New Clark Street Tunnel Completed... (1919)

From nycsubway.org


The New York Times · Sunday, March 16, 1919

Operation of West Side Subway to Brooklyn via the Clark Street Tunnel to Begin About April First

The operation of west side subway trains to Brooklyn via the Clark Street tunnel, which will begin about April 1, is described by Travis H. Whitney, Acting Chairman of the Public Service Commission, as one of the most important events in rapid transit work in this city since the signing of the dual contracts. Mr. Whitney explains how the new link in the service will act in relieving congestion on practically all of the rapid transit lines, and gives an idea of the number of passengers who will be daily benefited by continuous service on the west side of Manhattan from the Bronx to Brooklyn.

After explaining that at present express trains on the west side journey only as far south as Wall and William Streets, with switching facilities which make uncertain the movements of trains, Mr. Whitney said:

"The extension of the service through the Clark Street tunnel and thence, in Brooklyn, through Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue to Atlantic Avenue, will afford adequate turning facilities for the trains, and will make possible improvement in the express service on the west side subway. In addition to the express service to Atlantic Avenue, it will be possible for some of the express trains to be sent to South Ferry, and thus afford more frequent trains on the west side in Manhattan during the rush hours.

"Perhaps the greatest benefit will be the relief offered Brooklyn passengers, for after the new link is in operation they will be able to reach Times Square and Upper Broadway by direct service on the Interborough lines. Now these passengers have to change either to the shuttle in Forty-second Street or in lower Manhattan at Broadway and Wall Street or at Rector Street.

"About 12,000 passengers have daily had to transfer in each direction at the Wall Street station. The west side express trains, going through the Clark Street tunnel, will stop at Brooklyn Heights-St. George station, Borough Hall, Hoyt Street, and Nevins, and Atlantic Avenue. The Brooklyn Heights-St. George station is a new station, so that no estimate can be given of the number of passengers who will utilize this. However, it is located in a populous section, and will, undoubtedly, have a large number of passengers. The importance of the other stations is indicated by the number of passengers during the month of January. Borough Hall station had 910,000 passengers, Hoyt Street 627,000, Nevins Street 400,000, and Atlantic Avenue 1,721,000-- a total of 3,658,000 passengers at the four present Brooklyn stations.

"The Dual System was laid out, so far as the Interborough is concerned, so as to reduce the importance of shuttle transfer through Forty-second Street, and in the Bronx a connection was provided for at 149th Street and Mott Avenue, so that West Farms trains could go either on the east or west side subways. As to Brooklyn trains, the system is so laid out that passengers may at Brooklyn stations choose either east or west side trains.

"The fact that the Clark Street tunnel was not ready at the time of the opening of the "H" was one of the large factors in making the Forty-second Street shuttle service a matter of such trouble and confusion to the public. At the same time, I am afraid that there will be some confusion in Brooklyn for a time after the Clark Street tunnel is opened, due to the fact that Brooklyn passengers will need to observe care as to the trains they take, particularly because of the change in service at the Hoyt Street station. Most of the passengers from the Fulton Street elevated of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit system have changed from that road to she subway at the Hoyt Street station, and have, naturally, taken east side trains. Hereafter east side trains will not stop at this station, as it has only side platforms. The trains stopping at this station will, therefore, be west side trains, which in lower Manhattan will stop at stations on William Street located at Wall and at Fulton Streets, and also at Broadway and Park Place.

"As a further relief to the situation at Forty-second Street, I am hopeful of securing installation of crossovers that will allow of the operation of local trains from City Hall to Times Square, thus making it possible for passengers from local stations, north of Brooklyn Bridge, to secure access to the west side trains at Times Square with only one change-- namely, at Times Square. This will cut out the necessity of interchange at the diagonal station with the long walk that is involved there. This applies, of course, to passengers between Brooklyn Bridge and Forty-second Street who are the passengers accustomed to the use of the old subway.

"There has been a very considerable increase in the number of passengers using the Forty-second Street shuttle. These are, however, passengers who did not use the old subway and were, therefore, not inconvenienced when the 'H' went into operation. They are, very largely, passengers from the Queensboro Subway or from Lexington Avenue desirous of reaching the west side subway."


The New York Times · Friday, April 11, 1919

Plan to Run First Trains on Tuesday Morning.

The Public Service Commission announced yesterday that the Clark Street tunnel for subway trains operating on the west side would he placed in operation one minute after midnight next Tuesday morning. It was explained that the date was in a measure tentative as some unexpected obstacle might interfere.

It is planned to have trains leave Wall Street for Brooklyn, and Atlantic Avenue for Manhattan at precisely the same time. The initial trains will carry members and employees of the commission and officials of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, which will operate the service.

Just what relief this addition to the dual system will afford to the general congestion has not yet been estimated, but it is considered certain that it will cut the travel on the shuttle service through Forty-second Street at least 25 per cent. The new service will make unnecessary the transferring of Brooklyn passengers from the west to the east side line through the shuttle, and will also obviate the necessity of overland transferring at Wall and Rector Streets.

The new service will discharge passengers at a station on a new level at Borough Hall, Brooklyn, which is connected by a passage with the old station so that passengers may change to or from the east side subway. Passengers may also make similar changes at the terminus in Atlantic Avenue and at Nevins Street. The only new station to be opened is located at Clark and Henry Streets, Brooklyn.

The commission has directed the Interborough Company to begin a publicity campaign to familiarize passengers with the new service, which includes many new passages, entrances, and exits.


The New York Times · Saturday, April 12, 1919

Trainload of Officials Makes Trip Via New Under-River Route.

A special train, carrying officials of the Public Service Commission and of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company ran through the new Clark Street tunnel yesterday. The trip, taken as a tryout of the tracks and safety appliances by order of the company, was pronounced a success, and the statement was made that service would be ready for the public at one minute after midnight on Tuesday morning. In the meantime other trains will be run through the tube to enable trainmen to become familiar with the route.

A statement by the Interborough Company said the "tuning up" process was under way and that the new service connecting the Wall and William Street stations in Manhattan on the west side subway with the new Borough Hall station in Brooklyn would supply a pressing public demand. The running time between Times Square and the Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn will be twenty-two minutes, and from Atlantic Avenue to Wall and William Street ten minutes, to Fourteenth Street eighteen minutes, and to the Pennsylvania Station twenty and one-half minutes.

"The Times Square station," the statement says, "being in the heart the theatre district, this opening brings to Brooklyn riders a service that promises to be very attractive."


The New York Times · Sunday, April 13, 1919

Service Board Aims to Have Clark Street Tube Open to Care for Brooklyn Travel.
Convenience of Times Square Traffic Delayed by Harbor Strike Tying Up Materials.

The hurry to finish the Clark Street tunnel so that the westside trains of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company might operate between Manhattan and Brooklyn on Tuesday was because the Public Service Commission believed that a strike of the employees of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company would begin about the middle of the week. This was admitted yesterday at the office of the commission where this statement was also made:

"If such a strike as we anticipate should be called it will tie up all lines operated by the B.R.T. Company, and unless the new service were put to immediate use the people of Brooklyn would be without means of getting about except for the lines of the Interborough Company. Therefore haste was deemed important, and the Interborough company cordially co-operated with the Commission."

Trains through the tunnel from the west side subway will begin running one minute after midnight on Tuesday morning. Travis H. Whitney, Acting Chairman of the Commission. prepared for the Times the following statement showing the probable relief the new service is expected to give:

"The operation of the Clark Street tube," says Mr. Whitney, "marks the substantial completion of the Interborough's part of the Dual System, in so far it relates to Manhattan and the Bronx, and with the operation of this tunnel it will he possible for Brooklyn passengers to choose in Brooklyn trains destined for either the east or west side subway, just as it has been possible, since the "H" was opened, on Aug. 1, for Bronx passengers to choose trains in the Bronx for either the east or west side subway. This leaves the shuttle for the use of those Manhattan passengers who desire to go diagonally across Manhattan or for the Queens passengers coming across the Queensboro Bridge who desire to reach the west side subway.

"A great many absurd criticisms have been made with respect to the shuttle operation, with particular emphasis laid on the great number of persons discommoded who use the old subway from the west side of Central Park down across Forty-second Street to lower Fourth Avenue. As a matter of fact, the counts taken show that the persons thus traveling in a northwest-southeast direction constitute a minor percentage of the total number of passengers using the shuttle, and that the percentage is much higher of passengers who come from Lexington Avenue and go through Seventh Avenue, that is front the northeast to the southwest. For these passengers the shuttle is an added convenience over that which existed before Aug. 1, 1918.

"Brooklyn passengers who now use the subway will have their facilities practically doubled, and there will be four tracks instead of two from Atlantic Avenue to Borough Hall, with trains to each of the two subways in Manhattan and, in addition, the Brooklyn Heights district, just across the river from lower Manhattan, will have a new station, at Clark and Henry Streets, in the heart of this district. I am sure that the significance of this district has not been realized, for here is a territory splendidly adaptable for residential purposes, with a subway station within four minutes from the Wall and William Streets station.

"Likewise, the opening of this tunnel, just as in the case of every new rapid transit line, increases the importance of certain Manhattan centres. The great hotel, restaurant and theatre district in and around Times Square; which is the favorite resort of people from all parts of the city, will be much more accessible to Brooklyn Interborough passengers because of the direct train service from Atlantic Avenue, through the Clark Street Tunnel, to the tracks on the West Side Subway.

"I have stated that the Clark Street tunnel practically completes the Interborough part of the dual system so far as Manhattan and the Bronx are concerned, for it doubles the subway capacity in Manhattan and affords the Bronx and Brooklyn access to each of the two subways traversing Manhattan. The remaining portion of the Interborough system is the Flatbush Avenue-Eastern Parkway-Livonia Avenue-Nostrand-Avenue extension from Atlantic Avenue. This constitutes a subway system that, by itself, would be regarded as a most important one, and yet so great were the provisions of the dual system that it constitutes merely a branch of the Interborough system. Due to the slowness of work on the western half of Eastern Parkway, this entire system has been delayed and operation will not be possible until toward the end of the year.

"A further increase in rapid transit facilities which the commission is working very hard upon is the extension of four-track operation to Times Square on the B.R.T. Broadway subway. As is known, four tracks are now used to Fourteenth Street. Above this point, however, only two tracks are in use. The entire four tracks to Forty-second Street can be used as soon as crossovers are available immediately north of Forty-second Street.

New Subway Service Between Brooklyn and Manhattan Boroughs

The New York Times · Sunday, April 13, 1919


The operation of trains on the west side subway through the Clark Street tunnel to Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, will begin at one minute after midnight Tuesday morning. This new service will enable passengers on the west side line to journey direct to Brooklyn without being compelled to transfer to the shuttle operating between Times Square and the east side subway, or to transfer overland at Wall or Rector Street. A campaign to instruct the public how to ride on this line and to effect transfers from one line to another without being caught in the tangle of opposing tides of travel, has been begun by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, which will operate the new service.

New stations in Brooklyn to he used by the west side subway are located at Nevins and Hoyt Streets, Borough Hall, and Henry and Clark Streets. In this borough the stations are Wall and William Street, Fulton and William Street, Park Place and Broadway, Chamber Street, where a change may be made to local trains; Fourteenth Street and Seventh Avenue, Pennsylvania Station, Times Square, Seventy-second Street and Ninety-sixth Street, and all stations on upper Broadway to Van Cortlandt Park and on the Lenox Avenue or West Farms lines. Passengers may change to Jerome Avenue line at 149th Street and Mott Avenue Station and to the White Plains Avenue line at 180th Street.

Particular attention is called to the fact that during the rush hours trains on the east side subway will use the two inner tracks in Brooklyn, and, therefore, as there is no island platform, cannot stop at Hoyt Street. All trains, however, will stop at Nevins Street. During the rush hour periods passengers using the east side line can transfer at Borough Hall Station and to the west side line by using the connecting passageway.

Trial trains through the tunnel have been in operation for several days in order that the trainmen may become familiar with the new service, and to test the tracks and safety appliances. A trial trip made on Friday at the instance of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company was said to have been most successful. Theodore P. Shonts, President of the company, pronounced the tunnel the dryest that has yet been opened.

Work on the new tunnel was begun in October, 1914, the cost has been about $7,000,000, and the lowest point is eighty-five feet below the surface of the East River. A circular issued by the Interborough Company says:

"The Fourth and Lexington Avenue (east side) Interborough lines have been going through the old Battery tunnel and will continue to do so. Beginning Tuesday, the Broadway-Seventh Avenue (west side) trains also will go to Brooklyn, but will use the new Clark Street tunnel. Tracks through the two tunnels come together at Borough Hall, Brooklyn, and make a four-track route between Borough Hall and Atlantic Avenue."

Open Clark Street Line.

The New York Times · Wednesday, April 16, 1919

New Route Doubles Subway Service Between the Two Boroughs.

The New Clark Street tunnel, for the use of Interborough subway trains operating on the west side of Manhattan, was placed in service four minutes past midnight yesterday morning, and by noon yesterday the success of the through service was assured. Within a few hours after daylight more than 2,000. tickets had been sold at the Clark Street station, and about half as many at Borough Hall, where the two lines of the system, the old and the new, meet.

There was no confusion, the passengers apparently understanding the plan of operation, and appearing to be anxious to try it. In case of a strike on the Brooklyn Rapid Transit system the Interborough lines will suffer greatly from congestion, and the Public Service Commission and the Interborough Company are co-operating to increase the service on the lines running between the two boroughs.

The new service takes passengers on west side trains direct to the Atlantic Avenue terminal in Brooklyn, thus making unnecessary a change to the east side lines via the Forty-second Street Shuttle or overland at Wall or Rector Street. The new service doubles the number of trains operating between the two boroughs. If the travel divides as expected, a 100 per cent. improvement in the daily operation is looked for. It also means that the people of Brooklyn will have direct express service to Times Square, and to all of the theatre, hotel, and principal shopping district of Manhattan and north to Van Cortlandt Park.


The New York Times · Thursday, April 17, 1919

New Clark Street Tunnel Inspectors Say It Has Relieved Conditions.

Reports by inspectors of the Public Service Commission yesterday were to the effect that the new through subway service on the west side, between Manhattan and Brooklyn, was operating with plenty of seats for all passengers, even during the rush hours. The new service by the Clark Street tunnel, it was said, had decreased the usual congestion to the level of riding comfort. Concerning the amount of travel, the report said:

"Between 4 and 7 P. M. Tuesday the east side subway carried 47,690 passengers in the seventy-seven trains with 58,500 seats. The west side subway carried 19,130 passengers in fifty-nine trains with 29,508 seats. The total number of seats on the two lines was 68,000 and the total number of passengers 63,840."

The New York Times · Sunday, May 4, 1919

Early Summer Will See Ail the New Tunnels Ready for the Running of Trains.
Final Costs Will Exceed by Many Millions the First Estimates.
Plans Laid For the Future.

By JAMES BLAINE WALKER, secretary of the Public Service Commission.

New York City should hail with gladness the opening of the Clark Street Tunnel to Brooklyn. It is another step in rapid transit progress, another obstacle surmounted in the perpetual struggle of the great metropolis to keep its internal transportation facilities abreast of its increase in population.

The Clark Street Tunnel is one of the most important lines of the dual systetn of rapid transit, the main part of which was opened last Summer. It connects the west side subway of the system operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company with the old subway and its extensions in Brooklyn by a tunnel under the East River running from Old Slip, Manhattan, to Clark Street, Brooklyn. Heretofore the Interborough system has been confined to the use of two tracks for its tremendous traffic to and from Brooklyn, these two tracks running through the so-called Battery tunnel of the old subway which is now a part of the east side subway. The Clark Street Tunnel provides two more tracks, thus exactly doubling the facilities of the company between Manhattan and Brooklyn. If the travel divides itself, as is expected, this should produce a 100 percent improvement in the daily operation and greatly relieve, if not entirely end, the rush-hour congestion on the east side subway line.

But it means more than that for the two great boroughs of the city. It means that the people of Brooklyn will have access by fast express trains, without change of cars, to the hotel and theatre district in the neighborhood of Times Square, as well as to the upper part of the west side of the city clear to Van Cortlandt Park. This implies, of course, the cutting out of inconvenient transfers either by the Forty-second Street shuttle or by the walk over the street surface between Broadway and Greenwich Street. It also means that thousands of workers on the west side of Manhattan will be able to go from their homes in Brooklyn direct to their business places without change of cars. All this should result in greatly lessening the congestion on the old or east side subway during rush hours and, therefore, should make subway travel conditions more comfortable all around.

The opening of the new tunnel leaves few important. parts of the dual system yet to be placed in operation. There are still three more East River tunnels to be completed and placed in service, but they are parts of the system operated by the New York Consolidated Railroad Company of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit System.

The first to be opened will be the Whitehall Street-Montague Street Tunnel, which will connect the Fourth Avenue subway system in Brooklyn with the new Broadway subway in Manhattan. Another is the tunnel from Sixtieth Street, Manhattan, to Long Island City in Queens, which will connect the northern part of the Broadway subway in Manhattan with the existing elevated railroads to Astoria and Corona in Queens, over which the New York Consolidated Company will have joint trackage rights with the Interborough Company. The third is the tunnel from Fourteenth Street, Manhattan, to North Seventh Street, Brooklyn, a part of the Fourteenth Street-Eastern line which begins at Sixth Avenue, Manhattan, runs under Fourteenth Street to the East River, under the river to North Seventh Street, Brooklyn, under North Seventh Street to Metropolitan Avenue, to Johnson Avenue, to Bushwick Avenue, and thence by elevated railroad to East New York.

It will be another year or more before all these lines will be completed, but it is hoped that the Whitehall-Montague Street Tunnel will be placed in operation early in the coming Summer. Another line for this system yet to be built is the projected subway extension from the Municipal Building, under Nassau Street to a junction with the Montague Street Tunnel line at Hanover Square. The contracts for this subway have not yet been awarded.

With the exception of one short subway line in Manhattan, one elevated extension and one subway extension in the Bronx, storage yards in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, and the extension of the Brooklyn subway from Atlantic Avenue, out Eastern Parkway to Buffalo Avenue, and its branch down Nostrand Avenue to Flatbush Avenue, and the elevated extension from Buffalo Avenue over East Ninety-eighth Street and Livonia Avenue to New Lots Road, the Interborough part of the dual system is completed. The subway line in Manhattan is the extension of the Queensborough subway or Steinway Tunnel line westward under Forty-second Street from the Grand Central Station to Times Square. The elevated extension in the Bronx is the extension of the Third Avenue Elevated Railroad out Webster Avenue to a junction with the White Plains Road branch of the subway at Gun Hill Road, and the subway extension is the elevated part of the Pelham Bay Park branch. All of this work is being built and will be owned by the City of New York with the exception of the Webster Avenue elevated extension, which is to be built and paid for by the Interborough Company.

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