The Canarsie Line (sometimes referred to as the 14th Street–Eastern Line) is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York City Subway system, named after its terminus in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. It is served by the L train at all times, which is shown in the color medium gray on the New York City Subway map and on station signs.
The line is part of the BMT Eastern Division, and is occasionally referred to as the Eastern District Line. This refers to Williamsburg, which was described as Brooklyn's "Eastern District" when the City of Williamsburg was annexed by the former City of Brooklyn. This was the location where the original Brooklyn subway portions of the line were laid out. Only later was the line connected to the tracks leading to Canarsie. Eastern District High School, near the line's Grand Street station, had preserved this toponym until it was closed in 1996, later reopened as Grand Street Educational Campus.
Services that use the Canarsie Line are colored medium gray. The following service uses all of the Canarsie Line:
|Time period||Section of line|
|All times||Entire line|
BMT Canarsie Line
The Canarsie Line runs from Eighth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan to Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn. It is double-tracked along its entire length, except for short stretches of layup track in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The current line is a two-track subway from its Manhattan terminal to Broadway Junction in the East New York section of Brooklyn, with the exception of a short stretch at Wilson Avenue where it is a double-decked structure with the southbound track outdoors directly above the indoor, ground-level northbound track. Although the northbound track appears to be underground, it is in fact outdoors at ground-level for there are no stairs leading from the northbound platform to the station entrance at the dead-end of Wilson Avenue, southeast of Moffat Street. This is due to the line being pressed directly against the New York Connecting Railroad, which is pressed directly against the border of Trinity Cemetery. There are no express tracks on the Canarsie line; thus, all trains run local service throughout their route. However, in the past, express service has been run between Lorimer Street and Myrtle Avenue by skipping stops via the local tracks. This last operated in August 1956.
Just before Broadway Junction, the line emerges onto an elevated structure, passing over the BMT Jamaica Line. Between Broadway Junction and Atlantic Avenue are the Canarsie Line's only track connections to the rest of the system, via flyover ramps connecting the Canarsie line to the Jamaica Line and East New York Yard (and, until 1956, the Fulton Street Elevated). The Canarsie Line used to share the structure at Atlantic Avenue with the connection from the Broadway and Fulton Street elevated lines to the Liberty Avenue Elevated (still extant further east as part of the IND Fulton Street Line).
East of Pitkin Avenue, the Canarsie Line enters the two-track elevated structure on which the line was originally grade-separated in 1906, entering Sutter Avenue station. At the next station, Livonia Avenue, the Livonia Avenue Elevated of the IRT New Lots Line passes overhead, and just beyond this point is a single track connection to the Linden Shops, which is now a track and structures facility. Besides the connection at Broadway Junction, this non-electrified yard connection is the only other connection to the rest of the subway system, as it is indirectly a connection to the New Lots Line. B Division-sized equipment cannot access this line, however, because of A Division width restrictions.
Beyond the next station, New Lots Avenue, the elevated structure ends, and an incline brings the Canarsie down to the original 1865 surface right-of-way, the second-oldest such right-of-way on the New York City Transit Authority system. The line operates on this ground-level route to the end of the line at Rockaway Parkway.
The history of the Canarsie Line has three distinct phases. It was first a steam railroad, then a BRT elevated line, and was then extended into Manhattan via subway. Since the early 2000s, it has been automated as well.
Before becoming a BRT elevated line in 1906, the Canarsie Line operated as a steam dummy line. It was first owned by the Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach Railroad, chartered December 24, 1863 and opened October 21, 1865,:101 from the Long Island Rail Road in East New York to a pier at Canarsie Landing, very close to the current junction of Rockaway Parkway and the Belt Parkway, where ferries continued on to Rockaway. The line was single-tracked until 1894.
The Canarsie Railroad was chartered on May 8, 1906 as a BRT subsidiary (leased to the Brooklyn Union Elevated Railroad) and acquired the line on May 31, 1906.:192 The line was partly elevated, and electrified with third rail on the elevated part and trolley wire on the rest, south of New Lots Avenue. The Long Island Rail Road, which had used the line north of New Lots to access their Bay Ridge Branch, built a new line just to the west. The East New York terminus was extended several blocks along a section of line formerly used for "East New York Loop" service to the Fulton Street Elevated and the Broadway Elevated (now the BMT Jamaica Line), at a point known as Manhattan Junction (now Broadway Junction).
Service, first ran on July 28, 1906, ran from Canarsie Landing to the Broadway Ferry at the foot of Broadway in Williamsburg, at the East River. This route still exists as the BMT Jamaica Line, except for the last piece to the East River, where the Jamaica Line runs over the Williamsburg Bridge. The route was later extended over the bridge and along the BMT Nassau Street Line to Canal Street and then Chambers Street.
The Dual Contracts subway expansion scheme around World War I saw the rebuilding of the complex train junction at Manhattan Junction into an even more complex flyover junction now known as Broadway Junction. The expansion extended south to the point at which the Canarsie and Fulton Street Elevateds diverged, including a six-track, three-platform station at Atlantic Avenue. The complex was rebuilt under traffic and opened in stages, reaching completion in 1919.
At the same time, the BRT moved to eliminate remaining operations that required elevated trains to operate under overhead wire. In most cases this meant using third rail on fully grade-separated lines. When third rail was extended on the Canarsie Line it was decided to extend this power mode only as far as the important station at Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road. Beyond that point, frequent grade crossings made third rail impractical. This portion of the line was converted to the Canarsie Shuttle using elevated cars in October 1917 and converted to trolley cars on October 18, 1920.
On June 30, 1924, at what is now the other end of the line, a subway line initially known as the 14th Street–Eastern District Line, usually shortened to 14th Street–Eastern Line, was opened running beneath 14th Street in Manhattan, from Sixth Avenue under the East River and through Williamsburg to Montrose Avenue and Bushwick Avenues. In 1924, a temporary connection was built from the Long Island Rail Road's Bushwick Yard that ran via Montrose Avenue and then connected to the BMT Canarsie Line under Bushwick Avenue just near the Montrose Avenue station. This was done in order for the delivery of new BMT Standard subway cars for the then isolated Canarsie Line of the New York City Subway. The first of the cars were delivered by this ramp on June 18, 1924.
Four years later, on July 14, 1928, the line was extended further east beneath Wyckoff Avenue and then south paralleling the New York Connecting Railroad to a new station at Broadway Junction, above the existing station on the Broadway Elevated (Jamaica Line). At this time, it was connected to the Canarsie Line.
At noon on May 30, 1931, a two-block extension to Eighth Avenue in Manhattan was opened, allowing passengers to transfer to the new IND Eighth Avenue Line. This station was built to look like the other Independent Subway stations. At this point, the Canarsie Line's route took the shape that it still has to this day.
On November 23, 1942, the Canarsie Shuttle trolley line to Canarsie Landing was replaced by the B42 bus; the right-of-way was abandoned. Parts were built over, and other parts can still be seen as broad alleys or narrow parking lots. This right-of-way ran between East 95th and East 96th Streets as far south as Seaview Avenue. Some trolley poles from the line still exist.
By the 1980s, the Canarsie Line was proposed for closure, as it was dilapidated and only had a ridership of 40,000 a day.
The Canarsie Line is one of only two New York City non-shuttle subway lines that hosts only a single service and does not share operating trackage with any other line or service; the other is the IRT Flushing Line, carrying the 7 and <7> trains. Because of this, it was chosen as the location of the first fully automated line of the New York City Subway. The automation project was among the first in the world to use a radio frequency-based system. The plans for installation were laid out between 1999 and 2002. Communications-based train control (CBTC) was installed in pieces between 2003 and January 2006: the elevated section of the line south of Broadway Junction was completed first, followed by the underground section north of Broadway Junction. The project cost $340 million, with $78 million of it used to upgrade track interlockings on the line.
In spring 2005, the current CBTC-enabled R143-class equipment was expected to run under full automation with a single operator (known as OPTO, or One Person Train Operation) acting as an attendant to monitor the train's operation and take over manual operation if necessary. However, technical mishaps including the test train rolling away by itself delayed the start of automatic train operation. The project caused numerous service disruptions on the L at night and on weekends. Frequently, service was shut down in separate sections of the line, usually from Eighth Avenue to Lorimer Street, Lorimer to Broadway Junction, or Broadway Junction to Rockaway Parkway. During this time, shuttle buses served suspended areas. This project also required the temporary closing of some stations, either in one direction or both directions, and for the line to be operated in two sections.
In June 2005, the Canarsie Line ran full-length 480 feet (150 m) trains with a single operator on weekends. However, as this was a violation of union contracts – which stipulated that there must be one operator per 300 feet (91 m) of train – the MTA was ordered to resume two-person operation at all times.
The system became operational as of February 2009[update]. Automation was achieved with the R143s assigned exclusively to the L, but since the R160As on the line were not CBTC-compatible until August 2010, some trains were manually operated alongside automatically driven trains. The L fully began automatic train operation in early 2012. The CBTC installation increased the train capacity on the line from 20 trains per hour (tph) to 24 tph, as well as permitted the installation of countdown clocks, which show the amount of time until the next train arrives.
In January 2016, the BMT Canarsie Line between Bedford and Eighth Avenues was proposed for a partial or full shutdown so that the MTA could repair tunnels damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 , which is slated to start in April 2019 and would replace damaged communications, power and signal wires, third rails and tracks, duct banks, pump rooms, circuit breaker houses, tunnel lighting, concrete lining, and fire protection systems. Three new electric substations would provide more power to run more trains during rush hours.
The MTA considered either shuttering the entire segment for eighteen months, or operating two segments for three years: a one-track segment between Bedford and Eighth Avenues with a 5-train-per-hour capacity in either direction, and regular service between Lorimer Street and Rockaway Parkway. For both options, the Third Avenue station would be closed and new exits and elevators to the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations would be added. The renovations would cost between $800 million and $1 billion. Community meetings were held to determine which of the two options would be better. On July 25, 2016, it was announced that the MTA had chosen the 18-month full closure option. Riders reacted with both disappointment over the closure, and relief that the service disruption would be shorter. The New York Post described the closure with the headline, "2019 is the year Williamsburg dies." This option was selected after a poll revealed that 77 percent of L train riders preferred the 18-month closure option.
To provide alternate service, the MTA devised preliminary mitigation plans, proposing additional shuttle bus, ferry, and subway service, extending G trains from four cars to eight, and running the M to Midtown Manhattan daily. A ferry route between Williamsburg and East Village, Manhattan, might be instituted , the M14A and M14D buses might be converted to Select Bus Service; and dedicated bus lanes would be placed on crosstown corridors in Manhattan. The MTA would institute two out-of-system subway transfers, free if paid via MetroCard: one between Broadway on the IND Crosstown Line and Lorimer Street on the BMT Jamaica Line, and one between Livonia Avenue on the Canarsie Line and Junius Street on the IRT New Lots Line. Preliminary documents also proposed that the four toll-free East River bridges between Manhattan and Long Island (the Queensboro, Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges) might gain a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) restriction of at least three passengers per vehicle during rush hours.
The MTA named Judlau Contracting and TC Electric as the project's contractors on April 3, 2017, at which time the duration of the shutdown was shortened to 15 months. It offered the contractors a $188,000-a-day bonus for completing work up to 60 days early.:41 as well as a $15 million bonus for completing the project on time; the MTA also stipulated that the companies would need to pay a fine of $410,000 for each day that work is delayed past the 15-month deadline. The joint venture is also responsible for renovating the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations during the shutdown, as well as adding platform screen doors to the Third Avenue station.
In December 2017, the MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation released a more concrete mitigation plan, based on projections that 80% of riders would transfer to other subway services to get to Manhattan, while 15% would use buses. An HOV restriction on the Williamsburg Bridge during rush hours would allow it to accommodate three SBS routes between Brooklyn and Manhattan. One route would go from SoHo, Manhattan, to the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn; a second would connect SoHo to the Grand Street station in Brooklyn; and a third would stretch from Union Square, Manhattan, to the Grand Street station. In addition, 14th Street between Third and Ninth Avenues would be converted into a bus-only corridor during rush hours to accommodate an SBS route across 14th Street, connecting to a ferry route at Stuyvesant Cove Park near 23rd Street. The mitigation plan also entailed improvements to six subway stations, new entrances at two stations, enlarged crosswalks near these subway stations, longer G and C trains, three free out-of-system transfers, increased service on the G, J/Z and M, and a weekend extension of the M train to 96th Street and Second Avenue. Finally, the plan included an expansion of New York City's privately-operated bike share system, Citi Bike, as well as upgrades to bike lanes on Brooklyn's Grand Street and the installation of Manhattan's first two-way crosstown bike lane on 13th Street. Some subway entrances on each of the affected routes would also be reopened.
On December 14, 2017, members of the New York City Council held a hearing in which they asked the MTA head and NYCDOT Commissioner over the shutdown. The central question was whether the MTA could complete repairs by the July 2020 deadline.
Service patterns over this line have varied little through the years; initially, trains ran over the Broadway Elevated from the ferry in Williamsburg (later extended into Manhattan), through Manhattan Junction and on to Canarsie. Then when the subway opened, two services ran from Canarsie to Manhattan: the original route on the Broadway Elevated and the route to 14th Street as the 14th Street-Canarsie Line.
In 1936, due to the institution of new lightweight subway-elevated equipment, a new rush-hour-only service was inaugurated from Eighth Avenue and 14th Street to Lefferts Boulevard at the east end of the Liberty Avenue Elevated (the continuation of the Fulton Street Elevated). The Eighth Avenue–Canarsie route was given BMT marker 16, and trains running to Lefferts Boulevard usually were marked as 13. When the Fulton Street El was torn down, some rush-hour Broadway trains ran through from the Broadway Elevated (Jamaica Line) to Canarsie via the flyover at Broadway Junction; these were marked as 14. In 1967, when all BMT services were given letters, the 16, which used the full Canarsie Line, was designated as LL. The rush-hour Broadway service (14) was designated JJ, and ran until 1968 when it was replaced by the KK which stayed on the Jamaica Line instead of switching to the Canarsie Line at Broadway Junction. The flyover connection has been used only sporadically for revenue service since then.
Prior to 2004, the chaining on the Canarsie Line reflected its historic origin. The original elevated right-of-way from the point where it split with the old Fulton Street Elevated at Pitkin and Van Sinderen Avenues in 1906 was designated as BRT chaining line P, and chaining zero for that section was at the same location.
The portion of the 14th Street–Canarsie Line built or rehabilitated under the Dual Contracts and opened in 1924 and 1928 was designated BMT Q beginning at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan and extending to the beginning of BMT P chaining at Pitkin Avenue. Chaining zero for the BMT Q chaining line was also at Sixth Avenue.
When the line was extended to Eighth Avenue in 1931, chaining zero for the BMT Q chaining line was not moved. Rather than change all the signal designations and chaining stations on the line, the new section was extended west from the same zero and designated chaining line BMT QW.
When the installation of automated train operation required the complete replacement of the signal system, the MTA decided to make the entire line BMT Q and move chaining zero to the current compass western end of the line. Therefore, the chaining station of every location on the line had to be changed, a situation rarely seen since the Dual Contracts changes on the old BRT circa 1920.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
|Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act|
|↑||Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
in the indicated direction only
|Elevator access to mezzanine only|
|Station||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|Chelsea||Eighth Avenue||May 30, 1931||A C E (IND Eighth Avenue Line)|
|Sixth Avenue||June 30, 1924||1 2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at 14th Street)
F M (IND Sixth Avenue Line at 14th Street)
Connection to PATH at 14th Street
|Union Square||Union Square||June 30, 1924||N Q R W (BMT Broadway Line)
4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
|East Village||Third Avenue||June 30, 1924|
|First Avenue||June 30, 1924||Northbound M15 Select Bus Service|
|14th Street Tunnel under the East River|
|Williamsburg||Bedford Avenue||June 30, 1924|
|Lorimer Street||June 30, 1924||G (IND Crosstown Line at Metropolitan Avenue)|
|Graham Avenue||June 30, 1924|
|Grand Street||June 30, 1924|
|East Williamsburg||Montrose Avenue||June 30, 1924|
|Morgan Avenue||July 14, 1928|
|Bushwick||Jefferson Street||July 14, 1928|
|DeKalb Avenue||July 14, 1928|
|Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues||July 14, 1928||BMT Myrtle Avenue Line)
temporarily closed (|
originally Myrtle Avenue
|Halsey Street||July 14, 1928|
|Bushwick||↑||Wilson Avenue||July 14, 1928||Station is ADA-accessible in the northbound direction only.|
|Bushwick Avenue–Aberdeen Street||July 14, 1928|
|East New York||Broadway Junction||July 14, 1928||J M Z (BMT Jamaica Line)
A C (IND Fulton Street Line)
|connecting tracks to BMT Jamaica Line (no regular service)|
|connecting track to East New York Yard|
|East New York/Brownsville||Atlantic Avenue||December 28, 1906||Connection to LIRR at East New York|
|Sutter Avenue||December 28, 1906|
|Livonia Avenue||December 28, 1906|
|connecting track to Linden Shops (No third rail; diesel work trains only)|
|New Lots Avenue||December 28, 1906||originally New Lots Road
B15 bus to JFK Airport
|Canarsie||East 105th Street||December 28, 1906||original surface station, modified to high-level island platform c.1906|
|connecting tracks to Canarsie Yard|
|Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway||December 28, 1906||original surface station, extensively rebuilt as terminal station|
|Flatlands Avenue||line abandoned; station demolished|
|Avenue L||line abandoned; station demolished|
|Canarsie Pier||line abandoned; station demolished|
Route map: Google