R (New York City Subway service)

This article is about the train service in New York City Subway. For other uses, see R Train.
Broadway Local

A train made of R46 cars operating on the R train at Bay Ridge Avenue.
Northern end Forest Hills–71st Avenue, Whitehall Street–South Ferry (late nights)
Southern end Bay Ridge–95th Street
Stations 45
Rolling stock 240 R46s (30 trains)
Depot Jamaica Yard
Started service January 15, 1916 (1916-01-15)

The R Broadway Local is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", is colored sunflower yellow since it uses the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan.[1] The R operates local between 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens and 95th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at all times except nights when it short turns at Whitehall Street–South Ferry in Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn.


Early history

The service that later became the R was the BMT 2. When it entered service on January 15, 1916, it ran between Chambers Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line and 86th Street, using the Manhattan Bridge to cross the East River. Service on the BMT Broadway Line (which at the time was only between Whitehall Street and Times Square) began exactly two years later on January 15, 1918. On July 10, 1919 service may have been extended to 57th Street.[2] The Montague Street Tunnel opened on October 1, 1920, and at that time it took its current shape, running local from Queensboro Plaza to 86th Street. Bay Ridge–95th Street station opened on October 31, 1925. During this time, rush-hour specials to Chambers Street were added and later removed, only to be added again. At one time, including 1931, additional midday service operated local between 57th Street and Whitehall Street–South Ferry. The 2 also used the Nassau Street Loop during rush hours, entering Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge or Montague Street Tunnel and leaving via the other.

On October 17, 1949, the platform edges on the BMT Astoria Line had been shaved back to accommodate the larger BMT trains, and the BMT's Astoria Shuttle was replaced with through service from the 2 Fourth Avenue Line (now R) operating from Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens to Bay Ridge–95th Street in Brooklyn at all times. On June 29, 1950, special rush hour trains began running between Bay Ridge–95th Street and Chambers Street via the south side of the Manhattan Bridge and/or the Montague Street Tunnel. This was discontinued two years later. On January 1, 1961, the northern terminal was relocated to its current location at Forest Hills–71st Avenue, via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection, which is also known as the "11th Street Cut". Night and weekend RR trains still terminated at 57th Street in Manhattan. PM rush hour Fourth Avenue–Nassau trains went back to the routing that was used prior to 1959, in which trains ran from Broad Street to 95th Street via the Manhattan Bridge, and the Fourth Avenue express tracks.[3][4]

In the winter of 1960–1961, letters started to appear on the RR with the introduction of the R27s, which featured it on roll signs. The route was known as the "Fourth Avenue Local via Tunnel", and it operated from Forest Hills–71st Avenue to Bay Ridge–95th Street, like the current R service. On November 27, 1967, the day after the IND Chrystie Street Connection opened, the RR was moved back to Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard on the BMT Astoria Line. (EE service began at Whitehall Street (with additional trains starting at Canal Street) and used the former route to 71st Avenue). The Nassau Street specials were through-routed from Bay Ridge – 95th Street to 168th Street in Jamaica as RJ. Under the first color scheme, RR was colored green and RJ was red. In the original Chrystie Street routing plans, the TA planned to totally eliminate the "RR" service, and maintain the "RJ" route as the main Bay Ridge to Jamaica line.[4]

The RJ service only lasted from November 1967 until July 1, 1968 when it was cut back to Chambers Street and renamed as additional RR rush-hour peak-direction service. With track connections between the Nassau Street Loop and the south tracks of the Manhattan Bridge severed as part of the November 1967 realignment, these trains did not run in a loop any more.[3] On May 6, 1985, when double letters were eliminated, RR service became the R. R service was assigned the color yellow (because it used the BMT Broadway Line), and the special Chambers Street-Bay Ridge rush-hour service was signed with a brown diamond with a white R inside because its route ran along the BMT Nassau Street Line.[5][6] Proposed on October 15, 1986[7] but put in effect on May 24, 1987, the north terminals of the N and R were swapped, taking the R along the IND Queens Boulevard Line to Forest Hills–71st Avenue. The change was made to give the R direct access to the Jamaica Yard (where the train is now assigned to this day),[7][8] and previously, R trains had to run light to/from the Coney Island Yard. Starting on April 28, 1986, the Nassau Street Line R service was extended to Metropolitan Avenue for layups and put-ins from Fresh Pond Yard. After the N/R swap, the Nassau R used East New York Yard equipment. This service was discontinued and eliminated completely on November 22, 1987, with the last Nassau R operating on November 20.[9][10]

1990s and 2000s changes

When the IND Archer Avenue Line opened on December 11, 1988, E service was rerouted along to Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer, and the R was extended to replace the E to Jamaica–179th Street.[11][12] The extension to Jamaica was short-lived, and the R was cut back on September 30, 1990 outside of rush hours,[13] and then during rush hours in October 25, 1992 to 71st–Continental Avenue in favor of making the F local between 71st Avenue and 179th Street at all times, eliminating express service along Hillside Avenue.[14][15]

On September 30, 1990, late-night R service became a shuttle between 36th Street and Bay Ridge–95th Street in Brooklyn.[13] In October 2000, northbound late-night trains began skipping 53rd Street and 45th Street to speed up the relay process.[9]

On September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center, the BMT Broadway Line was damaged, and the R service was cut back to run only south of Court Street. On September 17, R service was completely suspended, replaced with J service in Brooklyn and Q service in Manhattan and Queens.[16] All three trains returned to normal service by October 28.[17][18]

On September 8, 2002, Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue was closed for reconstruction. Late night R service was extended to Pacific Street, running express between that station and 36th Street.[19] Service was cut back to 36th Street when the north side of the Manhattan Bridge reopened on February 22, 2004.[9][20]

2010s changes

Notice of the R being extended during late nights

After Hurricane Sandy flooded the system, the Montague Street Tunnel was completely flooded. When service was restored, the R train was split into two sections (between Forest Hills and 34th Street–Herald Square and between Jay Street–MetroTech and Bay Ridge–95th Street). On December 4, the Queens–Manhattan section was extended to Whitehall Street–South Ferry. On December 21, full service was restored between Manhattan and Brooklyn after the Montague Street Tubes were drained.[21][22][23]

However, on August 2, 2013, the Montague Street Tunnel was closed again until fall 2014 due to extra repairs needed, which brought back similar storm changes to the R train. On weekdays, the divided R ran in two sections: one section between Forest Hills and Whitehall Street–South Ferry, and the other between Court Street-Borough Hall and Bay Ridge–95th Street. In addition to the closure. The R train swapped several of it's original R46 subway cars to the R160 subway cars from the F train. After the Montague Street Tunnel was opened on September 15, 2014. The R46 subway cars were returned to the R train. On weekends, the R train ran its full route via the Manhattan Bridge, skipping all stations between Canal Street and DeKalb Avenue.[24][25][26] Originally slated to open by October 2014, it re-opened a few weeks early, on September 15, 2014, and $58 million under budget.[27][28][29]

On June 16, 2016, it was announced that late-night R service would be extended to Whitehall Street in order to provide a one-seat ride into Manhattan. This eliminated the need for northbound trains to skip 45th Street and 53rd Street as they no longer needed to relay on the express tracks at 36th Street.[30] The change took place on November 5, 2016.[31][32][33][34] During evenings, many R trains used to short-turn at Whitehall Street (coming from Forest Hills-71st Avenue), resulting in long headways along the R in Brooklyn. As part of the changes, these short-turns were extended to 95th Street.[35]


Service pattern

The following table shows the lines used by the R, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:

Line From To Tracks Times
IND Queens Boulevard Line Forest Hills–71st Avenue Queens Plaza local    
60th Street Tunnel Connection and 60th Street Tunnel all
BMT Broadway Line (full line) Lexington Avenue/59th Street Canal Street local
City Hall Rector Street all
Whitehall Street–South Ferry all  
Montague Street Tunnel all
BMT Fourth Avenue Line (full line) Court Street Bay Ridge–95th Street local


For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.

Station service legend
Stops all times
Stops all times except late nights
Stops late nights only
Stops weekdays only
Station closed
Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only
Time period details
Stations Subway transfers Connections and notes
Queens Boulevard Line
Forest Hills–71st Avenue E  F  M  LIRR Main Line at Forest Hills
67th Avenue M 
63rd Drive–Rego Park M  Q72 bus to LaGuardia Airport
Woodhaven Boulevard M 
Grand Avenue–Newtown M 
Elmhurst Avenue M 
Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue E  F  M 
7  (IRT Flushing Line)
Q47 bus to LaGuardia Marine Air Terminal
Q70 Select Bus Service bus to LaGuardia Airport
65th Street M 
Northern Boulevard M 
46th Street M 
Steinway Street M 
36th Street–Northern Boulevard M 
Queens Plaza E  M 
Broadway Line
Lexington Avenue/59th Street N  W 
4  5  6  <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line
Out-of-system transfer with MetroCard: F  (IND 63rd Street Line at Lexington Avenue–63rd Street)
Roosevelt Island Tramway
Fifth Avenue–59th Street N  W 
57th Street–Seventh Avenue N  Q  W 
49th Street N  Q  W  Station is ADA-accessible in the northbound direction only.
Times Square–42nd Street N  Q  W 
1  2  3  (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)
7  <7> (IRT Flushing Line)
A  C  E  (IND Eighth Avenue Line at 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal)
S  (42nd Street Shuttle)
Port Authority Bus Terminal
34th Street–Herald Square N  Q  W 
B  D  F  M  (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
M34 / M34A Select Bus Service
PATH at 33rd Street
28th Street W 
23rd Street W  M23 Select Bus Service
14th Street–Union Square N  Q  W 
L  (BMT Canarsie Line)
4  5  6  <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
Eighth Street–New York University W 
Prince Street W 
Lower Manhattan Branch
Canal Street N  Q  W 
4  6  (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
J  (BMT Nassau Street Line)
Stops on the upper level
City Hall W 
Cortlandt Street W  PATH at World Trade Center
Rector Street W 
Whitehall Street–South Ferry N  W 
1  (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) at South Ferry
M15 Select Bus Service
Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal
Northern terminus for late night trains.
Montague Street Branch
Court Street N 
2  3  (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at Borough Hall)
4  5  (IRT Eastern Parkway Line at Borough Hall)
Jay Street–MetroTech N 
A  C  F  (IND Fulton Street and Culver Lines)
DeKalb Avenue B  D  N  Q 
Fourth Avenue Line
Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center D  N 
B  Q  (BMT Brighton Line)
2  3  4  5  (IRT Eastern Parkway Line)
LIRR Atlantic Branch at Atlantic Terminal
Union Street D  N  R 
Ninth Street D  N  R 
F  G  (IND Culver Line at Fourth Avenue)
Prospect Avenue D  N  R 
25th Street D  N  R 
36th Street–Fourth Avenue D  N 
45th Street N 
53rd Street N 
59th Street N 
Bay Ridge Avenue
77th Street
86th Street S79 Select Bus Service
Bay Ridge–95th Street


  1. Grynbaum, Michael M. (May 10, 2010). "Take the Tomato 2 Stops to the Sunflower". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  2. Bolden, Eric. "NYCT Line by Line History". erictb.info. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "A History Of The R Train". New York Division Bulletin. New York Division, Electric Railroaders' Association. 53 (9). September 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2016 via Issu.
  4. 1 2 "BMT Riders: Change In Routes! January 1 To further improve routes". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. New York City Transit Authority. January 1961. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  5. "The JoeKorNer Brochures". thejoekorner.com.
  6. "Hey, What's a "K" train? 1985 Brochure". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. New York City Transit Authority. 1985. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  7. 1 2 "Shifts on N and R Lines Are Planned in Queens". The New York Times. October 16, 1986. p. B10. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  8. "Announcing Service Changes On The N and R Routes Beginning May 24, 1987 New Routes Mean Better Service". subwaynut.com. New York City Transit Authority. May 1987. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  9. 1 2 3 Chiasson, George (October 2010). "A History Of The R Train". New York Division Bulletin. New York Division, Electric Railroaders' Association. 53 (10). Retrieved August 31, 2016 via Issu.
  10. New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. December 1987. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "System-Wide Changes In Subway Service Effective Sunday, December 11, 1988". Flickr. New York City Transit Authority. 1988. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  12. Johnson, Kirk (1988-12-09). "Big Changes For Subways Are to Begin". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  13. 1 2 "Service Changes September 30, 1990" (PDF). subwaynut.com. New York City Transit Authority. September 30, 1990. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  14. ERA. "ISSUU - The ERA Bulletin 2010-10 by ERA". Issuu.
  15. "October 1992 New York City Subway Map". Flickr. New York City Transit Authority. October 1992. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  16. Map of the Subway System showing service changes on 2001-09-17.
  17. Calcagno, Michael (2002). "October 28, 2001 Subway Map". nycsubway.org. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  18. Korman, Joseph D. "Subway Line Names World Trade Center Terror - 9-11-2001". www.thejoekorner.com. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  19. "F N W Q Q Changes Sun, Sept 8, 2002 to Spring 2004 Reconstruction of Stillwell Avenue Terminal changes service in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens". The Subway Nut. New York City Transit. July 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  20. "MTA NYC Transit Manhattan Bridge Information". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2004-02-05. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  21. "mta.info | Restoring R Service in the Montague St. Tube". web.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  22. Kabak, Benjamin (2012-12-20). "It's official: Montague St. Tunnel R train service to resume tomorrow". Second Ave. Sagas. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  23. Cox, Jeremiah. "Hurricane Sandy: Effects on Subway & Rail Service". subwaynut.com. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  24. "R Montague Tunnel Closure Map" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  25. "mta.info - R Service affected by 14 month closure of Montague Under River Tube". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  26. McGeehan, Patrick (12 September 2014). "Subway Tunnel to Open, Storm Repairs Finished". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  27. Andy Newman and J. David Goodman (2014-09-15). "The R Roars Back". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  28. "EXCLUSIVE: R train's East River tunnel may reopen early". Brooklyn Daily. Brooklyn Daily. September 8, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  29. "R Train To Resume Service Between Brooklyn And Manhattan Monday". cbslocal.com. CBS Local. September 14, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  30. "MTA | news | Change Allows More Transfers, Faster Commutes for Brooklyn Customers". www.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 16, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  31. "SUB-DIVISION B TRAIN OPERATOR/CONDUCTOR ROAD & NON-ROAD WORK PROGRAMS IN EFFECT: NOVEMBER 6, 2016" (PDF). progressiveaction.info. New York City Transit. July 29, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  32. "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting June 2016" (PDF). www.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  33. Lam, Katherine (October 23, 2016). "MTA flyers spotted for W train's return in November". PIX11. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  34. "New NQRW Service". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  35. "R Subway Timetable, Effective November 7, 2016" (PDF). New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved November 7, 2016.

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