A (New York City Subway service)
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|Eighth Avenue Express|
Note: dashed line shows rush hour only service
|Northern end||Inwood–207th Street|
|Southern end||Lefferts Boulevard, Far Rockaway, or Rockaway Park (limited rush hour service)|
|Rolling stock||10 R32s (1 train, AM rush)
296 R46s (37 trains)
8 R68As (1 train, PM only)
20 R32s (2 train, PM rush)
|Started service||September 10, 1932|
The A Eighth Avenue Express is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", is colored vivid blue since it uses the IND Eighth Avenue Line in Manhattan. The A operates between 207th Street in Inwood, Manhattan and Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens, or Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill, Queens. The A is the Central Park West / Eighth Avenue Express in Manhattan, Fulton Street Express in Brooklyn, and Liberty Avenue / Rockaway Local in Queens during daytime hours. The A provides the longest one-seat ride in the system, at 32 miles (51 km) between Inwood and Far Rockaway and has a weekday ridership of 600,000. Five rush hour trips run to and from Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, Queens, in the peak direction. At all times, a shuttle train (S – Rockaway Park Shuttle) operates between Broad Channel, where it connects with the A, and Rockaway Park. During late nights, the A makes all stops along its entire route and originates/terminates at Far Rockaway only; a shuttle train (Lefferts Boulevard Shuttle) runs between Euclid Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard.[a]
The A and AA were the first services on the IND Eighth Avenue Line when it opened on September 10, 1932. The Independent Subway System (IND) used single letters to refer to express services and double letters for local services. The A ran express between 207th Street and Chambers Street/World Trade Center, and the AA ran local between 168th Street and Chambers St/World Trade Center, known at the time as Hudson Terminal. The AA used a red bullet. During late nights and Sundays, the A did not run and the AA made all stops along the line.
The A was extended to Jay Street–Borough Hall on February 1, 1933, when the Cranberry Street Tunnel to Brooklyn opened; an extension to Bergen Street opened on March 20, and to Church Avenue on October 7.
On April 9, 1936, the IND Fulton Street Line was opened to Rockaway Avenue. The 1936 completion played an integral part in the establishment of Bedford-Stuyvesant as Brooklyn's central African American community. The A train connected Harlem, Manhattan's central African American community to areas of Bedford-Stuyvesant that provided residential opportunities for African Americans not found throughout the rest of New York City.
On April 29, 1956, Grant Avenue was opened, and the line was extended over the BMT Fulton Street Line to Lefferts Boulevard. Weekdays except midnights, alternate trains terminated at Lefferts Boulevard and at Euclid Avenue. During weekends, they terminated at Euclid Avenue with a shuttle to Lefferts Boulevard.
Two months later, on June 28, 1956, the former Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Line was rebuilt to subway specifications, and service began to Rockaway Park and Wavecrest (Beach 25th Street). At this time, rush hour express service on the Fulton Street Line with the E train began.
On September 16, 1956, the A was extended to the Rockaways replacing the E. At the time, alternate trains continued running to Lefferts Boulevard. On January 27, 1957, non-rush hour through service to the Rockaways was discontinued and was replaced by a shuttle running between Euclid Avenue and Wavecrest (now Beach 25th Street). Non-rush hour A train service is now to Lefferts Boulevard. This may also be the time that the E replaced the A again in the Rockaways.
On January 16, 1958, a new terminal was created at Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue, and the through connection to the Long Island Rail Road's Far Rockaway station was severed. On September 8, 1958, the A train replaced the E train in the Rockaways again. "Round-robin" service from Euclid Avenue to both Rockaway terminals began, non-rush hours, while through A service runs to Lefferts Boulevard. In September 1959, the A begins to run local in Brooklyn at all times, as the E becomes express in Brooklyn.
In 1963, the E train was extended to the Rockaways, and the A train ran local to Euclid Avenue or Lefferts Boulevard at all times. (HH shuttle service from Euclid Avenue provided all service to the Rockaways).
On January 2, 1973, the A train became the express service along Fulton Street and the E train became the local during rush hours. Finally, in 1976, the C became the Fulton Street Local during rush hours.
On August 27, 1977, the A began making local stops in Manhattan during late nights, when the AA was not running.
On December 11, 1988, A trains began running local between 145th Street and 168th Street on weekends to replace the discontinued K service and express on the IND Fulton Street Line in Brooklyn during middays and rush hours with the C providing local service during those times.
On September 30, 1990, A trains began operating local between 145th Street and 168th Street during evenings and late nights and 168th Street and Chambers Street during late nights.
Until 1993, the A train ran to Lefferts Boulevard during late nights while the Far Rockaway section was served by a shuttle to Euclid Avenue. In 1993, this pattern was switched, with late-night A service running to Far Rockaway. Since then an A shuttle provided service from Euclid Avenue to Lefferts Boulevard during late nights. A few years later, special A service began running from Rockaway Park to Dyckman Street during the morning rush and from 168th Street to Rockaway Park during the evening rush. In 1999, the A became the express on the Fulton Street Line at all times except late nights after all C service was moved from World Trade Center to Euclid Avenue.
On January 23, 2005, a fire at the Chambers Street signal room crippled A and C service. Initial assessments suggested that it would take several years to restore normal service, but the damaged equipment was replaced with available spare parts, and normal service resumed on April 21.
A service was affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 due to extreme damage to the IND Rockaway Line. Trains that normally traveled to Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park terminated at Howard Beach–JFK Airport. Service to the Rockaways resumed on May 30, 2013. The Far Rockaway part of the route was served by the temporary free H shuttle that ran between Far Rockaway and Beach 90th Street via the connecting track at Hammels Wye.
In popular culture
Take the A Train is a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn, referring to the A train, going at that time from eastern Brooklyn up into Harlem and northern Manhattan, using the express tracks in Manhattan. It became the signature tune of Duke Ellington and often opened the shows of Ella Fitzgerald. Part of the significance of this is sociological; it connected Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, the two largest black neighborhoods in New York City.
- In The Drawing of the Three (The second book of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, the character Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker is deliberately pushed in front of the A Train on August 19th, 1959.
The following table shows the lines used by the A, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|IND Eighth Avenue Line (full line)||Inwood–207th Street||168th Street||all|
|163rd Street–Amsterdam Avenue||Canal Street||express|
|Chambers Street||High Street||all|
|IND Fulton Street Line (full line)||Jay Street–MetroTech||Shepherd Avenue||express|
|Grant Avenue||Rockaway Boulevard||local|
|104th Street||Ozone Park–Lefferts Boulevard|
|IND Rockaway Line (full line)||Aqueduct Racetrack||Howard Beach–JFK Airport|
|Beach 67th Street||Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue|
|Beach 90th Street||Rockaway Park–Beach 116th Street|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
For clarity, the A's branches are shown separately in the following table. The leftmost column shows the Lefferts Boulevard service; the second column shows the Far Rockaway service; and the third column shows the Rockaway Park service.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours only (limited service)|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
- The separate shuttle service is identified on the late night map as , and in the schedule and on trains as .
- Northbound trains from Rockaway Park end at 207th Street, but southbound trains to Rockaway Park begin at either Dyckman or 168th Streets
- Trains terminate at this station during the a.m. rush and originate at this station during the p.m. rush
- "Review of the A and C Lines" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 11, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
- "mta.info - Line Colors". mta.info.
- "S Subway Timetable, Rockaway Park Shuttle, Effective November 7, 2016" (PDF). New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- "Late Night Subway Service" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 1, 2017. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
- "Gay Midnight Crowd Rides First Trains in New Subway". New York Times. September 10, 1932. p. 1.
- "CITY OPENS SUBWAY TO BROOKLYN TODAY; Regular Express Service on the Extension of Independent Line Starts at 6:05 A.M. 3 LARGE STATIONS ADDED Fast Trains to Make Run From 207th St. to Borough Hall in 37 Minutes. 43 MORE MEN ON JOBS Officials Look for Rise in income as Financial District Is Brought Into New Route.". The New York Times. February 1, 1933. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "NEW SUBWAY LINK OPENS WEDNESDAY; Independent Line Will Offer Express Service to Borough Hall in Brooklyn. KEY STATION TO BE ADDED Broadway-Nassau St. Platform to Connect With B.M.T. and East and West Side I.R.T. ADDED REVENUE EXPECTED 2-Way Rush-Hour Traffic Hoped For by Officials -- Local Trains to Be Speeded Slightly.". The New York Times. January 29, 1933. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "CITY SUBWAY OPENS NEW LINK MARCH 20; Brooklyn Extension to Bergen and Smith Streets to Add One More Station. RISE IN REVENUE CERTAIN Further Cut Into Traffic of Rival Systems at Terminal Point Is Predicted. GROWTH WILL CONTINUE Station-by-Siation Completion to Church Avenue Before September Is Planned.". The New York Times. March 12, 1933. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "NYCT Line by Line History". erictb.info.
- Echanove, Matias. "Bed-Stuy on the Move". Master thesis. Urban Planning Program. Columbia University. Urbanology.org. 2003.
- Williams, Keith. "Weaving the Broadway Junction tapestry". The Weekly Nabe. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
- "IND Faster Service Will Start Sunday". New York Times. October 20, 1949. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- "First Leg of Rockaways Transit Opened at Cost of $10,154,702; Station and Subway Section Put Into Use--Service Is Expected on June 28". The New York Times. April 30, 1956. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "PRR Chronology, 1956" (PDF). (45.9 KiB), December 2004 Edition
- "ROCKAWAY PARK". arrts-arrchives.com.
- "LONG ISLAND STATION HISTORY". trainsarefun.com.
- Sisto), Ira Henry Freemanthe New York Times (by Ernest (June 29, 1956). "FREE RIDE OPENS ROCKAWAYS LINE; Fete Marks Longest Single Extension of Rapid Transit in History of the City Commissioner's Children Help Mayor Arrives Late". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "Subway Schedules In Queens Changing Amid Some Protest". The New York Times. January 2, 1973. p. 46. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
- "Changes Set for Jan. 2 Praised". New York Times. November 25, 1972. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- "www.nycsubway.org". nycsubway.org.
- "Service Adjustments on the BMT and IND Lines Effective Midnight, Saturday, August 27 New York City Transit Authority (1977)". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "System-Wide Changes In Subway Service Effective Sunday, December 11, 1988". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- "Service Changes September 30, 1990" (PDF). subwaynut.com. New York City Transit Authority. September 30, 1990. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "A Subway Timetable" (PDF). mta.info.
- "H Train". stationreporter.net. Archived from the original on January 3, 2005.
- Chan, Sewell (January 25, 2005). "2 Subway Lines Crippled by Fire; Long Repair Seen". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
- "Remembering a fire at Chambers St.". Second Ave. Sagas.
- "Rebuilding the Rockaways After Hurricane Sandy". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Cuomo: MTA To Restore A Train Subway Service To The Rockaways May 30
- "MTA on Twitter". Twitter.
- Hurricane Sandy Recovery Service As of November 20
- "MTA News". mta.info.
- Cohen, Billie (January 2, 2008). "The A Train". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
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