|IRT Second Avenue Elevated|
The Second Avenue El, looking south on First Avenue from 13th Street during its demolition in September 1942
|System||Interborough Rapid Transit Company|
|Owner||City of New York|
|Operator(s)||New York City Transit Authority|
|Number of tracks||2-3|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The IRT Second Avenue Line, also known as the Second Avenue Elevated or Second Avenue El, was an elevated railway in Manhattan, New York City, United States, from 1878 to 1942. It was operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company until 1940, when the city took over the bankrupt IRT. Service north of the 57th Street station ended on June 11, 1940; the rest of the line closed on June 13, 1942.
The commission also granted the Gilbert Elevated Railway Company the right to operate the Sixth Avenue Elevated and soon afterward the Gilbert Elevated Railway changed its name to the Metropolitan Elevated Railway.
Around 1900, the line was electrified. Between 1914 and 1916 construction was undertaken to install a third track to provide express service on the line during peak hours. Express service commenced on January 17, 1916.
The Second Avenue El did not run entirely on Second Avenue. Its southern terminus was City Hall, and it continued to Chatham Square, where it had a junction with the Third Avenue El and ran east along Division Street and then north to Allen Street. At Houston Street it ran north on First Avenue, where it turned left on 23rd Street ran north on Second Avenue to 129th Street. At that point it joined with the Third Avenue El and crossed the Harlem River into the Bronx.
As of 1934 Second Avenue service operated as follows:
- Second Avenue Local - day and evenings 129th Street to South Ferry, alternate evening and Sunday trains 129th Street to City Hall. No all-night service was operated.
- Second Avenue Express - Bronx Park to City Hall weekday and Saturday AM peak southbound, City Hall to Fordham Road or Tremont Avenue weekday PM peak northbound, also Freeman Street to City Hall via West Farms Road Line, making express stops in Manhattan.
- Second Avenue-Queens - South Ferry to Willets Point Blvd weekday and Saturday AM peak, City Hall to Willets Point Blvd weekday midday and PM peak, 57th Street to Willets Point Blvd evenings and Sundays. In addition City Hall to Astoria Weekday AM peak and midday and Saturday daytime, South Ferry to Astoria weekday PM peak, 57th Street to Astoria evenings and Sundays. Midday and Saturday trains used the express tracks, weekday peak trains made all stops.
On April 23, 1939 express service was inaugurated weekday and Saturday daytime in Queens between Queensboro Plaza and 111th Street, where elevated trains were cut back to. On September 8, 1939 Astoria trains were rerouted in the weekday PM peak to City Hall. The Second Avenue Elevated was closed north of 59th Street June 12, 1940. Evening and Sunday Queens trains were extended to City Hall or South Ferry. On May 19, 1941 evening and Sunday service was discontinued. Finally, on June 13, 1942 all service was discontinued.
The M15 bus, which runs along much of the IRT Second Avenue Elevated Line's route, is one of the busiest bus routes in New York City. However, it does not carry as many passengers as a rapid transit line, and transfers to rapid transit stations can only be made using surface connections.
The Second Avenue Subway, a rapid transit route running under Second Avenue, has been under consideration since 1919. The demolition of the IRT Second Avenue Line was in anticipation of the subway's construction. The first phase, between 72nd Street and 96th Street, opened in 2017, and a second phase to Harlem–125th Street is being planned.
|129th Street||Express||December 30, 1878||June 11, 1940|
|Merges with IRT Third Avenue Line|
|125th Street||Express||After the line opened||June 11, 1940|
|121st Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|117th Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|111th Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|105th Street||local||After the line opened||June 11, 1940|
|99th Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|92nd Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|86th Street||Express||June 11, 1940|
|80th Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|72nd Street||local||June 11, 1940|
|65th Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 11, 1940|
|Branch over Queensboro Bridge to Queensboro Plaza leaves at 57th Street|
|57th Street||Express||June 13, 1942|
|50th Street||local||June 13, 1942|
|42nd Street||Express||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|34th Street||local||June 13, 1942||Transfer to branch to 34th Street Ferry|
|23rd Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|19th Street||local||June 13, 1942|
|14th Street||Express||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|Eighth Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|First Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|Rivington Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|Grand Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|Canal Street||local||March 1, 1880||June 13, 1942|
|Chatham Square||Express||March 1, 1880||May 12, 1955||Transfer to Third Avenue Line and branch to City Hall|
|Merges with IRT Third Avenue Line|
|Franklin Square||Express||August 26, 1878||December 22, 1950|
|Fulton Street||Express||August 26, 1878||December 22, 1950|
|Hanover Square||Express||August 26, 1878||December 22, 1950|
|Merges with IRT Ninth Avenue Line|
|South Ferry||Express||August 26, 1878||December 22, 1950|
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- Senate, New York (State) Legislature (January 1, 1917). Documents of the Senate of the State of New York.
- Red Book Information Guide to New York. Interstate Map Co. 1935.
- New York Times, Two 'El' Lines End Transit Service, June 12, 1940, page 27
- "Discontinuance of service Second Avenue elevated line". nytm.pastperfectonline.com. New York City Board of Transportation. 1942. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "Facts and Figures". mta.info. August 28, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
- "CITY'S GROWTH DISCOUNTED IN PLANS FOR ADDING 830 MILES OF TRACK TO RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEMS; Work to Cover Period of Twenty-five Years and Cost $350,000,000--New Lines and Extensions Would Provide for a Population of Nine Millions and Carry Five Billion Passengers" (PDF). The New York Times. October 3, 1920. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
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- Slotnik, Daniel E.; Wolfe, Jonathan; Fitzsimmons, Emma G.; Palmer, Emily; Remnick, Noah (January 1, 2017). "Opening of Second Avenue Subway: Updates". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (October 29, 2015). "Anger in East Harlem Over New Delays in 2nd Ave. Subway Plans". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- "More Elevated Facilities, the Second Avenue Line and City Hall Branch Opened" (PDF). The New York Times Company. March 2, 1880. p. 3. Retrieved February 21, 2009.
- "Rapid Transit on the Bowery" (PDF). The New York Times Company. August 26, 1878. p. 8. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
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