Hello. The Brooklyn Bridge's history got a lot of attention this week as it played host to that annual fireworks extravaganza. Always nice when transportation icons get recognized. But since part of our Canarsie Line is actually several years older (the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, whereas the Canarsie Line originated in 1865), we want to give it its proper due, too, on this Fourth of July week. Your L nostalgia is below.

Also: plan ahead for overnight L work in Brooklyn, what's the difference between "tube" and "tunnel," and what's coming up in construction. Have a fabulous weekend.
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Getting on track: train cars getting delivered at Bushwick and Montrose in Brooklyn, circa 1924.

Steam to CBTC—We've come an L of a long way

In an earlier edition, we talked about communications-based train control (CBTC), the modern signal system currently on the L and 7 lines only. Once the L Project is done, with new substations, track, and all the rest, the L will be among our most modernized lines. That’s quite a rise for a line that started as a pokey steam engine to a pier. You didn’t know? Here’s the mini-history.
1865 The first stretch of today’s Canarsie Line opened under a charter from the Long Island Rail Road, now an MTA commuter line and the nation’s oldest railroad. That coal-fed steam engine ran between East New York and Canarsie, which once vied with Coney Island as a waterside attraction.

1906 The Canarsie Line next became an electric Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) line, terminating at the Williamsburg ferry. It had both elevated and grade-level track. Its juice was supplied by third rail and by trolley wire south of New Lots. (You can still see a few of the old trolley poles in Canarsie.)
1924 From the west, meanwhile, cometh the subway. The BMT subway line from 14 St-6 Av to Montrose Ave opened in June 1924.  
1931 A second underground line from Montrose to Broadway opened in 1928. Lastly, the 8 Av Station in Manhattan opened in 1931. With some nips and tucks, that’s your current Canarsie Line.

A final fun fact: The Canarsie Line is one of two “isolated” lines unconnected to the rest of the subway system tracks. The other is the 7 Line. (That’s part of the reason why it made sense to install CBTC first on these two lines.) With no overlapping track, new BMT cars couldn’t just be driven onto the line. So when the first cars were delivered to the Brooklyn side of the Canarsie Line in 1924, they had to be hauled down a special ramp at Bushwick and Montrose. See above photo.

Trip planner: Upcoming weeknight and weekend work at select Brooklyn L stations

During the overnight hours for nine weekends and the preceding weeknights, we need full access to L stations between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St in Brooklyn to make a bunch of accessibility and power upgrades. This work was always part of the L project, and we’re able to set the dates for it now based on our progress and other work going on. 

This means that there will be no L service from midnight to 5 a.m. between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St on these dates (full list below).

FYI: L service will continue operating every 20 minutes between 8 Av in Manhattan and Lorimer St in Brooklyn. It will also operate every 20 minutes between Broadway Junction and Canarsie Rockaway-Parkway.
What’s the work?
In these nine weeks, we’re making improvements to 10 stations. Highlights include:
  • Morgan Av, DeKalb Av, Halsey St and Bushwick-Aberdeen: Reconstructing the platform edges, adding new tactile strips and installing ADA-compliant boarding areas
  • Myrtle Av and Wilson Av: Upgrading the power at the circuit breaker houses there
  • Wilson Av: Upgrading the track near this station
We’re also putting the finishing touches on the two new substations in Brooklyn—connecting them to power means we’ll be ready to run more L trains once the project is finished. We aren’t able to have active trains running while this connection is made.
Trip tips
  • Keep taking the other subway options during late nights and weekends! Using the G, 7, M, J and connecting Williamsburg Link B91A bus will still be the fastest option for most of you. 
  • Use our free bus connector: To get between the stations where there will be no L service (between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St), there will be a bus coming every 3 minutes, making all stops near L stations. On weeknights, one bus will run from Broadway Junction to Lorimer St in both directions. On weeknights, the bus will operate in two sections, one from Broadway Junction to Myrtle Av and one from Myrtle to Lorimer St.
  • Look for signs at your station to see when the last train before midnight leaves the station.

Tues., July 16 to Fri., July 19
Mon., July 22 to Fri., July 26
Mon., July 29 to Fri., August 2
Mon., September 23 to Fri., September 27
Mon., September 30 to Fri., October 4

Service rundown
From 10 PM to Midnight:
L: Operates every 20 minutes between 8 Av and Rockaway Parkway
L: Overlay operates every 20 minutes between Lorimer St and Rockaway Parkway
From Midnight to 5:00 AM:
L part 1: Operates between 8 Av to Lorimer St every 20 minutes
L part 2: Operates between Broadway Jct (L platform) and Rockaway Parkway every 20 minutes
Bus: Operates between Broadway Jct and Lorimer St

Fri., July 19 to Sun., July 21
Fri., July 26 to Sun., July 28
Fri., August 2 to Sun., August 4
Fri., September 27 to Sun., September 29
Fri., October 4 to Sun., October 6
Fri., January 3 to Sun., January 5
Fri., January 10 to Sun., January 12
Fri., January 17 to Sun., January 19
Fri., January 24 to Sun., January 26
Service rundown
From 10 PM to Midnight Friday:
L: Operates every 20 minutes between 8 Av and Rockaway Parkway
L: Overlay operates every 20 minutes between Lorimer St and Rockaway Parkway
From 12:01 AM Saturday to 5:00 AM Monday:
L part 1: Operates between 8 Av to Lorimer St every 20 minutes
L part 2: Operate between Broadway Jct (J platform) and Rockaway Parkway every 20 minutes
Bus 1: Operates between Broadway Jct and Myrtle Av
Bus 2: Operates between Myrtle Av and Lorimer St
Plan your trip

What do you call it...tunnel or tube?

What’s the difference between a tunnel and a tube? Our subways run in tunnels. The tube is that subway over in London, right?
Sort of. In fact, you’ll often see our under-river connections called "tubes" as well. As in, the Canarsie Tube, the Joralemon Tube, the Cranberry Tube. We asked some of our engineering pros: why’s that?
Matt Best, our chief engineer at MTA Capital Construction says: “My understanding is that all underground subways are tunnels. Colloquially, underwater crossings are called ‘tubes’ because they generally have a circular cross-section. But it’s always safe to say tunnel.”
Frank Mondello, our chief civil/structural engineer at MTA NYCT Capital Programs had this to add: “Tunnel is the general term. Tubes refer to tunnels with a circular shape mined through rock or soil. The structure is made of cast-iron ring sections bolted together on site then grouted with cement. They differ from land-based tunnels, which are usually dug as box-shaped trenches then covered over.”
In the Canarsie Tunnel, there are actually two cast-iron tubes, each enclosing one track running in opposite directions. So properly speaking, there’s one tunnel and two tubes. We cannot answer for London.

Glamour shot of the week: Filling in the gaps

Crews get closer to restoring the street at one of three total substations we're building for the L Project. This is near Maspeth Ave in Brooklyn. The substation is almost fully underground at this location.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA Capital Construction / Saturday, June 29, 2019

Construction look-ahead: Week of 7/6/19

We're continuing cable work, and doing a lot with conduits this week. Here are the highlights:
  • Remove negative feeder conduit in one tube, and install the new conduit and cable
  • Install FRP shell from pump room to North 7th
  • Install cable and tunnel lighting brackets from Bedford to North 7th
  • Install new equipment, conduits and wiring in tunnel lighting room at Bedford Avenue
  • Install conduits at 1 Av platform
  • Install copper bus bar and cables on tube shell from Bedford to 1st Avenue
  • Core drill for conduits in Station Dept Rooms at 1st Avenue on mezzanine level
  • Pull signal feeder cable at Bedford
  • Swap plates and ties from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Continue duct bank work from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Remove existing and install new contact rail equipment from Avenue D to 1st Avenue
  • Install discharge pipe, manifolds and wall support brackets from Avenue D to pump room

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