IND Chrystie Street Connection

Chrystie Street Connection

The Chrystie Street Connection is a major connecting line of the New York City Subway, and is one of the few connections between lines of the (former) BMT and IND divisions. As a road, Chrystie Street extends northward to become Manhattan's Second Avenue, and to date the Chrystie Street Connection is the only part of the long-planned Second Avenue Subway to be completed and opened to service.

Extent and service

The line, which opened on November 26, 1967, connects the former IND Sixth Avenue Line east of Broadway–Lafayette Street with the Williamsburg Bridge (via the BMT Nassau Street Line) and the Manhattan Bridge. It was the first actual integration of BMT and IND lines after the unification of all major lines under New York City municipal ownership in 1940. Prior to that, the nearest integration of the two previous systems was the operation of BMT trains over part of the IND Queens Boulevard Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection in 1955. In that case, however, BMT trains operated on the IND by trackage rights, using BMT equipment and crews.

Manhattan Bridge connection

The two tracks that run the full length of the connection begin as a continuation of the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks east of Broadway–Lafayette Street. These tracks include the line's only station, Grand Street, and connect to the two northern tracks over the Manhattan Bridge. The IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks formerly continued east, ending slightly east of the Lower East Side–Second Avenue station, and were planned to extend into Brooklyn and beyond as part of a major system expansion.

The two tracks on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge formerly carried trains to the BMT Broadway Line. The Broadway Line now connects to the tracks on the south side of the bridge, which before 1967 had connected to the BMT Nassau Street Line, carrying the Nassau Street Loop) service. The connection to the Nassau Street Line was cut at the Manhattan Bridge end, and is used for storage from the Nassau Street end.

The opening of the Chrystie Street Connection to the Manhattan Bridge allowed the integration of four major lines of the combined system. The BB service of the IND was through-routed with the T West End Line service as the B, and the D service of the IND was through-routed with the Q BMT Brighton Line service.

Williamsburg Bridge connection

The two tracks that connect to the Williamsburg Bridge split from the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks east of Broadway–Lafayette Street and feed into the BMT Nassau Street Line west of Essex Street. The purpose of this portion of the connector was to allow trains originating in northern and eastern Brooklyn and southern and eastern Queens to operate into Midtown Manhattan via the Sixth Avenue Line, rather than having to turn south along Nassau Street. This service did not prove popular, and only operated from July 1, 1968 to August 29, 1976, when it was cut as part of an ongoing retrenchment of service during New York City's fiscal crisis. The only service on these tracks had been the KK and later K.

Service changes

Two major service changes were inaugurated with the opening of the connection. The first went into effect on Sunday, November 26, 1967, when the Manhattan Bridge connection opened. The second occurred on Monday, July 1, 1968, when the Williamsburg Bridge connection opened. Additionally, for the 1967 opening, every service in the system was labeled with a letter or number and a color.

Manhattan Bridge connection opening

The opening of the Manhattan Bridge connection on November 26, 1967 was concurrent with the opening of the new express tracks on the Sixth Avenue Line between West Fourth Street–Washington Square and 34th Street, providing additional capacity for the extra trains on the IND via the connection. The following service changes were made:

  • The rush-hour only BB, which had run between Washington Heights–168th Street on the IND Eighth Avenue Line and 34th Street, was relabeled the B. It was extended via the new Sixth Avenue Line express tracks and the Chrystie Street Connection, then express on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line and local on the BMT West End Line, terminating at Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue. This latter segment replaced the T (express via bridge) and TT (local via tunnel) services, leaving only the TT West End Shuttle from the BMT Fourth Avenue Line running to Coney Island during late evenings, late nights and all day Sundays. B service was added during middays, early evenings, and the same time on Saturdays, but only south of West Fourth Street–Washington Square.
  • The Q (BMT Brighton Line express) service was "absorbed" by a rerouted D, which used the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks (except rush hours, when it ran express). It used the Chrystie Street Connection to the BMT Brighton Line to Stillwell Avenue (running express in Brooklyn from morning rush hours through early evenings). Formerly, the Q had run local in Brooklyn (except during morning rush hours and early evenings) and express on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan, terminating at 57th Street. The pre-1967 Q ran only weekdays until the mid-evening. The D had previously used the Sixth Avenue Line and IND Culver Line to Coney Island; this service was replaced by the F (see below).
  • The EE service was added, running weekday rush hours, middays and early evenings, as a local train between Forest Hills–71st Avenue on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and Whitehall Street–South Ferry on the Broadway Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection and the Broadway Line in Manhattan. This replaced the RR, which had formerly used the 60th Street connection during the same times (and was cut back to 57th Street in Manhattan other times). The RR was rerouted to Ditmars Boulevard–Astoria full time. The QT and QB had served Astoria from the BMT Brighton Line; the QT was partly replaced with the QJ (see below), and the QB was truncated to 57th Street for rush hour-only service. The D (see above) now served the Brighton Line.
  • In a major rerouting affecting Queens riders, the F train was considerably extended from its original terminal stops, Broadway–Lafayette Street (morning rush hour to early evening) and 34th Street on the Sixth Avenue Line (other times), into Brooklyn to Stillwell Avenue along the Culver Line (previously serviced by the D). It continued to run express east of Forest Hills–71st Avenue only during rush hours. For the first time, riders from central Queens had a "one-seat" ride to southern Brooklyn destinations and Coney Island.
  • The QJ was added as a rerouting of the old QT, combined with an extension of the old J Jamaica Express, entering Manhattan via the tunnel and extending via the BMT Jamaica Line to 168th Street. Its service hours remained the same, running from morning rush hours through early evening. It continued to run express in western Brooklyn and skip-stop in morning rush hours only in eastern Brooklyn.
  • The RJ service was added as an extension of former RR special service on the Nassau Street line, continuing local along the Jamaica Line to 168th Street. It operatedonly during rush hours.
  • The NX was added for a "super-express" service from Brighton Beach through the Stillwell Avenue terminal (the only service to do so) and along the BMT Sea Beach Line and 4th Avenue Line to 57th Street in Manhattan.
  • A free transfer was established between the Atlantic Avenue on the IRT Eastern Parkway Line and Atlantic Avenue on the BMT Brighton Line. While these two stations are both adjacent to the LIRR Flatbush Avenue Terminal and each other, their respective fare-control zones had previously been separated.

Williamsburg Bridge connection opening

The following changes went into effect on July 1, 1968, concurrent with the opening of the 57th Street station at Sixth Avenue and the bridge connection:

The following adjustments to the new service were put into effect on August 18, 1968:

  • The D service was truncated to Brighton Beach when it ran express on the BMT Brighton Line (morning rush hours through early evenings). The QB (rush-hour peak direction only) and QJ (morning rush hours through early evenings) were extended from Brighton Beach to Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue.
  • The F ran express on the IND Culver Line during rush hours north of Church Avenue. Several peak-direction rush hour trains were truncated to Kings Highway; the rest provide express service north of Kings Highway. The GG train was extended to Church Avenue during rush hours to replace F local service (this service pattern was discontinued on January 18, 1976).

Later changes

These new services began to unravel in response to commuter complaints about the various routings. Many of the new extensions like the NX and RJ quickly disappeared (April 12, 1968 and June 28, 1968, respectively ). The KK (since renamed the K) was discontinued in 1976, ending service via the Williamsburg Bridge connection. Manhattan Bridge reconstruction began in 1986, at times making the Chrystie Street Connection unavailable for through trains, and making the Grand St. station a terminal for shuttle service along Houston Street.

As of 2006, the Manhattan Bridge connection is used by the B and D services, both of which operate into the Bronx along the IND Concourse Line, one local and the other express north of 59th Street in Manhattan, and both of which head south towards Coney Island.

Routing and station listing

Station Tracks Services Opened Notes
Williamsburg Bridge Connection:
begins as a split from the IND Sixth Avenue Line local tracks south of Broadway–Lafayette Street
(no stations) local July 1, 1968
connects with the BMT Nassau Street Line north of Essex Street, and then over the Williamsburg Bridge
Manhattan Bridge Connection:
begins as a ramp from the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks south of Broadway–Lafayette Street'''
Grand Street express November 26, 1967
continues over the Manhattan Bridge, north tracks


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