Volume 20 Issue 18 | September 14 - 20, 2007

Downtown Express photos by Joseph M. Calisi

A, happy birthday!

New York City Transit ran historic A trains on the original route — 207th St. to the stop now known as Chambers St.-World Trade Center — Sept. 10 to celebrate the famed line’s 75th birthday. As the legend goes, it was Duke Ellington’s directions to Harlem that he gave his longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn that led to Strayhorn’s jazz classic, “Take the A Train.”

The Independent Subway was built for speed and fast loading, which is evidenced by the four door openings on each side of the car, 10 sixty-foot car consists, “flying junctions,” large platforms and mezzanines. The cars were designed to carry increased passenger loads at greater speeds, allowing for decreased dwell times and faster schedules than the predecessor IRT and BMT lines. The same car design concepts are still utilized today.

Within two years of the IND’s opening, service to Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx was added. Almost 500,000 riders use this Uptown and Downtown express line every day.

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