina

Photo by: Roberto C. Tobar
More Images: 1-22

Four tracks, two island platforms. Disused lower level. The upper level has a wide space between the two express tracks. Originally, this station had the two express tracks plus a center track. The local tracks were added later and at that time, the center track was removed. The platforms are offset. There is a nice "N" mosaic in this station. There is an underpass here, from which it had been possible to see an unused lower level platform and trackways. (For more information on this, see Brennan's Guide to Disused Subway Stations). This station has recently been renovated, and unfortunately, upon completion of the renovation, the temporary wall in the underpass which afforded the view of the lower level platforms has been replaced with a tile wall. Access to the unused platform is via a cellar-type door at the north end of each platform.

See Also Area Track Map

Artwork Work & Nature, Anton van Dalen, 1997

Atlantic Avenue


Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld

Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-116

Four tracks, two side and one island platform. Express trains use the island platform shared by the two center tracks while the locals use the two wall platforms. On the center platform there are two old indicator signs indicating next train, used for non-rush hour short turn trains. The trackway to the LIRR is still visible at the north end of the northbound local track although much of it is behind corrugated wall. Rumors abound about this trackway, including whether or not a track ever existed! Stan Fischler's book The Subway, in the chapter on Belmont's private car Mineola, suggests that it did. Other evidence indicates that if in fact track was ever laid in the trackway it was covered over by 1920 and disconnected entirely from the IRT and the switches removed in 1922. (A fine site discussing this LIRR connection is located at aRRts aRRchives.) The LIRR platforms are clearly visible on the other side of floor to ceiling railings. The northbound local trackway and track have been completely redone with concrete base and welded rail. An old style sign to the Brooklyn Academy of Music still exists.

Some relatives depths of stations in the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street complex are as follows (measurements unscientific, +/- 10 feet):

  • LIRR Station, 20 feet below street
  • IRT Station, 20 feet below street
  • BMT (D/Q) Station, 50 feet below street
  • BMT (M/N/R) Station, 40 feet below street
Area Track Map
Atlantic Avenue station diagram. Click to enlarge.
Cross-section at Atlantic Avenue station. Click to enlarge.
Cross-section at Atlantic Avenue station. Click to enlarge.

Artwork Hook, Line, and Sinker, George Trakas, 2004

Artwork Steps to the Subway, Tim Connor.

Artwork MoMA Atlantic/Pacific

Transfer to BMT Brighton Line, BMT 4th Avenue Line

Station by Station (Dual Contracts Extensions)

Clark Street


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: David of Broadway
More Images: 1-27

Two tracks, one island platform. This station is very deep (approx. 100 feet below the street) and has rounded side walls indicating the deep bore construction of the under river tunnel. Access to the street is by elevator. The platforms have sailing ship mosaics and a large "Clark Street/Brooklyn Heights" mosaic name panel. The street level fare control has a directional mosaic to the Hotel St. George.

Artwork Clark Street Passage, Ray Ring, 1987

Borough Hall


Photo by: Lee Winson

Photo by: Roy Freeman
More Images: 1-31

Two level station with Brooklyn-bound trains on the lower level and Manhattan-bound trains on the upper level. There is a large Borough Hall mosaic and a picture of Borough Hall in the tile border.

Transfer to BMT Broadway Line

Bergen Street


Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite

Photo by: Jonathan Riley
More Images: 1-17

Two side platforms around four tracks. Standard Dual Contracts mosaics. No crossover or crossunder. A full curtain wall separates local from express tracks.

Grand Army Plaza


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: David of Broadway
More Images: 1-18

Two tracks, one island platform. The express tracks and BMT tracks are underneath. The only mosaic is a small "P".

Artwork Wings for the IRT, The Irresistable Romance of Travel, Jane Greengold, 1993

Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum


Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite

Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
More Images: 1-21

Two tracks, two side platforms. The express tracks are on a lower level. The large mosaics indicates Eastern Parkway and Brooklyn Museum. There is an emergency exit from the express level at the south end of each platform. There is a second, unused mezzanine, token booth, and turnstile area at the north end of this station (a very close look at the tiles in this area will reveal a door to this area). This entrance has been removed on street level. The Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum station had a small tower at the south end of the northbound platform until the 1950s.

Artwork Historic New York City Architectural Elements, Brooklyn Museum of Art Collections

Artwork Brueghel Series, Pat Steir, 1994

Franklin Avenue


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite
More Images: 1-21

There are four tracks and two island platforms. A free transfer to the BMT Franklin Shuttle's Botanic Garden Station was added in 1999. This is also the last chance to transfer between New Lots and Flatbush Ave. trains.

Reader Carl W. writes:

Franklin Avenue is a gap station, that is, a station where local and express trains stop. At the south end of the southbound platform, and north end of the northbound platform, was office space for dispatchers, known as assistant train dispatchers (ATDs). The assistant train dispatchers worked by using the register sheets to write train arrival and departure times, car numbers, schedules and crews. On the Eastern Parkway line of the 2, 3 and 4 trains, Nostrand Junction is an area located south of Franklin Avenue, and had a tower called Nostrand Junction. Nostrand Junction has been replaced by the Utica Avenue tower which is located at the Utica Avenue mezzanine. (Utica Avenue had assistant train dispatchers too.)

Area Track Map

Transfer to BMT Franklin Shuttle

Station by Station (Flatbush Branch)

President Street


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Richard Panse
More Images: 1-5

Two tracks, single island platform. This is a deep station, and there is an escalator that leads to the mezzanine (which has a crossover), three flights up. The mosaic tiling is limited to the small P. An old sign on the escalator advises us: "Do Not Rest Umbrellas or Canes on Escalator."

Sterling Street


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
More Images: 1-8

Two tracks, two side platforms. Standard Dual Contracts mosaics. Student art is featured in the mezzanine which has a crossover. A newsstand is in the mezzanine.

Artwork Title unknown, artist unknown

Winthrop Street


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Brian Weinberg
More Images: 1-7

Two tracks, two side platforms. Standard Dual Contracts mosiacs. There are old signs to the Downstate Medical Center. No cross over or cross under. The southbound fare control is ten steps up from the platform while northbound fare control is at platform level. Mosaic directional signs to Winthrop Street also exist northbound.

Church Avenue


Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld

Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
More Images: 1-17

Two tracks, two side platforms. Recently renovated. Fare control is at platform level.

Artwork Transitions,Louis Delsarte, 2001 {{{3}}}

Beverly Road


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Brian Weinberg
More Images: 1-4

Two tracks, two side platforms. Standard Dual Contracts mosaics. This station unfortunate distinction of having its name spelled incorrectly in the mosaic tiling. The new signs are correct but the mosaic omits the second 'e' as does the token booth (at platform level) and the platform extensions of the 60s. I found evidence of a closed crossunder. There is no crossover.

Newkirk Avenue


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite
More Images: 1-7

Two tracks, two side platforms. There are standard Dual Contracts mosaic name tablets. All fare control is at the platform level. The southbound platform has an extra exit, also at platform level at the north end. There is evidence of a closed crossunder at the south end of both platforms.

Flatbush Avenue


Photo by: Eric Oszustowicz

Photo by: Paul P.
More Images: 1-42

Two tracks, two side platforms connected in a "U" shape at the south end where the fare control is located. Elevators allow access to the street. This was not meant to be a terminal station. The line was mapped to continue in Nostrand Avenue to Sheepshead Bay. The contract was in two or more sections of which only the one, ending at this station, was built. To accommodate a crossover, the south end entry at Avenue H was added on slightly after the station's opening to make the U-shape platform. Indicia of the more recent construction of this exit are seen in the tilework. Other indications were in the floor and walls but these were covered over in the mid 1990s reconstruction.

It was agitated for by the local community leaders during the mid 1990s renovation to open an exit on the west side of Flatbush Avenue next to Brooklyn College. This was not done. The room for this exit was given to utility and crew space.

There was on the south side of Avenue H between Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues a substation for the BMT trolley and subway. It was demolished around 1960. There remain today manholes in Avenue H for the BRT and BQT from this substation. The site is now a city carpark for park-and-ride customers of the IRT. It is virtually empty despite the huge increase in riders from growth around and south of the station. The community is urging to build a bus and van depot here with direct entry into the station. So far nothing has come of the idea.

For many years this station and Newkirk Avenue station were plagued with flooding in heavy storms. The water literally overflowed the trackway and platforms. The cause was a refilling of the local water table with no withdrawal from it. There was from before the subway the the Flatbush Water Company on what is now the grounds of Brooklyn College. It drew off of the ground water for its supply and thus kept the level lower than the stations. Recall that waterproofing was done mainly when the route descended below the water table. The water business folded in the 1930s, freeing the land for the College. But there was no more drainage of the water and the ground gradualy recharged to overflowing. By the mid 1950s flooding at Flatbush and Newkirk stations was routine and disruptive to the service. Many times trains were turned at President Street or Church Avenue or the line was closed completely. Riders were sent upstairs to buses sent out to continue the run to Flatbush Abenue. Fixups in the 1960s and early 1970s were unsuccessful. In the 1980s a final solution was worked out by waterproofing the structure and laying in larger storm mains. Now the trains flow into and out of Flatbush Avenue regardless of the weather upstairs.

Artwork Flatbush Floogies, Muriel Castanis, 1996

Station by Station (New Lots Branch)

Nostrand Avenue


Photo by: Robert Taylor

Photo by: Wilfredo Castillo
More Images: 1-9

Two tracks, two side platforms on two levels. Standard Dual Contracts mosaics. The fare control is on the outbound (upper level) platform. At the south end you can see the Flatbush Ave. line turn off.

Kingston Avenue


Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite
More Images: 1-17

Two tracks, two side platforms on two levels.

Utica Avenue


Photo by: Dante D. Angerville

Photo by: Wilfredo Castillo
More Images: 1-42

Two levels with two tracks and one island platform on each level. Through trains to New Lots use the southern half of each platform, and terminating trains use the northern half (inbound on the upper level, outbound on the lower level). There is an an active tower at the south end of the upper level platform, and a closed one on the lower level paltform. In the station there are ornate doors in the tile walls which serve as vent chambers for the station. The station was recently renovated including sun and moon artwork on the trackside walls.

Although named for Utica Avenue the station lies from Schenectady Avenue to about 2/3 of the way to Utica Avenue. There are no exits at Utica Avenue itself. This displacement away from Utica Avenue allows sufficient easement for the IRT's Utica Avenue line, plans for which were proposed as far back as the 1930s by both the IRT and in IND Second System plans. To accomodate the expansion proposals, the line east of the station divides into three routes. Just outside the station on the local track are bellmouths leading south in Utica Avenue for the proposed Utica Avenue line. This was not preempted by the later IND plan for such a route but an alternative. From time to time the one or the other plan is resurrected, only to sink and die again.

East of Utica Avenue the tracks in the tunnel split into the present New Lots line and a set of layup tracks. These tracks lie under Pitkin Avenue and are intended to continue the IRT east in that street. The tunnel mouth between Utica Avenue and Sutter-Rutland is an early example of a split-level portal. The three tracks of the Livonia Avenue line start to diverge on the el and are well separated as they enter the tunnel.

Artwork Good Morning, Good Night, Hugo Consuegra

Sutter Avenue-Rutland Road


Photo by: Professor J

Photo by: Zach Summer
More Images: 1-50 51-57

Leaving the subway, the line to New Lots Avenue is a standard Dual Contracts elevated line. The structure has two tracks (except at Junius Street which has a center track used to access the Linden Yard). The structure is wide enough throughout its length for a center track and evidence in the stations above the mezzanine shows a partial third track existed in all stations except New Lots and Junius Street. This partial track has the trackway plus cross ties set into the concrete but no rails. I have no information as to whether there were rails and they were removed or if the trackway with cross ties is the end of the idea for a third track. Along part of the line, the space is used for various signal rooms and mechanical rooms.

The stations are all fairly nondescript elevated stations. There are no crossovers except at Junius Street. The first elevated station is at Sutter Avenue/Rutland Road, which is over East 98th Street. This station has full canopy on the north end and no windscreen on the south end.

Saratoga Avenue


Photo by: Oswaldo C.

Photo by: John Dooley
More Images: 1-50 51-76

Two tracks, two side platforms. This station has an extra exit from the southbound platform bypassing the fare control, which was used for PM rush exit only. In the mezzanine is an old enamel white on navy blue "To Street" directional sign. There is only one stair from fare control to each platform.

Rockaway Avenue


Photo by: Joe Testagrose

Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite
More Images: 1-45

Three tracks, two side platforms.

Junius Street


Photo by: David Pirmann

Photo by: Chao-Hwa Chen
More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-107

Three tracks, two side platforms. At the southbound end the center track crosses the eastbound track into Linden Shops. There is no switch. This station has full windscreen. Outside of the fare control is an overpass allowing pedestrians on Livonia to cross over the L tracks. As our train leaves the station you can see the Livonia Avenue station of the L train beneath us and to our immediate right.

Pennsylvania Avenue


Photo by: David-Paul Gerber
More Images: 1-28

Two tracks, two side platforms. Room for center express track, never used.

Van Siclen Avenue


Photo by: Michael Hodurski

Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite
More Images: 1-50 51-69

Two tracks, two side platforms. Room for center express track, never used.

New Lots Avenue


Photo by: Aliandro Brathwaite

Photo by: John Dooley
More Images: 1-47

Two tracks, one island platform. This is a terminal station, but the tracks continue beyond the station and end in Livonia Yard. This is the only elevated terminal station where the tracks continue in this manner; all the other elevated terminals end in bumper blocks. The station has an active tower and crew quarters at platform level.


New Clark Street Tunnel Completed New York Times, March 16, 1919. Also from the New York Times: Clark Street Tunnel Ready (April 11, 1919), Clark Street Tunnel Tested (April 12, 1919), Fear B.R.T. Strike- Rush Use of Tunnel (April 13, 1919), New Subway Service Between Brooklyn and Manhattan Boroughs (April 13, 1919), Open Clark Street Line (April 16, 1919), Lessens Subway Crush (April 17, 1919), Dual System is Nearly Completed (May 4, 1919).

Under-River Tunnel Headings Meet (Old Slip-Clark Street Tunnel) Public Service Record, December, 1916.

Page Credits

Station descriptions by Peggy Darlington.

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