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Rockaway Park Shuttle
New York City Subway
Rockaway Park

on the SubwayNut
Service Summer Weekends 9am to 9pm, plus
Memorial Day,Independence Day, & Labor Day
·Rockaway Blvd
·Aqueduct Racetrack
·Aqueduct-North Conduit Av
·Howard Beach-JFK Airport
Jamaica Bay:
North Channel Swing Bridge
·Broad Channel
Beach Channel Swing Bridge
·Beach 90 St-Holland
·Beach 98 St-Playland
·Beach 105 St-Seaside
·Beach 116 St-Rockaway Park
Service At All Times

The Rockaway Park Shuttle is New York City’s least used Subway Line, although the MTA doesn’t release ridership by subway line 4 of its 5 stations are at the bottom 4 for total subway ridership between 2016 and 2021 (not including stations that were closed part of the year for refurbishment). Beach 90 Street is 6th and only Beach 36th Street is the non-Rockaway Park Shuttle station that’s lower. The line connects with A trains at Broad Channel for service to Manhattan, with 5 rush hour Rockaway Park ‘special’ A trains running directly from Rockaway Park in the AM rush hours, back to Rockaway Park in the PM rush hour providing rush hour customers a one seat ride to and from Manhattan Peak Times and stop at all Rockaway Park shuttle stations.

The Rockaway Park Shuttle normally operates with One Person Train Operation, with 4 car trains of R46, recently 5 car trains of R179s also operate on the line, with 3 trains needed to provide service on the 9 minute trip between Broad Channel and Rockaway Park.

The Rockaway Park Shuttle (internally called the H train) does shine in summer because it provides access from all its stations to Rockaway Beach, the largest urban beach in the Atlantic Ocean. This makes the Rockaway Park Shuttle to be the subway’s only route to receive seasonal service enhancements. On Summer Weekends plus Summer Holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) trains are doubled in length to be full-sized and are extended from their normal terminus at Broad Channel north to Rockaway Blvd so passengers can connect with all A trains to and from Manhattan including those terminating at Lefferts Blvd, this also helps reduce crowding on Far Rockaway-bound A trains. I remember going to the beach at Rockaway Park in 2015, the summer before the extension began in May 2016 – although summer weekend trains already had 8 cars – A train was packed, partially because everyone had to be on a Far Rockaway A train and the capacity of Lefferts Blvd A trains was useless.

In addition to city dwellers taking the subway to have beach time on Summer Weekends, surfers take their surfboards on the A train year-round and transfer to the Rockaway Park Shuttle to reach the designated surfing beach at Beach 90 Street.

Historically, all-day Rockaway Park service has existed in its current form as the S since 1993. Originally on the subway map and in station bullets it was a Blue S, although the R44 A trains assigned at the time didn’t have a Blue S on the front and back roll signs, so the Grey S was normally used on subway trains themselves.

Shuttle Subway service to and from the Rockaways has existed since the New York City subway took over the Rockaway Line from the Long Island Rail Road in 1956. The two branches (plus Lefferts Blvd) and low ridership make it unecomical to provide frequent all day one-seat ride service to Manhattan on all 3 branches, and Rockaway Park with the lowest ridership is the obvious branch to get all day shuttle service. Originally when the Subway was extended to the Rockaways in 1956 Rockaway Shuttle trains provided service at all times except rush hours from Euclid Avenue to either Rockaway Park or Far Rockaway, with E trains providing service during rush hours. In 1962 these trains became labeled as HH and often ran all the way from Rockway Park to Euclid Avenue.

From 1972 through 1976 Rockaway Park off-peak service was labeled as E for the fact peak service was E train service all the way through to Jamaica-179 Street. From 1979 through 1985 it was the CC, with off-peak CC service only being the Rockaway Park Shuttle, with peak CC service extended to Bedford Park Blvd (the only time a subway line ran through all 4 boroughs).

The final pre-1993 current subway service began in 1985 with the H train (double letters were retired) resuming as the designation of the Rockaway Park Shuttle, although C trains continued to provide rush hour local only service to and from Rockaway Park. Late Night H trains operated a very particular route (which existed in other forms signed as a second A train before 1985) known as Round-Robin-Service with trains leaving Euclid Avenue, operating to Far Rockaway, reversing operating back to service Rockaway Park via Hammels Wey before returning to Euclid Avenue.

In 1993, the Rockaway Park Service began with C trains sent back to terminate at Euclid Avenue at all times giving Rockaway Park Line residents less one seat ride service during rush hours, but express service from the 5 Rockaway Park A trains that operate each rush hour, and are prioritized by the MTA to leave Rockaway Park and originally 59 Street Manhattan (they deadheaded from the 207 Street yard) at precise “Commuter Railroad-like” times. Internally the MTA still refers to the Rockaway Park Shuttle as the A train, with this service alert appearing publicly on Google Transit for Memorial Day Weekend 2023.

During Superstorm Sandy S train service was suspended from the start of the storm on October 28, 2012 through May 30, 2013. The H train did return as a special Free Rockaway Shuttle train between Beach 90th Street (it couldn’t run to and from Rockaway Park because the signaling system there was destroyed due to flooding) and Far Rockaway via Hammels Wye from November 20, 2012 through May 30, 2013 with passengers connecting to free shuttle buses between Howard Beach and Far Rockaway as the subway line through Jamaica Bay had to be completely rebuilt after it was destroyed by the high tide and flooding.

Home<New York<NYC Subway<
Rockaway Park Shuttle
NYC Subway
on the SubwayNut

Last Updated: March 18, 2023
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