Home Subway Maps The View from Underground: 9/11 services changes

The View from Underground: 9/11 services changes

by Benjamin Kabak


Last week, I introduced the View from Underground, a weekly posting of a photo or scene from the subway. This Tuesday’s View is, in honor of Sept. 11, a look back at impact that tragic day had on the subway.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, as events at the World Trade Center unfolded, the subways were thrown into disarray. As Randy Kennedy in The Times detailed on the 12th of September, subway service was suspended throughout the city indefinitely, and no one knew what the future would hold in Lower Manhattan.

The MTA would be up and running after a few days, but service had to be radically altered. The Cortlandt Street station on the West Side IRT was utterly destroyed as these dramatic pictures at NYCSubway.org illustrate. Nearly every line running into and out of Lower Manhattan had to be rerouted, and to address these changes, the MTA released the map excerpted above on Sept. 19, 2001, eight days later.

The service changes were extensive, and a capsule summary from the NYCSubway.org page of the various MTA map iterations succinctly shows the rerouting. The following description combines the details from the emergency black and white map released on Sept. 17 and the map shown above released two days later:

2 & 3 local and 1 express on West Side IRT; many other lower Manhattan diversions; no West Side IRT below Franklin St. and no Broadway BMT below Canal St; no 8th Ave. IND below Canal St.; Wall St. closed on East Side IRT; N and R to Brooklyn replaced by M and J respectively via Nassau Loop; W local only in Queens; 9 and Z skip-stop service suspended… [Sept. 19:] Revision of 1&2 local to Brooklyn and 3 express to 14th Street

Even today, things aren’t quite yet back to normal. As I mentioned, Cortlandt St. remains closed; the work on the Fulton St. transportation hub, spurred on by the events of 9/11, has led to numerous service changes. The reconstruction of the South Ferry station also came out of the 9/11 recovery initiatives.

It’s taken a long time, but the subways have nearly emerged from the tragic and destructive events of Sept. 11. This map can remind us of the chaos and confusion that reigned in New York six years ago.

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peter September 11, 2007 - 1:09 pm

Don’t forget that while other repairs and reconstruction projects faltered and some remain incomplete even now, NYCT had service through the IRT tunnel directly below the WTC up and running one year later.

eric the beehivehairdresser September 11, 2007 - 4:16 pm

The number 9 train, silent victim of 9/11… we miss ya kid.

mg September 11, 2007 - 7:59 pm

The 9 train ran for years after 9/11.

Benjamin Kabak September 11, 2007 - 11:33 pm

peter: Overall, I was impressed with the NYCT response to 9/11. Service was back to acceptable levels within a day and the IRT tunnel had trains through it one year later. It’s pretty remarkable considering the extent of the damage.

eric: The 9 train died in 2005 when growing population in northern Manhattan led to a demand for the stops being skipped. It was on hiatus from 9/11 until September of 2002.

eric the beehivehairdresser September 12, 2007 - 10:11 am

I’m so missunderstood at times…sigh.

Remembering the 9 train twenty years later :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog August 27, 2009 - 12:47 am

[…] faded from my subway conscious. On Sept. 11, 2001, the MTA suspended 9 train service as they had to change a slew of routes to accommodate for the damage to the subway system in and around Ground Zero. While the 9 returned […]

From the Archives: Remembering the 9 train :: Second Ave. Sagas August 4, 2011 - 2:21 am

[…] have to use it any longer, and on Sept. 11, 2001, the MTA suspended 9 train service as they had to change a slew of routes to accommodate for the damage to the subway system in and around Ground Zero. While the 9 returned […]

Joe Hass December 10, 2015 - 10:35 am

I believe I still have floating around my paper files a print out of that entire map.

From a transit geek perspective, what I remember most was watching CNBC that Sunday (16th), when they aired a 30-minute “special” produced by the MTA that went over all the transit adjustments being made (I think they aired it four times that night) for the Monday morning commute. This wouldn’t be nearly as big of a deal if I didn’t live in suburban Detroit at the time.


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