Lexington Avenue-125th Street is a station on the IND 125th Street Line, as well as an express station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line. Located at Lexington Avenue and East 125th Street (also known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) in East Harlem, it is served by the 4, 8 and T trains at all times, the 5, 6 and Q trains at all times except late nights, and the <6> during weekdays in peak direction.


IRT Lexington Avenue LineEdit

This station opened on July 17, 1918 as part of the extension of the original subway up Lexington Avenue to 125th Street and into the Bronx. Initially, service was provided only as a shuttle on the local tracks of the then-formed Lexington Avenue Line between Grand Central, continuing past this station and under the Harlem River to 167th Street on the IRT Jerome Avenue Line. On August 1, 1918, through service on the Lexington Avenue Line began. Both express trains and local trains began stopping at this station, running from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The extension from Grand Central cost $58,000,000.

The opening of this station resulted in development in the surrounding neighborhood of East Harlem.

In 1952 or 1953, a public address system was installed at this station, providing information to passengers and train crews.

In 1981, the MTA listed the station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system. This station's renovation was completed in 2005.

IND 125th Street LineEdit

On August 28, 1922, Mayor John Francis Hylan unveiled his own plans for the subway system. This included a 125th Street line from Astoria, Queens to West Harlem around today's Henry Hudson Parkway. This plan was eventually shelved and was not brought up again for many years.

Originally, the 125th Street station was to have been constructed parallel to the Lexington Avenue Line, curving below private property to join Second Avenue at 115th Street. This option was favored as it would have allowed an eventual extension of the Second Avenue Subway to the Bronx via the IRT Pelham Line, while still providing a transfer at 125th Street to the Lexington Avenue Line. Under this option, 116th Street would not have a station, but because of requests by the local community, the SDEIS evaluated the inclusion of this station. The s-curve options were out of the question because of the large curve radius required for efficient and fast subway operation. As a result, the alignment at 125th Street was changed. Instead, the line was planned to continue via Second Avenue until about 125th Street, when it would then curve under a small number of private properties before heading west on 125th Street. The station opened October 29, 1989 along with the Second Avenue line between this station and Grand Street. 125th Street would be the northern terminal for all trains on Second Avenue until the opening of the IND Throgs Neck Line in 1995. By this time, the line to Broadway-125th Street was completed and the former 125th Street terminal was renamed Lexington Avenue-125th Street.

Station layoutEdit

G Street level Exits/Entrances
M Upper Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines
(Elevators at Park/Lexington Avenue and 125th Street)
IRT Uptown Platform
6 toward Pelham Bay Park (Third Avenue-138th Street)
8 toward Gun Hill Road (Third Avenue-138th Street)
→ 4 toward Woodlawn (138th Street-Grand Concourse) (late nights only)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right; accessible
4 toward Woodlawn (138th Street-Grand Concourse)
5 toward Eastchester-Dyre Av or Nereid Avenue (138th Street-Grand Concourse)
IRT Downtown Platform
4 toward Utica Avenue (86th Street)
5 toward Flatbush Avenue, Utica Avenue, or Bowling Green (86th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right; accessible
6 toward Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (116th Street)
8 toward Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (116th Street)
Lower Mezzanine
IND Level
Northbound T toward Broadway-125th Street (Lenox Avenue-125th Street )
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right; accessable
Middle Track Q toward Coney Island via Brighton (116th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the right, left; accessable
Southbound T toward Rockaway Park (116th Street)

The IRT station is unusual in design, as a bi-level station with island platforms but not configured in the standard express-local lower-upper configuration. Instead, the upper platform serves northbound (uptown) trains and the lower level serves southbound (downtown) trains. Adding to the unusual design is the local track on each level having train doors open to the right; the express tracks likewise have doors opening to the left. North of the station, just after crossing the Harlem River, the line splits into the IRT Jerome Avenue Line (heading north) and the IRT Pelham Line (heading east). On the lower platform, each track comes from one line, and a flying junction south of the station allows trains to be diverted to the local or express track. Throughout the station's history, this station has been one of the more important on the line as it is the northernmost transfer point between express trains to the IRT Jerome Avenue and White Plains Road Lines, and local trains to the IRT Pelham Line.

The IND station is five levels below street level, or two levels below the lower-level IRT Lexington Avenue Line platform. The station has a three-track, two-island platform layout with a mezzanine above it. There are railroad switches to the east of the platforms to allow local Second Avenue trains to terminate on any track. The Second Avenue express tracks end at this station and merge into the outer tracks.

Between 1989 and 1995, the tracks continued west of the station to midblock between Fifth Avenue and Lenox Avenue, creating space for tail tracks to store trains.

Prior to 2010, bellmouths existed east of Lexington Avenue for a Crosstown line to Astoria and potentially LaGuardia Airport. These bellmouths have since been connected to the lower level of the IND Second Avenue Line for express service.

There is an active tower at the north end of the upper platform; it is a satellite to the tower at Grand Central–42nd Street, which controls the entire length of the Lexington Avenue Line.

Entrances and exitsEdit

The current station layout includes five exits and two elevators:

The entrances and exits are located at:

Location Exit Type
Entrance 1
NE corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 2
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 3
SE corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 4
(2 entry points)
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 5
under Metro North at Park Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 5
SW corner of Park Avenue and 125th Street
Entrance 5
NW corner of Park Avenue and 125th Street

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