2002-12-28 / Community

Website Details Rockaway Subway History

Website Details Rockaway Subway History

Website Details Rockaway Subway History

The following article can be found at the city’s official subway website, at www.nycsubway.org/ind/rockaway. Peggy Darlington wrote it.

The Rockaway line dates back to 1892 when it was built by the Long Island Railroad. In 1898 demand was so great that the Brooklyn Elevated Railway (later to be absorbed by the BRT) gained permission for Brooklyn El trains to use the Rockaway line for access to the beach. Demand continued to soar and the city began eyeing the line.

We move to 1950. A serious track fire destroyed a trestle along the line and the LIRR begged to abandon it in favor of their "land route" to Far Rockaway. The city stepped in and bought the line for $8.5 million and spent an additional $47.5 million to adapt the line to subway use, including a fireproof bridge over Jamaica Bay. Two man-made islands were created for the subway by pumping up fill from the bay. The line opened in 1956, with Far Rockaway station opening in 1958.

Initially, the line had an extra fare charged south of Broad Channel station. There were exit turnstiles at the Rockaway stations, which required payment to exit. Boarding passengers paid a double fare.

Today, the line operates as two spurs, one to Far Rockaway and one to Rockaway Park. The Far Rockaway side has new lights and well maintained stations, while the Rockaway Park side, with the exception of the Rockaway Park Terminal, have old lights, dim mezzanines, and are in poorer condition.

There have been numerous service patterns to the Rockaways, of which the latest shows signs that the service is beginning to bring in money. During overnight hours all trains go to Far Rockaway rather than Lefferts Blvd. as was the practice. The Rockaway Park shuttle also runs all night. During summer weekends, the shuttle is extended to Euclid Ave. to further improve Rockaway service. Several rush hour "A" trains go to Rockaway Park, as well as the usual Lefferts and Far Rockaway service.

We board our train to Far Rockaway at the Rockaway Boulevard station. Turning south toward the bay, the line at present is three tracks but more tracks were present and some are visible through the brush along the right of way.


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