BMT Myrtle Avenue Line

The Myrtle Avenue Line, also called the Myrtle Avenue Elevated,[1] is a fully elevated line of the New York City Subway as part of the BMT division. The line is the last surviving remnant of one of the original Brooklyn elevated railroads. The remnant line operates as a spur branch from the Jamaica Line to Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Middle Village, terminating at its original eastern terminal across the street from Lutheran Cemetery. Until 1969, the line continued west into Downtown Brooklyn and, until 1944, over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Park Row Terminal in Manhattan.

BMT Myrtle Avenue Line
"M" train
The M train serves the entire remaining section of BMT Myrtle Avenue Line, east of Broadway, at all times. The section west of Broadway has been demolished following its closure.
OwnerCity of New York
TerminiMetropolitan Avenue
west of Central Avenue
TypeRapid transit
SystemNew York City Subway
Operator(s)New York City Transit Authority
Closed1969 (segment west of Central Avenue)
Number of tracks2
CharacterStreet level (Metropolitan Avenue only)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification600V DC third rail
Route map

Middle Village–Metropolitan Avenue
Fresh Pond Road
Forest Avenue
Seneca Avenue
Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues
Knickerbocker Avenue
Central Avenue
Myrtle Avenue
Bridge–Jay Streets

Extent and serviceEdit

The following services use part or all of the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line:[2]

  Time period Section of line
  All times Metropolitan Avenue to west of Central Avenue

The Myrtle Avenue Line is served by the M service. The line begins at Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Queens. It heads southwest along a private right-of-way, eventually joining an elevated structure above Palmetto Street in Ridgewood and Myrtle Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. Just before reaching Broadway (on which the BMT Jamaica Line operates), the line curves to the left and merges into the Jamaica Line tracks just east of the Myrtle Avenue station.[3] The still-existing upper level of the station, which was called "Broadway", opened in 1889 and closed on October 4, 1969.


Myrtle Avenue Line stub at Lewis Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, left standing after the line's western portion was demolished in October 1969

The first section of the line ran over Myrtle Avenue from Johnson and Adams Streets to a junction with what was then known as the Main Line at Grand Avenue and was opened on April 10, 1888 by the Union Elevated Railroad Company, which was leased to the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad for its operation.[4][5][6] Trains continued along Grand Avenue and Lexington Avenue to Broadway, where the line joined the Broadway Elevated, and then along Broadway to East New York. On September 1, 1888, the line was extended westward along Adams Street and Sands Street, to a terminal at Washington Street for the Brooklyn Bridge. On April 27, 1889, the line was extended east along Myrtle Avenue to Broadway.[4][6]

The west end of the line was extended north along Adams Street to an elevated station over Sands Street and High Street in 1896. The connection to the Brooklyn Bridge tracks opened on June 18, 1898, along a private right-of-way halfway between Concord Street and Cathedral Place. The first trains to use it came from the Fifth Avenue Elevated (using the Myrtle Avenue El west of Hudson Avenue).

Construction on the Myrtle Viaduct in 1918. The viaduct connects the BMT Myrtle Avenue and Jamaica lines
The Myrtle Viaduct 100 years later, after reconstruction

The line was later extended east to Wyckoff Avenue (at the Brooklyn/Queens border). In 1906 the el was connected via a ramp to the Lutheran Cemetery Line, a former steam dummy line to Metropolitan Avenue that had opened on September 3, 1881. That section was elevated as part of the Dual Contracts on February 22, 1915.[6][7][8][9]

On July 29, 1914, the connection to the Broadway-Brooklyn Line was opened, allowing Myrtle Avenue Line trains to operate via the Williamsburg Bridge.[8] Construction on this connection began in August 1913.[9] This service became BMT 10 in 1924, and the original Myrtle Avenue Line service to Park Row became BMT 11, later referred to as M and MJ.

As part of the Dual Contracts rebuilding of the Myrtle Avenue El, a third track was installed north of Myrtle Avenue. This track started from a point south of Central Avenue through Myrtle – Wyckoff Avenues to a bumper just south of Seneca Avenue. The only switches were at the southern end so the center track could only be used for layups. It was never used in revenue service and was removed by 1946.

On March 5, 1944, the line west of Bridge–Jay Streets was closed coincident with the end of elevated service over the Brooklyn Bridge.[10][6] On January 21, 1953, the Grand Avenue station was closed so that it could be torn down and therefore complete the demolition of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line.[11] The rest of the line from Broadway to Jay Street closed on October 4, 1969 and was demolished soon after, ending the MJ service.[12] A free transfer to the B54 bus replaced the MJ, and service was increased on that bus. The free transfer at Jay Street was also replaced with a bus transfer.[13]

In July 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority started rebuilding two parts of the Myrtle Avenue Line, the 310-foot-long (94 m) approaches to the junction with the BMT Jamaica Line (which lasted until April 2018, requiring suspension of service between Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues), and the Fresh Pond Bridge over the Montauk Branch in Queens (which lasted from July to September 2017).[14][15] This work was undertaken in preparation for a reconstruction of the BMT Canarsie Line tunnels under the East River, which took place between 2019 and 2020.[16][17][14] Regular service resumed on April 30, 2018.[18]

Chaining informationEdit

  • The entire line is chained BMT M. This has no relation to the fact that the M service operates on the line, though both letters may have been chosen because 'Myrtle' begins with 'M'.[3]
  • The tracks on the line are M1 towards Metropolitan Avenue and M2 towards Manhattan.[3]
  • Chaining zero is BMT Eastern, located at the intersection of the line of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chambers Street station on the BMT Nassau Street Line by way of the now-dismantled original BMT Brooklyn Bridge Elevated Line and the original Myrtle Avenue Elevated through downtown Brooklyn.[3]
  • As originally surveyed, this line was measured in a railroad east direction from Park Row. Once the Board of Transportation took over the system, the direction was reversed so that railroad north on this line became towards Manhattan, and corresponds roughly to a westerly to southwesterly compass direction.[3]

Station listingEdit

Station service legend
  Stops all times
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 Services Opened Transfers and notes
Middle Village   Middle Village–Metropolitan Avenue M   October 1, 1906 Service extended to pre-existing Lutheran Line station.
Current station is ~100 feet west of the 1906 one.
Ridgewood connecting track to Fresh Pond Yard
Fresh Pond Road M   February 22, 1915
Forest Avenue M   February 22, 1915
Seneca Avenue M   February 22, 1915
Bushwick   Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues M   July 21, 1889[19] BMT Canarsie Line (L  )
Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
Knickerbocker Avenue M   August 15, 1889[20][21] Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
Central Avenue M   July 21, 1889[citation needed] Station rebuilt to 3 tracks July 29, 1914; center track subsequently removed.
merges into BMT Jamaica Line just east of Myrtle Avenue (connector added July 29, 1914)
Closed section
Bedford–Stuyvesant Broadway April 27, 1889[22] Station still in place; tracks removed; closed October 4, 1969[13]
Structure removed west of Reid Avenue
Sumner Avenue April 27, 1889[22] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Tompkins Avenue April 27, 1889[22] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Nostrand Avenue April 27, 1889[22] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Franklin Avenue April 27, 1889[22] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Clinton Hill Grand Avenue April 27, 1889[22] Closed January 21, 1953[11]
Washington Avenue December 4, 1888[23] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Vanderbilt Avenue April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Fort Greene Navy Street April 10, 1888[citation needed] Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Downtown Brooklyn Bridge–Jay Streets April 10, 1888[citation needed] Earlier known as Bridge Street. Closed October 4, 1969[13]
Adams Street April 10, 1888[24] Closed March 5, 1944
Sands Street September 1, 1888[25] Closed March 5, 1944
Brooklyn Bridge
Civic Center Park Row June 18, 1898[citation needed] Closed March 5, 1944


  1. ^ "Remembering the Myrtle Avenue El". October 19, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  2. ^ "Subway Service Guide" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dougherty, Peter (2006) [2002]. Tracks of the New York City Subway 2006 (3rd ed.). Dougherty. OCLC 49777633 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b Report. January 1, 1890.
  5. ^ "NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY HISTORY - BMT DIVISION". Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d 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.
  7. ^ "Article 11 -- No Title" (PDF). Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Senate, New York (State) Legislature (January 1, 1916). Documents of the Senate of the State of New York. E. Croswell.
  9. ^ a b Senate, New York (State) Legislature (January 1, 1916). Documents of the Senate of the State of New York. E. Croswell.
  10. ^ "Brooklyn Bridge "El" Service... To Be Discontinued March 5th". Flickr. New York City Board of Transportation. 1944. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "EL' STATION TO BE RAZED; Grand Ave. Stop on Myrtle Ave. Line to End Wednesday". The New York Times. January 17, 1953. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  12. ^ "1,200 on Last Trip On Myrtle Ave. El; Cars Are Stripped". The New York Times. October 4, 1969. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Myrtle Ave El". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Myrtle Avenue Line Infrastructure Projects". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  15. ^ " | Myrtle Av Line Infrastructure Projects". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Rivoli, Dan (March 17, 2016). "M line to be shut down next year for repairs". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  17. ^ Brown, Nicole (March 18, 2016). "MTA: M line will shut down for part of next year". am New York. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  18. ^ Kelley, Ryan (April 25, 2018). "M Train on track to return to full service on Myrtle Ave in Ridgewood next week". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  19. ^ "Lost the Second Game". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. July 21, 1889. p. 2.
  20. ^ "To Greenwood on Thursday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 14, 1889. p. 1.
  21. ^ "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 15, 1889. p. 6.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Will Open on Saturday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. April 25, 1889. p. 1.
  23. ^ "Opening the Washington Avenue Station". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. December 4, 1888. p. 6.
  24. ^ "A Start Made". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. April 10, 1888. p. 6.
  25. ^ "To the Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. August 30, 1888. p. 4.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata