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Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Local
New York City Subway
Crosstown Local

on the SubwayNut
Service At All Times
·Court Square
·21 St-Van Alst
Greenpoint Tubes
(Newtown Creek)
·Greenpoint Av
·Nassau Av
·Metropolitan Av
·Flushing Av
·Myrtle-Willoughby Avs
·Bedford-Nostrand Avs
·Classon Av
·Clinton-Washington Avs
·Fulton Street
·Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts
·Bergen Street
·Carroll Street
·Smith-9 Streets
Culver Viaduct
(Gowanus Canal)
·4 Avenue
·7 Avenue
·15 St-Prospect Park
·Fort Hamilton Pkwy
·Church Avenue

The G train is perhaps the butt of the most subway jokes and gets the least love out of any subway line in New York City. This is because it is the only subway line to not provide any service into Manhattan and instead runs via a two-track line subway line through primarily Northwest Brooklyn connecting Long Island City to Downtown Brooklyn, before continuing along the F train’s Culver Subway Line to Kensington.

This subway line also only runs shorter, 5 car trains of R160s at all times. These R160s replaced the normal 4 car trains of R46s and R68s, which create a train of the same length in 2021. During nights and weekends, these trains operate using only a single train operator (OPTO), in charge of both operating the train and opening and closing the doors. During weekdays there is still a conductor at the back of the train because of train crowding and for safety. Since most of the IND stations were designed, including every subway stop on the Crosstown Line, except Classon Avenue, and many still have two open entrances, one at each end of a 10 car long platform, many passengers must walk long distances down the platform to get to a place where a G train will actually stop. Signage has varied in informing passengers where G trains will actually stop on the platforms over the years, but the name the G Train Dash has been dubbed for the need to potentially jog down a subway platform to reach the part of the platform where the shorter G train actually stops.

The GG train (the routes name from it’s opening in 1933 until double letters were eliminated in 1985), as originally envisioned, was to designed to provide the only local service along both the Queens Boulevard Subway and the Culver Subway (originally called the Smith Street-4th Avenue Subway) with the intention that trains on the Express tracks went to Manhattan, while local trains ran shorter routes and didn’t go to Manhattan. The design of the G train’s track interchanges at both the Bergen Street and Queens Plaza (now unused by the G train) interlockings show this service pattern, G trains arrive onto both 4 track subway lines on the local tracks, the Express tracks continue (with M and F trains having to use slower switches to reach the local tracks) to become the 53 Street and Rutgers Street tunnels into Manhattan.

The GG train originally opened as shuttle subway line between Nassau Avenue and Queens Plaza in 1933, with the full line opening in 1937. Operationally the GG train provided the only local service along the Queens Blvd Line from 1937 when trains were extended to Forest Hills-71-Continental Avenues until December 1, 1955, when the 60th Street tunnel connection was opened (also known as the 11th Street Connector) allowing BMT trains from the Broadway Line (who’s route designation and southern terminus has varied over the years) to continue onto the local tracks IND Queens Blvd Line, supplementing GG train service and providing direct local track service to Manhattan.

The northern terminal of the G train continued to be Forest Hills-71-Continental Avenues pretty much at all times, except for being extended to the 1939-1940 World’s Fair along a temporary subway linewhen the World’s Fare was open. This was until 1987 when the G train underwent a series of service cuts that had it terminate on nights and weekends at Queens Plaza. The times that G trains terminated at Queens Plaza, kept changing during the 1990s (Wikipedia has the full history). For a few years in the 1990s late night G trains were extended to Jamaica-179 Street (as the only train service), with F trains rerouted to 21 Street-Queensbridge. On March 23, 1997 G trains began to terminate on nights and weekends at Court Square instead of Queens Plaza, this meant terminating G trains didn’t delay R train service during weekends, and didn’t need to switch across the E, F Express tracks to reach the pocket middle track to change directions. The pocket track also had to be closed for construction of the interlocking for the 63 Street connector. The only problem with Court Square as a G train terminus is that G train Manhattan-bound riders wanting to transfer to 53 Street tunnel subway service, used to a simple crossover transfer via the full-length mezzanine at Queens Plaza, now must walk through a newly built free transfer connecting passageway (that only opened in 1990) through One Court Square (the Citigroup building that was the tallest building in Queens, until new apartment towers overcame in 2021) to reach their E and F, V or M trains (depending upon the decade) connections. This walkway was outfitted with a set of single unidirectional moving walkways (that were supposed to be switched depending upon the peak direction of transferring passengers, but normally ran only towards the E train platform) but often broke-down resulting in the only moving walkway on the New York City Subway system being eliminated in 2018, making the passageway wider. This also eliminated all G train connections with the Broadway Line R train.

The opening of the 63 Street connector on December 16, 2001, resulted in their finally being enough Manhattan-bound tunnel capacity to provide additional service on the Queens Blvd line into Manhattan, with the track capacity used by the G train needed for the new V train. Originally G trains were to always terminate at Court Square; but community opposition resulted in the MTA reversing the G trains Queens service times and having trains extended to Forest Hills-71-Continental Avenues on nights and weekends with service now terminating at Court Square on weekdays only until 8:30pm. The Forest Hills G train extension was only on paper, especially on Weekends. With G trains generally forced to terminate at Court Square nearly every weekend because of weekend trackwork effecting capacity somewhere along Queens Blvd (signage for no G train service on Queens Blvd was poor, I remember one weekend in 2003, letting a couple of R trains pass through 46 Street, waiting for the G train before we finally got the announcement/found a sign that said G trains were terminating at Court Square that weekend because of track work and having to take the R train to Queens Plaza to the E train to finally reach the G train). Late nights were generally better with G trains often running in service all the way to Forest Hills. The confusion over if late night and weekend G train service was running to Forest Hills or not was finally ended during the 2010 budget cuts when G trains were cut back to Court Square at all times. This officially happened on June 27, 2010, although the last G train service to Forest Hills had already operated on April 19 due to planned trackwork along the Queens Blvd line.

The Brooklyn terminus of the G train has been luckier in recent years. Originally G trains were extended to Church Avenue, but soon pushed back to Smith-9th Streets due to low ridership. Smith-9th Street remained the normal terminus of the G train until 2009 when the overall of the Culver Viaduct required G trains to be extended to Church Avenue at all times. This service change that was made permeant in 2012 to provide a free transfer to the R train at 4th Avenue, and allowing G trains to use the much more efficient (4 relay tracks instead of 1) terminus at Church Avenue instead of reversing on the Express tracks at 4th Avenue. Like in Queens, the G train was originally designed to be the local train, while F trains ran express between Jay Street and Church Avenue. Bergen Street was built as a two-level express stop with lower-level platforms. This actual service pattern was attempted in 1968 with G trains extended to Church Avenue during peak hours and all F trains running via the express track, but the loss of one-seat ride local service at stops in Brooklyn resulted in Kings Highway-bound F trains soon running local, and all F trains running local (with G trains terminating again at Smith-9th Streets at all times) in 1976.

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Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Local
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Last Updated: March 19, 2022
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