Franklin Avenue Shuttle


"S" train symbol
Franklin Avenue Shuttle
NYCS R68 Franklin Shuttle.jpg
A Franklin Ave Shuttle train of R68s at Franklin Avenue station.
Map of the "S" train
Northern endFranklin Avenue
Southern endProspect Park
Rolling stock4 R68s (2 trains)[1]
(Rolling stock assignments subject to change)
DepotConey Island Yard
Started service1878; 142 years ago (1878) (predecessor, along with current Q route)
1963; 57 years ago (1963) (current shuttle)
Route map

Franklin Avenue
Park Place
Botanic Garden
Prospect Park

The Franklin Avenue Shuttle[2] is a New York City Subway shuttle service operating in Brooklyn. The shuttle service uses the BMT Franklin Avenue Line exclusively. The north terminus is Franklin Avenue, with a transfer available to the IND Fulton Street Line. The south terminus is Prospect Park, with a transfer available to the BMT Brighton Line. NYCT Rapid Transit Operations refer to it internally as the S or FS.[3] Like the other two shuttles, the 42nd Street Shuttle in Manhattan and the Rockaway Park Shuttle in Queens, its route bullet is colored dark gray on route signs, station signs, rolling stock, and the official subway map.

The S started running along its current route in 1963, and it has had four stations since 1995.[4] Consumers Park was closed in 1928 and replaced by the current Botanic Garden station five blocks to the north. There is a visible clearing at the former station location. Dean Street was closed in 1995 due to low paid fare entrance and fare beating.

The shuttle runs two 2-car train sets of R68 cars under One Person Train Operation with the motorman also being the conductor. The motorman will go to the opposite end to make another run at each terminal. Trains usually pass each other at Botanic Garden, the only two-track station on the Franklin Avenue Line, leaving a passing loop while en route to Park Place.


Early history

The current service is co-extensive with the BMT Franklin Avenue Line. It parallels Franklin Avenue, hence the shuttle's name (and the name of the line). It was originally a part of the mainline of the BMT Brighton Line and opened as part of that steam railroad line in 1878.[5][6][7]

On November 1, 1918, a five-car wooden elevated train left the tracks and crashed into one of the new tunnel walls, killing at least 93. This accident, called the Malbone Street Wreck, was among the worst rapid transit disasters ever.[8]

The mainline was shifted in 1920, with subway trains from Manhattan and elevated trains from Franklin Avenue sharing operations to Coney Island.[9][8] After the city gained ownership of the line in 1940, Brighton-Franklin services gradually declined. A major blow to through service viability occurred in 1954 when the D train of the IND Division was extended to Coney Island via the Culver Line, deprived the Franklin of a major source of transfer traffic, consisting of passengers from Harlem and the Bronx, who now had a more direct route to Coney Island.[8][10]


Brighton-Franklin express service ended by 1959, and the Franklin Avenue Line became a full-time shuttle in 1963. On November 1, 1965, when R27s started going into service, this service was named SS, and in 1985, when the practice of using double letters was eliminated, this service became the S.[8][10]

On December 1, 1974, a southbound shuttle train of R32s was approaching the tunnel portal en route from Franklin Avenue when it derailed on the crossover and smashed the same place where BRT car 100 had hit in the Malbone Street Wreck. This derailment resulted in some injuries, with R32 car 3668 damaged beyond repair, but there were no reported fatalities, because time signals limit the speed of trains coming down the hill from Crown Heights.[8]

Deterioration and renovation

Alternate SF bullet

In 1981, the MTA proposed abandoning the service under the failed Program for Action. At the time, only 10,000 passengers used the shuttle per day, and in addition, the Franklin Avenue Line was severely deteriorated. It was proposed that additional B48 bus service along nearby Franklin Avenue could substitute for the line.[8] During the winter, the line would often be closed because there was fear that trains would derail. Stations were in horrible condition; portions of the wooden platforms were sealed off because they had burned or collapsed.[11][12] In January 1982, the line needed to close for emergency repair work because a retaining wall along the line was in danger of collapse.[13]

In the 1990s the Franklin Avenue Shuttle was known as the "ghost train". It was shrunk in size to only two cars, and the Dean Street station, which had 50 paying riders per day, was closed in 1995.[8][14] The entire line was under consideration for abandonment, and community leaders were opposed to the move. They showed up to town hall meetings, news conferences and they sat down with transit officials. They also formed the Committee to Save the Franklin Avenue Shuttle. The coalition included the Straphangers Campaign, a local church, local community boards and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. They argued that subway station repair work occurred elsewhere, while no attention was paid to the Franklin Avenue Shuttle.[15]

In the end they convinced the New York State Assembly to force the MTA to rebuild rather than abandon the line, and as a result most of the supporting infrastructure and stations were completely rehabilitated for 18 months, between July 1998 and October 1999 at a cost of $74 million.[4][9][16] While the closure of the line started in July 1998, work began in September 1997.[17] During the renovation, a temporary shuttle bus and the B48 bus replaced train service. The line reopened on October 18, 1999, three months ahead of schedule.[9][16][18]

As of 2008, the Franklin Avenue Shuttle is the most punctual train in the New York City Subway system with a 99.7 percent on-time average. The shuttle averages 20,000 riders per day.[19]


For a more detailed station listing, see BMT Franklin Avenue Line.[2][20]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops all times except late nights Stops all times except late nights
Stops late nights only Stops late nights only
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Station closed Station closed
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Handicapped/disabled access ↑ Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
in the indicated direction only
Handicapped/disabled access ↓
Aiga elevator.svg Elevator access to mezzanine only
Franklin Avenue Shuttle service Stations Handicapped/disabled access Subway transfers Connections
Franklin Avenue Line
Stops all times Franklin Avenue Handicapped/disabled access A late nightsC all except late nights (IND Fulton Street Line at Franklin Avenue)
Stops all times Park Place Handicapped/disabled access
Stops all times Botanic Garden 2 all times3 all except late nights4 all times5 weekdays only (IRT Eastern Parkway Line at Franklin Avenue)
Stops all times Prospect Park Handicapped/disabled access B Weekday rush hours, middays and early eveningsQ all times (BMT Brighton Line)


  1. ^ "Subdivision 'B' Car Assignments: Cars Required April 27, 2020" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 63 (6): 14. June 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "S Subway Timetable, Effective November 17, 2019". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  3. ^ "GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - SUB-DIVISION B - TRAIN OPERATOR/CONDUCTOR - ROAD & NON-ROAD WORK PROGRAMS" (PDF). New York City Transit Authority. July 29, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Wilson, Michael (July 24, 2008), "In Brooklyn, It's the Little Train That Can", The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved July 27, 2008
  5. ^ "The lore of the FRANKLIN AVENUE SHUTTLE - Forgotten New York". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  6. ^ "Joint LIRR / BRT Elevated/Rapid Transit Service". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "BRIGHTON BEACH LINE Part 2". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Cudahy (1999).
  9. ^ a b c "The Third Rail - The New Franklin Shuttle - Preface". Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "NYCT Line by Line History". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  11. ^ "The fight to save the Franklin Avenue Shuttle". Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Finder, Alan (March 16, 1992). "Transit Authority Switches Tracks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  13. ^ Goldman, Ari L. (January 22, 1982). "Franklin Avenue Subway Shuttle In Brooklyn Is Closed For Repairs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "Abandoned Stations : Elevated Stations". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "MTR 10, Franklin Ave Shuttle Site of Leafletting Action". Tri-State Transportation Campaign. November 9, 1994. Archived from the original on May 6, 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Faison, Seth (June 20, 1993). "Hope for Overhaul Dims on a Crumbling Subway Line". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "New Franklin Avenue Shuttle Makes Early Debut". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 18, 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  18. ^ "About NYC Transit - History". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 19, 2002. Archived from the original on October 19, 2002. Retrieved September 18, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ Wilson, Michael (July 24, 2008), "In Brooklyn, It's the Little Train That Can", The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved July 27, 2008
  20. ^ "Subway Service Guide" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.


  • Cudahy, Brian J. (January 1, 1999). The Malbone Street Wreck. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-1932-2.

External links

Official websites:

  • MTA NYC Transit – Franklin Avenue Shuttle
  • MTA Subway Time – Shuttle
  • "S Subway Timetable, Franklin Av Shuttle, Effective November 17, 2019" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Fan sites:

  • Station Reporter - Franklin Avenue Shuttle
  • Arrt's Arrchives - Brighton Beach Line (The Franklin Avenue Shuttle)
  • – BMT Brighton Line:
  • Railfanning on the Franklin Ave. Shuttle (S) on YouTube
  • Backfanning on the Franklin Avenue Shuttle on YouTube