Monday, August 27, 2012

The Ozone Park Ramp Up Junction

In Ozone Park, Queens, there is a junction that can be the point of much confusion endured by JFK bound tourists and casual A Train riding NYC residents alike.  It is a common occurrence that commuters bound for JFK Airport will mistakenly board a Lefferts Blvd bound A train and scratch their head when they never make it to the Howard Beach station. This piece of infrastructure is the first of two sequences where A Train, while retaining the same route designation (A) splits in to multiple terminus points.

This next section reveals a small, but complicated piece of NYC Transit lore.  Some of the terms used here may seem somewhat esoteric to people who aren't familiar with the basics of New York City Subway system history.  There is a series in the works in which I will discuss, in further detail, some of the fascinating history of the system and its development.  But until then, all that really needs to be communicated at this point is that much work has been done over the last several decades to try to unify the subway system.  In many ways, however, the system is still a hodgepodge of of different lines created by competing and conflicting interests.
One doesn't have to look very hard to see evidence of this.  The most conspicuous clues that are readily evident  are details like how the system is separated into an A Division (fomerly IRT, Routes with numbers) and a B Division (formerly IND, BMT, Routes with letters), which have completely different train sizes.  Or some of the awkward ways in which transfers are made within connected stations.  The junction above, however, is more subtle, and is resultant from dual contracts, and deconstruction and reconstitution of old transit lines.

This junction is where the 1) IND Rockaway Line,  2) IND Fulton Street Line, and 3) BMT Fulton Street Line.

1. IND Rockaway Line:  Originally part of the Long Island Rail Road System (more on that at a later date), which was rehabilitation and adapted to fully connect the Rockaway Peninsula into the subway system.

2. IND Fulton Street Line: Originally part of the Independent Subway System, beginning in downtown Brooklyn and went to East New York.  Much of it was built during the 1930's and 1940's.  In the late 1950's, this line was connected to this junction.

3. BMT Fulton Street Line: Formerly an elevated line which was operated by the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp., that spanned Fulton Street.  Most of it was demolished however, and the only remaining section runs along Liberty Avenue From 80th-Hudson Street  to Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd, which was integrated into the IND Fulton Line via this junction.

In short, any peak time Brooklyn/Queens bound A Trains all travel the same route along the Fulton Line until it reaches this point, after which one train may continue along the even older, elevated Fulton Line, or it heads to the Rockaways.  I really enjoyed talking up this single photo, and I hope you, the reader enjoyed it as well.

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