We’ve been talking about the Second Avenue Subway for a while, haven’t we? Before jet travel, World War II and, well, almost everything, but now, it’s (nearly) here! Many of you have already seen the videos of test trains running along the new line. In the last week, the MTA has started with a new advertising campaign to herald the arrival. Subway entrances and signage have started to incorporate the old W train icon again. As you prepare for the launch of the Second Avenue Subway and the return of the W train, here’s a guide to how it’s all going to work:

From November 7th onwards, the W train will run between Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard in Queens and Whitehall Street – South Ferry in lower Manhattan, making every stop as a local. The subway people in their high-visibility jackets have already been changing the street level station signs along Broadway (pictured above) to tell you about this. This train replaces the Q from Astoria to 57 Street/7th Avenue in upper Midtown. From here, it runs through Manhattan to the southern tip.

Benefitting from a new Manhattan local, the N gets express service between 34th Street – Herald Square and Canal Street. So you will still get a one-seat local service from Astoria to Manhattan and an express from Astoria to Brooklyn. That’s good.

So what about the Q? Well, for now, from November 7 onwards, it will run between 57 Street/7th Avenue and Coney Island on its current routing of express in Manhattan and local in Brooklyn. What’s eagerly awaited is the extension north to 63 Street/Lexington Avenue, at the current F train stop, and then onwards to 72nd, 86th & 96th streets on the 2nd Avenue line. The MTA says this will happen on New Year’s Eve. Many challenges remain to make the deadline, but there is a lot riding on an on-time launch.

That’s a lot of important change taking place but, fortunately, the often neglected R train will see a small but crucial change in its schedule. The new late night schedule will see the R run through Brooklyn up to Whitehall Street – South Ferry, so none of that Bay Ridge shuttle business any longer.

Here’s the updated weekday routing:
N train: Astoria – Ditmars Blvd – Coney Island.
Q train: 57 St/7 Av to Coney Island (from 31 December 2016: 96th St/2nd Av – Coney Island).
R train: Forest Hills to Bay Ridge – 95 St.
W train: Astoria Ditmars Blvd – Whitehall St – South Ferry.

Here’s a helpful map to convert all these potentially confusing sentences into a single image!

Next, check out 12 of NYC’s lost rail and subway lines, see the artwork coming to the Second Avenue Subway line stations, and see photos of the Second Avenue Subway construction.