W (New York City Subway service)
The W operates weekdays only except late nights between Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens and Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan, making local stops along its entire route; limited rush hour service is extended beyond Whitehall Street to and from 86th Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn, making local stops in Brooklyn. The W is internally staffed and scheduled as part of the N.
Introduced on July 22, 2001, the W ran at all times on the BMT West End Line and BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn to Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue across the Manhattan Bridge, running express on the Broadway Line. It was truncated in 2004 to its current service pattern, running local on the Broadway Line to Whitehall Street until June 25, 2010, when it was eliminated due to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)'s financial crisis. The route was later reinstated on November 7, 2016, using its original emblem and 2004–2010 routing, as part of the updated service pattern related to the opening of the Second Avenue Subway.
The W was originally conceived as an extra Broadway Line local service running on the Astoria and Broadway lines to Whitehall Street in Manhattan. This service was essentially a variant of the N route, which in the 1970s and 1980s ran express on the Broadway Line between Forest Hills–71st Avenue in Queens and Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn. At the time, some trains ran local on Broadway and only traveled between Forest Hills and Whitehall Street. However, reconstruction of the Manhattan Bridge's subway tracks between 1986 and 2004 forced the N, which normally ran express on the Broadway Line and via the bridge, to run local via the Montague Street Tunnel. This service change precluded W local service from running as envisioned. The W bullet appeared on older roll signs as a yellow diamond bullet, while newer roll signs featured the modern round bullet. The W also appeared on the digital signs of the R44s and R46s with any route and destination combination that could be used for the Broadway Line.
The W label was first used in 2001, when the two tracks on the Manhattan Bridge's northern side, which connected to the IND Sixth Avenue Line, were closed for repairs. This required the suspension of Sixth Avenue B service south of 34th Street–Herald Square as it used those tracks to travel to and from Brooklyn. The W service replaced the B on the BMT West End Line and BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn, ran on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan and BMT Astoria Line in Queens. It replicated the route of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT)'s old 3 route, later named the T, that operated from 1916 until 1967, when the B replaced it. The W also replicated the split in B service from 1986 to 1988, when the bridge's north tracks were first closed, although both halves of the route were labeled B.
W service began July 22, 2001 in conjunction with the reopening of the south tracks of the Manhattan Bridge and the closure of the bridge's north tracks. Service began operating between Coney Island and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard, Queens via the West End Local and Fourth Avenue Express in Brooklyn; the Manhattan Bridge south tracks; Broadway Express (switching to the local tracks to serve 49th Street) in Manhattan; and the 60th Street Tunnel and BMT Astoria Line in Queens. The W ran express on the Astoria Line during rush hours in the peak direction between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., and local at all other times. Trains ran express to Manhattan between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., and to Astoria from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Evening service terminated at 57th Street–Seventh Avenue in Manhattan (using the express tracks and bypassing 49th Street), while late night and weekend evening service operated as a shuttle within Brooklyn only, terminating at 36th Street during late nights and Atlantic Avenue–Pacific Street on weekends.
After September 11, 2001, all Broadway Line service in Lower Manhattan was suspended due to extensive damage caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center. As a result, the entire N route was suspended, and W trains ran at all times between Ditmars Boulevard and Coney Island. It made all stops except in Brooklyn north of 36th Street. During late nights, it ran in two sections: between Ditmars Boulevard and 34th Street, skipping 49th Street in the northbound direction, and in Brooklyn between 36th Street and Coney Island. Normal service on both routes resumed on October 28, 2001.
The Astoria express service was discontinued on January 15, 2002 because it was unpopular among Astoria residents. This change was approved by the MTA Board in December 2001. Express service was implemented on the Astoria Line in order to improve operations at the Ditmars Boulevard terminal, and because 43% of the line's riders boarded at express stations. Instead, the change yielded no operational benefits, and made local N trains overcrowded, and express W trains underutilized. N trains carried 1.9 times as many passengers as W trains in the morning, and 2.6 times as many in the evening. W express service had been suspended after the September 11 attacks to replace N service. Even after normal service resumed in October 2001, local W service was kept until November 19 on a trial basis. Analysis of the operating pattern found that the terminal could handle the all-local service pattern and that the ridership split between the N and W was more balanced.
Around that time, evening service was extended from 57th Street to Astoria.
On September 8, 2002, W service was extended to Astoria during late nights and weekends, running fully local via the Fourth Avenue and Broadway Lines and Montague Street Tunnel. This was because ongoing reconstruction of the Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue terminal left the W as the only train serving it. This change also gave the West End Line late-night service to Manhattan for the first time.
When the Manhattan Bridge's north tracks were restored to service on February 22, 2004, the W was curtailed to its current service pattern, running weekdays only from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (7:00 to 21:30) as an entirely local service between Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard and Whitehall Street–South Ferry, Lower Manhattan. The Brooklyn portion was replaced by the D, which was extended over the north side of the bridge and down the West End Line. W service between Manhattan and Queens remained, because of increasing ridership on the BMT Astoria Line. The first three W trains of the day entered service at 86th Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn and the last three trains of the night continued in service to Kings Highway. These trips ran local in Brooklyn via the Montague Street Tunnel, BMT Fourth Avenue and BMT Sea Beach lines. On July 27, 2008, the W was extended to run until 11:00 p.m. in response to growth in the subway system's ridership.
On March 24, 2010, the MTA announced the elimination of the W due to financial shortfalls. In its place, on weekdays, the N train ran local north of Canal Street while the Q train was extended from 57th Street-Seventh Avenue to Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard, running local north of 34th Street-Herald Square. The W ceased operation on Friday, June 25, 2010 with the last train bound for Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard leaving Whitehall Street–South Ferry at 10:50 p.m.
In July 2015, the MTA announced it was considering restoring the W in its 2004-2010 service pattern once the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opened, which would reroute the Q from the Astoria Line to 96th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The W would replace the Q on the Astoria Line to maintain two services there weekdays.
On May 23, 2016, the MTA announced it would restore the W. Service was restored on November 7, 2016, running between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. The Q was temporarily cut back to 57th Street–Seventh Avenue, allowing for a seamless extension to the Second Avenue Line, which opened on January 1, 2017. Additionally, the N train again ran express in Manhattan on weekdays from 34th Street–Herald Square to Canal Street. The W's restoration meant there would be 20 fewer trips to/from Astoria per weekday as the W ran for a shorter time span each day than the Q did; In June 2018, the MTA added service between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., and between 11:00 p.m. and midnight in response to overcrowded N trains during those hours.
As the N and W share the same fleet from the Coney Island Yard, a small number of W trains originate/terminate at 86th Street throughout the day. These trains operate via the Montague Street Tunnel and local along the BMT Fourth Avenue Line and BMT Sea Beach Line as they did prior to 2010. In March 2020, the W was temporarily suspended due to lack of ridership and train crew availability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, though full service was restored in June.
The following table shows the lines used by the W, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|BMT Astoria Line (full line)||Astoria–Ditmars Blvd||Queensboro Plaza||local|
|60th Street Tunnel||all|
|BMT Broadway Line (full line)||Lexington Avenue/59th Street||Canal Street||local|
|City Hall||Whitehall Street–South Ferry||all|
|Montague Street Tunnel||all||Limited service|
|BMT Fourth Avenue Line||Court Street||Jay Street–MetroTech||all|
|DeKalb Avenue||59th Street/Fourth Avenue||local|
|BMT Sea Beach Line||Eighth Avenue||86th Street|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours in the peak direction only|
|Stops rush hours only (limited service not noted on map)|
|Time period details|
|Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act|
|↑||Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act|
in the indicated direction only
|Elevator access to mezzanine only|
|Stations||Subway transfers||Connections and notes|
|Astoria Boulevard||N||M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport|
7 <7> (IRT Flushing Line)
|Lexington Avenue/59th Street||N R
4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
|Roosevelt Island Tramway|
|Fifth Avenue–59th Street||N R |
|57th Street–Seventh Avenue||N Q R |
|49th Street||↑||N R ||Station is accessible in the northbound direction only.|
|Times Square–42nd Street||N Q R
1 2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)
7 <7> (IRT Flushing Line)
S (42nd Street Shuttle)
A C E (IND Eighth Avenue Line at 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal)
|Port Authority Bus Terminal|
M34A Select Bus Service
|34th Street–Herald Square||N Q R
B D F <F> M (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
|M34 / M34A Select Bus Service|
PATH at 33rd Street
Amtrak, LIRR, NJ Transit at Pennsylvania Station
|23rd Street||R||M23 Select Bus Service|
|14th Street–Union Square||N Q R
L (BMT Canarsie Line)
4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
|M14A / M14D Select Bus Service|
|Eighth Street–New York University||R|
|Canal Street||N Q R
6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
J Z (BMT Nassau Street Line)
|Some northbound rush hour trips begin at this station.|
2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at Park Place)
A C (IND Eighth Avenue Line at Chambers Street)
E (IND Eighth Avenue Line at World Trade Center)
|PATH at World Trade Center|
|Whitehall Street–South Ferry||R
1 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)
|M15 Select Bus Service|
Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal
|Montague Street Branch (Limited rush hour service)|
2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) at Borough Hall
4 5 (IRT Eastern Parkway Line) at Borough Hall
A C F <F> (IND Fulton Street and Culver Lines)
|DeKalb Avenue||B Q R |
|Fourth Avenue Line|
|Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center||D N R
B Q (BMT Brighton Line)
2 3 4 5 (IRT Eastern Parkway Line)
|LIRR Atlantic Branch at Atlantic Terminal|
|Union Street||R |
F G (IND Culver Line at Fourth Avenue)
|Prospect Avenue||R |
|25th Street||R |
|36th Street||D N R|
|45th Street||R |
|53rd Street||R |
|59th Street/Fourth Avenue||N R |
|Sea Beach Line|
|Eighth Avenue||↑||N||Station is ADA-accessible in the northbound direction only.|
|Fort Hamilton Parkway||N|
|New Utrecht Avenue||N
D (BMT West End Line at 62nd Street)
|Kings Highway||N||B82 Select Bus Service|
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- A search using the MTA's trip planner using "Whitehall Street" and "Kings Highway" as stations and setting the time to the appropriate hour (6:00 am into Manhattan; 9:00pm out of Manhattan) turned out results that showed the W as a possible travel option. Clicking the departure time also showed two additional times.
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