This rare black and white footage taken inside the New York subway system was taken in 1905, seven months after the opening of the metro system in October 1904. The subway travels from 14th Street to 42nd Street along the IRT Line, which ran at the time between City Hall and 145th Street. According to France’s Le Monde (translated) ” To shoot this trip, a camera was installed in front of a subway train, itself responsible for following another car located a few meters ahead. The device also includes an engine, running on a parallel track, built specifically to illuminate the tunnels between stations.”

A commenter on the YouTube video takes notice of “how short the station platforms were.” Indeed, the beautiful City Hall Subway Station, the “jewel in the crown,” had only a 400 foot platform. The curvature of the platform could not accommodate the longer trains we see today without extensive renovations, so the station was decommissioned in 1945.

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