In the 21st century, New York City is a true metropolis that has absolutely everything, including the most developed transport infrastructure. Formerly, New York went through all the stages of progression and evolution to become the city as it is now. The development of transport in New York began with trams, which were drawn by horses. Soon the first trains with locomotives appeared. But all these vehicles in the old days were taxed extremely high. This situation stimulated the New York government to look for new options for moving around the city. And they found it. The solution was the subway. The new underground railway lines were supposed to relieve the densely populated city from the land railway, noise and smoke. Find out more at new-york-future.
The very first subway line in New York City
The first New York subway line was opened way back in 1870. The first tunnel for high speed transport was dug out directly under Broadway. Its length was only 95 meters. The beginning of the first subway tunnel was on Warren Street and its end was on Murray Street in 1870. The talented Alfred Beach worked on the development of a unique plan for the tunnel construction for public rapid transit.
At the end of the 19th century, the first New York subway was completely pneumatic. The car moved through the tunnel with the help of a fan and its power was 74,5 kW. Also, the blower in the first subway was inverted to create a vacuum and suck the car in the opposite direction.
The first New York subway car was 240 meters long. Up to 18 passengers could travel in it.
Three years later, permission for the further subway line extension was obtained. The construction of the new pneumatic subway line was stopped because electric traction motors came into the world.
Development of the rapid transit system of New York
Roads in New York were overcrowded in the late 19th century. The city’s traffic infrastructure needed immediate changes. That is why, in the 1890s, the government passed a corresponding law on rapid transit. It provided the reduction of railroad land transport and the development of a plan for the construction of a new underground high speed transport.
For years, many architects worked diligently to work out the construction plan for the New York subway. Finally, in 1904, a new subway line was laid from the endpoint of the first subway line on Murray Street in Manhattan. This line passed through the following streets:
- Centre Street
- Elm Street (Lafayette Street)
- Fourth Avenue
- Park Avenue
- 42nd Street
- Times Square
- 145th Street.
A few years later, this subway line was extended. The tunnel passed under the following streets:
- 225th Street
- 242nd Street
- South Ferry
- Atlantic Avenue.
The first subway line, with all the extensions made after its construction, was 38 kilometers long.
The technique used during the New York subway construction was the latest and nobody had applied it before. The first rapid transit tunnels consisted of concrete arches placed between steel beams and columns for the subway roof and walls. The construction technology of the first subway tunnel was highly successful due to the use of reinforced concrete lined with cast iron segments, concrete lining and others.
While constructing the first subway, the power generation industry reached great progress. A large power plant was built for the subway near 58th and 59th Streets. At the beginning of the 20th century, it supplied electricity for the movement of the entire subway train. About 70 boilers were put into operation at the station. They produced steam that drove generators, the capacity of which was 5,000 kW.