J/Z (New York City Subway service)
The J Nassau Street Local and Z Nassau Street Express are two rapid transit services in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Their route emblems, or "bullets", are colored brown since they use the BMT Nassau Street Line in Lower Manhattan.
|Northern end||Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer|
|Southern end||Broad Street|
|Stations||30 (J service)|
21 (Z service)
20 (J skip-stop service)
|Rolling stock||80 to 88 R160s (10 to 11 trains)|
72 R179s (9 trains)
(Rolling stock assignments subject to change)
|Depot||East New York Yard|
|Started service||1893 (predecessor)|
November 1967 (present-day J service)
December 11, 1988 (present-day Z service)
The J operates at all times while the Z, operating internally as its rush-hour variant, runs with six trips in each peak direction on weekdays; both services run through the entirety of the BMT Archer Avenue and Jamaica lines, via the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Nassau Street Line between Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer in Jamaica, Queens, and Broad Street in Lower Manhattan. When the Z operates, the two services form a skip-stop pair between Sutphin Boulevard–JFK and Myrtle Avenue-Broadway. In addition during rush hours and middays in the peak direction, they run express in Brooklyn between Myrtle Avenue-Broadway and Marcy Avenue, bypassing three stations. At all other times, only the J operates, serving every station on its entire route.
The current J/Z descends from several routes, including the JJ/15 between Lower Manhattan and 168th Street in Queens; the KK between 57th Street/Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan and 168th Street in Queens; the QJ between 168th Street in Queens and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn; and the 14 between Lower Manhattan and Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn. The current skip-stop pattern was implemented in 1988.
Before the Chrystie Street ConnectionEdit
The Jamaica Line – then known as the Broadway Elevated – was one of the original elevated lines in Brooklyn, completed in 1893 from Cypress Hills west to Broadway Ferry in Williamsburg. It was then a two-track line, with a single local service between the two ends, and a second east of Gates Avenue, where the Lexington Avenue Elevated merged. This second service later became the 12, and was eliminated on October 13, 1950, with the abandonment of the Lexington Avenue Elevated.
The second major service on the Broadway Elevated ran between Canarsie and Williamsburg via the BMT Canarsie Line, started on July 30, 1906, when the Broadway and Canarsie tracks were connected at East New York. As part of the Dual Contracts, an extension from Cypress Hills east to Jamaica was completed on July 3, 1918, a third track was added west of East New York, and express trains began running on it in 1922.
The Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation numbered its services in 1924, and the Canarsie and Jamaica services became 14 and 15. Both ran express during rush hours in the peak direction west of East New York. Express trains would only stop at Myrtle Avenue, Essex Street and Canal Street, before making local stops afterwards. Additional 14 trains, between Eastern Parkway or Atlantic Avenue on the Canarsie Line and Manhattan provided rush-hour local service on Broadway. When the 14th Street–Eastern Line and Canarsie Line were connected on July 14, 1928, the old Canarsie Line service was renamed the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line, providing only weekday local service over the Broadway Elevated west of Eastern Parkway. The Atlantic Avenue trips remained, and rush-hour trains continued to serve Rockaway Parkway (Canarsie), though they did not use the Broadway express tracks. The 14 was later cut back to only rush-hour service.
On the Manhattan end, the first extension was made on September 16, 1908, when the Williamsburg Bridge subway tracks opened. Broadway and Canarsie trains were extended to the new Essex Street terminal, and further to Chambers Street when the line was extended on August 4, 1913. When the BMT Nassau Street Line was completed on May 30, 1931, the 15 was extended to Broad Street, and the 14 was truncated to Canal Street. Some 14 trains began terminating at Crescent Street on the Jamaica Line in 1956.
Manhattan-bound rush hour skip-stop service between Jamaica and East New York was implemented on June 18, 1959, with trains leaving 168th Street on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Express 15 trains served "A" stations, while the morning 14 became the Jamaica Local, running between Jamaica and Canal Street, and stopped at stations marked "B". Express 15 trains continued to run express between Eastern Parkway and Canal Street, making only stops at Myrtle Avenue, Essex Street, and Canal Street. These stations were as follows:
- All trains: 168th Street • Sutphin Boulevard • 75th Street–Elderts Lane • Eastern Parkway • Myrtle Avenue • Essex Street • Canal Street
- "A" stations: 168th Street • Sutphin Boulevard • 121st Street • 111th Street • Woodhaven Boulevard • 85th Street–Forest Parkway • Elderts Lane • Crescent Street • Cleveland Street • Eastern Parkway
- "B" stations: 168th Street • 160th Street • Sutphin Boulevard • Queens Boulevard • Metropolitan Avenue • 104th Street • Elderts Lane • Cypress Hills • Norwood Avenue • Van Siclen Avenue • Alabama Avenue • Eastern Parkway
Chrystie Street Connection to 1976Edit
When the Chrystie Street Connection opened on November 26, 1967, many services were changed. The two local services – the JJ (non-rush hours) and KK (rush hours) – were combined as the JJ, but without any major routing changes. Thus non-rush hour JJ trains ran between Jamaica and Broad Street, while morning rush hour JJ trains ran to Canal Street, and afternoon rush hour JJ trains ran between Canal Street and Atlantic Avenue or Crescent Street. The rush-hour express J was combined with the weekday QT Brighton Local via tunnel to form the weekday QJ, running between Jamaica and Brighton Beach via the Jamaica Line (express during rush hours in the peak direction), BMT Nassau Street Line, Montague Street Tunnel, and BMT Brighton Line (local). Finally, the RJ was a special peak-direction rush-hour service, running fully local on the Jamaica Line, Nassau Street Line, Montague Street Tunnel, and BMT Fourth Avenue Line to 95th Street in Fort Hamilton. This was an extension of a former rush-hour RR service, and thus ran towards Jamaica in the morning and towards Fort Hamilton in the afternoon.
The next change was made on July 1, 1968, when the Chrystie Street Connection tracks to the Williamsburg Bridge opened. The Jamaica Line portion of the rush-hour JJ was modified to become a new rush-hour KK, running between Jamaica (peak direction) or Eastern Parkway (both directions) and the new 57th Street station on the IND Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan. The MM (depicted with a dark green bullet on R27 signage) was a proposed alternative to the KK as a local to 57th Street–Sixth Avenue, which finally opened on July 1, 1968. The RJ was eliminated, being cut north of Chambers Street and relabeled as an RR variant, and the off-hour JJ was relabeled QJ (but not extended to Brighton Beach). At the same time, the existing skip-stop service was extended to afternoon Jamaica-bound trains, with those QJ trains running express west of Eastern Parkway and serving "A" stations east to Jamaica, and those KK trains serving "B" stations. Less than two months later, on August 18, the QJ was extended to Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue. On July 14, 1969, afternoon skip-stop service on the KK and QJ was discontinued.
On January 2, 1973, the QJ, which was the longest route in the transit system, was cut back to Broad Street and redesignated the J; and the M was extended to Coney Island in its place. At the same time, the KK was cut back to Eastern Parkway from 168th Street and renamed the K, and both skip-stop patterns were carried out by alternate J trains. Eventually, the K was discontinued entirely on August 30, 1976, eliminating the J skip-stop and express service east of Myrtle Avenue in the evening rush hour. Skip-stop service was retained toward Manhattan during the morning rush hour. One-way express service remained west of Myrtle Avenue, for the M was switched to the local tracks at that time.
The following table summarizes the changes that were made between 1959 and 1976.
|Morning rush-hour local||Morning rush-hour express||Afternoon rush-hour local||Afternoon rush-hour express||Other local||Other express|
|1959–1967||14/KK 168th Street – Canal Street, "B" stops inbound||15/J 168th Street – Broad Street, "A" stops inbound||14/KK Crescent Street, Atlantic Avenue, or Rockaway Parkway – Canal Street||15/J 168th Street – Broad Street||15/JJ 168th Street – Broad Street||10/M Metropolitan Avenue – Chambers Street, rush hour only (west of Myrtle Avenue)|
|1967–1968||JJ 168th Street – Canal Street, "B" stops inbound||QJ 168th Street – Brighton Beach, "A" stops inbound||JJ Crescent Street or Atlantic Avenue – Canal Street||QJ 168th Street – Brighton Beach||JJ 168th Street – Broad Street
QJ 168th Street – Brighton Beach, middays and early evenings
RJ 168th Street – Bay Ridge, rush hour non-peak direction only
|M Metropolitan Avenue – Chambers Street, rush hour only (west of Myrtle Avenue)|
|1968–1974||KK 168th Street – 57th Street, "B" stops inbound||QJ 168th Street – Brooklyn, "A" stops inbound||KK 168th Street – 57th Street, "B" stops outbound||QJ 168th Street – Brooklyn, "A" stops outbound||QJ 168th Street – Broad Street or Brooklyn||M Metropolitan Avenue – Chambers Street, rush hour and (from 1969) middays and early evenings (west of Myrtle Avenue)|
|1974–1976||K Eastern Parkway – 57th Street||J 168th Street – Broad Street, two inbound patterns, one for "A" stops and one for "B" stops||K Eastern Parkway – 57th Street||J 168th Street – Broad Street, two outbound patterns, one for "A" stops and one for "B" stops||J 168th Street – Broad Street||M Metropolitan Avenue – Coney Island, rush hour, middays and early evenings (west of Myrtle Avenue)|
1976 to presentEdit
Archer Avenue LineEdit
The J was truncated to Queens Boulevard just after midnight on September 11, 1977, and to 121st Street on April 15, 1985, as portions of the elevated Jamaica Line closed and were demolished. The Q49 shuttle bus replaced service at the closed stations until 1988.
The BMT Archer Avenue Line opened on December 11, 1988, extending the line back east from 121st Street to Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer. The Z train first ran that day, introducing the present J/Z skip-stop pattern. The new Z trains would go skip-stop between Jamaica Center and Broadway Junction (later extended to Myrtle Avenue) during rush hours, then making all J stops to Broad Street. Bus service on several Queens bus routes was rerouted to serve Jamaica Center instead of the 169th Street station several blocks away. The J/Z skip-stop service was touted, in an attempt to relieve some crowding on the IND Queens Boulevard Line, as being faster to lower Manhattan than E, F, and R service. Because the MTA hoped that Queens passengers would transfer to the J/Z from the E, F, and R, every subway car on the J and Z's fleet was completely graffiti-free.
One of the goals of the Archer Avenue project was to make Jamaica Line service as attractive as possible, and as a result, the TA planned to provide a form of express service. The two options considered to speed up Jamaica Line service were skip-stop service, which would have split Jamaica services into two patterns that served alternate stops, and a zone-express service, which would have split Jamaica services into a short-turn local service and a full-length express services. The zone-express option was dismissed in favor of the skip-stop option because its operation has to be very precisely timed so as to not hinder reliability, because service in the outer zone past the boundary of zone express service at Crescent Street or 111th Street would be too infrequent, and because many stations would lose half their service.:7 Outer-zone expresses, after Crescent Street would skip stops on the local track until Eastern Parkway, from where it would run on the express track, stopping at Myrtle Avenue before going straight to Essex Street in Manhattan, skipping Marcy Avenue. Outer-zone expresses and inner-zone locals would have each been limited to frequencies of 10 minutes.:49
The TA decided to implement skip-stop service with two services labeled "J" and "Z", with lightly-used stops designated as "J" or "Z" stops, and those with higher ridership being all-stop stations. The all-stop stations were Parsons Boulevard, Sutphin Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard, Crescent Street, Eastern Parkway, Myrtle Avenue, Marcy Avenue, and all stops in Manhattan except for Bowery, which was to be served by only the M train. Bowery's low ridership did not justify more than one service to stop at the station; the J stopped there evenings, nights and weekends when the M did not operate into Manhattan. The J-only stops while skip-stop was operating were 111th Street, Forest Parkway, Cypress Hills, Cleveland Street, Alabama Avenue, Halsey Street and Kosciusko Street. The Z-only stops were 121st Street, 102nd Street, Elderts Lane, Norwood Avenue, Van Siclen Avenue, Chauncey Street and Gates Avenue. To further speed up service, J and Z trains would run express between Myrtle and Marcy.:7–8 Trains on the J/Z ran every five minutes, an improvement over their previous headway of eight minutes. Skip-stop service ran to Manhattan in the morning between 7:15 and 8:15 a.m. and to Jamaica between 4:45 and 5:45 p.m.
Midday express service was added with J service continuing to run express in the peak direction between Marcy and Myrtle. Surveys of ridership at local stops found that service could be adequately provided by midday M service.:48–50 The running time for skip-stop service from Parsons Boulevard to Broad Street was 48 minutes, compared to 54+1⁄2 minutes for all-local service and 52 for the E. It was expected that 2,250 Queens Boulevard riders would switch to the J and Z.:7–8 To make J/Z service more attractive, all trains on those lines consisted of refurbished subway cars that were more quiet, graffiti-free, and had improved lighting and new floors. All cars on the J/Z were expected to have air-conditioning by summer 1989.
Express service was not implemented between Broadway Junction and Myrtle Avenue because local service would have needed to be operated between those points in addition to the J and Z. The two terminals for such a service (57th Street and Broad Street) lacked spare capacity, although it was acknowledged that 57th Street on the IND Sixth Avenue Line could be used as a terminal once Manhattan Bridge subway-track repairs were completed.:49
Queens Borough President Claire Schulman made multiple recommendations about revisions to the service plan for the extension at the MTA's February 1988 board meeting. She recommended that trains should use the express track between Myrtle Avenue and Eastern Parkway to reduce travel times, and that the Chrystie Street Connection be reused for service to the Jamaica Line.
From May 1 to September 1, 1999, the Williamsburg Bridge was closed for reconstruction. J trains ran only between Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer and Myrtle Avenue. J/Z skip-stop service operated in both directions between Jamaica Center and Eastern Parkway-Broadway Junction. During the closure, B39 bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge was free. The closure was anticipated to last until October 1999, but regular subway service was restored one month ahead of schedule. The project cost $130 million, including replacing the tracks support structure, signal system and other equipment. On September 1, 1999, J and Z trains, which previously skipped Bowery between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, began stopping there at all times.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, service on the BMT Broadway Line in Lower Manhattan, as well as all R service, was suspended. J trains were extended beyond Broad Street via the Montague Street Tunnel to replace the R to Bay Ridge–95th Street at all times except late nights, when it only ran to Broad Street and a shuttle ran in Brooklyn between 95th and 36th Streets. J/Z skip-stop service was suspended. Normal service on all three trains was restored on October 28.
In May 2014, all trains began stopping at Alabama Avenue, presumably for the convenience of transit employees who work at the nearby East New York Yard and East New York Bus Depot. In July 2014, the MTA proposed that weekend J service be extended from Chambers Street to Broad Street. The service change went into effect on June 14, 2015. From June 26, 2017 to April 27, 2018, J and Z trains ran local between Broadway Junction and Marcy Avenue at all times, supplementing the M, due to the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line connection being closed for reconstruction. In March 2020, skip-stop service was temporarily suspended due to lack of ridership and train crew availability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Full service was restored in June.
The following table shows the lines used by the J and Z, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|middays||evenings||weekends||rush peak||rush peak|
|BMT Archer Avenue Line||Jamaica Center||Sutphin Boulevard||all|
|BMT Jamaica Line||121st Street||Myrtle Avenue||local (all)|
|Myrtle Avenue||Marcy Avenue||local|
|BMT Nassau Street Line||Essex Street||Broad Street|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
Stations in green and stations in blue denote stops served by the J and Z, respectively, during rush hours in the peak direction. The J makes all stops at all other times.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|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|
|Archer Avenue Line|
|Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer||E||Q44 Select Bus Service|
|Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport||E||AirTrain JFK|
LIRR at Jamaica
Q44 Select Bus Service
|121st Street||Q10 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|Woodhaven Boulevard||Q52/Q53 Select Bus Service|
|85th Street–Forest Parkway|
|75th Street–Elderts Lane|
|Van Siclen Avenue|
|Broadway Junction||A C (IND Fulton Street Line)
L (BMT Canarsie Line)
|LIRR Atlantic Branch at East New York|
Some northbound a.m. rush hour trips begin/terminate at this station[a]
Some southbound p.m. rush hour trips begin at this station
|Kosciuszko Street||B46 Select Bus Service|
|Flushing Avenue||M||B15 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|Marcy Avenue||M||B44 Select Bus Service|
⛴ NYC Ferry: East River Route (at South Tenth Street west of Kent Avenue)
|Nassau Street Line|
F <F> (IND Sixth Avenue Line at Delancey Street)
|M14A Select Bus Service|
|Canal Street||4 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
N Q R W (BMT Broadway Line)
|Chambers Street||4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line at Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall)|
|Fulton Street||2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)
4 5 (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
A C (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
|Connection to N R W (BMT Broadway Line) at Cortlandt Street via Dey Street Passageway|
|Broad Street||M15 Select Bus Service|
Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal
- Some northbound trains begin their trips at this station and continue to Jamaica Center during the early a.m. rush hour; some northbound trains from Broad Street end their trips at this station during the late a.m. rush hour.
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- (The Z now also served Alabama Avenue in May 2014)
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