F (New York City Subway service)
The F and <F> Queens Boulevard Express/Sixth Avenue Local are two rapid transit services in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Their route bullets are colored orange, since they use the IND Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan.
The F operates at all times between 179th Street in Jamaica, Queens and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, making all stops except for an express section in Queens between Forest Hills–71st Avenue and 21st Street–Queensbridge. Additional rush hour service originates and terminates at Church Avenue in Kensington, Brooklyn instead of Coney Island. Two scheduled rush hour trips in the peak direction run express in Brooklyn between Jay Street–MetroTech and Church Avenue, making one stop in between at Seventh Avenue. In Brooklyn, local service is denoted as (F) in a circle-shaped bullet while express service is denoted as <F> in a diamond-shaped bullet.
From 1968 to 1976, the F ran express along the IND Culver Line in Brooklyn. The F also ran via the 53rd Street Tunnel until 2001. Since the 1990s, there have been calls to restore partial express service from Jay Street–MetroTech to Church Avenue, although this has been controversial. The limited express <F> service between Jay Street and Church Avenue started on September 16, 2019, with two trains in the peak direction during rush hours.
1940s and 1950s
With the opening of the IND Sixth Avenue Line on December 15, 1940, F service began, operating as the line's Queens Boulevard service. It operated between Parsons Boulevard and Church Avenue via Queens Boulevard Line, Sixth Avenue Line, and the Culver Line. It ran express in Queens and local in Manhattan and Brooklyn. F trains provided an additional 24/7 express route in Queens, and inaugurated express service on the Queens Boulevard Line east of Continental Avenue. F trains ran on the express tracks between West Fourth Street and Broadway-Lafayette Street to avoid conflict with the D and E south of West Fourth Street. This service pattern was first announced by the New York City Board of Transportation on December 1, 1939. With the start of F service, E service was cut back from Church Avenue to Broadway–Lafayette Street.
During World War II, by January 10, 1944, trains were extended to 169th Street during evenings, late nights, and Sunday mornings. Temporarily in 1948, as shown in a map from that year, the D and F service switched, with the F terminating at Second Avenue, but this was subsequently rescinded.
On December 11, 1950, trains were extended to the newly opened 179th Street on evenings, nights, and Sunday mornings. On May 13, 1951, all trains outside of rush hour were extended to 179th Street using the local tracks beyond Parsons Boulevard. On October 8, 1951, trains were extended to 179th Street at all times. During rush hours F trains skipped 169th Street running via the express tracks. At other times, the F stopped at 169th Street.
In 1953, the platforms were lengthened to 660 feet (200 m) at 75th Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard so that F trains could run eleven car trains. The E and F began running eleven-car trains during rush hours on September 8, 1953. The extra train car increased the total carrying capacity by 4,000 passengers. The lengthening project cost $400,000. The operation of eleven-car trains ended in 1958 because of operational difficulties. The signal blocks, especially in Manhattan, were too short to accommodate the longer trains, and the motormen had a very small margin of error to properly platform the train. It was found that operating ten-car trains allowed for two additional trains per hour to be scheduled.
On October 30, 1954, the connection between the IND Culver Line and BMT Culver Line opened, with the IND taking over the elevated section. All F service began terminating at Broadway–Lafayette Street with D service entering Brooklyn via the Rutgers Street Tunnel. In addition, all except weekday daytime trains were rerouted via the local tracks between Continental Avenue and Parsons Boulevard. On April 29, 1956, trains were extended to Second Avenue.
Beginning on October 6, 1957, trains began terminating at Second Avenue during rush hours, weekday middays and early evenings, and at 34th Street–Herald Square during other times. Between September 8 and November 7, 1958, two F trains ran between Forest Hills and Second Avenue, leaving Forest Hills at 8:06 and 8:21 a.m.. On November 10, they were routed to Hudson Terminal, before returning to Queens in E service. On the same day, F service was cut back from Second Avenue and started terminating at Broadway–Lafayette Street to allow for construction on the Chrystie Street Connection.
1960s through 1980s
Beginning on July 11, 1967, trains no longer ran express between 179th Street and 71st–Continental Avenues weekday midday, and were extended weekdays daytime from Broadway-Lafayette Street back to Second Avenue. With the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection on November 26, 1967, D service was rerouted via this connection, the north side of the Manhattan Bridge, and the BMT Brighton Line in Brooklyn. F service replaced it on the IND Culver Line, with trips running to Coney Island at all times, with supplemental trips to Church Avenue during rush hours.
Beginning on August 19, 1968, rush hour express service was added, in both directions, between Jay Street-Borough Hall and Church Avenue, and in rush hours, peak direction trains to/from Stillwell Avenue (alternating with those terminating at Kings Highway) ran express as well between Church Avenue and Kings Highway.:18:5 Beginning on June 16, 1969 express service was modified with Kings Highway trains operating as locals along the entire route from Bergen Street to Kings Highway. Express service was further modified December 31, 1972 when all trains began making local stops between Bergen Street and Church Avenue in the rush direction because of complaints of reduced numbers of trains at local stations. At the same time, all trains were rerouted via the express tracks between Continental Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Queens.
On January 18, 1976, F express service between Bergen Street and Church Avenue was discontinued during rush hours in the non-peak direction. On August 30, 1976, express service between Bergen Street and Church Avenue was completely discontinued, with all trains making all stops. Rush direction alternate-train express service between Ditmas Avenue and Kings Highway was retained. The elimination of express service was made as part of service changes which eliminated 215 runs that were deemed underutilized to reduce operating deficits. The changes, which saved $3.1 million annually, were part of a three phase cut in service that began in 1975. This change was also made due to continuing complaints about reduced Manhattan service by riders at local stations.:18:5 Starting on August 27, 1977, F was made a local in Queens between Continental Avenue and Queens Plaza, late nights, replacing the GG service, which was cut back to Queens Plaza. This change was made as part of the last round of cuts in subway service announced in January 1977 to reduce annual operating costs by $30 million. Changes were also made in A, AA, B and N service. The NYCTA said that the cuts only duplicated other night service, and for most, would increase travel by a few minutes.
Until 1986, 2 E trains and 2 F trains started at Continental Avenue in the morning rush hour with the intention to relieve congestion. These trains were eliminated because they resulted in a loading imbalance as these lightly-loaded trains would be followed by extremely crowded trains from 179th Street, which followed an 8-minute gap of E and F service from 179th Street.:51
On May 24, 1987, N and R services swapped terminals in Queens to provide R trains direct access to the Jamaica Yard. As part of the reroute plan, F service along Queens Boulevard was discontinued during late nights (1 a.m. to 5 a.m.). Late night local service was replaced by the R, which ran as a Queens Boulevard Local at all times. F trains were cut back to 57th Street on the Sixth Avenue Line during late nights. In 1986, the TA studied which two services should serve the line during late nights as ridership at this time did not justify three services. A public hearing was held in December 1986, and it was determined that having the E and R run during late nights provided the best service.:51
Peak-direction F express service on the Culver Line in Brooklyn, between Kings Highway and 18th Avenue, was suspended in 1987 because of reconstruction along that part of the Culver Line.:20:5
Archer and 63rd Street changes
On December 11, 1988, the Archer Avenue Lines opened, and the E was rerouted to its current terminus at Jamaica Center, running via the Queens Boulevard Line's express tracks. It was decided that the E would serve Archer Avenue, rather than the F, to minimize disruption to passengers who continued to use Hillside Avenue; to maximize Jamaica Avenue ridership; and to take advantage of the length of the peak ridership period, which is longer on the F. It was found that most riders using bus routes that now served Archer Avenue used the E, while most passengers on buses to 179th Street used the F.:55 F trains no longer stopped at 169th Street between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., so the R was extended to 179th Street to serve local stations east of Continental Avenue and to allow F trains to continue running express to 179th Street.
The 1988 changes angered some riders because they resulted in the loss of direct Queens Boulevard Express service at local stations east of 71st Avenue—namely the 169th Street, Sutphin Boulevard, Van Wyck Boulevard and 75th Avenue stations. Local elected officials pressured the MTA to eliminate all-local service at these stations. On September 30, 1990, the R was cut back to 71st–Continental Avenue outside of rush hours. Late night service to 179th Street was replaced by G service, while F trains began running local east of 71st Avenue during middays, evenings, and weekends. In response to the pleas of local officials, the MTA considered three options including leaving service as is, having E trains run local east of 71st Avenue along with R service, and having F trains run local east of 71st Avenue to replace R service. The third option was chosen for testing in October or November 1992.
On October 26, 1992, R trains were cut back to 71st Avenue at all times. In its place, the F ran local between 71st Avenue and 179th Street at all times, which eliminated express service along Hillside Avenue. This change was implemented for six months on an experimental basis at the request of passengers using the 169th Street, Sutphin Boulevard, Van Wyck Boulevard and 75th Avenue stations, which had lost direct Queens Boulevard Express service in 1988. After the six months, the change was kept even though 77% of passengers had benefitted from the pre-October 1992 service plan because there was minimal negative passenger reaction and the intensity of the request. The change increased travel time along the F by 3.5 minutes, and reduced travel time for passengers at local stations by one to two minutes.
On October 29, 1989, the IND 63rd Street Line opened. A special daily late night F/Q service ran during these hours; in the northbound direction, F trains would operate along its normal route from Coney Island to 47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center, then turn into a Q and operate to 21st Street–Queensbridge; in the southbound direction, Q trains would operate from 21st Street to 47th–50th Streets, then turn into an F train and operate along its normal route to Coney Island. The special F/Q service was eventually designated as F in April 1993.
On August 30, 1997, late night F service was restored to 179th Street as a Queens Boulevard local, replacing G service, which was cut back to Court Square. Service on the 63rd Street Line was provided by a shuttle. On that date, E service began running local in Queens during late nights. These changes were made to accommodate construction work for the 63rd Street Connection.
In December 2000, the F service started being rerouted via the new 63rd Street connector during some nights and weekends. On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector officially opened, connecting the IND 63rd Street Line with the IND Queens Boulevard Line. In a controversial move, the new local V service replaced the express F service in the heavily trafficked 53rd Street Tunnel between Manhattan and Queens, while F service was rerouted to the 63rd Street Tunnel and ran express in Queens between 71st Avenue and 21st Street–Queensbridge at all times.
On September 8, 2002, Stillwell Avenue was closed for reconstruction. F service was cut back to Avenue X, and service to Stillwell Avenue was replaced by a shuttle bus. F service returned to Stillwell Avenue on May 23, 2004, upon completion of the construction work.
Starting in early 2020 and continuing through the rest of the year, there will be no weekend F service south of Church Avenue to accommodate installation of communications-based train control on the IND Culver Line. Service will be replaced by dedicated Culver Line shuttle bus services along McDonald Avenue: one service making all stops, and the other running express from Church Avenue to the New York Aquarium and Stillwell Avenue.
Restoration of express service
There has been community support for resuming express service on the Culver Line between Jay Street–MetroTech and Church Avenue, including from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Daniel Squadron. The MTA announced that after the elevated Culver Viaduct underwent extensive renovations from 2009 to 2012, "There will be no impediment to implementing the F express."
While F express service was contested for four years by some residents on the Culver Line who feared they would lose a one-seat ride into Manhattan, some politicians drafted a letter in 2014 petitioning for express service. In late October 2015, city officials considered implementing express service. Some rush-hour peak-direction F trains ran express between Jay Street and Fourth Avenue since at least 2015 and the MTA once planned to use expanded rush-hour express service (Jay Street to Church Avenue) in both directions in the summers of 2016 and 2017. In May 2016, the MTA announced half of all rush-hour F trains could start running express in fall 2017, with the train frequency on the rest of the F's route remaining the same; this was never implemented. However, this service still remained "under consideration" as of 2017.
In July 2019, the MTA announced that it planned to run four express F trains per day, two in each direction. The express service started on September 16, 2019. The trains run in the peak direction, toward Manhattan in the morning and toward Brooklyn in the evening. The trains make an intermediate stop at Seventh Avenue and bypass a total of six stations. The trains toward Manhattan run between 7 and 7:30 a.m., while the trains toward Coney Island run between 4:25 and 5 p.m. The service frequencies along the line are not changed, as the two express trips in each direction were converted from trips that ran local. This service is represented with a diamond <F> similar to the symbol used on other peak-direction express services.
The F uses the following lines:
|all times||rush hours, peak direction|
|IND Queens Boulevard Line||Jamaica–179th Street||75th Avenue||local||Limited service|
|Forest Hills–71st Avenue||36th Street||express|
|IND 63rd Street Line (full line)||21st Street–Queensbridge||Lexington Avenue–63rd Street||all|
|IND Sixth Avenue Line||57th Street|
|47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center||Second Avenue||local|
|Delancey Street||York Street||all|
|IND Culver Line (full line)||Jay Street–MetroTech||Church Avenue||local|
|Ditmas Avenue||Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue||local|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops late nights and weekends only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops rush hours only (limited service)|
|Stops rush hours in the peak direction only (limited service)|
|Stops rush hours/weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
|Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act|
|↑||Station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act|
in the indicated direction only
|Elevator access to mezzanine only|
|Queens Boulevard Line|
|Jamaica–179th Street||E||Q3 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|169th Street||Q3 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|Sutphin Boulevard||Q44 Select Bus Service|
|Briarwood||E||Q44 Select Bus Service|
|Kew Gardens–Union Turnpike||E||Q10 bus to JFK Int'l Airport|
|Forest Hills–71st Avenue||E M R||LIRR Main Line at Forest Hills|
|Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue||E M R
7 (IRT Flushing Line)
|Q47 bus to LaGuardia Airport Marine Air Terminal|
Q53 Select Bus Service
Q70 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport
|63rd Street Line|
|Roosevelt Island||Roosevelt Island Tramway |
⛴ NYC Ferry: Astoria route
|Lexington Avenue–63rd Street||F <F> N Q R
Out-of-system transfers with MetroCard:
4 5 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line at 59th Street)
N R W (BMT Broadway Line at Lexington Avenue/59th Street)
|Sixth Avenue Line|
|47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center||B D M|
|42nd Street–Bryant Park||B D M
7 <7> (IRT Flushing Line at Fifth Avenue)
|34th Street–Herald Square||B D M
N Q R W (BMT Broadway Line)
|M34 / M34A Select Bus Service|
PATH at 33rd Street
Amtrak, LIRR, NJ Transit at Pennsylvania Station
|23rd Street||M||M23 Select Bus Service|
PATH at 23rd Street
1 2 3 (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at 14th Street)
L (BMT Canarsie Line at Sixth Avenue)
|PATH at 14th Street|
M14A/D Select Bus Service
|West Fourth Street–Washington Square||B D M
A C E (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
|PATH at 9th Street|
|Broadway–Lafayette Street||B D M
4 6 <6> (IRT Lexington Avenue Line at Bleecker Street)
|Houston Street Branch|
|Second Avenue||M15 Select Bus Service|
|Delancey Street||J M Z (BMT Nassau Street Line at Essex Street)||M14A Select Bus Service|
|York Street||⛴ NYC Ferry: East River and South Brooklyn routes (at Old Fulton Street and Furman Street)|
|Jay Street–MetroTech||A C
N R W (BMT Fourth Avenue Line)
D N R W (BMT Fourth Avenue Line at Ninth Street)
||||15th Street–Prospect Park||G|
||||Fort Hamilton Parkway||G|
|Church Avenue||G||Some rush hour trips in either direction begin and end their runs to Manhattan and Queens at this station|
|Kings Highway||B82 Select Bus Service|
|Avenue X||Some northbound a.m. rush hour trips begin at this station.|
|West Eighth Street–New York Aquarium||Q (BMT Brighton Line)|
|Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue||D (BMT West End Line)
N (BMT Sea Beach Line)
Q (BMT Brighton Line)
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