Recently, we decided to call the phone numbers on the doors in the New York City subway and the result was…pretty funny. But, there were a lot more doors we’ve been taking photos of over the past few months. Have you ever wondered what the scrubber room is? What Third Rail Operations is? Here’s a look at all the funny shapes, sizes and signs on the doors within the subway system.

The Scrubber Room

According to this MTA report, “Scrubber rooms house machines that are used to clean and polish station floors.”In the new Second Avenue Subway plans, the scrubber room is located right next to the cleaning room, not surprisingly.

Maintenance of Way Signals

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Third Rail Operations-14th Street

We’ve actually seen the inside of this door and it looks like a standard 1960s era interior you’d see in a school, with light blue walls. Most of the signs on the door pertain to the showing of identification whiel inside. Maintenance of Way Signals is, of course, an essential part of subway operation. We previously covered the Signal Learning School that’s located in the 14th Street A/C/E/L station.

Third Rail Operations

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Third Rail Operations

Part of Third Rail Operations, in addition to sending the direct current into the third rail, also found a way for trains to send power back into it when the train brakes. The New York Times had a piece on the technology in 2002, pioneered on the L train.

Division of RTO

RTO stands for Rapid Transit Operations, a division that’s “charged with the running and safe operation of the NY subways,” according to NYC Subway.

Pening Door

MTA Subway Doors-Watch for Opening Door-NYC

Okay, this one is a joke. There’s no such thing as a Pening Door” The “O” in Opening fell off the sign. Just a note however, that all the different phone numbers, like this Station Dept number actually lead to one place: the Rail Control Center.

Electric Panel Room

This particular Electric Panel Room door at the 3rd Avenue L train stop is notable mostly because it’s so narrow! According to the MTA, Electronic Equipment Maintainers “work on electronic communications equipment, closed circuit television and control systems and equipment.”

Signal Room

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Signal Room

The particular Signal Room door at 14th Street is notable mostly because it’s rather wide. According to the MTA, Signal Maintainers “work on railroad signal apparatus, including signals, automatic train stops, electronic control systems, track circuit equipment, compressors, interlocking machines, related apparatus and some asbestos containing material.”

Smallest Door in the Subway?

This door at Columbus Circle just says “Station Dept” but it’s just so small we had to include it. Read more about it here.

Telephone Room

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Telephone Room

According to the MTA, Telephonen Maintainers “work on telephones, intercom systems, emergency alarms, fire alarms, cables, electronic and other communications systems.”

Unmarked Door with Door Peephole

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-14th Street

Handwritten Sign for District #1 Sign Office

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-District 1 Sign Office Superintendents

This door also has a peephole, and the sign is written in marker: “District #1 Sign Office Superintendents.”

Communication Room & Electronics Field Maintenance

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Communication Room

Station Maintenance Lighting

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Station Maintenance Lighting

Service Delivery Maintenance

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Service Delivery Entrance


EDR (Electrical Distribution Room) & Electric Meter Room

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Shuttle Normal EDR

Refuse Room

Subway Doors-MTA-NYC-Refuse Room

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. See more quirky NYC facts and discoveries in our “Daily What?!” series. Submit your own via Twitter with the hashtag #DailyWhat.