Home Service Cuts For the V and the W, a final day

For the V and the W, a final day

by Benjamin Kabak

On December 17, 2001, the V train made its first controversial run from Queens to Manhattan. Nearly five months earlier, on July 23, 2001, the W had made its first run from Brooklyn to Astoria via the Manhattan Bridge and the BMT Broadway line. Today marks a sad day in the history of those two trains as later this evening they will each run their last route before suffering at the hands of the MTA’s planned service cuts.

On Monday morning, the rush hour will be chaotic. Subway riders in Astoria will see the Q arrive instead of the W, and while the N will make local stops in Manhattan, the Q as the W’s replacement will still run express along Broadway. Meanwhile, those in Middle Village will be even more confused when their M trains go from Essex St. to Broadway/Lafayette via the Chrystie St. Cut. Along Queens Boulevard, the V train will be a part of New York subway history, lost to a budget crisis and a lack of funding from Albany.

For many New Yorkers, the deaths of these train lines will be unnoticed. V riders will hop the M without a second thought, and while some Brooklyn riders from Bay Parkway will miss the M, most people will go about their subway-riding lives with nary a thought to it. But for others, the deaths of these subway lines means funeral.

One Astoria resident is hosting a remembrance of the W train tonight. Bill Reese is celebrating the “short, complicated and often pathetic life of our beloved W.” At 10 p.m., he and other W train riders will gather at Ditmars Boulevard to ride the last W train to Union Square. They’ll hop the return train — the ultimate W to head to Astoria — before celebrating at the beer garden. It is a wake fit for a train, and rumor has it that the organizer will be decked out in W train paraphernalia.

Reese isn’t the only one mourning the death of subway lines. In fact, some politicians are exploiting the moment to gain the spotlight as well. Peter Vallone will join Transportation Alternatives at 8:30 this morning to ostensibly call for more transit funding. I’m surprised to see Vallone lend his name and face to this campaign as he hasn’t been very transit-friendly. Later in the day at 8:15 p.m., Transportation Alternatives will rally in Astoria for better transit before also heading to the beer garden. Service cuts make for strange bedfellows.

The V train too will be feted as NYCentric and Newmindspace, the creators of the hipster-haven that is the New York City pillow fight, have organized a final V train ride. Revelers will gather at Second Ave. before 11 to ride the last V train, set to arrive in Forest Hills at 12:11 a.m. Those who join are encouraged to wear orange.

As New Yorkers celebrate these trains, though, it’s important to remember that these service cuts are going to impact everyone. Some Bronx residents can’t get to the nearest pool. Others will find their neighborhood buses unceremoniously eliminated. Others will find longer waits and crowded trains during off-peak hours. Service cuts are unpleasant business.

One day, the MTA may restore service when its finances improve. Today, though, is a sad day for the millions of New Yorkers who depend upon the subways and buses to take them to work, school and fun. In a city so dependent upon transit, these cuts show just how ineffective our state government is. Will anyone be held accountable?

After the jump, some info about the final rides of the M, V and W trains in their current configurations.

The MTA sent out a bit of info about the final rides of the various trains. For straphangers and railfans looking to get in on the historical action, take note:

  • The last W train is scheduled to leave Ditmars Boulevard at 10:17 p.m. It will continue to Brooklyn and arrive at its 86th St. destination at 11:30 p.m.
  • The last Forest Hills-bound V train is expected to arrive at its Queens terminal at 12:11 a.m. Plan accordingly.
  • The M will cease its Manhattan-bound service this evening as it does every Friday evening. When the morning rush begins on Monday, the train won’t head to Nassau St. or into Brooklyn. The first southbound orange M train will leave Forest Hills at 5:38 a.m., and the first northbound orange M will leave Metropolitan Ave. at 5:14 a.m. At around 5:40 or so, the first train in some time to use the Chrystie St. Cut will pass from Essex St. to the IND Sixth Ave. line.

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Abba June 25, 2010 - 2:00 am

The last W train always went to brooklyn?Or just this one?

Benjamin Kabak June 25, 2010 - 8:21 am

The last southbound W train always ran to Brooklyn. It was a bit of an open secret. They have to get the train back to the Coney Island yard for the night.

rhywun June 25, 2010 - 7:45 am

Speaking of orange, anyone else catch the new J/Z decals in front of the Stock Exchange? They sure look orange to me.

AK June 25, 2010 - 8:15 am

Really? Was there yesterday and they were brown and the brooklyn-bound exits were all changed to EXIT ONLY since the M will no longer run through…

rhywun June 27, 2010 - 1:20 am

I’ll remind myself to take another look. I was on the east side of Broad. It was really bright out and I did do a few double-takes at the new “JZ” signs which struck me as orange – but there were “M” notices across the street which were obviously brown and darn it, these decals were not the same color.

Marc Shepherd June 25, 2010 - 8:48 am

Oh, come on. “Chaotic”????

Alon Levy June 25, 2010 - 9:05 am

A nitpick, Ben: your first paragraph has a typo.

On December 17, 2001, the V train made its first controversial run from Queens to Manhattan. Nearly seven months later, on July 23, 2001…

The W in reality started running 5 months before the V.

Al D June 25, 2010 - 9:32 am

Monday is going to be a joyous day in Ridgewood, Bushwick and Williamsburg as the M will provide Midtown Direct service from Broadway Brooklyn. This has been a long time coming, and Jay Walder is smart to merge 2 lines whose sum will indeed be greater than their individual parts. This should help out the L and F.

Kid Twist June 25, 2010 - 10:31 am

I’m still mourning the RJ train.

Edward June 25, 2010 - 11:00 am

I’ve been at Whitehall Street waiting for the “EE” to show up for some time now. They cancel it?

Building 11 June 25, 2010 - 4:11 pm

Personally, I loved the QJ.

Weekend changes before permanent ones :: Second Ave. Sagas June 25, 2010 - 7:47 pm

[…] is the final day of service for the V and W. It’s also the last chance to take the M from Metropolitan Ave. to Bay […]

Mark June 26, 2010 - 1:25 am

Silly querry, but I’m wondering about the directional designations on the new M.

Traditionally M trains headed from Middle Village into Manhattan have been considered southbound (as are the Manhattan-bound J/Z trains that share the same tracks from Myrtle to Essex).

Traditionally V trains headed from Forest Hills into Manhattan have also been considered southbound (as are the Manhattan-bound R trains with which the V shares the Queens Blvd. Local Tracks and the Booklyn-Bound F train with which the V shares the sixth avenue local)

So, will the new M be considered southbound when it leaves Middle Village on when it leaves Forest Hill?

Forest Hill makes more sense (based on overall geography and direction of traffic in Manhattan). But the consequence of that is that (1) “southbound” M trains will share track with “northbound” J/Z trains; (2) folks along the Myrtle line bound for Mahattan would pick up their morning M train on the same platform as always, but it will now be designated northbound rather than southbound; and (3) late night service, which runs only from Metropolian to Mrytle (Southbound on a compass) will be called northbound.

The Secret Conducor June 26, 2010 - 2:15 pm

The M leaving Metropolitan will now be considered going North. M trains leaving 71/Forest will be considered going South.

Ron June 27, 2010 - 6:24 pm

The M leaving Metropolitan was always considered north (odd I know). A train entering manhattan from brooklyn is always considered north (as is a train leaving manhattan to go the bronx or queens). On the Nassau street line, trains “switch direction” at the Chambers street station (technically all trains entering that station are going north).

ferryboi June 26, 2010 - 3:40 pm

I haven’t been this confused since they changed the name of the Staten Island Rapid Transit (SIRT) to the Staten Island Railway (SIR) and spent God know’s how much money on all those new signs. Which way is Tottenville?


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