Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Jeff Smith
Feel free to add your own: AM New York

Some fair-use snips:
MTA facts and figures: Ridership, station history and more

According to the MTA, average subway ridership on a weekday in 2015 was 5.7 million. Annual ridership for all of 2015 was 1.76 billion. Both are the highest ridership numbers the city has seen since 1948, according to the MTA. But even though it feels like it couldn't possibly get more crowded on the 6 train at rush hour, New York City is actually not the most crowded subway system. The MTA says NYC ranked No. 7 in annual ridership in 2015, behind Tokyo (3.41 billion), Beijing (3.41 billion), Shanghai (3.07 billion), Seoul (2.62 billion), Moscow (2.45 billion), and Guangzhou (2.4 billion).
The longest ride on the subway

The next time you feel the need to do some deep thinking while pretending to be the star of your own indie flick, consider taking one of the longest train rides in NYC's subway system. With no changes, the A train takes the top prize with more than 31 miles between 207th Street in Manhattan and Far Rockaway in Queens, the MTA reports. At more than 38 miles, the longest ride with a transfer will take you from the 2 train at 241st Street in the Bronx to the A train station in Far Rockaway, Queens.
  by ExCon90
A friend of mine who worked for the Long Island at one time told me he was at an MTA meeting where it was pointed out that the A train handled more passengers per day than the entire LIRR.
  by 1890rOGERS460
A little background for my question, and the question itself:

1. Since the NYC subway/el system was fully electrified in 1903, every train has at least 2 motor cabs, including 1 at each end either of which can be the one used to drive the train.

2. Most terminal stops take advantage of that design in that there's no turnaround provision, but rather reversing trains out by changing ends.

3. The Long island Railroad wich used to have a lot of turnaround provisions has eliminated most of them in favour relaying back at the end of every line.

So, I ask: Why do the original City Hall and South Fery Stations have loop tracks for full turnaround?
  by rr503
City hall was originally intended to turn local trains and had a station attached. The point of this station was to serve city hall, and I guess IRT planners thought a loop was the easiest way to do that.
South ferry was originally used to turn trains coming off of the 4/5 when the Brooklyn extension was built, while including a station. The 1 train tracks were built after, parallel to the original loop. 5 trains still use the inner loop to turn after terminating at Bowling Green, and 1s the outer.
  by Allan
Actually, the outer loop at South Ferry was built first and opened in 1905. The inner loop was added in 1918 when the 7th Av line was opened. At that time regular service was shifted over to the then new Broadway local trains. Lexington Av trains used then used the inner loop. Regular service using IRT cars with 3 doors was very limited at the inner loop platform as there were openings only for the middle doors (there is a wall where the end doors would be and a wide gap). Only early cars with separate door controls for the middle door could be used.

In 1909 a shuttle between Bowling Green and South Ferry was instituted (using the outer loop) so as to allow all mainline trains to go to Brooklyn during rush hours. In later years the shuttle continued to operate during rush hours but using the inner loop. Cars with modified door controls were always used (middle doors only at South Ferry, all doors at Bowling Green). The shuttle operated until 1977. The last cars used where R12's (5703 and 5704 or 5705 and 5706) which had the middle doors connected to the main door controls and a button for the end doors.

At different points after this the outer loop station has been shared by 7th Av/Broadway local trains and Lexington Av trains (both the 5 trains [evenings and weekends} and the 6 trains were extended late nights to South Ferry).