Taking to Pelham 1 2 3: What You Need to Know about the Subway System

Say you’ve hijacked a subway train and you need to escape.  How does one get out of a tunnel?


Ever notice those metal grates on New York City sidewalks painted bright yellow? They’re exits used to evacuate tunnels during emergencies. Open up the grate from below, and you may find yourself in the middle of a busy sidewalk or in a park.  One grate even opens up inside an elegant, 19th century town house in Brooklyn. The Greek Revival, which the neighbors call “Shaft House,” serves as a front to conceal a fan plant for the IRT train. At the touch of a button from a remote location, the plant can supply fresh air, or expel smoke and heat in the case of a subway fire.


Is New York’s subway the longest in the world?


No, that title goes to the London Underground.  Dating back to 1863, the Tube is also the oldest.  New York, however, can boast the largest fleet of subway cars, more than 6,400.


How many miles of track make up the subway system?


NYC Transit reports that the system has roughly 660 miles of track in “revenue service,” that is, to transport passengers. Laid end to end, the subway tracks would stretch from New York City to Chicago.


Which line offers the longest ride without changing trains?  


Take the A train from 207th Street in Manhattan to Far Rockaway in Queens to experience the single longest line in the world, 31 miles.


Which station is located the deepest below ground?  How low does it go?


The deepest underground station is the 191st Street Station on the No. 1 line in Manhattan, located 180 feet below street level:


Why are riders called “strap hangers”?


It’s an anachronistic nickname from the days when standing riders held on to straps suspended from the train’s ceiling.


Where do old subway cars go to die? 


From beneath the sidewalk to under the sea, they are “reefed.”  They are used in constructing man-made barriers to promote sea life all along the Atlantic coast.