The L service operates between Eighth Avenue/14th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan, and Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn, at all times. All trains are local, as the Canarsie line has no express tracks.
The service, being a local train, was originally the LL. From 1928 to 1967, the same service was assigned the BMT number 16.
In 1924, part of the eventual 14th Street–Canarsie Line opened, called the "14th Street–Eastern District Line" (commonly the "14th Street–Eastern Line"), and carrying the number 16. This was extended east, and in 1928 it was joined to the existing Canarsie Line east of Broadway Junction. Since that time, the 14th Street–Canarsie Line service has operated as it is today, except for an extension from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, which opened in 1931 to connect to the new Eighth Avenue Subway.
On November 26, 1967, with the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection, the BMT Eastern District lines were given letters; the 16 became the LL. When double letters were dropped on May 5, 1986, the LL became the , and it still has that designation.
Before the 14th Street–Eastern and Canarsie Lines were connected, the Canarsie part of the line already had a number, 14, running from lower Manhattan via the Broadway Elevated and called the Canarsie Line. When the 14th Street-Eastern Line was connected in 1928, this was renamed to the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line, but continued to operate to Canarsie. In 1967, the 14 Canarsie service was given the label (though the 14 itself was designated , continuing east from Broadway Junction towards Jamaica). Canarsie service to lower Manhattan was discontinued in 1968.
Time between scheduled trains:
Morning and evening rush hours: 4 mins.
Midday: 6-8 mins.
Overnight: 20 mins.
Five busiest stations in 2005:
In 1985, double letters to indicate local service was discontinued, and the LL was relabeled L.
Ridership on the train has increased dramatically since 2000. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's $443 million fleet of subway cars on the service was introduced in 2002, but by 2006 was already too small to handle growing ridership. The Transit Authority had projected that 212 Kawasaki-made R143 subway cars would be enough to accommodate ridership demands for years to come, but ridership has risen higher than expected.
The Canarsie Line tracks have been undergoing an extensive retrofit that will eventually allow them to utilize CBTC, a system that will transfer control of the trains to a computer on board, as opposed to the current system, where the trains are manually operated by a human operator. While the retrofit has resulted in nearly two years of service changes and station closings (often, there are no trains between Manhattan and Brooklyn after midnight), this system will eventually allow trains to run closer together, and enable in-station displays to note the exact time until the next train arrives. The line also used OPTO (one person train operation) beginning in June 2005, but a combination of public outcry due to perceived safety issues, which increased after the July 2005 London tube bombings, heavy lobbying by the Transport Workers Union of America(TWU), as well as an arbitration ruling that MTA had breached its contract with TWU caused the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to end OPTO the following September.
|Eighth Avenue||(IND Eighth Avenue Line at 14th Street)|
|Sixth Avenue|| (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)|
(IND Sixth Avenue Line))
|PATH at 14th Street|
|Union Square–14th Street|| (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)|
(BMT Broadway Line)
|Lorimer Street||(IND Crosstown Line at Metropolitan Avenue)|
|Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues||(BMT Myrtle Avenue Line)|
|Bushwick Avenue–Aberdeen Street|
|Broadway Junction|| (IND Fulton Street Line)|
(BMT Jamaica Line)
|Atlantic Avenue||LIRR Atlantic Branch at East New York|
|New Lots Avenue||B15 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|East 105th Street|