IRT White Plains Road Line

The White Plains Road Line is a rapid transit line of the A Division of the New York City Subway serving the central Bronx. It is mostly elevated and served both subway and elevated trains until 1952.[2] The original part of the line, the part opened as part of the first subway was called the West Farms Division, and the extension north to 241st Street as part of the Dual Contracts was called the White Plains Road Line. Eventually, however, the two parts came to be known as the White Plains Road Line.

IRT White Plains Road Line
"2" train "5" train
The 2 train serves the entire IRT White Plains Road Line at all times. The 5 train serves the entire IRT White Plains Road Line (except for Wakefield–241st Street) during rush hours in the peak direction, and part of the line from 149th Street-Grand Concourse to East 180th Street at all other times except late nights.
OwnerCity of New York
TerminiWakefield–241st Street
149th Street–Grand Concourse
TypeRapid transit
SystemNew York City Subway
Operator(s)New York City Transit Authority
Daily ridership307,666[1]
Number of tracks2-3
CharacterElevated (Most of the line)
Underground (3rd Ave and Grand Concourse stations only)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification600V DC third rail
Route map

Wakefield–241st Street
Nereid Avenue
233rd Street
225th Street
219th Street
Gun Hill Road
Burke Avenue
Allerton Avenue
Pelham Parkway
Bronx Park East
East 180th Street
West Farms Yard (demolished)
West Farms Square–East Tremont Avenue
174th Street
Freeman Street
Simpson Street
Intervale Avenue
Prospect Avenue
Jackson Avenue
3rd Avenue–149th Street
149th Street–Grand Concourse

Express station
Local station
West Farms Square station is a southern station of the White Plains Road Line.

It is currently being used by the 2 at all times and the 5 at all times. During rush hours in the peak direction, the 5 runs express between East 180th Street and Third Avenue–149th Street). During late nights, the 5 runs as a shuttle between Eastchester–Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street).

Extent and serviceEdit

The following services use part or all of the IRT White Plains Road Line:[3]

Route Services
  Time period West of
E 149 St
E 149 St
E 180 St
E 180 St Between
E 180 St
Nereid Ave
241 St
  All times Local
  Rush peak No service Express Local (some trains) No service
Off-peak except late nights No service Local No service
Late nights No service Center track No service

The IRT White Plains Road Line begins at the Wakefield–241st Street terminal, with two tracks, one island platform, and two closed side platforms. Crossovers just south of the station take trains to the correct tracks and a center express track comes out of those crossovers. Between Wakefield–241st Street and Nereid Avenue, a connection comes in from the 239th Street Yard.

Just north of Gun Hill Road, the now demolished IRT Third Avenue Line split from the local tracks (with crossovers to the express tracks just to the north). The line went to a lower level of Gun Hill Road and then turned west.

The IRT Dyre Avenue Line merges to the local tracks just north of East 180th Street, and then crossovers allow those trains to reach the express tracks. The 5 late-night Dyre Avenue Shuttle uses the center track to end its run, and rush hour 5 trains in the peak direction change to the express track here. On the west side of this junction is the East 180th Street Yard while the Unionport Yard is to the east.

The now-gone three-track Bronx Park Spur merged from the west after East 180th Street with one track into each of the mainline tracks. Just after this on the east side was a connection to the West Farms Yard, also gone.

The express track ends north of Third Avenue–149th Street, and from there to the end the line has two tracks. Formerly in that area there was a connection just to the north to the local tracks of the IRT Third Avenue Line, and a connection to the south, bypassing 149th Street on the Third Avenue Line. Just past those former connections, the White Plains Road Line goes underground.

Just after 149th Street–Grand Concourse, the tracks split off and the two currently used by the 5 train turn south to merge with the local tracks of the IRT Jerome Avenue Line. The other tracks, currently used by the 2 train, pass under the Harlem River via the 149th Street Tunnel and end at the at-grade 142nd Street Junction, connecting to the IRT Lenox Avenue Line.


Contract 1Edit

The first contract for the construction of a subway in New York, Contract 1, was executed on February 21, 1900, between the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners and the Rapid Transit Construction Company, organized by John B. McDonald and funded by August Belmont, for the construction of the subway and a 50-year operating lease from the opening of the line. Contract 1 called for the construction of a line from City Hall north to Kingsbridge and a branch under Lenox Avenue and to Bronx Park.[4]

The initial segment of the IRT White Plains Road Line opened on November 26, 1904 between East 180th Street and Jackson Avenue. Initially, trains on the line were served by elevated trains from the IRT Second Avenue Line and the IRT Third Avenue Line, with a connection running from the Third Avenue local tracks at Third Avenue and 149th Street to Westchester Avenue and Eagle Avenue. Once the connection to the IRT Lenox Avenue Line opened on July 10, 1905, trains from the newly opened IRT subway ran via the line.[5][6][7] Elevated service via this connection was resumed on October 1, 1907 when Second Avenue locals were extended to Freeman Street during rush hours.[6]

On October 28, 1910, the new 180th Street station, known as Zoological Park station, opened as the new terminal of the West Farms Division of the subway, replacing the temporary station at 180th Street, which was later abandoned.[8]

Dual ContractsEdit

The Dual Contracts, which were signed on March 19, 1913, were contracts for the construction, rehabilitation, and operation of rapid transit lines in the City of New York. The contracts were "dual" in that they were signed between the City and two separate private companies (the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company), all working together to make the construction of the Dual Contracts possible. The Dual Contracts promised the construction of several lines in the Bronx. As part of Contract 3, the IRT agreed to extend the existing West Farms Division from 179th Street to 241st Street as an elevated line along White Plains Road.[9][10][11]

Intervale Avenue station opened on April 30, 1910 as an in-fill station. It was the first station in the Bronx with escalators. The station was built at the cost of $100,000, and it was paid with private capital.[12][13]

Portions of the White Plains Road Line were opened at different times, and they opened once construction finished on a segment, as opposed to waiting for the completion of the entire line. The first segment opened on March 3, 1917, from East 177th Street–East Tremont Avenue to East 219th Street–White Plains Road, providing the Bronx communities of Williamsbridge and Wakefield with access to rapid transit service.[14][15] Service on the new portion of the line was operated as a four-car shuttle from 177th Street due to the power conditions at the time. Service was extended to East 238th Street on March 31, 1917.[14][16] The part of the line from the S-curve north of West Farms Square—East Tremont Avenue station to the terminal at 241st Street was built as a part of the Dual Contracts.[10]

On July 1, 1917, a new connection between the White Plains Road Line and the Third Avenue el express tracks opened as part of the Dual Contracts expansion of the Third Avenue Line, and since it ran via Bergen Avenue and bypassed the 149th Street station, it was called the Bergen Avenue cutoff or bypass.[14] The Bergen Avenue cutoff was abandoned on November 5, 1946, as part of the gradual curtailment of elevated service on the IRT Third Avenue Line.[6] The cutoff was removed in 1950.

On December 13, 1920, the final portion of the line opened, extending the line from its previous terminal at 238th Street to the line's permanent terminus at 241st Street.[17] This portion of the line had its opening delayed, owing to construction on the line between the two stations for the construction of the 239th Street Yard. Additional time was required to modify the structure to avoid a grade crossing at the entrance to the yard.[18]

A 1929 proposal included a spur off the line that would have run from Van Nest to Baychester. The spur was to begin near Garfield Street as an elevated line then run underground beneath Morris Park Avenue and Wilson Avenue, finally terminating at Boston Road, where it was to connect to the formerly proposed Concourse Line extension. This proposal was never carried out, however the IRT acquired the former New York, Westchester and Boston Railway right-of-way to create the IRT Dyre Avenue Line instead.


The New York State Transit Commission announced plans to extend the southbound platforms at seven stations on the line from Jackson Avenue to 177th Street to accommodate ten-car trains for $81,900 on August 8, 1934.[19]

On June 13, 1949, the platforms extensions at the stations on the line from Jackson Avenue to 177th Street opened. The platforms were lengthened to 514 feet (157 m) to allow full ten-car express trains to platform. Previously the stations could only platform six-car local trains.[20]

On March 1, 1951, the Board of Transportation announced a plan to implement express service along the White Plains Road Line between 241st Street and Third Avenue–149th Street using the middle third track. New signaling, including the installation of block signals, was to be installed on the local tracks, in addition to the installation of signals on the express track at the cost of $3.5 million. In addition, it was announced that a flyover to the Dyre Avenue Line would be built, allowing for through-service, and eliminating the need to transfer at East 180th Street. The final key element to the improvement plan was the elimination of the at-grade junction north of the West Farms Square station, which was a major bottleneck, by closing the spur to 180th Street–Bronx Park. To make up for the loss of service, an escalator and new stairway would be added at the West Farms Square station at 178th Street and Boston Road.[21] The spur to 180th Street—Bronx Park closed on August 4, 1952.[22]

Express service on the IRT White Plains Road Line began on April 23, 1953 with alternate 5 trains using the middle track between East 180th Street and 149th Street during the weekday rush in the peak direction. These trains skipped all stops between East 180th Street and Third Avenue–149th Street.[23] Starting on October 2, 1953, 5 trains began running express between East 180th Street and Gun Hill Road using the middle track in order to encourage passengers who changed at Gun Hill Road for Third Avenue Elevated service to stay on subway trains.[24][25][26] These trains were signed as the 5 Lexington Avenue Thru-Express.[27]

The Dyre Avenue Line was connected directly to the White Plains Road Line north of East 180th Street for $3 million and through service began on May 6, 1957. Night service continued to be operated by a shuttle.[28] Through service was operated by Seventh Avenue express trains between 5:30 AM and 8:30 PM. Between 8:30 and 1:15 shuttle trains operated from East 180th Street to Dyre Avenue, and in the early morning hours no trains operated over the line.[29]

Due to rehabilitation of East 180th Street and signal replacements along the line, rush hour peak direction 5 express service was suspended from March 29 to September 3, 2010. PM northbound express service was suspended again on March 28, 2011 to allow for the second phase of the signal replacement project. Normal service was restored on August 8, 2011.

Station listingEdit

Station service legend
  Stops all times
  Stops all times except late nights
  Stops all times except rush hours in the peak direction
  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
Wakefield Wakefield–241st Street 2   December 13, 1920[17] originally East 241st Street
Connection to Metro-North Railroad (Harlem Line at Wakefield)
Center Express track begins (no regular service)
connecting tracks to 239th Street Yard
Nereid Avenue local 2  5   March 31, 1917[14][16] originally East 238th Street
  233rd Street local 2  5   March 31, 1917[14][16] originally East 233rd Street
Connection to Metro-North Railroad (Harlem Line at Woodlawn)
225th Street local 2  5   March 31, 1917[14][16] originally East 225th Street
Williamsbridge 219th Street local 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15] originally East 219th Street
  Gun Hill Road all 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15] Connection to Metro-North Railroad (Harlem Line at Williams Bridge)

Bx41 Select Bus Service

Allerton Burke Avenue local 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15]
Allerton Avenue local 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15]
Pelham Parkway   Pelham Parkway local 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15] Bx12 Select Bus Service
Van Nest Bronx Park East local 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15]
Merge from IRT Dyre Avenue Line (5  )
connecting tracks to Unionport Yard (east of the line)
connecting tracks to East 180th Street Yard (west of the line)
West Farms   East 180th Street all 2  5   March 3, 1917[14][15]
180th Street–Bronx Park Bronx Park spur November 26, 1904 Closed August 4, 1952; later demolished.
West Farms Square–East Tremont Avenue local 2  5   November 26, 1904 originally 177th Street, then East Tremont Avenue–Boston Road
Q44 Select Bus Service
Crotona Park East 174th Street local 2  5   November 26, 1904
Freeman Street local 2  5   November 26, 1904
Longwood   Simpson Street local 2  5   November 26, 1904
Intervale Avenue local 2  5   April 30, 1910[12][13] originally Intervale Avenue–163rd Street
Bx6 Select Bus Service
Prospect Avenue local 2  5   November 26, 1904
Mott Haven Jackson Avenue local 2  5   November 26, 1904
Center Express track ends
  Third Avenue–149th Street all 2  5   July 10, 1905[5][6] originally Third Avenue

Bx41 Select Bus Service

149th Street–Grand Concourse all 2  5   July 10, 1905[5][6] 4   (IRT Jerome Avenue Line)
originally Mott Avenue
Split with connection to IRT Jerome Avenue Line (5  )
149th Street Tunnel
Merge with IRT Lenox Avenue Line (2  )


  1. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "Old Subways". Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "Subway Service Guide" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Walker, James Blaine (1918). Fifty Years of Rapid Transit — 1864 to 1917. New York, N.Y.: Law Printing. pp. 139–161. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Discuss Subway Signs in 18th St. Station — Engineer Parsons and Mr. Hedley Inspect Advertising Scheme — Bronx Viaduct Works Well — Delays There Only Those of Newness — Lenox Avenue Service Makes Fuss Below Ninety-Sixth Street" (PDF). New York Times. November 27, 1904. p. 3. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e Kahn, Alan Paul; May, Jack (1973). Tracks of New York Number 3 Manhattan and Bronx Elevated Railroads 1920. New York City: Electric Railroaders' Association. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Subway Trains Running From Bronx to Battery — West Farms and South Ferry Stations Open at Midnight — Start Without a Hitch — Bowling Green Station Also Opened — Lenox Avenue Locals Take City Hall Loop Hereafter". New York Times. July 10, 1905. p. 1. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Subway Station at West Farms Open" (PDF). October 28, 1910. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Terms and Conditions of Dual System Contracts". Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "The Dual System of Rapid Transit (1912)".
  11. ^ "Most Recent Map of the Dual Subway System WhIch Shows How Brooklyn Borough Is Favored In New Transit Lines". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 9, 1917. Retrieved August 23, 2016 – via Brooklyn Newspapers.
  12. ^ a b "New Escalator Subway Station Ready" (PDF). The New York Times. April 28, 1910. p. 8. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  13. ^ a b District, New York (State) Public Service Commission 1st (January 1, 1912). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company, printers.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Annual report — 1916-1917". HathiTrust. Interborough Rapid Transit Company. December 12, 2013. hdl:2027/mdp.39015016416920. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "White Plains Road Extension of Subway Opened to the Public — New Branch, Which Runs from 177th to 219th Street, Gives the Williamsbridge and Wakefield Sections of the East Bronx Rapid Transit for the First Time" (PDF). New York Times. March 4, 1917. p. RE4. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d "New Subway Line Opened — White Plains Extension is Now Running to 238th Street" (PDF). New York Times. April 1, 1917. p. 16. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Subway Line Extended — White Plains Avenue Branch Opens to 241st Street Tomorrow" (PDF). New York Times. December 12, 1920. p. E2. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  18. ^ "Operation of the White Plains Road Line (1917)". March 24, 1914. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "I.R.T. To Extend Stations. Platform Changes to Be Made on White Plains Line". The New York Times. August 9, 1934. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  20. ^ Report For the Three and One-Half Years Ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. hdl:2027/mdp.39015023094926.
  21. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (March 2, 1951). "Faster I.R.T. Service in the Bronx To Cut East Side Run 13 Minutes" (PDF). p. 1. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  22. ^ "Notice to Passengers". Flickr. New York City Board of Transportation. 1952. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "I. R. T. EXPRESS SERVICE; Rush-Hour Schedule Started on White Plains Rd. Line". The New York Times. April 24, 1953. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Egan, Leo (August 7, 1953). "TRANSIT AUTHORITY TO TIDY SUBWAYS, SPEED UP SERVICE; Fare Rise to Pay for Posture Seats and New Lights in 300 Cars, Painting of Stations NEW MEMBER JOINS BOARD Mayor, Swearing Him, Assails Dewey -- Klein Praises Casey, Promises to 'Do Share' TRANSIT AUTHORITY TO TIDY SUBWAYS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  25. ^ Cunningham, Joseph; DeHart, Leonard O. (1993). A History of the New York City Subway System. J. Schmidt, R. Giglio, and K. Lang.
  26. ^ Linder, Bernard (October 1964). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Lex. Subway Speeds Up". New York Daily News. April 24, 1953. p. 34. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  28. ^ "IRT Spur Opens Today — Dyre Avenue Line in Bronx Will Have Five Stations" (PDF). New York Times. May 6, 1957. p. 31. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  29. ^ "Subway Trains Run to Dyre Avenue — Through Service Replacing Shuttle for Part of Each Day on Bronx Line" (PDF). New York Times. May 7, 1957. p. 37. Retrieved December 20, 2015.

External linksEdit

Route map:

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