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The Astoria Line is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York City Subway, serving the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. It runs south from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria to 39th Avenue in Long Island City above 31st Street. It then turns west and serves Queensboro Plaza over Queens Plaza.

BMT Astoria Line
The N and W train services use the entire BMT Astoria Line.
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Termini Ditmars Boulevard
Queensboro Plaza
Stations 7
Opened 1917
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Elevated
Number of tracks 2-3
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600V DC third rail
Route map
Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria Boulevard
30th Avenue
36th Avenue
39th Avenue
Queensboro Plaza

The entire line is served by the N train at all times, joined by the W on weekdays.[1][2] It was built as part of the Dual Contracts and jointly operated by the IRT and BMT using IRT-sized cars until 1949, when the platforms were shaved to accept the wider BMT cars and joint service was discontinued.


Description and serviceEdit

All services make all stops on the BMT Astoria Line.[3][1][2]

  Time period
Weekdays All other times
  full line
  full line no service

The north end of the Astoria Line is a two-track terminal at Ditmars Boulevard, with one island platform. South of the station, the center express track, currently not used in revenue service, begins (with crossovers to allow terminating trains to reach the correct track). The next station, Astoria Boulevard, is the only express station on the three-track section. The next four stations are local ones with two side platforms.[4]

South of 39th Avenue, the express track merges with the two outer tracks. The line then curves west and enters Queensboro Plaza, a dual-level station with northbound trains on the upper level, southbound trains on the lower level, and cross-platform transfers to the IRT Flushing Line. Crossover tracks exist between the upper level tracks just north of the station, one of a few connections between the BMT / IND and IRT. After Queensboro Plaza, the line ramps underground, and merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection to become the BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel to Manhattan.[4]


The BMT Astoria Line was originally served by the IRT "8" train.
A poster describing the changes at Queensborough Plaza in 1949
Entrance to the 60th Street Tunnel
Northbound curve on the Astoria line east of Queensboro Plaza station
Queensboro Plaza station as seen from a southbound Astoria line train

The Astoria Line was originally part of the IRT, as a spur off the IRT Queensboro Line, now the IRT Flushing Line. The whole line north of Queensboro Plaza opened on February 1, 1917 and was used by trains between Grand Central and Astoria.[5][6] Through IRT service to the Corona Line (now the Flushing Line) began two months later on April 21.[7]

On July 23, 1917, the Queensboro Bridge spur of the elevated IRT Second Avenue Line opened. At that time, all elevated trains to Queensboro Plaza used the Astoria Line while all subway trains used the Corona Line, though this was later changed with trains alternating between branches.[6][8]

The 60th Street Tunnel opened on August 1, 1920, allowing BMT trains to reach Queensboro Plaza. However, the stations on the Astoria and Corona Lines were built to IRT specifications, which were too narrow for BMT rolling stock. As a result, those trains terminated at Queensboro Plaza using a relay track east of the station to turn around for the return trip to Manhattan.[9]

On April 8, 1923, the BMT, using elevated cars, started running shuttles along the Astoria (numbered BMT 8 in 1924) and Corona Lines (BMT 9) in addition to the existing IRT service. On June 23, 1942, the IRT Second Avenue Line spur to Queensboro Plaza closed.[10]

The IRT services were numbered in 1948, with 7 being assigned to the Flushing Line and 8 to the Astoria Line. A year later on October 17, 1949, the Flushing Line became IRT-only. The platforms on the Astoria Line were shaved back to allow through BMT trains to operate on it, the first ones being the Brighton Local (BMT 1) weekdays & Broadway - Fourth Avenue Local (BMT 2) at all times.[11] Since then, the Astoria Line has hosted the northern end of various services running from Brooklyn through Manhattan; see B, N, Q, R, T and W for details.

The platforms at the seven stations on the Astoria Line, were lengthened to 610 feet (190 m) to accommodate ten-car trains in 1950.[12]:23 The project cost $863,000. Signals on the line had to be modified to take into account the platform extensions.[13]:633, 729

The 2015–2019 MTA Capital Plan called for the Astoria Line's 30th Avenue, Broadway, 36th Avenue, and 39th Avenue stations, along with 29 others, to undergo a complete overhaul as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative. Updates would include cellular service, Wi-Fi, USB charging stations, interactive service advisories and maps, improved signage, and improved station lighting.[14][15]

Extension proposalsEdit

A 1920s Transit Commission study proposed extending the line northwest across or under Randalls and Wards Islands back into Manhattan as a crosstown line at 125th Street, roughly following the route of what is now the Triborough Bridge.[16] As part of the IND Second System plan from 1929, the BMT/IRT Astoria Line would be extended east via Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria Boulevard, 112th Street, and Nassau Boulevard (today's Long Island Expressway) terminating at Cross Island Boulevard. The new line that would have been an extension of the Astoria Line would be called the Long Island City-Horace Harding Boulevard Line. The line would have been 2 tracks to Astoria Boulevard, and afterwards it would become a 4 track line before going back to 2 tracks at Parsons Boulevard. The entire line would be elevated except for part of it, which would have been depressed under Nassau Boulevard. The line would have been extended 8.1 miles at a cost of $17,700,000.[17][18][19]

In 1998, an extension of the BMT Astoria Line to LaGuardia Airport was planned as part of a $1.2 billion package to provide access to the New York City airports with funding from the MTA, the Port Authority and the city. The preferred route would have extended the Astoria Line along 31st Street north onto Con Edison’s property at the edge of Astoria and then east along 19th Avenue to the Marine Air Terminal. The MTA also considered an eastward extension along Ditmars Boulevard, and a plan to reroute LaGuardia-bound trains from Queensboro Plaza through the Sunnyside rail yard and along the eastern edge of St. Michael’s Cemetery to elevated tracks parallel to the Grand Central Parkway. A fourth route was to have trains turn east via Astoria Boulevard.[20] All of the options would have new elevated sections built. $645 million for the LaGuardia extension was included in the MTA’s 2000-2004 Five-Year Capital Plan, and in late 2002, Mayor Bloomberg supported the extension. These option were studied in the LaGuardia Airport Subway Access Study.[21] However, community opposition was strong and therefore the plan was canceled in July 2003.[22][23]

Station listingEdit

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 Tracks Services Opened Transfers and notes
Astoria Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard N  W   February 1, 1917[5] originally Ditmars Avenue
Center Express track begins (No Regular Service)
Astoria Boulevard all N  W   February 1, 1917[5] M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport
originally Hoyt Avenue
30th Avenue local N  W   February 1, 1917[5] originally Grand Avenue
Station is closed for renovations as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative until Spring 2018.
Broadway local N  W   February 1, 1917[5]
36th Avenue local N  W   February 1, 1917[5] originally Washington Avenue
Station is closed for renovations as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative until Spring 2018.
Long Island City 39th Avenue local N  W   February 1, 1917[5] originally Beebe Avenue
Center Express track ends
connecting tracks to IRT Flushing Line (No regular service)
Queensboro Plaza all N  W   February 1, 1917[5] 7   <7>  ​ (IRT Flushing Line)
merges with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection (R  ) and becomes the
BMT Broadway Line via the 60th Street Tunnel (N  R  W  )


  1. ^ a b "N Subway Timetable, Effective June 25, 2017" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "W Subway Timetable, Effective June 25, 2017" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Subway Service Guide" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 25, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Dougherty, Peter (2006) [2002]. Tracks of the New York City Subway 2006 (3rd ed.). Dougherty. OCLC 49777633 – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "First Train Runs On Elevated Line to Astoria Section". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 1, 1917. Retrieved June 29, 2015 – via 
  6. ^ a b Annual report. 1916-1917. New York: Interborough Rapid Transit Company. 1917. 
  7. ^ "New Astoria Line Opened". The New York Times. February 2, 1917. p. 14. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Subway Link Over Queensboro Bridge". The New York Times. July 22, 1917. p. 31. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ "New Subway Link Opens". The New York Times. August 1, 1920. p. 12. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Additional Subway Service to Borough of Queens". The New York Times. April 8, 1923. p. RE1. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Direct Subway Runs to Flushing, Astoria". The New York Times. October 15, 1949. p. 17. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ Association, General Contractors (1950). Bulletin. 
  13. ^ Transportation, New York (N Y. ) Board of (1950). Proceedings .. 
  14. ^ "MTA Will Completely Close 30 Subway Stations For Months-Long "Revamp"". Gothamist. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ "MTAStations" (PDF). Government of the State of New York. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ 100 Miles of Subway in New City Project; 52 of them in Queens, The New York Times September 16, 1929, p. 1. Retrieved June 11, 2014
  18. ^—IND Second System – 1929 Plan
  19. ^ Roess, Roger P.; Sansone, Gene (August 23, 2012). The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642304842. 
  20. ^ "Dreams of taking the N to LaGuardia". Second Ave. Sagas. January 19, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Second Avenue Subway Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), April 2003 Appendix A Planning Context" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 2003. Retrieved August 9, 2016. 
  22. ^ Toscano, John (July 16, 2003). "N Train Extension To LaG Scrapped". Queens Gazette. Retrieved July 26, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Flashback To 1999 | | Queens Gazette". June 27, 2007. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 

External linksEdit