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The IRT Pelham Line, also sometimes refered to the Southern Boulevard – Pelham Bay Park Line, is a rapid transit line on the New York City Subway, served by the (6) and <6> trains. It was built as part of the Dual Contracts expansion and opened in 1918. It is both elevated and underground with Whitlock Avenue being the southernmost elevated station. It has three tracks from the beginning to just south of the Pelham Bay Park terminal. The Pelham Line also has a connection to Westchester Yard, where 6 trains are stored, just north of Westchester Square – East Tremont Avenue. As of 2013, it has a daily ridership of 205,590.

History Edit

The construction of the Pelham Line was part of the Dual Contracts, signed on March 19, 1913 and also known as the Dual Subway System. The Pelham Line was proposed to be a branch of the Lexington Avenue Line running northeast via 138th Street, Southern Boulevard and Westchester Avenue to Pelham Bay Park.

A report, "Proposed Subway Plan for Subway Relief and Expansion" by Major Philip Mathews, published on December 24, 1926, proposed a connection from the Pelham Line to a newly proposed four-track Third Avenue subway that would run to City Hall and Downtown Brooklyn.

On August 1, 1918, a branch of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, the IRT Pelham Line was opened to Third Avenue – 138th Street. On January 17, 1919, the Pelham Line was extended to Hunters Point Avenue. The extension was originally supposed to be finished by the end of 1918, but due to the difficulty in acquiring materials, the opening was delayed. In January 1919, the Public Service Commission was acquiring property for a subway yard at Pelham Bay Park. By October 24 of the same year, it was extended to Westchester Square, and by December 20, it was extended to the western edge of Pelham Bay Park.

When the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway was abandoned in 1937, one proposal for the replacement IRT Dyre Avenue Line was to connect the line to the IRT Pelham Line at Whitlock Avenue, rather than its current terminus at East 180th Street on the IRT White Plains Road Line.

On June 6, 1946, the Board of Transportation announced that a contract for the instillation of signal equipment that would allow express service to run on the Pelham Line was jointly awarded to the Emerson – Garden Electric Company and L. K. Comstock & Company Incorporated for $129,516. The signals were to be installed between Third Avenue – 138th Street and Parkchester.

On November 8, 1947, Union Switch and Signal Company was awarded a contract for $819,375 for block signaling on the Pelham Line. This would have allowed an extension of express service from Parkchester to Pelham Bay Park.

On August 27, 1953, the New York City Transit Authority approved a plan to lengthen rains along the Pelham Line from seven cars to eight cars during rush hours. The change took place on September 8, 1953.

Unrealized expansion plansEdit

As part of a 1951 plan, the capacity on the Pelham Line would have been increased. In March 1954, as part of a proposed $658,000,000 construction program, the Pelham Line would have been connected to the Second Avenue Subway, with service being tripled on the Pelham Line.

The IRT Pelham Line elevated portion would be converted to B Division standards and connected to the Second Avenue line as Route 132–B of the 1968 Plan for Action, and the subway portion of the line would of been extended from Hunts Point to Throgs Neck when the conversion took place. IND Second Avenue Line trains would run east under 138th Street, then along the right-of-way of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor to a point near the Bruckner Expressway and Westchester Avenue as an express bypass of the Pelham line, after which the line would split into a Pelham branch and a Dyre Avenue branch.

The Brook Avenue station just east of Third Avenue – 138th Street on the IRT Pelham Line would be reconstructed to allow a cross-platform interchange. IRT local service on the Pelham Line would connect to Second Avenue trains again at Hunts Point Avenue. Further north, there would be a connection with the Pelham Line near Westchester Avenue at a new Whitlock Avenue station, and station platforms north to Pelham Bay Park would be narrowed and lengthened to accommodate the longer and wider B Division trains from the Second Avenue Subway. This project would have helped relieve overcrowding on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, which was the busiest line in the country at the time.

Under Phase 2 of the Plan for Action, the Pelham Line would have been extended to a modern terminal in the Co-op City housing complex

Due to the 1970 fiscal crisis that affected the city, most of the remaining projects did not have funding, so they were declined. Expected to be completed by the mid-1970s and early 1980s, lines for the Program for Action had to be reduced or canceled altogether due to the 1970s fiscal crisis.

Extent and serviceEdit

Service Time period Between
Third Ave – 138 St
Parkchester
Parkchester
Pelham Bay Pk
(6) Rush hours
and middays
local no service
Other times local
<6> Rush hours
and middays
express local
Other times no service

Express service operates between Parkchester and Third Avenue – 138th Street during weekdays from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. At those times, Pelham Bay Park cannot handle the large number of 6 and <6> trains in service. As a result, 6 trains run local on the Pelham Line south of Parkchester and short turn there. <6> trains make all stops north of Parkchester, then run express using the center track between that station and Third Avenue – 138th Street in the peak direction. At all other times, 6 trains run local on the entire line.

Route description Edit

Beginning at a junction with the IRT Jerome Avenue Line north of the Lexington Avenue Tunnel at 135th Street,the IRT Pelham Line runs beneath 138th Street for the first three stations in Port Morris, then curves to the northeast along eastbound Bruckner Boulevard before shortly curving north again along Southern Boulevard. After 145th Street at Samuel Gompers High School, the line curves to the northeast continuing to run under Southern Boulevard. The line returns under eastbound Bruckner Boulevard again, only to leave at Whitlock Avenue and begins to emerge from underground at Aldus Street. The line is transformed into an elevated line over Whitlock Avenue at East 165th Street, but shortly after this encounters the Whitlock Avenue Subway station and curves east over Westchester Avenue which runs over the Sheridan Expressway, Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad line, and the Bronx River. The line remains over Westchester Avenue throughout the rest of its journey.

East of Morrison Avenue station, the road runs over the Bronx River Parkway, and enters Parkchester. The station named after the neighborhood runs over the Hugh J. Grant Circle, which is also over the[Cross Bronx Expressway. East of Castle Hill Avenue station, Westchester Avenue branches off to the northeast at Waterbury Avenue (which runs in the same direction prior to that branching), and the line follows. After the Westchester Yard the line runs over the Hutchinson River Parkway interchange just west of Middletown Road station. The line finally ends at Pelham Bay Park station, which contains a pedestrian bridge across Bruckner Expressway leading to the eponymous park.

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