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tion. Certain materials, such as the timber used for track work, have been entirely removed from the market owing to the Government demands. Steel is in such demand for ship building, etc., that it is very difficult to obtain. The foresight of the Commission, however, in placing contracts for track materials, including rails, ties and timbers, many months ago, has been justified in two ways — first, because deliveries, though delayed, can be ultimately obtained, and second, it has been possible to get them for a price in many instances much below the prevailing market rate. During the year the Commission maintained inspection forces at 294 manufacturing plants in 163 cities and towns in 19 states, the materials being covered by 119 general and 37 materials contracts. The inspections covered materials purchased both by The City of New York for use on City-owned lines and by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the New York Municipal Railway Corporation for use in the construction of companyowned lines, and the equipment of both City-owned and companyowned lines. The inspections covered 61,492 tons of structural steel inspected at the mills, 82,895 tons inspected at the shops, and more than a million barrels of cement.
The many new rapid transit facilities placed in operation during the year aggregated nearly 82 track miles. Added to the track miles of other new lines of the Dual System previously placed in service, they make a total of nearly 170 track miles now in use. There will be in all 345 track miles of new lines and 285 miles of old lines in the system, and it is estimated that by the end of 1918 approximately 80 per cent, or possibly more, of the new mileage will be completed.
In view of the vastly improved facilities which the lines in operation in 1917 afford, the year just ended is probably the most important, from a rapid transit standpoint, in the history of New York, with the possible exception of the year 1904, when the operation of the .First Subway by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company began.
The new facilities in service include the Broadway subway, placed in operation from Flatbush Avenue extension, Brooklyn, to 14th street, Manhattan, by way of the Canal Street subway; the Seventh Avenue subway from Times Square to Pennsylvania Station; the Astoria and Corona elevated branches of the Queensboro subway from Bridge Plaza station to Ditmars avenue, Astoria, and to Alburtis avenue, Corona, respectively; the Queensboro Bridge line from the Second Avenue Elevated railroad in Manhattan to a connection with the Queens lines at Bridge Plaza station; a portion of the Jamaica Avenue extension of the Broadway Elevated line from Cypress Hills to Richmond Hill; the White Plains Road extension of the First Subway to 219th street and later to 238th street; the Jerome Avenue branch of the Lexington Avenue subway from the Mott Avenue station of the First Subway at 149th street to Kingsbridge road: the extension of the New Utrecht Avenue (West End) line service from 25th avenue to Coney Island, Brooklyn; the rebuilt portion of the Brighton Beach line from Sheepshead Bay to Coney Island, and the Bergen Avenue connection between the First Subway and the Second and Third Avenue Elevated lines, The Bronx.
It was hoped, at the close of 1916, that several other lines of the Dual System, including the Lexington and Seventh Avenue subways, the Eastern Parkway subway and the Culver line would be open by the end of 1917. The conditions in the labor and materials markets, outlined above, were such as to prevent the full accomplishment of all the Commission's plans. Strenuous efforts were put forth to get ready the Lexington and Seventh Avenue lines, most urgently needed of all the new facilities as a means of relieving the tremendous congestion existing in Manhattan and The Bronx, but it could not be done by the end of the year. Certain items of construction and equipment, although minor in character, remain to be completed in 1918. It is expected, nevertheless, that the Lexington and Seventh Avenue subways will be ready for service in May or June, 1918. The Lexington Avenue subway, which connects with the First Subway at 42d street, and the Seventh Avenue subway, which connects with the First Subway at 43d street, constitute the new east and west side subways respectively, so that Manhattan Island will be traversed for most of its length by two great four-track trunk line subways instead of one — a doubling of present facilities.
In addition to these lines, which will be operated by the Interborough Eapid Transit Company, there will also be south of 42d street the new Broadway subway, with four tracks to City Hall and two tracks south of that point. The subway facilities south of 42d street, therefore, will be trebled when these three new lines are in full operation. The additional trackage thus provided will materially relieve the congestion in the First Subway, which at times on its busiest traffic days carries as many as 1,500,000 passengers.
The Seventh Avenue subway forks at its southern end, one branch of two tracks going to the Battery to connect there with the loop of the First Subwray, while two of the tracks diverge at Park place and proceed through various streets and by tunnel to Brooklyn to a connection with the First Subway.
The Lexington Avenue line splits near 138th street, The Bronx, into two branches, a portion of each being subway and a portion elevated line. Reference has already been made to one branch as being partially in operation, namely, the Jerome Avenue line, which will be placed in complete operation with the opening of the Lexington Avenue line, or shortly before. The other fork, known as the Pelham Bay Park branch, is partially completed and will be placed in operation from 135th street to Whitlock avenue during 1918.
Another City-owTied line for Interborough operation nearing completion is the Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway subway in Brooklyn, which it is expected will be ready for service during 1918. This line is substantially a continuation of the First Subway in Flatbush avenue and Eastern parkway to Buffalo avenue, where the line becomes a two-track elevated structure and extends mainly along Livonia avenue to New Lots avenue. At ISTostrand avenue is a two-track subway branch extending to Flatbush avenue. It is believed that the Livonia Avenue and Nostrand Avenue branches will be ready for trains late in the year, or early in 1919, and the facilities in Flatbush avenue and Eastern parkway somewhat earlier.
The Interborough Company, by direction of the Commission,
will place its 162d Street route, connecting the west side elevated
ines in Manhattan with the Jerome Avenue branch of the Lexington Avenue subway, in operation early in the year. This is a two-track line, which will add materially to the rapid transit facilities in the western portion of The Bronx. Passengers will have the option of using either elevated or subway service. The construction of this connection has necessitated the transfer of the terminal of the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad Company from 155th street and Eighth avenue, across the Harlem river to Sedgwick avenue and 162d street, where a new terminal station has been constructed for the joint use of the Central and Interborough trains.
Another company-owned facility, which, it is expected, will be ready for operation by the Interborough during the year, is the two-track extension of the Third Avenue elevated through Webster avenue and Gun Hill road from Fordham road to White Plains avenue. The construction of this line has been materially delayed by non-delivery of materials, but the erection of steel has begun.
In addition to the above, it is expected that several City-owned and company-owned lines of the Brooklyn company system will be opened in 1918. The Culver Rapid Transit railroad, from Tenth avenue and 37th street to Avenue X, Brooklyn, will probably be ready for trains during the summer months. The Culver line is a three-track elevated railroad, connecting with the tracks of the 38th Street cut and extends over private property and Gravesend avenue, Shell road and West Sixth street to Surf avenue, Coney Island. Section 3, that part of the line from Avenue X to Coney Island, will scarcely be ready for trains in 1918.
As already stated, half of the company-owned Jamaica Avenue line, between Cypress Hills and Richmond Hill, is already in operation. At the end of 1917 the structure for the remainder of the line to ClifTside avenue, Jamaica, was practically completed, and operation of trains expected within a few months.
Another important City-owned line is the Montague Street tunnel, which forms one of the two connections between the Fourth Avenue subway in Brooklyn and the Broadway subway in Manhattan, the other connection, via the Manhattan bridge, being already in operation. It is expected that the tunnel line will be ready late in 1918, but this depends somewhat upon the progress made in station completion.
Operation of a portion of the Broadway subway as far as 14th street, Manhattan, is referred to above. It was believed that it would be possible to institute a local service upon this line between Rector and 42d streets, Manhattan, on December 31, 1917, but owing to unforeseen difficulties the opening was postponed for a few days. Construction difficulties will prevent operation north of 42-d street until late in 1918, at which time it is expected service may be extended to 57th street. It is unlikely that the connection between this subway and the elevated lines in Queens will be possible before 1919. The Brooklyn company, which operates the Broadway subway, has trackage rights over the Queens lines.
Reconstruction of a portion of the Brighton Beach line, owned by the Brooklyn company, is well advanced, as is also the construction of a connection between it and the Fourth Avenue subway in Brooklyn. Unless unforeseen delays prevent, the service through this connection and the subway will begin during 1918 or early in 1919. Such operation, however, is contingent upon a number of hampering conditions. This company is also constructing, as a part of its company-owned work, improvements in its great storage yards at East New York and is building at Coney Island a large terminal for the improved handling of traffic at that point. It is expected that both of these facilities will be ready next year. Completion of the work at East New York will provide great transit relief to a large section in Brooklyn because it will then be possible to provide a better service on several of the elevated lines in the suburban sections of that borough.
Contracts Awarded In 1917
The Commission awarded new contracts as stated above to the amount of $4,998,323.84 during the year. These contracts were as follows:
To W. G. Cooper, assigned to W. G. Cooper, Inc., for construction, Route No. 31, $257,164.
To American Bridge Co., for structural steel, Route No. 31, $1,431,755.
To Crenshaw Engineering & Construction Co., Inc., for structural steel, Route No. 49, Section No. 3, $24,300.