The BMT Nassau Street Line is a rapid transit line of the B Division of the New York City Subway system in Manhattan. It is a continuation of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn after crossing the Williamsburg Bridge; it continues to a junction with the BMT Broadway Line just before the Montague Street Tunnel after which the line reenters Brooklyn (no revenue service south of Broad Street since June, 2010).
The line is served at all times by the J train. The Z provides supplemental rush hour service, operating in the peak direction.
While the line is officially recognized as the Nassau Street Line, it only serves one station on Nassau Street: Fulton Street.
The M service has historically served the Nassau Street Line. Since June 28, 2010, the M has been rerouted via the Chrystie Street Connection to run on the IND Sixth Avenue Line, as a replacement for the V. The M continues to serve one Nassau Street Line station: the Essex Street station.
On November 7th, 2016, the U was added to the line south of Chambers Street, terminating with the J/Z at Broad Street.
The following services use part or all of the Nassau Street Line. The trunk line's bullets are colored terra cotta brown:
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The line is one of the most unique in the system, once carrying three passageways into the same borough, Brooklyn. From the south end, uptown trains would come from the Montague Street Tunnel and branch off the BMT Broadway Line to a two track station at Broad Street. Between Broad Street and the tunnel connection, two inner tracks appear and are used to relay J U Z service. After Broad Street, the uptown tracks run on a lower level due to Nassau Street's narrowness. A stop is made at Fulton Street before the uptown track rises again.
When the line approaches Chambers Street, there are 4 tracks along with 4 platforms, with a fifth pplatforms on the downtown side demolished due to expansion of platforms at Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall. Chambers Street was originally planned to be a major stop for the Nassau Street Line. Northwards, the two eastern tracks continued to the IND Second Avenue Line; these tracks originally connected to the Manhattan Bridge. Two other tracks to the left continue on the Nassau Street Line, and the western most track is used by downtown Second Avenue trains.
At Canal Street, the line expands to four tracks again, but only the two west tracks are active. The eastern platforms and tracks are inactive except for emergencies. The line then curves from under Centre Street east to under Kenmore Street, later Delancey Street. East of Bowery, the four tracks become 3 and a connection to the Sixth Avenue Line joins the two outer tracks. It is not long before the 3 tracks become two and connect the Williamsburg Bridge and the BMT Jamaica Line.
After the original IRT opened, the city began planning new lines. Two of these were extensions of that system, to Downtown Brooklyn and Van Cortlandt Park, but the other two - the Centre Street Loop Subway (or Brooklyn Loop Subway) and Fourth Avenue Subway (in Brooklyn) - were separate lines for which construction had not progressed as far. The Centre Street Loop, approved on January 25, 1907 as a four-track line (earlier proposed as two tracks), was to connect the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge via Centre Street, Canal Street, and Delancey Street. An extension south from the Brooklyn Bridge under William Street to Wall Street was also part of the plan, as were several loops towards the Hudson River and a loop connecting the bridges through Brooklyn. Construction contracts for the main line in Manhattan were awarded in early 1907, despite no determination of the operator once completed. The line was assigned to a proposed Tri-borough system in early 1908 and to the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT) in the Dual Contracts, adopted on March 4, 1913.
The BRT began operating through a short piece of subway, coming off the Williamsburg Bridge under Delancey Street to Essex Street, on September 16, 1908. The Centre Street Loop was opened to Chambers Street (at the Brooklyn Bridge) on August 4, 1913, with temporary operation at first on the two west tracks. The south tracks on the Manhattan Bridge, also running into Chambers Street, were placed in service on June 22, 1915. An extension south from Chambers Street to the Montague Street Tunnel, known as the Nassau Street Loop, was not completed until May 30, 1931, as part of the Dual Contracts. This added two stations (Broad and Fulton Streets) and rerouted train service on the bridge's south side. Service on that side became relatively low afterward as the only trains that normally crossed it were The Bankers’ Special, which ran from either the Sea Beach and/or Fourth Avenue Line, crossed the Manhattan Bridge or Montague Street Tunnel into Manhattan, and then returned to Brooklyn via the opposite crossing.
Plans for the Chambers Street area changed several times during construction, always including a never-completed connection to the Brooklyn Bridge tracks. By 1910, only the west two tracks were to rise onto the bridge, and the east two were to continue south to the Montague Street Tunnel. As actually built for the 1931 opening south of Chambers Street, the two outer tracks ran south to the tunnel, while the two inner tracks continued several blocks in a lower level stub tunnel to allow trains to reverse direction.
Concurrent with the building of the Chrystie Street Connection opened November 26, 1967 to connect to the north tracks, the south tracks were rerouted to the BMT Broadway Line connection, and the connecting tracks to the BMT Nassau Street Line were closed and subsequently removed. At this time, the JJ, M QJ, and RJ were introduced.
- The JJ ran similar to today's J, with select trains to Rockaway Parkway on the LL. The JJ was the only fully local line in Brooklyn and Queens.
- The M ran between Metropolitan Avenue and Chambers Street.
- The QJ ran between 168th Street and Brighton Beach. Only the QJ ran at all times while the other lines ran weekdays/rush hours only.
- The RJ ran like the QJ, but to Bay Ridge.
- The TT ran between Coney Island and Chambers Street via West End.
The following year, mote than half of the lines were eliminated and replaced with new lines. The JJ was replaced by a fully local QJ and new KK via Sixth Avenue (only Essex Street was a stop on the Nassau Street Line), the RJ was cut to Chambers Street and remade as a branch of the RR, and the TT was completely eliminated.
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 peak service to 168th Street was discontinued and the route was renamed the K. The K was later discontinued on August 30th, 1976.
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.
On December 11th, 1988, Z service was introduced. This line ran skip-stop service in Brooklyn and Queens and skipped Bowery in Manhattan.
From May 1 to September 1, 1999, the Williamsburg Bridge was closed for reconstruction, suspending all Nassau Street service in Manhattan. Shuttle trains provided service between Essex Street and Broad Street. Rush hour M service remained south of Chambers Street. The closure was anticipated to last until October 1999, but subway service was restored one month ahead of schedule.
On September 20, 2004, northbound trains began running on the second track from the west (serving the former southbound platform), and the former northbound platforms at Canal Street and Bowery were closed off. The second track from the east was removed. Z trains now stopped at Bowery.
On June 14, 2015, weekend J service was extended back to Broad Street; this was proposed in July 2014 to improve weekend service between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Between 1990 and 2015, when weekend service terminated at Canal, between September 30, 1990 and January 1994, or Chambers Streets, from January 1994 to June 2015, Broad Street and the J/Z platforms at Fulton Street were two of the four New York City Subway stations that lacked full-time service (the remaining two being the platforms for the IRT 42nd Street Shuttle).
The MTA announced connecting the abandoned loop tracks to the IND Second Avenue Line in April 2004. However, construction did not start until May 2010. It was completed by October 9th, 2016. A month later, the U began using this connection on November 7th, 2016.