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The Jamaica Line is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York Subway.

The Jamaica Line runs from Marcy Avenue, where it connects with the line over the Williamsburg Bridge to compass east of the 121st Street station, where it continues as a lower level subway, the BMT Archer Avenue Line to Jamaica Center/Parsons Archer It is served by the J, Z and M services.

Historical backgroundEdit

The Jamaica Line includes the oldest existing elevated structure on the New York City subway system, as well as some of the newest.

The current line includes portions of lines built at different times under different names and several different companies. The portion from Marcy Avenue (originally from Broadway Ferry, dismantled) to the line's junction with the Lexington Avenue El was built by the Union Elevated Railroad and leased to the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad for operation. Later these companies combined as the Brooklyn Union Elevated Railroad. At Lexington Avenue, the line operated over the structure of the Lexington Avenue L, also known as the Old Main Line, the original elevated line in Brooklyn to Cypress Hills station, located on Crescent Street at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue near the Brooklyn-Queens border. The entire operation was leased to the BRT, which described its elevated lines with the capital letter "L" (in common with Chicago, but unlike Manhattan and Boston), and was known as the Broadway L.

This portion of the Jamaica Line includes a variety of structures. From Marcy Avenue to a point just before Alabama Avenue the line operates on the structure of the old Broadway L and Lexington Avenue L lines, but substantially rebuilt and upgraded to a three-track line around World War I under the Dual Contracts of 1913. From Alabama Avenue to just before the current Cypress Hills station, the Jamaica Line operates on the oldest elevated structure in New York City, the steel-reinforced cast iron line of the original Old Main Line.

At Cypress Hills, the line turns northeast onto Jamaica Avenue on what was known as the Jamaica Avenue Line, a Dual Contracts structure. This structure has provisions on its entire length for three tracks, but a center track was never built, with the exception of a layup track at 111th Street and another between 160th and 168th Streets on the now-demolished original end of the line.

After 121st Street, the line turns into the Archer Avenue Subway, opened in 1989, and one of the newest on the system, ending at Jamaica Center station.

Broadway (Brooklyn) Line services over the years

The following major service changes have been made on the Broadway (Brooklyn) Line, not counting Myrtle Avenue-Chambers Street Line services (BMT 10/M):

Morning rush-hour local Morning rush-hour express Afternoon rush-hour local Afternoon rush-hour express Other times local Variant/short line runs
1959-67 14 168th Street - Canal Street, "B" stops inbound 15 168th Street - Broad Street, "A" stops inbound 14 Crescent Street - Canal Street 15 168th Street - Broad Street 15 168th Street - Broad Street 14 Atlantic Avenue (Canarsie Line) or Rockaway Parkway (Canarsie Line) - Canal Street, afternoon rush hours only
1967-68 JJ 168th Street - Canal Street, "B" stops inbound
RJ 168th Street - 95th Street (Brooklyn), inbound only
QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach, "A" stops inbound JJ Crescent Street - Canal Street
RJ 168th Street - 95th Street (Brooklyn), outbound only
QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach JJ 168th Street - Broad Street
QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach, middays and early evenings
JJ Atlantic Avenue (Canarsie Line) - Canal Street, afternoon rush hours only
1968-1973 KK 168th Street - 57th Street (Manhattan), "B" stops inbound QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, "A" stops inbound KK 168th Street - 57th Street (Manhattan), "B" stops outbound QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, "A" stops outbound QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, goes only to/from Broad Street late evenings, late nights and weekends
1973-1976 K Eastern Parkway - 57th Street (Manhattan) J 168th Street - Broad Street, two inbound patterns, one for "A" stops and one for "B" stops K Eastern Parkway - 57th Street (Manhattan) J 168th Street - Broad Street, all stops J 168th Street - Broad Street

The K was discontinued in 1976, and all J trains made all stops from then until the 1988 opening of the BMT Archer Avenue Line.

The line nameEdit

From its accession by the BRT to and beyond city ownership in 1940, the portion of the line from its western terminus to Cypress Hills was known as the Broadway L or the Broadway-Brooklyn Line. Beyond that point it was known as the Jamaica Avenue Line. Subsequent to city takeover, the dividing line between the Broadway and Jamaica Avenue Lines was often considered to be the more westerly station at Eastern Parkway, now known as Broadway Junction.

Since the discontinuance of separate Broadway-Brooklyn services, the entire line is now known as the Jamaica Line.


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