Late at night and on weekends, the MTA stores a significant number of subway trains underground. Some of these trains are parked in dedicated underground subway yards, while others are stored on express tracks and tracks that were originally built as part of subway routes that were never completed. As a follow-up to our previous article on where New York City’s wheels and hooves go at night, here are seven below-ground overnight homes for the city’s subway cars.
7. 137th Street Yard
When you take the 1 train between 137th street and 145th street, the train passes right down the middle of one of the only subway yards specifically built underground with train storage in mind. The 137th Street Yard consists of 5 storage tracks located on either side of active subway tracks. Ten #1 trains can be parked on these tracks, and the tracks are usually full at night.
6. 174th Street Yard
The 174th Street Subway Yard, located under Washington Heights, is where some C trains go to sleep at night. The yard has 5 tracks, though one of them is too short to actually be useful. At least two of the tracks through this tunnel were originally intended to connect to the George Washington Bridge, where a subway route would continue into New Jersey.
5. Church Avenue
The Church Avenue yard is where you can find some G trains lounging around after hours. Located just south of the Church Avenue G and F station, it contains 4 tracks. One of these tracks is usually kept clear so G trains can pull into the yard from the Coney Island bound tracks, go over some switches, and return to the Court Square bound track. It is an extremely dark space, with some graffiti written in Russian at the end.
4. The Fourth Avenue Express Tracks
Sometimes stretches of express track are re-purposed for subway train storage. A portion of the express tracks under 4th Avenue in Brooklyn is regularly used overnight for parking R trains. During extreme weather events, the practice of storing trains on underground express tracks extends across the subway system.
3. Jamaica Yard Approaches
Under Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, there is a section of bi-level tunnel, with subways in passenger service riding above a hidden tunnel below that both leads into the outdoor Jamaica subway yard, as well as providing storage space for several subway trains underground.
2. The Grant Layup
The ‘Grant Layup’ is a set of tracks under the Grant avenue subway station in Southeast Queens. The maze of tracks down here is better known to tunnelophiles as the provisional space built for a subway line out to Cross Bay Blvd that was never built. You might be familiar with this tunnel as the place containing supposed evidence of the mysterious 76th street station is located.
1. City Hall Lower Level
When most people think of abandoned stations at City Hall, they think of the ornate abandoned station located along the 6 line. However, there is another abandoned City Hall platform – this one located under the active N/R line station of the same name. During construction of the present day N/R/Q tunnel, the original plan was to have express trains serve lower Manhattan, using this station. When those tracks were diverted to the Manhattan Bridge, this part of the station became redundant. It quickly found re-use as a space to park trains overnight.