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Map of the Third and Second Avenue elevated lines, in green and red respectively.
© 2007 Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Sign announcing the discontinuation of service.

The IRT Second Avenue Line was an elevated railway in Manhattan, New York City, United States, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company until city takeover in 1940. It ended service on June 13, 1942, although the portion north of the 57th Street closed on June 11, 1940, with the city takeover.[1]

In 1875 the Rapid Transit Commission granted the Gilbert Elevated Railway Company the right to construct the railway from Battery Park to the Harlem River along Second Avenue.[2] The commission also granted the Gilbert Elevated Railway Company the right to operate the Sixth Avenue Elevated and soon afterward the Gilbert Elevated Railway change its name to the Metropolitan Elevated Railway.

As part of the Dual Contracts, this line was triple-tracked, allowing true express service.

The M15 bus, which runs along much of the IRT Second Avenue Elevated Line's route, carries more passengers than any other route in New York City. However, it does not carry as many passengers as a rapid transit line, and does not allow for interchange within rapid transit stations. A replacement rapid transit route, the Second Avenue Subway has been under consideration since before the demolition of the IRT Second Avenue Line, and is under construction as of 2007. The first phase is scheduled to open in 2016.


Station listing

Station Tracks Opened Closed Notes
129th Street 2 Transfer to Third Avenue Line; later some trains continued north over the Third Avenue Line, bypassing 129th Street
127th Street 2 Early
125th Street express After the line opened
121st Street local
117th Street local
111th Street local
105th Street local After the line opened
99th Street local
92nd Street local
86th Street express
80th Street local
72nd Street local
65th Street local March 1, 1880[3]
57th Street express Branch over Queensboro Bridge to Queensboro Plaza leaves at 59th Street
50th Street local
42nd Street express March 1, 1880[3]
34th Street local Transfer to branch to 34th Street Ferry
23rd Street local March 1, 1880[3]
19th Street local
14th Street express March 1, 1880[3]
8th Street local March 1, 1880[3]
First Street local March 1, 1880[3]
Rivington Street local March 1, 1880[3]
Grand Street local March 1, 1880[3]
Canal Street local March 1, 1880[3]
Chatham Square 2 March 1, 1880[3] Transfer to Third Avenue Line and branch to City Hall
Franklin Square 2 August 26, 1878[4]
Fulton Street 2 August 26, 1878[4]
Hanover Square 2 August 26, 1878[4]
South Ferry 2 August 26, 1878[4]


  1. ^ Staff. "Second Avenue 'El' Coming to a Stop", The Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 1942. Accessed October 12, 2008.
  2. ^ Rapid Transit in New York City and in Other Great Cities. prepared by the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. 1905. p. 52. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "More Elevated Facilities, the Second Avenue Line and City Hall Branch Opened" (PDF). The New York Times Company. 2 March 1880. p. 3. Retrieved 21 February 2009.  
  4. ^ a b c d "Rapid Transit on the Bowery" (PDF). The New York Times Company. 26 August 1878. p. 8. Retrieved 10 February 2009.  

Further reading

  • "Second Avenue El in Manhattan". By NJI Publishing with text provided by Joe Cunningham. 1995. ISBN 0-934088-33-0

External links



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