The L 14th Street–Canarsie Local is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", is colored medium gray since it serves the BMT Canarsie Line.[2]

The L operates at all times between Eighth Avenue in Chelsea, Manhattan, and Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn. It also briefly enters Queens at Halsey Street, serving the neighborhood of Ridgewood.[3] It is the first New York City Subway service to be automated using communications-based train control.

The L commenced its current route and service pattern upon completion of the Canarsie Line in 1928. Express trains formerly ran along the L's trackage in central Brooklyn, running along the BMT Fulton Street Line in eastern Brooklyn, but were discontinued in 1956. Since then, the L has been entirely local.


Early history

The L, being a local train, was originally given the LL designation when letters were assigned to the BMT division. 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 was given the number 16. This was extended east, and in 1928 it was joined to the existing BMT 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 on May 30, 1931 to connect to the new Eighth Avenue Subway. The Eighth Avenue Terminal was originally built in IND style and has been restored to BMT style like Fulton Street and Broad Street. During rush hours, express service ran nonstop between Lorimer Street and Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues. (Locals usually ran from Eighth Avenue to Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues or Atlantic Avenue at these times.)[4]

Starting on September 23, 1936, express trains ran to Lefferts Boulevard via the connection with the Fulton Street Elevated at Atlantic Avenue. This connection was severed on April 30, 1956; then the service ran to Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway again, but was discontinued on August 23. The R27 to R38's roll signs had both L and LL for express and local service, even though the express never ran thereafter. Skip-stop was proposed in the 1990s, but was never implemented.

On November 26, 1967, with the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection, the BMT Eastern Division lines were given letters; the 16 became the LL. When double letters were dropped on May 5, 1985, the LL became the L, and it still has that designation.[5]

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 the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line, but continued to operate to Rockaway Parkway. In 1967, the 14 Canarsie service was given the label JJ (though the 14 itself was designated KK, continuing east from Broadway Junction towards Jamaica). Canarsie service to Lower Manhattan was discontinued in 1968.

Modernization and rehabilitation

Countdown clock at the Lorimer Street station
Annual ridership for the L service:[6]
  • 1994 . . . 16,968,025
  • 1996 . . . 18,107,243
  • 1998 . . . 21,196,693
  • 2000 . . . 26,155,806
  • 2005 . . . 30,452,319


  • Morning and evening rush hours: 4 minutes
  • Midday: 6–8 minutes
  • Overnight: 20 minutes

The 5 busiest stations in 2005:[6]

  1. First Avenue, Manhattan
  2. Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  3. Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway, Canarsie, Brooklyn
  4. DeKalb Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn
  5. Graham Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The stations with greatest ridership increases in 2014:[7]

Ridership on the L has increased dramatically since 2000, since many neighborhoods along the route have experienced gentrification. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's $443 million fleet of subway cars on the L 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. Therefore, sixty-four new R160A cars manufactured by Alstom have been equipped with CBTC in order to run on the L.

The BMT Canarsie Line tracks underwent an extensive retrofit over to CBTC, a system that controls the trains via a computer on board, as opposed manually operated by a human operator. This was completed in April 2012.[8] While the retrofit has resulted in nearly two years of service changes and station closings, this system will eventually allow trains to run closer together, and enables in-station "countdown clock" 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 regarding 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. However, the MTA's successful implementation of countdown clocks on the L has been the first in the system.[9]

From April 2019 to at least July 2020, service will be suspended between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue to allow for repairs on the Canarsie Line tunnels under the East River, which were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.[10][11]


Service pattern

The L uses the following lines with the same service pattern at all times.[12]

Line From To Tracks
BMT Canarsie Line Eighth Avenue Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway all


For a more detailed station listing, see BMT Canarsie Line.

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops all times except late nights Stops all times except late nights
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Station closed Station closed
Stops rush hours in peak direction only Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Handicapped/disabled access ↑ Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
in the indicated direction only
Handicapped/disabled access ↓
Aiga elevator.svg Elevator access to mezzanine only
L service Stations Handicapped/disabled access Subway transfers Connections
Canarsie Line
Stops all times Eighth Avenue Handicapped/disabled access A all timesC all except late nightsE all times (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
Stops all times Sixth Avenue 1 all times2 all times3 weekdays only (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at 14th Street)
F all timesM weekdays until 11:00 p.m. (IND Sixth Avenue Line at 14th Street)
PATH at 14th Street
Stops all times Union Square Handicapped/disabled access 4 all times5 all times except weekday late nights6 all times <6> weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
N all timesQ all timesR all except late nightsW weekdays only (BMT Broadway Line)
Stops all times Third Avenue
Stops all times First Avenue Northbound M15 Select Bus Service
Stops all times Bedford Avenue
Stops all times Lorimer Street G all times (IND Crosstown Line at Metropolitan Avenue)
Stops all times Graham Avenue
Stops all times Grand Street
Stops all times Montrose Avenue
Stops all times Morgan Avenue
Stops all times Jefferson Street
Stops all times DeKalb Avenue
Stops all times Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues Handicapped/disabled access M all times (BMT Myrtle Avenue Line) Some a.m. rush hour trips begin or end their runs to/from Eighth Avenue at this station[a]
Stops all times Halsey Street
Stops all times Wilson Avenue Handicapped/disabled access ↑ Station is ADA-accessible in the northbound direction only.
Stops all times Bushwick Avenue–Aberdeen Street
Stops all times Broadway Junction A all timesC all except late nights (IND Fulton Street Line)
J all times M all times except late nights Z rush hours, peak direction​ (BMT Jamaica Line)
Stops all times Atlantic Avenue LIRR Atlantic Branch at East New York
Stops all times Sutter Avenue
Stops all times Livonia Avenue
Stops all times New Lots Avenue B15 bus to JFK Int'l Airport
Stops all times East 105th Street Some northbound rush hour trips begin at this station
Stops all times Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway Handicapped/disabled access


  1. ^ Some southbound trains terminate at this station during a.m. rush hours; some northbound trains originate at this station during a.m. rush hours.


  1. ^ Korman, Joe (January 12, 2018). "BMT-IND Car Assignments". JoeKorNer. 
  2. ^ "MTA Colors". MTA.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Queens Bus Map" (PDF). MTA.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  4. ^ Line by line history L train
  5. ^ "Hey, What's a "K" train? 1985 Brochure". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Retrieved June 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Donohue, Pete (July 7, 2006). "Oh, L, Not Enuf Trains!". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 20, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Mays, Jeff (April 21, 2015). "MAP: See How Much Subway Ridership Increased at Your Station". DNA Info. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ MTA Capital Program Milestones Report Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ MTA/Siemens train-arrival sign
  10. ^ Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (April 3, 2017). "M.T.A. Shortens L Train Shutdown to 15 Months". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  11. ^ Wolfe, Jonathan (2017-12-14). "New York Today: The Plan for the L Train Shutdown". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-16. 
  12. ^ "Subway Service Guide" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 25, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017. 

External links