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double letter subways-nyc-vintage-untapped cities

Double-lettered subway signage was used in the NYC Subway until 1985. (via Wikimedia Commons)

Last week we dove into the 8, 10, 11, and 12 train decals that were spotted in the wild, and we stumbled upon some of the double-lettered trains that used to be in the New York City Subway system. The system has a bunch of now defunct subway lines, which include: the AA, BB, CC, EE, GG, HH, JJ, KK, LL, RR, and TT. For the most part, these double-lettered lines are simply predecessors of current subway lines. Both the The Independent Subway System (IND), which was one of three subway systems in NYC that form to make today’s MTA, and the BMT Broadway line, had the practice of designating local lines with double-lettered signage.

double lettered subways-nyc-untapped cities-34th streetPhoto taken by Anthony Catalano of the 34th Street Station in 1977.

double lettered subways-nyc-untapped cities-aavia Flickr by braxtonsplaun

AA / CC / EE — The AA train pictured above used to run along the A/C/E line but was actually renamed the K train up until the major MTA changes of 1988. AA, CC, and EE trains were local versions of their single-letter counterparts. The “Hudson Terminal” last stop was the name of the World Trade Center stop before the Towers were built. A large portion of the EE train in Queens was replaced by the N train.

BB — The BB train denotes the original B train service, which was a rush-hour-local shuttle between 168th Street – Washington Heights and 34th Street – Herald Square.

double lettered subways-nyc-untapped cities-ggPhoto by Mike Knell via Flickr

GG — The GG train ran on today’s G line, but had no express designation. During the 1939 World’s Fair, the GG was renamed the “S Special.” In 1985, the GG was no longer, and has had the single-G lettering ever since.

double lettered subways-nyc-untapped cities-hhvia Flickr by braxtonsplaun

HH — The HH and H trains have an interesting history because neither of them exist today. The HH Train pictured above was a shuttle that ran between Court Street and Hoyt Schermerhorn, only on weekdays (though it was meant to run to the future Euclid Station). The single-letter H train ran a route similar to the Rockaway Parkway S, and the A train of today. The Court Street station, now decommissioned, is the site of the New York Transit Museum.

JJ / KK / MM  — The JJ and KK trains were counterparts, the latter running during rush hour only and converting to the JJ during off-peak times. The KK and MM ran from Jamaica to 57th Street. All three of these train routes are currently serviced by the J and Z trains.

LL — The LL train is a variant from the 16 train, which was from the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) subway–the second of the three transit companies that formed the MTA. The LL ran today’s L train route and was renamed in 1967.

double lettered subways-nyc-untapped cities-rr(via Flickr)

RR — The RR appeared starting 1960 to 1961, the same train known as the “Fourth Avenue Local via Tunnel.” Initially, the RR ran from Forest Hills to Bay Ridge in Queens. In 1967, the RR train ran from Astoria, Queens to Bay Ridge on the BMT Astoria line. In 1985-86, with the renaming of the double-lettered trains, it became the R line again.

TT — The TT train used to run the BMT 3 line, and ran along Sixth Avenue in Manhattan into Brooklyn. in 1968 it was replaced in Brooklyn by the B train and by the W in Manhattan, via Broadway. The signage is being used for the future Second Avenue subway, which is currently designated the single letter T.

Next, learn about the 8, 10, 11, and 12 trains or see 12 of NYC’s lost subway lines.

5 Comments

  1. Mike Conway says:

    A dove is a bird. The first line should have read “Last week we dived into …:

  2. KENNECTED says:

    This post doesn’t make sense
    “HH — The HH and H trains have an interesting history because neither of them exist today. The HH Train pictured above was a shuttle that ran between Court Street in Manhattan and Borough Hall in Brooklyn, only on weekdays. The single-letter H train ran a route similar to the Rockaway Parkway S, and the A train of today.”

    IIRC, the HH ran from Court Street IN BROOKLYN to Euclid Ave. Then service was cut back to “Court St. to Hoyt–Schermerhorn Sts”.

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