The Myrtle Avenue Line, also called the Myrtle Avenue Elevated, is an 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, Middle Village, and Jackson Heights. Originally, the lone ran from Park Row in Manhattan to terminate at its original eastern terminal on Metropolitan Avenue across the street from Lutheran Cemetery. The line was cut west to Downtown Brooklyn in 1944, followed by all service west of Myrtle Avenue-Broadway in 1969. On September 2nd 2017, the line extended north from Metropolitan Avenue to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue via the LIRR Bay Ridge right-of-way and part of the IND Second System to the abandoned and unused terminal. Originally, it was built in the 1930's for the never built Winfield spur to the Rockaways, but the line was never built, instead being used as a storage area for nearly 70 years.
Extent and service
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The Myrtle Avenue Line was originally serviced by the M train from 1915 to 2017, and formerly by the MJ from 1889 to 1969. Select M trips continue to operate on the line during rush hours, with different patterns depending on the needs of service. A shuttle service ran from September 2017 to April 2018 following completion of the extension to Jackson Heights and due to a construction project on the Myrtle Avenue viaduct. It is now currently served by the K train, which began service on April 30th, 2018.
The line begins at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue on an upper level, then runs east and curves at 78 Street. On the lower level, a connection is available to the IND Queens Boulevard Line's local tracks, which causes the line to operate 4 tracks until Queens Boulevard station. The inner tracks hold terminating trains while the outer tracks are mainly unused except for select M trips during the rush hours. The outer tracks connect to the Queens Boulevard line towards Manhattan.
After Queen Boulevard, the line emerges from the subway and operates open–cut on the LIRR right-of-way until it hits Metropolitan Avenue. It then separates from the line and rises up to turn southwest, 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. The still-existing upper level of the station, which was called "Broadway", opened in 1889 and closed on October 4, 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. 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.
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).
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.
On July 29, 1914, the connection to the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line was opened, allowing Myrtle Avenue Line trains to operate via the Williamsburg Bridge. Construction on this connection began in August 1913. 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 - Broadway. This track started from a point south of Central Avenue through Myrtle – Wyckoff Avenues to a bumper just south of Seneca Avenue. The 10 used this express track in the peak direction.
On March 5, 1944, the line west of Bridge–Jay Streets was closed coincident with the end of elevated service over the Brooklyn Bridge. 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. The rest of the line from Broadway to Jay Street closed on October 4, 1969 and was demolished soon after, ending the MJ service. The M began making all stops on Broadway at all times on Myrtle Avenue and a free transfer to the B54 bus replaced the MJ west of Broadway, and service was increased on that bus route as well. The free transfer at Jay Street was also replaced with a bus transfer. In the 1980's, a special brown R was placed on Myrtle Avenue using M equipment due to the main R's equipment being banned on the BMT Eastern division. It brought back express service on the line, but this branch was quickly discontinued due to low ridership.
In the 2000s Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue station reconstruction, the center track was removed from the line, but was brought back in September 2017 between Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue and Seneca Avenue to be used for terminating shuttle trains and remains for future service change and sometimes layovers.
In 2008, plans for a Myrtle Avenue extension were proposed. The plan was to extend the M train along the new line, with stops at Elliot Avenue, Grand Avenue, and Queens Boulevard. At that time, the M was running to Bay Parkway or 9 Av, Brooklyn.
By 2010, the M was rerouted to replace the V as part of budget cuts. Instead of running a loop service, a new Shuttle was proposed to run between Myrtle Avenue-Broadway and Roosevelt Avenue, using the abandoned station that was closed in 1969. In 2012, a new proposal would bring back a new K Route between Broad Street and Roosevelt Avenue. This would be the third time the letter K was used in the NYC subway. With this proposal, the M would be rerouted from Metropolitan Avenue and run on the J to Broadway Junction, then via the L to Canarsie. By 2013, construction began to connect Metropolitan Avenue with the Roosevelt Avenue Terminal, with new stops at Queen's Boulevard, Grand Avenue, and Elliot Avenue. The new extension would open in on September 1st 2017. Ironically, original K service runs similar to the original M, with M service running similar to the first K.
Starting in summer 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to rehabilitate parts of the viaduct and Fresh Pond Bridge between the Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue stations, necessitating the closure of some segment of the line for ten months. This work is being undertaken in preparation for a reconstruction of the BMT Canarsie Line tunnels under the East River, which will begin in 2019. The work will be done in two parts: one part will rebuild the 310-foot-long (94 m) approaches to the line's junction with the BMT Jamaica Line, and another part will rebuild the Fresh Pond Bridge over the Montauk Branch in Queens. The Fresh Pond Bridge will be replaced during two months in summer 2017, while the connection with the Jamaica Line will be rebuilt from July 2017 to April 2018.
On September 2nd, with the completion of the Fresh Pond bridge replacement as well as the northward extension, a shuttle was added between Wyckoff Avenue and Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue due to continued replacement of the junction at Myrtle Avenue-Broadway.
The Myrtle viaduct project was completed on April 30th, 2018, opening full Myrtle Avenue service. Shuttle service was discontinued and replace by a new K service.
- 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'.
- The tracks on the line are M1 towards Metropolitan Avenue and M2 towards Manhattan.
- 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.
- 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.