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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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Queens to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. In 1967, the RR train ran from Astoria, Queens to Bay Ridge in Queens 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.

9 thoughts on “Cities 101: Double Lettered Trains In The NYC Subway System

  1. The JJ, LL and TT are also BMT routes and shows that the double letters werent just limited to the IND and the BMTBroadway lines. There were also the MJ, NC, QB, QJ, QTand RJ. Shuttles were also designated with double letters (SS).

  2. I believe the LL was still running in the early 1980s, as the local train that stopped at every stop on the L line.

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

  4. 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”.

      1. Corrected a few typos, sorry:

        The HH was used twice in the history of the IND. First was a shuttle that ran between Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Court St (the site of the museum). At the time it started in 1936, the Fulton line only went as far and Rockaway Ave. It was discontinued in 1946 when the Fulton line only went as far and ENY.

        WWII had interrupted the construction and the line was extended to Euclid in 1948. Service was provided by by the A (local) and E (rush hour express), never the HH. In 1956, the line was extended to Lefferts on what was the BMT Fulton St El and the LIRR Rockaway line. During off hours the second incarnation of the HH served as an off peak shuttle between Euclid and both Rockaway terminals. Over night it operated Euclid-Rockaway Park-Far Rockaway-Euclid round robin.

        When the A began 24/7 service to Far Rockaway in the 1980s and Rockaway Park was served by a Shuttle called the H and later the S. After super storm Sandy destroyed the line to the Rockaways, the TA used the H designation for the shuttle between Far Rockaway and Beach 90 St.

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