New York City Subway Timeline.

1898 Greater New York City is formed. (Reis 2009)

1900 March 24 Construction of the IRT subway begins (Reis 2009)

1903 October 24 Ten workers are killed in the Fort George Tunnel explosion (Reis 2009)

1904 October 27 The official opening and dedication of the first nine miles of the IRT subway is held. (Reis 2009)

1908 August 1 the IRT subway project is completed. (Reis 2009)

1913 March 19 New York’s Public Service Commission issues Dual Contracts to the IRT and the BRT

1919 January 1 The BRT goes into receivership (Reis 2009)

1923 June The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT) is formed after acquiring assets of the BRT. Yankee Stadium, built next to the IRT line in the Bronx, opens for play. (Reis 2009)

1925 New Yorkers average 276 subway rides per year. March 14 Construction begins on the new, municipally owned Independent Subway System (IND). (Reis 2009)

1932 The IRT goes into receivership. September 10 The first IND route opens. (Reis 2009)

1934 January 1 Fiorello H. LaGuardia becomes mayor of New York. (Reis 2009)

1939 December 12 Subway unification (IRT, BMT, IND) marks the largest railroad merger in U.S. history.(Reis 2009)

1940 December 14 The last IND route opens (Reis 2009)

1946 December 23 An all-time daily record for subway passengers is set at 8,872,244 (Reis 2009)

1948 July 1 Subway fare rises from a nickel to a dime. (MTA 2013)

1953 July 25 Tokens debut in the subway. (MTA 2013)

1966 January 1 The Transport Workers Union (TWU) calls its first strike, shutting down the New York Subway system for 12 days. (Reis 2009)

1967 July 19, The first successful train of air-conditioned subway cars, composed of ten R38 cars, goes into service on the F line. (MTA 2013)

1968 March 1, The New York State Legislature creates the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee transportation operations in 12 counties. The MTA becomes New York City Transit’s parent agency. (MTA 2013)

1969 July 1,  NYC Transit introduces reduced-fare on buses and subways for senior citizens. (MTA 2013)

1970 Extensive graffiti first appears on subway cars and subway trains. (Reis 2009)

1975 September 2, Reduced-fare introduced for people with physical disabilities. (MTA 2013)

1980 April 1 The TWU calls its second subway strike, shutting down the New York Subway system for 11 days. (Reis 2009)

1981 The MTA receives $8.1 billion in funding to upgrade the New York Subway System. (Reis 2009)

1984 David Gunn takes over as president of the Transit Authority (TA) and begins the Clean Car graffiti cleanup campaign.

December 22 Bernard Goetz shoots four young men he says were threatening him on the subway (Reis 2009)

1989 The New York City Subway is declared graffiti-free. (Reis 2009).

Service begins to the 63 rd Street Extension’s three new stations: Lexington Avenue, Roosevelt Island (Manhattan) and 21 st Street (Long Island City, Queens). (MTA 2013)

1997 May 14, The entire subway system accepts MetroCard. (MTA 2013)

1998 July 4, First sales day for the Unlimited-Ride 7-Day MetroCard and the 30-Day MetroCard, which let customers take as many trips as they want for a fixed price. (MTA 2013)

1999 January 1, An unlimited-ride, 1-day MetroCard, the Fun Pass, is introduced. (MTA 2013)

2001 December 4, New Technology R143 subway cars enter service on the  line. The R143 is considered the most advanced NYC subway car to date, featuring Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC). (MTA 2013)

2001 December 16, The 63 rd Street Tunnel Connector opens after more than seven-and-a-half years of work. The $645 million project completes a 1,500-foot link to the Queens Boulevard line, allowing a 20 percent increase in train service and the creation of a  line between the 71 st Avenue station in Queens and the Second Avenue station in Manhattan. (MTA 2013)

2002 September 15, The  1,9   subway line reopens for service. Nearly 1,400 feet of infrastructure between Liberty and Barclay Streets caved in or filled with rubble when the World Trade Center collapsed the year before. The contractor and NYC Transit Inspection forces work around-the-clock, six to seven days a week, and finish two months ahead of schedule (MTA 2013)

2003 June 15, – The New York City Transit Authority (now called New York City Transit) began operating on this date 50 years ago, replacing New York City’s Board of Transportation as the agency in charge of all subway and elevated lines and city-owned bus and trolley lines. (MTA 2013)

2003 November 3, – Last day of service for R36 “redbird” subway cars. The cars were first rolled out for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. They received their nickname when they were overhauled in the 1980s and painted a bright red color. (MTA 2013)

2004 The New York Subway system celebrates its centennial.

2004 May 21 – The newly renovated Stillwell Avenue Terminal reopens and  F, Q train service returns to Coney Island after a 21-month hiatus during construction. As part of preventive maintenance, engineers built an open-deck steel viaduct to reduce the risk of water-related structural damage. (MTA 2013)

2005 December 20 the TWU strikes for the third time, shutting down the New York Subway system for three days. (MTA 2013)

2006 August 17, – The R160 subway car begins test runs on the line. One particularly notable new feature is FIND, the Flexible Information and Notice Display. The FIND allows Transit personnel to update digital messages and maps easily, which means R160 cars can travel on different subway routes and dispatch new information. (MTA 2013)

2007 August 8 The New York Subway floods, stranding thousands of passengers. Construction on the 8.5-mile (13.6) Second Avenue Subway line begins again. (Reis 2009)

2008 December 22, – New R160 subway cars start service on the  as part of a 1,662-car replacement rolling out on lettered lines to replace 45-year-old trains. (MTA 2013)

2010 June 3, – A solar thermal system, mounted on the rooftop of NYC Transit’s Coney Island Overhaul Shop and Maintenance Facility in Brooklyn, begins operations.  The system heats hot water to wash subway cars by using solar energy. (MTA 2013)

2012 June 10, – Because of fully integrating Communications-Based Train Control on the L line, which provides the ability to run more trains each hour, New York City Transit adds 98 weekly round trips to the L train schedule. (MTA 2013)

2012 October 30 The giant storm Sandy wreaked havoc on the New York City subway system, flooding tunnels, garages and rail yards and paralyzing the nation’s largest mass-transit system for days. (Reuters 2012)

Works Cited 

MTA. “New York City Transit – History and Chronology.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Reis, Ronald A. “Chronology and Timeline.” The New York City Subway System. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. N. pag. Print.

Reuters. “The Giant Storm Sandy Wreaked Havoc on the New York City Subway System, Flooding Tunnels, Garages and Rail Yards and Threatening to Paralyze the Nation’s Largest Mass-transit System for Days.” Newsgroup. Reuters. Reuters, 30 Oct. 2012. Web. <>.

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