NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY CHAINING

In order to identify locations on the subway system, the TA uses a series of letters and numbers on each signal. Each signal has a number plate which identifies the distance from a zero point. A typical BMT or IND sign looks like:

Line A - Track 2Signal Number Plate A2-13513,500 feet from zero

On the BMT and IND the even tracks are NORTHBOUND and the odd tracks are SOUTHBOUND. Track 1 and 2 are local and tracks 3 and 4 are express. On three track lines (D line in Brooklyn) the signals for the middle track northbound direction are track 4 and the southbound signals are track 3.

IRT CHAINING CODES

IND CHAINING CODES

Some additional information from Jeff Erlitz and Shalom Septimus, friends of the JoeKorNer


BMT CHAINING CODES

LINE NAME FROM TO ZERO
A Broadway-Brighton 57th-7thAv Coney Is BMT-S
B Montague St Tunnel DeKalb Ave Canal St BMT-S
C BMT Culver Line Ninth Ave
Abandoned 1975
Ditmas Ave BMT-S
Ditmas Av
to IND 1954
Coney Island BMT-S
D West End 36th St Coney Is BMT-S
E Sea Beach 59th St Coney Is BMT-S
F Fourth Av Pacific St 95th St BMT-S
G (1-2) Astoria 57th St Astoria BMT-N
G (3-4) 63rd-BMT Lexington Ave BMT-N
GD Connection from BMT line G IND line D BMT-N
H Manhattan Bridge South Tracks (See note below)
BMT-J
J Nassau St-Jamaica Chambers 168th St.
Abandoned
BMT-J
Parsons Ctr
K Fulton St Sands St
Abondoned
Hudson St. BMT-E
Fulton Ferry
Abandoned
Court-Myrtle
Abandoned
?
Hudson St Lefferts Bld BMT-E (IND K)
L Lexington Av Bklyn Grand-Myrtle Gates-Broadway BMT-E
M Myrtle Ave Park Row
Abandoned 1944
Bridge Jay BMT-E
Bridge Jay
Abandoned 1969
Broadway
Broadway Metropolitsn Av
N Fifth Av Brooklyn Bridge St
Abandoned
65th-3rd Ave
Abandoned
BMT-E
O Franklin Shuttle Prospect Park Fulton St BMT-E
P Canarsie Line Broadway Jct Rockaway Pkwy BMT-P
Q 14th St East 6th Av Broadway Jct BMT-Q
QW 14th St West 6th Ave 8th Av BMT-Q
R Nassau St. Chambers St Line B BMT-S

Key to zero locations:

  • BMT-N & BMT-S - 58th Str/7th Av
  • N is to Astoria and Continental Ave
  • S is to Coney Island
  • BMT-E & BMT-J -intersection of the centerlines of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chambers St. Station.
  • J is via the Broadway Bklyn el line to Jamaica.
  • E was via the Brooklyn Bridge and the now abandoned network of el lines in Brooklyn. A number of lines still in operation today are chained via lines no longer in existance.
  • BMT-P Pitkin and Van Sinderen Ave. This is where the Canarsie line diverged from the Fulton St. El.
  • BMT-Q 14th St/6th Ave. The Canarsie Line originally terminated at 6th Ave and the zero point is there, when the line was extended to 8th Ave the chaining numbers increase to the west with a 'W' following the signal number.
  • NOTE about BMT line A and the Manhattan Bridge. In November 1967 the IND and BMT lines were merged via the Chrystie St. Connection. Prior to the merger, the two south tracks of the Manhattan Bridge were line H from Chambers St to Myrtle Ave and the two north tracks were line A from 57/7 to CI via Brighton. After the merger, the mid-point of the bridge became the change-over location of the two lines. There the line A tracks form Brooklyn become the Line B tracks of the IND and the H tracks from Brooklyn become the A tracks of the original line to Broadway.
    The H designation on 2005 information shows it ending south of Prince St.and the stubs from Chambers St are now J


    IND CHAINING CODES

    On the BMT and IND the even tracks are NORTHBOUND and the odd tracks are SOUTHBOUND. Track 1 and 2 are local and tracks 3 and 4 are express. On three track lines (F line in Brooklyn) the signals for the middle track northbound direction are track 4 and the southbound signals are track 3.

    IRT CHAINING CODES

    BMT CHAINING CODES


     
        
    LINE NAME FROM TO ZERO
    A Eighth Ave 207th Euclid IND
    B Sixth Ave West 8th St 57th IND
    BJ Chrystie-Jamaica Broadway Laffayette Essex St IND?
    C Concourse 135th 205th IND
    D Jamaica 50th-8th 179th IND
    D (5-6) World's Fair World's Fair Jamaica Yard IND
    DA Archer Ave Van Wyck Jamaica Center IND
    E Crosstown Queens Plaza Bergen St IND
    F Rockaways Rockaway Blvd Rockaway Park LIRR
    FA Far Rockaway Hammels Wye Far Rockaway LIRR
    K Liberty Ave Grant Ave Lefferts Blvd BMT-K
    T 63rd St IND-B @57/6th IND-D @36th St IND

    The IND zero is a theoretical point in New York Bay at the intersection of the extension of the West 4th St Station and the NY-NJ stateline in the Bay. The distance from the zero is measured from there to West 4th Street. That distance is the chaining point of the station from zero. All other points increase from there north bound and decrease south bound along the line.

    The LIRR zero for the Rockaway line is a throwback to the time when the line was part of the LIRR. The zero is in Long Island City via the the Montauk line to where the old Rockaway line diverted from the mailine.

    See the BMT CHAINING - K section for the zero of the K line.


    IRT CHAINING CODES

    The IRT sign is a little different from the BMT and IND signs. A typical IRT sign looks like:

    Signal Number palte IRT l-143 2

    Line L 14,300 feet from zero Track #2 (This sign had been upsidedown - L on top - since the page was published in 1998. ROBERT MARRERO pointed out to me that the L should be on the bottom. His prize is this note on the page.)

    On the IRT the signal track numbers are odd NORTHBOUND, even SOUTHBOUND with 1 and 2 being the express tracks. On three track lines, the middle track is 'M'. The track numbers used in stations though are numbered 1,2,3,4 from west to east.

    As noted above, each line has a lettered name associated with it. (Do not confuse these letters with the train letters and numbers described in Subway Line Names Page.

    BMT CHAINING CODES

    IND CHAINING CODES


    LINE NAME FROM TO ZERO
    B Broadway Times Sq 96th St IRT-1
    BB Broadway 96th St 242nd St IRT-2
    C Corona Flushing Times Sq Main St IRT-7
    D Nostrand Ave Franklin Ave Flatbush Ave IRT-3
    E Eastern Parkway Boro Hall New Lots Ave IRT-3
    F Lenox-Bronx Park 96th St Bronx Park IRT-2
    G Bergen cutoff 143rd St - 3rd Ave Jackson Av IRT-6
    H Third Ave el on
    Webster Ave until 1955 resignal project
    Fordham Rd Gun Hill Rd IRT-6
    J Jerome Av 125th St-Lex Woodlawn IRT-4
    K Clark St Tunnel Chambers St Boro Hall IRT-5
    L Lexington Ave Grand Centl 125th St IRT-4
    M Manhattan - Brooklyn Brooklyn Bridge Boro Hall IRT-3
    MM Manhattan Mainline Brooklyn Bridge Times Square IRT-1
    MV South Ferry Loop Rector St Rector St IRT-2
    N Ninth Ave South Ferry 155th IRT-6
    P Pelham 125 St Lex Pelham IRT-4
    Q Queensboro 57th-2nd Ave Queensboro Plaza IRT-6
    R 162nd Connection Putnam Bridge Jerome Ave IRT-9
    S Second Ave South Ferry 129th IRT-6
    T Third Av el South Ferry Bronx Park IRT-6
    T Third Ave el on
    Webster Ave after 1955 resignal project
    Fordham Rd Gun Hill Rd IRT-6
    V 7th Ave Times Sq Rector St IRT-5
    W White Plains Rd. 177th St East 241 St IRT-2
    Y Steinway (now C) Times Sq Queensboro Plaza IRT-7
    Y Dyre Av Line E. 180th Dyre Ave IRT-8
    Z 6th Ave Rector St 53th/9th IRT-6
    ZA 6th Ave 53rd/6th 59th/6th IRT-6

    Zero locations:

  • IRT-1 Brooklyn Bridge Station
  • IRT-2 Broadway & 97th St
  • IRT-3 Brooklyn Bridge Station
  • IRT-4 Park Av at 38th St
  • IRT-5 Broadway at 44th St
  • IRT-6 Abandoned IRT el Station at South Ferry
  • IRT-7 West end of Flushing line Times Sq Station
  • IRT-8 Original zero of NYW&B Railroad at Oak Point Yard in the Bronx.
  • IRT-9 the US Bulk Head Line on the east shore of the Harlem River.

  • Back to the The JoeKorNer
    New York City Subway Signals
    New York City Subway Signs
    New York City Subway Chaining Codes
    Train Whistle Signals


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    - Joseph D. Korman - The JoeKorNer