Q (New York City Subway Service) - "Q" Designation History

"Q" Designation History

Q was introduced as a service identifier for the Brighton Beach Express via Broadway (Manhattan) on the rollsigns of the R27 class of subway cars as they were delivered beginning in 1960 and on all subsequent equipment ordered for the IND/BMT divisions of the New York City subway system. The former designation for the service was the number 1, itself introduced in 1924, a designation shared by all Brighton Line mainline services. The letter designations did not appear on earlier equipment that carried the former route numbers. Therefore older equipment that carried the number 1 (notably the D-type Triplex) continued to be signed 1 until they were withdrawn in 1965.

Also with the introduction of the R27 class subway cars, the mainline local services on the Brighton Line (and other BMT services) were given double letters in conformance with IND practice. Ordinarily this would have produced a QQ service, but this designation was never used. There were two local services, the Brighton Local via Montague Street Tunnel, designated QT, which operated when the express service was running, and the Brighton Local via Manhattan Bridge, designated QB, which operated when the express did not. The so-called "Banker's Special" express, which operated a few trains in the morning and evening rush hours to the Wall Street financial district was not given a separate designation. As this service continued to use older equipment for years after the letters were introduced, this was not usually a problem. When R27 and later cars were used on these specials, they often carried the M designation in the morning that was originally (and eventually) used on Myrtle Avenue trains, and the evening sometimes carried Q or sometimes no designation at all.

With the advent of the Chrystie Street services, the Q designation was suspended as Brighton Line express service was provided by the D service via 6th Avenue in Manhattan. The QT and QB designations were both to be dropped as the Brighton Locals were rerouted to the Nassau Street Loop in lower Manhattan and through routed to Jamaica via the BMT Jamaica Line. This service was designated QJ. The QB designation was retained as it was decided to run a few special local trains up the BMT Broadway Line to answer complaints that the new services provided no access to the Broadway Line.

The service history below includes predecessor services that became the Q service before the identifier was introduced.

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