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South Ferry loops (New York City Subway)


South Ferry loops (New York City Subway)

For the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line station that opened in 2009 and closed in 2012, see South Ferry (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line).
South Ferry
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Outer loop platform on reopening day (April 4, 2013).
Station statistics
Address Whitehall Street at South Ferry
New York, NY 10004
Borough Manhattan
Locale Financial District

40°42′04″N 74°00′50″W / 40.701°N 74.014°W / 40.701; -74.014Coordinates: 40°42′04″N 74°00′50″W / 40.701°N 74.014°W / 40.701; -74.014

Line       IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line (outer loop)
      IRT Lexington Avenue Line (inner loop, closed)
Services       1 all times (all times)
Structure Underground
Platforms originally 2 side platforms, the inner platform is walled off
Tracks 2 balloon loops
Other information
Opened July 19, 1905; 108 years ago (1905-07-19) (outer loop)
July 1, 1918; 95 years ago (1918-07-01) (inner loop)
April 4, 2013; 14 months ago (2013-04-04) (outer loop reopening)
Closed March 16, 2009; 5 years ago (2009-03-16) (outer loop)
February 13, 1977; 37 years ago (1977-02-13) (inner loop)
Station succession
Next north Rector Street (IRT Broadway – 7th Avenue Line)
Bowling Green (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
Next south (Terminal)

The South Ferry loops are a pair of New York City Subway underground stations in South Ferry, Manhattan. The outer loop is serviced by the 1 train at all times; the inner loop is only used for turnarounds. The stations, the southernmost in Manhattan built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, are two side platforms on curved sections of track that form balloon loops; however, free transfers were unavailable between the platforms and each platform was meant to be served by its own line. The most recent configuration consisted of the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line on the outer loop platform and the IRT Lexington Avenue Line on the inner loop platform. Both stations are individually named South Ferry; the name "South Ferry loops" is used to distinguish these platforms from the successor station, South Ferry, that was used by the Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line's 1 service, from 2009 to 2012. The outer loop platform reopened on April 4, 2013, to provide temporary replacement service for the newer station that was closed because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.[1]



On July 10, 1905, the outer South Ferry platform was the first of the two platforms to open and was an extension of the original trunk line of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. The inner track existed when the station was built, but only as a storage track. When the "H" system of the IRT opened on July 1, 1918, Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line trains used the outer platform while the inner platform was opened for IRT Lexington Avenue Line trains which used the original trunk line in Lower Manhattan. Services on the Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line, including the 1 and 9 trains, used the outer platform as a terminal station, except for a period from March 16, 2009, when the new South Ferry station opened for 1 train passengers, to April 4, 2013, when the outer platform reopened, as well as a period between September 2001 and September 2002 since the main branch south of Chambers Street was impassable after the September 11 Attacks. The newer station, located underneath this one, allowed a free transfer to the R trains of the BMT Broadway Line, whereas neither of this station's platforms did.[2]

The outer platform accommodates the first five cars of a train. The rear five cars of a 10-car train cannot load or unload. Gap fillers are used to bridge the gap between the platform and the doors. Spray nozzles lubricate the track to reduce the friction caused by the tight curve. The sharp curvature slows train operation and generates a loud metallic scraping noise.[3] In order to eliminate this special operation, the new station was built as a two-track, full (10-car) length island platform on a less severe curve, permitting the operation of a typical terminal station.[4][5] The MTA claimed that the new station saved four to six minutes of a passenger's trip time and 24 trains per hour could run on the entire 1 service during peak hours, as opposed to 16 to 17 trains per hour with the loop station.[6]

The outer platform's only point of egress was within the Staten Island Ferry's terminal building and was not ADA-accessible. By contrast, the successor station is fully accessible (although its transfer to the BMT Broadway Line is not) and has three entrances; the main entrance is across from the ferry terminal building's entrance.[4] After Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012, the outer loop was brought back into service in order to turn trains uptown after terminating at Rector Street, since the replacement station suffered extensive flooding damage and was closed indefinitely for repairs. After a few months, the MTA decided to reopen the loop station as an interim terminal to restore the connection from 1 service to the Staten Island Ferry. The station reopened on April 4, 2013, with a connection to Whitehall Street.[7][8][9]

The outer track is the only track used for passenger service, serving 1 trains at all times.


The inner platform opened for IRT Lexington Avenue Line passengers on July 1, 1918, as that line's service was moved from the outer platform. This platform has an even sharper curve than the outer platform, and only the center doors opened here, with special arched openings in a wall between the platform and track at the locations of the doors.

In the late 1950s, when the IRT division began to use mostly R-type cars which could not have only the center doors opened, 5 trains (which ended at South Ferry evenings and weekends only) and 6 trains (which ended at South Ferry late nights) were rerouted to the outer loop. The Bowling Green – South Ferry Shuttle, which ran weekdays and at first also late nights, continued to use the inner loop, running to the west platform at Bowling Green until 1977, when the inner platform was closed and Lexington Avenue trains stopped using the outer loop. Specially modified R12 cars were used starting in the late 1960s until the service ended. These cars had two different door controls; the first opened the outer two sets of doors while the second opened the center set of doors only. There was no free transfer between the inner loop and the outer loop platforms.

The inner track is used to turn 5 trains when they terminate at Bowling Green on weekday evenings and weekends.

Station layout

G Street Level Entrances/Exits
M Mezzanine to entrances/exits, station agent, MetroCard vending machines
Platform level
Side platform, not in service
Inner loop NYCS 5 does not stop here (Bowling Green is the next stop)
Outer loop NYCS 1 toward Van Cortlandt Park – 242nd Street (Rector Street)
Side platform, doors open on the right in the first five cars only
B3-4 BMT Broadway Line platforms (R trains), new IRT Broadway - Seventh Avenue Line island platform (1 trains)



Further reading

External links

External video
MTA Video Release: Old South Ferry Reopening Preparations, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; April 3, 2013; 7:39 YouTube video clip


  •—IRT West Side Line: South Ferry
  • Abandoned Stations — Bowling Green & South Ferry platforms
  • Video taken in 1997-1998.
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