Breaking: Second Ave. Subway slashed to one track

By · Published in 2011

Due to budget cuts, TBM Adi will not dig out a second Second Ave. tunnel after all.

Despite the news earlier this week that the tunnel boring machine digging out the Second Ave. Subway will soon start to burrow out the eastern tunnel, the MTA has again been forced to scale back the project. Due to the $10 billion gap in the capital budget, the authority will soon cancel the eastern tunnel, sources tell me. Instead, the Second Ave. Subway will be just a one-track shuttle from 57th St. and Broadway to 96th St. and Second Ave.

“With money tight and the state slashing budgets across the board, we had no choice,” an unnamed source at MTA Capital Construction said to me today. “We could either put the entire project on hiatus again while sacrificing billions of dollars in federal funds or move forward with a one-track train that can provide some service to the Upper East Side.”

For the Second Ave. Subway, this development is another obstacle in its long and tortured history. Originally set for construction in the late 1920s, the Second Ave. Subway has run into the Great Depression, a World War and numerous recessions. The latest iteration had come to fruition in the early 2000s when a robust construction economy was driving subway expansion. At the time, plans called for three tracks, but in 2008, due to rising costs, the MTA had to cancel the third track. Now the second track is gone as well.

A one-track subway would not be unique to New York. The Franklin Ave. Shuttle currently runs on only one track, but the MTA had grand plans for the Second Ave. Subway. They had hoped to ferry up to 200,000 passengers per day while alleviating overcrowding on the Lexington Ave. lines. The one-track route will still serve thousands of passengers but the configuration will mean that only one Q train at a time can go north from 57th St. or south from 96th St. The MTA estimates it will be able to run only two or three trips per hour in each direction.

On the bright side, the MTA now expects to ready the Second Ave. line much sooner than anticipated. Work on the stations will begin immediately, and the line will open on April Fools Day in 2013.

40 Responses to “Breaking: Second Ave. Subway slashed to one track”

  1. Lawrence Velázquez says:

    I hate you so much.

  2. Mannahatta says:

    Nice try, but April Fools Jokes are most effective in the morning.

  3. Brandon says:

    Most believable April Fools joke I’ve seen all day

  4. dela g says:

    damn it, i was totally going to throw things around… haha

  5. Sam says:

    You actually almost had me.

  6. Pete says:

    wow you had me as well until I realized it was april fools day LOL good one Ben.

  7. Al D says:

    Good one!!! 😀

  8. IanM says:

    Oh, that was mean.

  9. j@ says:

    this aprils fools day shit is so played out and lame.

  10. Todd says:

    Well done 🙂

  11. nycpat says:


  12. azanga says:

    so plausible… good one!

  13. Anon says:

    Did you check the Beijing Evening News yet?

  14. BBnet3000 says:


    well, im man enough to admit that you got me.

    The only way this story could have been any more lulzy is with a quote from Weiner: “I said id rip out that f**cking subway line when im Mayor, looks like the job is halfway done”

  15. ant6n says:

    You could probably fit two Bombardier Flexity Trams in one tunnel. That’ll save the 2nd avenue .. underground tramway!

  16. Alon Levy says:

    Sorry, it was an obvious fake.

    On another note, if SAS really were single-tracked, then they could still use 63rd as a passing segment. The minimum headway would be the 96-63-96 travel time plus turnaround time, which is 10-12 minutes.

  17. William M says:

    I highly doubt that. The Second Avenue Subway would have to be 2 tracked at least to handle the crowds. Besides they already started on the Eastern Tunnel. The East Side won’t accept a half ass solution to solve their transit problems.

  18. Josh says:

    MEAN. I fell for it until I read the comments. Too clever.

  19. Mark says:

    Bought it. Completely. I figured it was a MTA political charade to apply pressure on the gov’t to find new revenue… but I bought it none the less.

  20. Jerrold says:

    OK, you had ME too!
    Until I got to the last line, that is!

    This was almost as bad as when Taco Bell was supposedly going to maintain the Liberty Bell, and it was going to be called the Taco Liberty Bell.
    Or when White Castle was going to maintain the White House, and it was going to be called the White Castle. (They even included a statement about how common it had been in history for a castle to be the residence of the ruler of a country.)

    Anyway, at least you were nice enough to “give it away” in the last line.

    • Jerrold says:

      ANOTHER past good one was when one of the newsmagazines (I think it was Newsweek) ran an ad in the Times on April 1 of a year back in the 70’s.
      It gave a few surprising statements that had been supposedly “just announced”.
      The first one was that the two top men’s magazines were going to merge into one magazine, to be called “Playhouse”.
      Then there were about four other strange statements, all of them relevant to the magazine industry.

      At the end, the ad said:
      NOW look at the date at the top of this page.

  21. Curious Bystander says:

    Wow, this adds to all the crazy news I’ve been hearing about the MTA lately. Apparently, to close the budget gaps, MTA employees have been begging the panhandlers for money.

  22. SEAN says:

    Dam you Ben, you totally had me until that last line. Good one!

  23. will says:

    Brilliant. I was filled with despair…

  24. Victoria says:

    whoever inspired this joke must be a pretty awesome and very hilarious person


  25. petey says:

    “sources tell me”

    that’s where i caught you >:(

  26. Akiva says:

    thought mta was up to one of their dirty budget saving tricks again!

  27. capt subway says:

    Given the MTA’s abysmal track record on almost every single capital project it has managed from Day 1 of its (i.e. the MTA’s) formation this scenario, while on the face of it preposterous, is really just all too plausible.

  28. Paulie3jobs says:

    As soon as I saw the post date, I knew this was a fake. But it might give the MTA bad ideas. Keep up the good work Ben.

  29. johnny says:

    reading this on july 14th was terrifying.

  30. Someone says:

    Ha! That’s a funny April Fool’s joke.

    You aren’t really serious then. The only 1-track line in the subway is the Franklin Ave S train with 2 2-car trains, with exactly 1 passing point.

    In that case, I guess we’ll leave it at that.


  1. […] In New York City, the MTA’s major subway expansion project has seen something fall off from the original plans. The 7 line has lost a key station at 41st St. and 10th Avenue while the Second Ave. Subway, being built in phases, has gone from four tracks to three to two. As I joked on April Fools, they might as well just cut it down to one. […]

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