Who designed the NYC subway system

New York City

The MTA New York City Subway, also known as the New York Subway, is the New York City subway network. It was opened on October 27, 1904, making it one of the oldest networks in the world. The underground network includes 25 lines, 472 stations and 380 kilometers of route. It is one of the longest on earth. Over 1400km of track were laid. The New York subway runs about 5 million a day. Passengers. Most of the underground network was built by three companies between the turn of the century and around 1940. There are a total of 6221 rail cars. The operator of today's route network has been the New Yorker since 1959

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Many subways lead to one of the so-called eight trunk lines in Manhattan. Six of the eight run (more or less) parallel from north to south and the other two from west to east. In the southern part of Manhattan and in the center of the Bronx, the subway lines run across each other. In addition to the Manhattan district, Brooklyn and the Bronx have a subway network, which covers the large area of ​​these districts with subway networks. Queens has connections to Brooklyn and John F. Kennedy Airport (Queens). The only district that does not have a subway system that is connected to the other parts of the city is called Staten Island.


There were already plans for an underground railway system in 1870. Alfred Ely Beach installed the first small subway line in February 1870, which was almost 100 meters long. This was a good principle to get around, but it was way too laborious. Beach then gave up the mini-subway three years later.

In the middle of the 19th century, more and more people, mainly from Europe, came to New York, mostly to Manhattan. There they “camped” in the south and there were only slow solutions to how to get to the north of Manhattan. Although a rapid transit network was now urgently needed, it was repeatedly rejected due to financial problems in the community.

Cornelius Vanderbilt founded a company in 1872 to plan a subway network. He carried out measurements and estimated costs for such a network. However, the route on which the subway lines were supposed to pass did not turn out to be worthwhile enough.

The traffic problem could not be adequately solved by elevated railways (trains). But you couldn't build subways either because they were too expensive. In addition, one was allowed the debt of 50 million. Do not exceed $. In order to cover the construction costs, a financing model was developed in which the subway belongs to the city, but the construction and operating costs are taken over by private companies.

In 1899, John B. McDonald and his financier August Belmont Jr. received a cash premium of $ 35 million. The route of the subway network ran from City Hall Park (near the Brooklyn Bridge, Park Street) to Harlem and from there to the Bronx.

As early as 1902, McDonald received another contract to expand the route. Now the subway network should also lead to Brooklyn and Long Island. This section was built between 1905 and 1908.
Up until the First World War, the subway system was expanded, mainly in Brooklyn. When the First World War broke out, this hindered the expansion of the underground lines due to the lack of material and labor.


John Francis Hylan, the Mayor (1918-1925) of New York, was (too much) enthusiastic about the ever-expanding subway system. He turned down a lot of building permits for high-rise buildings in order to invest money in the subways. There were many protests against Hylan. After all, he wanted to design his own subway network. However, the state government did not allow the subway networks to be split up. As the city continued to grow in terms of population, the double system (system of two subway companies) of the subways could no longer withstand the many inhabitants. That's why Hylan's idea was allowed. The 600Mio. Dollar expensive project, which was built from March 1925 to September 1932, was to be named "Indipendent City Owned Rapid Transit Railroad" because it was independent of the other subway systems. When New York went bankrupt in 1975, they stopped building subway lines and saved money.

During this time, fights, robberies and murders increased in the subway and it was avoided to ride with her. Another problem in the 1970s was the spraying of graffiti on the wagons.

1980 was the low point in New York's underground history. 33% of all underground railways were idle due to technical defects. Replacement lines were missing, which were also difficult to find.

In the 1990s, an economic boom helped the city get out of the subway crisis. At the same time, crime in the subways decreased thanks to the railway police, who kept order in the underground trains.

The stations were renovated in the mid-1990s. In the meantime, this led to countless track changes.

From the end of the 1990s onwards, the metro network had to be enlarged again. It has not yet been completed.


On particularly frequent routes (for example at airports) there are two or three tracks next to each other in order to be able to transport more people at the same time.


All sections of the New York subway have their own names. These are derived from the destination. However, it can also depend on the main road used. For example, if Third Avenue is the main road, the subway line is called the Third Avenue Line.


In the course of the approximately 100-year history of the underground, there were many accidents due to various causes, especially in the 70s and 80s (fire in an electric car, fall from an elevated train, vandalism, 9/11 etc.).

Metro networks:

The system is divided into three networks:

  • Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), which has its route network in Manhattan and the Bronx.
  • Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), covers southern Manhattan and all of Brooklyn.
  • Indipendent (German: independent), connects all parts of the city (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Long Island) with the exception of Staten Island.

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