Some Subway Ifs and Don'ts (1904)

From nycsubway.org

The New York Times · Friday, October 28th, 1904

  • If a motorman runs past a danger signal, what will happen?

    An automatic trigger, placed on the track, will apply the air brakes of the next train and avoid a collision.
  • If a fuse burns out in the front car, will traffic be hindered?

    Only for a minute or two; the rear cars also have motors, which will be used to push the train on a siding until the damage can be repaired.
  • How long does an express train stop at a station platform?

    One quarter of a minute is the schedule.
  • If you are at the Post Office and have an engagement in Washington Heights in half an hour, how can you keep it?

    By taking a subway express to 145th Street and Broadway - a 25 minute trip.
  • How often will local trains run in the tunnel?

    One in every 3 minutes from 5:30am until Midnight, and at intervals from 5 to 10 minutes between then and morning.
  • If you are in Times Square and must catch a train at the Grand Central Station, how long will it take you to get there?

    Subway trains make it in three quarters of a minute.
  • What is the fastest way to reach any given point along the subway?

    Take an express train to the nearest express station and there change to a local train.
  • Will the tunnel be an aid to quick travel to points far from the line of the subway?

    By paying two fares, one can decrease the time to almost any part of the city, taking a tunnel train part of the way and then transferring to a surface or elevated line.
  • What will happen if the lights go out in a train?

    The passengers will be transferred and the train sidetracked for repairs.
  • When will the interior decorations of all the stations to 145th Street be completed?

    Within a fortnight.
  • Will the subway decrease the crush on the east side elevated lines?

    Apparently not; the tunnel does not benefit east side passengers very much unless they are bound for points below 42nd Street and near 4th Avenue.
  • If the motorman should die, what would become of the train?

    It would stop automatically.
  • Is subway travel injurious to the eyes?

    A well known occulist says that looking at the rows of white columns is very straining. Therefore, don't look at them.
  • When will the rest of the tunnel be ready for operation?

    The company promises to open the east side line as far as Lenox Avenue and 145th Street on November 3rd. The Bronx and Upper Washington Heights sections probably will be ready in the Spring.
  • If there is an accident in the tunnel, who turns off the power?

    Any platform guard or trainman or track employee.
  • After an accident, who has power to have the current turned on again?

    Only the Vice President, General Manager or chief operating official in charge at the time.
  • What will happen if there is a fire in the subway?

    The company declares that fire is hardly a possibility, but if there is one the power will be turned off at once and adequate standpipes are available at frequent intervals, as well as alarms that may be rung in by any employe.
  • What is the significance of the green and red lights on the express tracks?

    The green lights mean a clear track; red lights are danger signals.
  • If you are on a platform at which both local and express trains stop, how are you to distinguish between them as they approach?

    The two upper lights on the front of the express are always red; those on the local are white.
  • Will every passenger get a seat?

    There are straps in the cars for overcrowded times.
  • How is the tunnel ventiliated?

    The designers have calculated that the frequent exits and the many fast-moving trains guarantee plenty of fresh air without the aid of artificial ventiliating machinery.
  • Is there any danger of the Subway being flooded in a heavy storm?

    All the tunnel walls are waterproofed, and the entrances are protected.
  • If a passenger rides past his station by mistake, what should he do?

    He can go to the next express station and cross to a returning train without emerging to the surface.
  • Does a passenger enter and leave the station by the same stairway?

    At most of the stations there are separate entrances and exits, all conspicuously labeled.
  • What is the maximum speed of trains?

    The expresses make 45 miles per hour under certain sections of Broadway.
  • Does the subway give transfers to the surface or elevated lines?

  • Which are the express stations?

    Brooklyn Bridge, 14th Street, 42nd St and Park Avenue, 72nd Street and Broadway, and 96th Street and Broadway.
  • Is the tunnel connected with the Grand Central Station?

    There is a street exit just outside the station, but the city was unable to make an arrangement for a direct connection.
  • If there is an accident that shuts off the third rail current, will the lights go out?

    The operating and lighting currents are entirely separate. [Note that this refers to the station lighting, obviously... --Webmaster]
  • Do express trains run further north that the last regular express station at 96th Street?

    They run as locals from 96th Street to 145th Street.

  • Don't try to stick your head out of the window of a subway train. The lower windows are fastened down.
  • Don't rush for the front car to get a look at the track ahead. The front windows are curtained.
  • Don't walk across the tracks between station platforms. You would have to cross four deadly third rails.
  • Don't take a local train if you are in a hurry. It's quicker to take an express and transfer to the local at the express station nearest to your destination.
  • Don't stand on the platforms. [Between the cars]
  • Don't try to tide in the tunnel between 2:30 and 6:00 today unless you have a special pass. Five-cent tickets will be sold after 7:00.
  • Don't lower the top window unless you have to. The draughts are bad in the tunnel.
  • Don't wait for an express train after midnight. They do not run between then and 6:30AM.
  • Don't move from your seat if there is an accident. You cannot improve your position and you might be the cause of a panic.
  • Don't deface the stations or trains. If you do, you are likely to be arrested.

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