Unused But Fascinating

by Don Friedman on April 18, 2017

The abandoned Worth Street Station on the Lexington Avenue subway, from 3am.nightly:


There are a surprising number of web pages devoted to abandoned subway stations in New York. The stations are mostly visible if you know where to look as your train runs by them without stopping. Most are on the IRT subway lines (the numbered portion of the system) which was built partially to the older standards of the elevated trains, with stations every five blocks or so. As platforms were lengthened in the mid-1900s to allow for longer trains, some of the intermediate stations were made redundant by newly opened exits on neighboring stations. The Worth Street station, above, on what’s now called the 6 train, is too close to the expanded Brooklyn Bridge station to be of any use.

Those abandoned stations are insignificant compared to the saga of the never-completed Cincinnati subway, the subject of a great article: here. For a system that was never completed, having seven miles of abandoned tunnel is amazing. Almost all infrastructure systems have dead ends of various types – places where future expansion was planned and never happened, but the Cincinnati subway is the only example I can think of where the entire system is a dead-end stub.

Here’s the punchline: Cincinnati recently got a light-rail system to supplement its bus system, but because the trolleys do not have a dedicated right-of-way, their speed and efficiency will not be much better than the buses. It’s too bad that they couldn’t run in, say, tunnels.

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