Chambers Street was the flagship station of the BMT Nassau Street line that used to connect to both the current Williamsburg Bridge Line and the south side of the Manhattan Bridge forming loop service that ran via the Montague Street Tunnel through the 3 stops on the Nassau Line and back over the Manhattan Bridge or vise-versa. This was fully discontinued in 1967 with the opening of the Christy Street connection shifting the BMT Broadway Line to the south side of the bridge so the connection to the IND 6 Avenue line could be added to the north. Rush hour 'bankers specials' continued after the loop had been severed as the Diamond Brown R, the last regular train to terminate at the station from the south, running during rush hours up from Bay Ridge was finally discontinued on November 23, 1987. On June 25, 2011, southbound service from here to the Montague Street Tunnel was fully discontinued for the first time since the Nassau Street subway opened 1931, when the M and V trains were combined so the M no longer serves this station either. The stop, unlike Bowery and Canal Street to the north where in 2004 Brooklyn-bound trains were rerouted onto the middle Manhattan-bound meaning now just a single island platform in use, still has all four tracks in use (the middle tracks by J trains when they terminate here on weekends since Broad Street is closed). Today there are just two island platforms that are open one for each direction. The remains of two extra platforms are still visible with closed off staircases, one in the middle of the station between the two terminating tracks, and an extra side exit platform along the Queens-bound track where wonderful original mosaic depictions of the Brooklyn Bridge and Chambers Street name tablets exist. There was also a side exit platform originally on the Broad Street-bound track but this has been walled off and portions destroyed when the IRT Brooklyn Bridge Station was extended with a 1950s era brown wall and Chambers St written inside a trimline. The remains of many extra staircases up from the now closed platforms especially the middle one are visible in the two exit areas.
The stop has two mezzanine areas both of these have transfers to the 4,5,6 train making it rather convenient. At the northern end of the station two staircases from the Queens-bound platform and one from the Broad St-bound platform lead up to a mezzanine area where both high turnstiles and a bank of regular turnstiles now without a token booth lead to a single triple wide staircase up to Foley Square at it's Duane Street end. A passageway then connects with some stairs downward to connect with the IRT at Brooklyn Bridge (it ends with staircases up to the extreme northern end of these platforms).
Towards the southern end of the station two staircases lead up from each open platform to a more substantially large mezzanine area where there is a bank of unstaffed turnstiles up to a very wide staircase with an unusual ornamental railing and Svbway written in that historic way inside the enclosed pedestrian plaza inside the Municipal Building, built at the same time as the subway line. A very short passageway connects from here to the IRT station, this time above the platforms since this is the original part of the IRT station designed to have an upper mezzanine.
Arts For Transit at Chambers Street
Buildings, Boats, and a Bridge, a children's art project of the Studio in a School Association
By Students of PS 126, District and PS 20, District 1, Manhattan under the direction of artist-instructors Beth Hausman and Lyn Riccardo
Old Station Banner