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The N Broadway Express is a service of the New York City Subway. It is colored yellow on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the BMT Broadway Line through Manhattan. It operates from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. During weekdays (except late nights), it uses the Manhattan Bridge to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn and runs express between 34th Street-Herald Square and 59th Street in Brooklyn. Weekend service is the same except it runs local in Manhattan. During late nights it runs local along its entire route and uses the Montague Street Tunnel to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn, replacing R service.
The route that is now the N was originally BMT service 4, known as the Sea Beach Line or Sea Beach Express.
- On June 22, 1915, the modern BMT Sea Beach Line replaced an old surface el car line that branched off the BMT Fifth Avenue Line with the old BMT West End Line. Originally, it used the south tracks of the Manhattan Bridge to run to Chambers Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line. Soon the north tracks to Canal Street were opened, along with segments of the BMT Broadway Line. (Today, the north tracks run to Grand Street on the IND Chrystie Street Connection, while the south tracks run to Canal Street on the Broadway Line.)
- On September 14, 1917, trains began running between 14th Street–Union Square and Stillwell Avenue.
- On January 5, 1918, the Broadway Line was extended to Times Square–42nd Street.
- On May 2, 1957, service was extended north via the express tracks to 57th Street. When the BMT Southern Division routes were given letters in 1960, the 4 became the N, with a single letter because it ran express; it was given the color yellow (which it kept in the 1979 revisions).
- The light blue NX designation was used for a short-lived "super-express" service along the express tracks of the Sea Beach Line, beginning several stations east of Coney Island at Brighton Beach, and also ending at 57th Street/Seventh Avenue. This service was only provided from November 27, 1967 to 1968 due to low ridership. A service resembling the southern section of the NX route happened during a General Order in 2006 on weekends between April 22 and May 8, and again from May 20 through May 22, when the N was extended through Stillwell Avenue (a rare occurrence of through service at Stillwell) to Kings Highway on the Brighton Line. This was to provide service on the lower Brighton Line because the Q was suspended due to switch and station work.
- On August 27, 1976, N service was extended north over the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection to 71st–Continental Avenue–Forest Hills, to replace the discontinued EE. Some local N trains went from Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan to 71st Avenue, which had been the E route; others stayed with the Manhattan Bridge route and were simply extended to 71st Avenue.
- On April 26, 1986, the north tracks on the Manhattan Bridge were closed for rehabilitation, and services that had used the north tracks were moved to the south side. This caused N trains to be sent via Lower Manhattan and the Montague Street Tunnel, running fully local, though evening, night and weekend trains continued to use the bridge and express tracks, terminating at 57th Street.
- In May 1987, the N swapped northern terminals with the R. The N was switched to Ditmars Boulevard–Astoria, while the R went to 71st Avenue. This was done to give the R direct access to Jamaica Yard; previously, the R did not have direct access to either Jamaica Yard or Coney Island Yard, while the N had had direct access to both.
- In fall 1990, full service on Manhattan Bridge was briefly restored. Express service ran all times except nights (all service stopped at 49th Street due to heavy usage). This very short service was halted by the discovery of a cracked beam on the bridge.
- From 1993 to 1995, the southern terminal of the N was 86th Street due to rehabilitation work at Stillwell Avenue. On November 3, 2001, it was cut back again for the final phase of the terminal's reconstruction project.
- After the September 11, 2001 attacks, N service was suspended and replaced by the W in Manhattan and Queens and the M in Brooklyn. On October 28, service was restored, but Cortlandt Street remained closed until September 15, 2002.
- On September 8, 2002, the N service became a shuttle to Pacific Street on nights and weekends, running express on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line, as the W was extended since it was now the only line serving Stillwell Avenue.
- On February 22, 2004, the Manhattan Bridge work was finally completed. Since then, the N has been restored to the bridge (via Fourth Avenue express and DeKalb Avenue bypass). On weekdays it runs express between 34th Street in Manhattan and 59th Street in Brooklyn, and local elsewhere. Weekends, it is still an express in Brooklyn, but it runs as a local in Manhattan. During late nights, it runs local along its entire length, via the Montague Street Tunnel.
- On May 29, 2005, the new Stillwell Avenue terminal was completed, and N service there was restored.
- On June 28, 2010, the N began running local in Manhattan north of Canal Street on weekdays to replace the W, which was discontinued due to budget problems, effectively adopting the weekend service pattern. N trains that short-turned at 57th Street or Times Square during the AM rush hour continued to run express in Manhattan.
- From August 2, 2013 to September 14, 2014, the Montague Street Tunnel was closed for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs. During this time, overnight N service was rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge.
- On November 7, 2016, the MTA restored the BMT Broadway Line services to their 2004-2010 service pattern in preparation for the rerouting of the Q train to the Second Avenue Subway. As a result, the N train once again became a weekday express between 34th Street–Herald Square and Canal Street, with local service replaced by the W train. The MTA approved the service change on May 23, 2016. The changes took place on November 7, 2016. On January 3, 2017, the handful of N trains that short-turned at 57th Street–Seventh Avenue during rush hours were extended to 96th Street using the Second Avenue Subway.
The following table shows the lines used by Route N, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
| all ex.|
|BMT Astoria Line (full line)||Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard||Queensboro Plaza||local|
|60th Street Tunnel||all|
|BMT Broadway Line||Lexington Avenue / 59th Street||Prince Street||local|
|City Hall||Whitehall Street – South Ferry||all|
|Montague Street Tunnel||all||Closed|
|BMT Fourth Avenue Line||Court Street||Jay Street – MetroTech||all|
|Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center||59th Street||express|
|BMT Sea Beach Line (full line)||Eighth Avenue||Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue|
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|