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Station: 14th Street-Union Square (IRT East Side Line)

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IRT East Side Line at 14th Street/Union Square. Transit Museum Nostalgia Train. Photo by: Robert Marrero, August 2008.

IRT East Side Line
4.GIF

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Overview

Opened: 10/27/1904

Transfer here to: BMT Canarsie Line, BMT Broadway Line

The first express stop since Brooklyn Bridge is 14th Street/Union Square. This station has the uptown and downtown platforms offset from each other, and are slightly curved. Gap filling moveable platforms are automatically operated via proximity sensors mounted on the outside wall when trains arrive. This station has two abandoned side local platforms, the northbound one is now visible again through windows, bordered with wide, bright red frames. It looks like this platform is being used as a utility chase. From the north end of the downtown platform's mezzanine you can see the abandoned southbound side platform through a hole in the plywood. This station's mezzanines are located over the platforms. This station provides a number of transfer opportunities.

On August 29, 1991, an accident occurred just north of the station, killing five people in one of the worst wrecks since the Malbone St. Disaster of 1918. The train operator, Robert Ray, had been overshooting platforms on the entire run. At 14th Street the train was to be shifted to the local track due to repairs. He had been running the train at 40 MPH in a 10 MPH zone and took the switch so fast that only the front of the first car made the crossover. The third and fourth cars ended up perpendicular to the tracks, having sheared off support columns and split in half. The line suffered heavy damage and service was disrupted for six days as transit workers toiled around the clock to clean up the wreckage. The entire infrastructure, including signals, the switches, track, roadbed, cabling, and 23 support columns needed to be replaced. The motorman Ray was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the worst subway accident since 1928.

The wreck occurred between 18th Street and Union Square on the downtown side at the entry to a former pocket track. Union Square and 72nd Street on the IRT West Side line had extra tracks on the approach to the station. These were between the incoming local and express track and were one old IRT train length long. The idea was to have a 'stacking' track where a train could be held momentarily until the platform cleared for it to enter the station. The track here and at 72nd Street were rendered useless when train lengths grew beyond their capacity. When the damage from the 1991 wreck was repaired the crossing was not made more gentle even though the stacking track here was removed.


Artwork

Framing Union Square, Mary Miss (1998)

Paradise, Chiho Aoshima (2005)

Photo Gallery


Image 17492
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 32177
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Photo by: Subway Souvenir-Burroughs & Co.
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 40203
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Photo by: Salaam Allah
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 47618
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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 56956
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Collection of: Ed Levine
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 64169
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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 64624
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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 64626
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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 66986
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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 66990
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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 81117
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Photo by: Roberto C. Tobar
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 96517
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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 106940
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Photo by: Zach Summer
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 112113
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Photo by: Richard Chase
Location: 14th Street/Union Square

Image 130183
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Photo by: Zach Summer
Location: 14th Street/Union Square


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