Interborough Rapid Transit
THE NEW YORK SUBWAY
Its Construction and Equipment
New York Interborough Rapid Transit Company ANNO. DOMI. MCMIV Copyright, 1904, by Interborough Rapid Transit Co. New York Planned and Executed by The McGraw Publishing Co.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I. THE ROUTE OF THE ROAD—PASSENGER STATIONS AND TRACKS, 23
CHAPTER II. TYPES AND METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION, 37
CHAPTER III. POWER HOUSE BUILDING, 67
CHAPTER IV. POWER PLANT FROM COAL PILE TO SHAFTS OF ENGINES AND TURBINES, 77
CHAPTER V. SYSTEM OF ELECTRICAL SUPPLY, 91
CHAPTER VI. ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT OF CARS, 117
CHAPTER VII. LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR PASSENGER STATIONS AND TUNNEL, 121
CHAPTER VIII. ROLLING STOCK—CARS, TRUCKS, ETC., 125
CHAPTER IX. SIGNAL SYSTEM, 135
CHAPTER X. SUBWAY DRAINAGE, 145
CHAPTER XI. REPAIR AND INSPECTION SHED, 147
CHAPTER XII. SUB-CONTRACTORS, 151
INTERBOROUGH RAPID TRANSIT COMPANY
August Belmont E. P. Bryan Andrew Freedman James Jourdan Gardiner M. Lane John B. McDonald Walter G. Oakman John Peirce Morton F. Plant William A. Read Alfred Skitt Cornelius Vanderbilt George W. Young
August Belmont Andrew Freedman James Jourdan Walter G. Oakman William A. Read Cornelius Vanderbilt
August Belmont, President E. P. Bryan, Vice-president H. M. Fisher, Secretary D. W. McWilliams, Treasurer E. F. J. Gaynor, Auditor Frank Hedley, General Superintendent S. L. F. Deyo, Chief Engineer George W. Wickersham, General Counsel Chas. A. Gardiner, General Attorney DeLancey Nicoll, Associate Counsel Alfred A. Gardner, Associate Counsel
S. L. F. Deyo, Chief Engineer.
L. B. Stillwell, Electrical Director. H. N. Latey, Principal Assistant. Frederick R. Slater, Assistant Engineer in charge of Third Rail Construction. Albert F. Parks, Assistant Engineer in charge of Lighting. George G. Raymond, Assistant Engineer in charge of Conduits and Cables. William B. Flynn, Assistant Engineer in charge of Draughting Room.
Mechanical and Architectural
J. Van Vleck, Mechanical and Construction Engineer. William C. Phelps, Assistant Construction Engineer. William N. Stevens, Ass't Mechanical Engineer. Paul C. Hunter, Architectural Assistant. Geo. E. Thomas, Supervising Engineer in Field.
Cars and Signal System
George Gibbs, Consulting Engineer. Watson T. Thompson, Master Mechanic. J. N. Waldron, Signal Engineer.
RAPID TRANSIT SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
August Belmont E. P. Bryan Andrew Freedman James Jourdan Gardiner M. Lane Walther Luttgen John B. McDonald Walter G. Oakman John Peirce Morton F. Plant William A. Read Cornelius Vanderbilt George W. Young
August Belmont Andrew Freedman James Jourdan Walter G. Oakman William A. Read Cornelius Vanderbilt
August Belmont, president Walter G. Oakman, vice-president John B. McDonald, contractor H. M. Fisher, secretary John F. Buck, treasurer E. F. J. Gaynor, auditor S. L. F. Deyo, chief engineer George W. Wickersham, general counsel Alfred A. Gardner, attorney
S. L. F. Deyo, Chief Engineer. H. T. Douglas, Principal Assistant Engineer.
A. Edward Olmsted, Division Engineer, Manhattan-Bronx Lines.
Henry B. Reed, Division Engineer, Brooklyn Extension.
Theodore Paschke, Resident Engineer, First Division, City Hall to 33d Street, also Brooklyn Extension, City Hall to Bowling Green; and Robert S. Fowler, Assistant.
Ernest C. Moore, Resident Engineer, Second Division, 33d Street to 104th Street; and Stanley Raymond, Assistant.
William C. Merryman, Resident Engineer, Third Division, Underground Work, 104th Street to Fort George West Side and Westchester Avenue East Side; and William B. Leonard, W. A. Morton, and William E. Morris, Jr., Assistants.
Allan A. Robbins and Justin Burns, Resident Engineers, Fourth Division, Viaducts; and George I. Oakley, Assistant.
Frank D. Leffingwell, Resident Engineer, East River Tunnel Division, Brooklyn Extension; and C. D. Drew, Assistant.
Percy Litchfield, Resident Engineer, Fifth Division, Brooklyn Extension, Borough Hall to Prospect Park; and Edward R. Eichner, Assistant.
M. C. Hamilton, Engineer, Maintenance of Way; and Robert E. Brandeis, Assistant.
D. L. Turner, Assistant Engineer in charge of Stations.
A. Samuel Berquist, Assistant Engineer in charge of Steel Erection.
William J. Boucher, Assistant Engineer in charge of Draughting Rooms.
The completion of the rapid transit railroad in the boroughs of Manhattan and The Bronx, which is popularly known as the "Subway," has demonstrated that underground railroads can be built beneath the congested streets of the city, and has made possible in the near future a comprehensive system of subsurface transportation extending throughout the wide territory of Greater New York.
In March, 1900, when the Mayor with appropriate ceremonies broke ground at the Borough Hall, in Manhattan, for the new road, there were many well-informed people, including prominent financiers and experienced engineers, who freely prophesied failure for the enterprise, although the contract had been taken by a most capable contractor, and one of the best known banking houses in America had committed itself to finance the undertaking.
In looking at the finished road as a completed work, one is apt to wonder why it ever seemed impossible and to forget the difficulties which confronted the builders at the start.
The railway was to be owned by the city, and built and operated under legislation unique in the history of municipal governments, complicated, and minute in provisions for the occupation of the city streets, payment of moneys by the city, and city supervision over construction and operation. Questions as to the interpretation of these provisions might have to be passed upon by the courts, with delays, how serious none could foretell, especially in New York where the crowded calendars retard speedy decisions. The experience of the elevated railroad corporations in building their lines had shown the uncertainty of depending upon legal precedents. It was not, at that time, supposed that the abutting property owners would have any legal ground for complaint against the elevated structures, but the courts found new laws for new conditions and spelled out new property rights of light, air, and access, which were made the basis for a volume of litigation unprecedented in the courts of any country.
An underground railroad was a new condition. None could say that the abutting property owners might not find rights substantial enough, at least, to entitle them to their day in court, a day which, in this State, might stretch into many months, or even several years. Owing to the magnitude of the work, delay might easily result in failure. An eminent judge of the New York Supreme Court had emphasized the uncertainties of the situation in the following language: "Just what are the rights of the owners of property abutting upon a street or avenue, the fee in and to the soil underneath the surface of which has been acquired by the city of New York, so far as the same is not required for the ordinary city uses of gas or water pipes, or others of a like character, has never been finally determined. We have now the example of the elevated railroad, constructed and operated in the city of New York under legislative and municipal authority for nearly twenty years, which has been compelled to pay many millions of dollars to abutting property owners for the easement in the public streets appropriated by the construction and maintenance of the road, and still the amount that the road will have to pay is not ascertained. What liabilities will be imposed upon the city under this contract; what injury the construction and operation of this road will cause to abutting property, and what easements and rights will have to be acquired before the road can be legally constructed and operated, it is impossible now to ascertain."
It is true, that the city undertook "to secure to the contractor the right to construct and operate, free from all rights, claims, or other interference, whether by injunction, suit for damages, or otherwise on the part of any abutting owner or other person." But another eminent judge of the same court had characterized this as "a condition absolutely impossible of fulfillment," and had said: "How is the city to prevent interference with the work by injunction? That question lies with the courts; and not with the courts of this State alone, for there are cases without doubt in which the courts of the United States would have jurisdiction to act, and when such jurisdiction exists they have not hitherto shown much reluctance in acting.... That legal proceedings will be undertaken which will, to some extent at least, interfere with the progress of this work seems to be inevitable...."
Another difficulty was that the Constitution of the State of New York limited the debt-incurring power of the city. The capacity of the city to undertake the work had been much discussed in the courts, and the Supreme Court of the State had disposed of that phase of the situation by suggesting that it did not make much difference to the municipality whether or not the debt limit permitted a contract for the work, because if the limit should be exceeded, "no liability could possibly be imposed upon the city," a view which might comfort the timid taxpayers but could hardly be expected to give confidence to the capitalists who might undertake the execution of the contract.
Various corporations, organized during the thirty odd years of unsuccessful attempts by the city to secure underground rapid transit, claimed that their franchises gave them vested rights in the streets to the exclusion of the new enterprise, and they were prepared to assert their rights in the courts. (The Underground Railroad Company of the City of New York sought to enjoin the building of the road and carried their contest to the Supreme Court of the United States which did not finally decide the questions raised until March, 1904, when the subway was practically complete.)
Rival transportation companies stood ready to obstruct the work and encourage whomever might find objection to the building of the road.
New York has biennial elections. The road could not be completed in two years, and the attitude of one administration might not be the attitude of its successors.
The engineering difficulties were well-nigh appalling. Towering buildings along the streets had to be considered, and the streets themselves were already occupied with a complicated network of subsurface structures, such as sewers, water and gas mains, electric cable conduits, electric surface railway conduits, telegraph and power conduits, and many vaults extending out under the streets, occupied by the abutting property owners. On the surface were street railway lines carrying a very heavy traffic night and day, and all the thoroughfares in the lower part of the city were congested with vehicular traffic.
Finally, the city was unwilling to take any risk, and demanded millions of dollars of security to insure the completion of the road according to the contract, the terms of which were most exacting down to the smallest detail.
The builders of the road did not underestimate the magnitude of the task before them. They retained the most experienced experts for every part of the work and, perfecting an organization in an incredibly short time, proceeded to surmount and sweep aside difficulties. The result is one of which every citizen of New York may feel proud. Upon the completion of the road the city will own the best constructed and best equipped intraurban rapid transit railroad in the world. The efforts of the builders have not been limited by the strict terms of the contract. They have striven, not to equal the best devices, but to improve upon the best devices used in modern electrical railroading, to secure for the traveling public safety, comfort, and speedy transportation.
The road is off the surface and escapes the delays incident to congested city streets, but near the surface and accessible, light, dry, clean, and well ventilated. The stations and approaches are commodious, and the stations themselves furnish conveniences to passengers heretofore not heard of on intraurban lines. There is a separate express service, with its own tracks, and the stations are so arranged that passengers may pass from local trains to express trains, and vice versa, without delay and without payment of additional fare. Special precautions have been taken and devices adopted to prevent a failure of the electric power and the consequent delays of traffic. An electro pneumatic block signal system has been devised, which excels any system heretofore used and is unique in its mechanism. The third rail for conveying the electric current is covered, so as to prevent injury to passengers and employees from contact. Special emergency and fire alarm signal systems are installed throughout the length of the road. At a few stations, where the road is not near the surface, improved escalators and elevators are provided. The cars have been designed to prevent danger from fire, and improved types of motors have been adopted, capable of supplying great speed combined with complete control. Strength, utility, and convenience have not alone been considered, but all parts of the railroad structures and equipment, stations, power house, and electrical sub-stations have been designed and constructed with a view to the beauty of their appearance, as well as to their efficiency.
The completion of the subway marks the solution of a problem which for over thirty years baffled the people of New York City, in spite of the best efforts of many of its foremost citizens. An extended account of Rapid Transit Legislation would be out of place here, but a brief glance at the history of the Act under the authority of which the subway has been built is necessary to a clear understanding of the work which has been accomplished. From 1850 to 1865 the street surface horse railways were sufficient for the requirements of the traveling public. As the city grew rapidly, the congestion spreading northward, to and beyond the Harlem River, the service of surface roads became entirely inadequate. As early as 1868, forty-two well known business men of the city became, by special legislative Act, incorporators of the New York City Central Underground Railway Company, to build a line from the City Hall to the Harlem River. The names of the incorporators evidenced the seriousness of the attempt, but nothing came of it. In 1872, also by special Act, Cornelius Vanderbilt and others were incorporated as The New York City Rapid Transit Company, to build an underground road from the City Hall to connect with the New York & Harlem Road at 59th Street, with a branch to the tracks of the New York Central Road. The enterprise was soon abandoned. Numerous companies were incorporated in the succeeding years under the general railroad laws, to build underground roads, but without results; among them the Central Tunnel Railway Company in 1881, The New York & New Jersey Tunnel Railway Company in 1883, The Terminal Underground Railway Company in 1886, The Underground Railroad Company of the City of New York (a consolidation of the last two companies) in 1896, and The Rapid Transit Underground Railroad Company in 1897.
All attempts to build a road under the early special charter and later under the general laws having failed, the city secured in 1891 the passage of the Rapid Transit Act under which, as amended, the subway has been built. As originally passed it did not provide for municipal ownership. It provided that a board of five rapid transit railroad commissioners might adopt routes and general plans for a railroad, obtain the consents of the local authorities and abutting property owners, or in lieu of the consents of the property owners the approval of the Supreme Court; and then, having adopted detail plans for the construction and operation, might sell at public sale the right to build and operate the road to a corporation, whose powers and duties were defined in the Act, for such period of time and on such terms as they could. The Commissioners prepared plans and obtained the consents of the local authorities. The property owners refused their consent; the Supreme Court gave its approval in lieu thereof, but upon inviting bids the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners found no responsible bidder.
The late Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, as early as 1884, when legislation for underground roads was under discussion, had urged municipal ownership. Speaking in 1901, he said of his efforts in 1884:
"It was evident to me that underground rapid transit could not be secured by the investment of private capital, but in some way or other its construction was dependent upon the use of the credit of the City of New York. It was also apparent to me that if such credit were used, the property must belong to the city. Inasmuch as it would not be safe for the city to undertake the construction itself, the intervention of a contracting company appeared indispensable. To secure the city against loss, this company must necessarily be required to give a sufficient bond for the completion of the work and be willing to enter into a contract for its continued operation under a rental which would pay the interest upon the bonds issued by the city for the construction, and provide a sinking fund sufficient for the payment of the bonds at or before maturity. It also seemed to be indispensable that the leasing company should invest in the rolling stock and in the real estate required for its power houses and other buildings an amount of money sufficiently large to indemnify the city against loss in case the lessees should fail in their undertaking to build and operate the railroad."
Mr. Hewitt became Mayor of the city in 1887, and his views were presented in the form of a Bill to the Legislature in the following year. The measure found practically no support. Six years later, after the Rapid Transit Commissioners had failed under the Act of 1891, as originally drawn, to obtain bidders for the franchise, the New York Chamber of Commerce undertook to solve the problem by reverting to Mr. Hewitt's idea of municipal ownership. Whether or not municipal ownership would meet the approval of the citizens of New York could not be determined; therefore, as a preliminary step, it was decided to submit the question to a popular vote. An amendment to the Act of 1891 was drawn (Chapter 752 of the Laws of 1894) which provided that the qualified electors of the city were to decide at an annual election, by ballot, whether the rapid transit railway or railways should be constructed by the city and at the public's expense, and be operated under lease from the city, or should be constructed by a private corporation under a franchise to be sold in the manner attempted unsuccessfully, under the Act of 1891, as originally passed. At the fall election of 1894, the electors of the city, by a very large vote, declared against the sale of a franchise to a private corporation and in favor of ownership by the city. Several other amendments, the necessity for which developed as plans for the railway were worked out, were made up to and including the session of the Legislature of 1900, but the general scheme for rapid transit may be said to have become fixed when the electors declared in favor of municipal ownership. The main provisions of the legislation which stood upon the statute books as the Rapid Transit Act, when the contract was finally executed, February 21, 1900, may be briefly summarized as follows:
(a) The Act was general in terms, applying to all cities in the State having a population of over one million; it was special in effect because New York was the only city having such a population. It did not limit the Rapid Transit Commissioners to the building of a single road, but authorized the laying out of successive roads or extensions.
(b) A Board was created consisting of the Mayor, Comptroller, or other chief financial officer of the city; the president of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, by virtue of his office, and five members named in the Act: William Steinway, Seth Low, John Claflin, Alexander E. Orr, and John H. Starin, men distinguished for their business experience, high integrity, and civic pride. Vacancies in the Board were to be filled by the Board itself, a guaranty of a continued uniform policy.
(c) The Board was to prepare general routes and plans and submit the question of municipal ownership to the electors of the city.
(d) The city was authorized, in the event that the electors decided for city ownership, to issue bonds not to exceed $50,000,000 for the construction of the road or roads and $5,000,000 additional, if necessary, for acquiring property rights for the route. The interest on the bonds was not to exceed 3-1/2 per cent.
(e) The Commissioners were given the broad power to enter into a contract (in the case of more than one road, successive contracts) on behalf of the city for the construction of the road with the person, firm, or corporation which in the opinion of the Board should be best qualified to carry out the contract, and to determine the amount of the bond to be given by the contractor to secure its performance. The essential features of the contract were, however, prescribed by the Act. The contractor in and by the contract for building the road was to agree to fully equip it at his own expense, and the equipment was to include all power houses. He was also to operate the road, as lessee of the city, for a term not to exceed fifty years, upon terms to be included in the contract for construction, which might include provision for renewals of the lease upon such terms as the Board should from time to time determine. The rental was to be at least equal to the amount of interest on the bonds which the city might issue for construction and one per cent. additional. The one per cent. additional might, in the discretion of the Board, be made contingent in part for the first ten years of the lease upon the earnings of the road. The rental was to be applied by the city to the interest on the bonds and the balance was to be paid into the city's general sinking fund for payment of the city's debt or into a sinking fund for the redemption at maturity of the bonds issued for the construction of the rapid transit road, or roads. In addition to the security which might be required by the Board of the contractor for construction and operation, the Act provided that the city should have a first lien upon the equipment of the road to be furnished by the contractor, and at the termination of the lease the city had the privilege of purchasing such equipment from the contractor.
(f) The city was to furnish the right of way to the contractor free from all claims of abutting property owners. The road was to be the absolute property of the city and to be deemed a part of the public streets and highways. The equipment of the road was to be exempt from taxation.
(g) The Board was authorized to include in the contract for construction provisions in detail for the supervision of the city, through the Board, over the operation of the road under the lease.
One of the most attractive—and, in fact, indispensable features of the scheme—was that the work of construction, instead of being subject to the conflicting control of various departments of the City Government, with their frequent changes in personnel, was under the exclusive supervision and control of the Rapid Transit Board, a conservative and continuous body composed of the two principal officers of the City Government, and five merchants of the very highest standing in the community.
Provided capitalists could be found to undertake such an extensive work under the exacting provisions, the scheme was an admirable one from the taxpayers' point of view. The road would cost the city practically nothing and the obligation of the contractor to equip and operate being combined with the agreement to construct furnished a safeguard against waste of the public funds and insured the prompt completion of the road. The interest of the contractor in the successful operation, after construction, furnished a strong incentive to see that as the construction progressed the details were consistent with successful operation and to suggest and consent to such modifications of the contract plans as might appear necessary from an operating point of view, from time to time. The rental being based upon the cost encouraged low bids, and the lien of the city upon the equipment secured the city against all risk, once the road was in operation.
Immediately after the vote of the electors upon the question of municipal ownership, the Rapid Transit Commissioners adopted routes and plans which they had been studying and perfecting since the failure to find bidders for the franchise under the original Act of 1891. The local authorities approved them, and again the property owners refused their consent, making an application to the Supreme Court necessary. The Court refused its approval upon the ground that the city, owing to a provision of the constitution of the State limiting the city's power to incur debt, would be unable to raise the necessary money. This decision appeared to nullify all the efforts of the public spirited citizens composing the Board of Rapid Transit Commissioners and to practically prohibit further attempts on their part. They persevered, however, and in January, 1897, adopted new general routes and plans. The consolidation of a large territory into the Greater New York, and increased land values, warranted the hope that the city's debt limit would no longer be an objection, especially as the new route changed the line so as to reduce the estimated cost. The demands for rapid transit had become more and more imperative as the years went by, and it was fair to assume that neither the courts nor the municipal authorities would be overzealous to find a narrow construction of the laws. Incidentally, the constitutionality of the rapid transit legislation, in its fundamental features, had been upheld in the Supreme Court in a decision which was affirmed by the highest court of the State a few weeks after the Board had adopted its new plans. The local authorities gave their consent to the new route; the property owners, as on the two previous occasions, refused their consent; the Supreme Court gave its approval in lieu thereof; and the Board was prepared to undertake the preliminaries for letting a contract. These successive steps and the preparation of the terms of the contract all took time; but, finally, on November 15, 1899, a form of contract was adopted and an invitation issued by the Board to contractors to bid for the construction and operation of the railroad. There were two bidders, one of whom was John B. McDonald, whose terms submitted under the invitation were accepted on January 15, 1900; and, for the first time, it seemed as if a beginning might be made in the actual construction of the rapid transit road. The letter of invitation to contractors required that every proposal should be accompanied by a certified check upon a National or State Bank, payable to the order of the Comptroller, for $150,000, and that within ten days after acceptance, or within such further period as might be prescribed by the Board, the contract should be duly executed and delivered. The amount to be paid by the city for the construction was $35,000,000 and an additional sum not to exceed $2,750,000 for terminals, station sites, and other purposes. The construction was to be completed in four years and a half, and the term of the lease from the city to the contractor was fixed at fifty years, with a renewal, at the option of the contractor, for twenty-five years at a rental to be agreed upon by the city, not less than the average rental for the then preceding ten years. The rental for the fifty-year term was fixed at an amount equal to the annual interest upon the bonds issued by the city for construction and 1 per cent. additional, such 1 per cent. during the first ten years to be contingent in part upon the earnings of the road. To secure the performance of the contract by Mr. McDonald the city required him to deposit $1,000,000 in cash as security for construction, to furnish a bond with surety for $5,000,000 as security for construction and equipment, and to furnish another bond of $1,000,000 as continuing security for the performance of the contract. The city in addition to this security had, under the provisions of the Rapid Transit Act, a first lien on the equipment, and it should be mentioned that at the expiration of the lease and renewals (if any) the equipment is to be turned over to the city, pending an agreement or arbitration upon the question of the price to be paid for it by the city. The contract (which covered about 200 printed pages) was minute in detail as to the work to be done, and sweeping powers of supervision were given the city through the Chief Engineer of the Board, who by the contract was made arbiter of all questions that might arise as to the interpretation of the plans and specifications. The city had been fortunate in securing for the preparation of plans the services of Mr. William Barclay Parsons, one of the foremost engineers of the country. For years as Chief Engineer of the Board he had studied and developed the various plans and it was he who was to superintend on behalf of the city the completion of the work.
During the thirty-two years of rapid transit discussion between 1868, when the New York City Central Underground Company was incorporated, up to 1900, when the invitations for bids were issued by the city, every scheme for rapid transit had failed because responsible capitalists could not be found willing to undertake the task of building a road. Each year had increased the difficulties attending such an enterprise and the scheme finally evolved had put all of the risk upon the capitalists who might attempt to finance the work, and left none upon the city. Without detracting from the credit due the public-spirited citizens who had evolved the plan of municipal ownership, it may be safely asserted that the success of the undertaking depended almost entirely upon the financial backing of the contractor. When the bid was accepted by the city no arrangements had been made for the capital necessary to carry out the contract. After its acceptance, Mr. McDonald not only found little encouragement in his efforts to secure the capital, but discovered that the surety companies were unwilling to furnish the security required of him, except on terms impossible for him to fulfill.
The crucial point in the whole problem of rapid transit with which the citizens of New York had struggled for so many years had been reached, and failure seemed inevitable. The requirements of the Rapid Transit Act were rigid and forbade any solution of the problem which committed the city to share in the risks of the undertaking. Engineers might make routes and plans, lawyers might draw legislative acts, the city might prepare contracts, the question was and always had been, Can anybody build the road who will agree to do it and hold the city safe from loss?
It was obvious when the surety companies declined the issue that the whole rapid transit problem was thrown open, or rather that it always had been open. The final analysis had not been made. After all, the attitude of the surety companies was only a reflection of the general feeling of practical business and railroad men towards the whole venture. To the companies the proposition had come as a concrete business proffer and they had rejected it.
At this critical point, Mr. McDonald sought the assistance of Mr. August Belmont. It was left to Mr. Belmont to make the final analysis, and avert the failure which impended. There was no time for indecision or delay. Whatever was to be done must be done immediately. The necessary capital must be procured, the required security must be given, and an organization for building and operating the road must be anticipated. Mr. Belmont looking through and beyond the intricacies of the Rapid Transit Act, and the complications of the contract, saw that he who undertook to surmount the difficulties presented by the attitude of the surety companies must solve the whole problem. It was not the ordinary question of financing a railroad contract. He saw that the responsibility for the entire rapid transit undertaking must be centered, and that a compact and effective organization must be planned which could deal with every phase of the situation.
Mr. Belmont without delay took the matter up directly with the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners, and presented a plan for the incorporation of a company to procure the security required for the performance of the contract, to furnish the capital necessary to carry on the work, and to assume supervision over the whole undertaking. Application was to be made to the Supreme Court to modify the requirements with respect to the sureties by striking out a provision requiring the justification of the sureties in double the amount of liabilities assumed by each and reducing the minimum amount permitted to be taken by each surety from $500,000 to $250,000. The new corporation was to execute as surety a bond for $4,000,000, the additional amount of $1,000,000 to be furnished by other sureties. A beneficial interest in the bonds required from the sub-contractors was to be assigned to the city and, finally, the additional amount of $1,000,000, in cash or securities, was to be deposited with the city as further security for the performance of the contract. The plan was approved by the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners, and pursuant to the plan, the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company was organized. The Supreme Court granted the application to modify the requirements as to the justification of sureties and the contract was executed February 21, 1900.
As president and active executive head of the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company, Mr. Belmont perfected its organization, collected the staff of engineers under whose direction the work of building the road was to be done, supervised the letting of sub-contracts, and completed the financial arrangements for carrying on the work.
The equipment of the road included, under the terms of the contract, the rolling stock, all machinery and mechanisms for generating electricity for motive power, lighting, and signaling, and also the power house, sub-stations, and the real estate upon which they were to be erected. The magnitude of the task of providing the equipment was not generally appreciated until Mr. Belmont took the rapid transit problem in hand. He foresaw from the beginning the importance of that branch of the work, and early in 1900, immediately after the signing of the contract, turned his attention to selecting the best engineers and operating experts, and planned the organization of an operating company. As early as May, 1900, he secured the services of Mr. E. P. Bryan, who came to New York from St. Louis, resigning as vice-president and general manager of the Terminal Railroad Association, and began a study of the construction work and plans for equipment, to the end that the problems of operation might be anticipated as the building and equipment of the road progressed. Upon the incorporation of the operating company, Mr. Bryan became vice-president.
In the spring of 1902, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the operating railroad corporation was formed by the interests represented by Mr. Belmont, he becoming president and active executive head of this company also, and soon thereafter Mr. McDonald assigned to it the lease or operating part of his contract with the city, that company thereby becoming directly responsible to the city for the equipment and operation of the road, Mr. McDonald remaining as contractor for its construction. In the summer of the same year, the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners having adopted a route and plans for an extension of the subway under the East River to the Borough of Brooklyn, the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company entered into a contract with the city, similar in form to Mr. McDonald's contract, to build, equip, and operate the extension. Mr. McDonald, as contractor of the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company, assumed the general supervision of the work of constructing the Brooklyn extension; and the construction work of both the original subway and the extension has been carried on under his direction. The work of construction has been greatly facilitated by the broad minded and liberal policy of the Rapid Transit Board and its Chief Engineer and Counsel, and by the cooeperation of all the other departments of the City Government, and also by the generous attitude of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company and its lessee, the New York City Railroad Company, in extending privileges which have been of great assistance in the prosecution of the work. In January, 1903, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company acquired the elevated railway system by lease for 999 years from the Manhattan Railway Company, thus assuring harmonious operation of the elevated roads and the subway system, including the Brooklyn extension.
The incorporators of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company were William H. Baldwin, Jr., Charles T. Barney, August Belmont, E. P. Bryan, Andrew Freedman, James Jourdan, Gardiner M. Lane, John B. McDonald, DeLancey Nicoll, Walter G. Oakman, John Peirce, Wm. A. Read, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George W. Wickersham, and George W. Young.
The incorporators of the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company were Charles T. Barney, August Belmont, John B. McDonald, Walter G. Oakman, and William A. Read.
THE ROUTE OF THE ROAD—PASSENGER STATIONS AND TRACKS
The selection of route for the Subway was governed largely by the amount which the city was authorized by the Rapid Transit Act to spend. The main object of the road was to carry to and from their homes in the upper portions of Manhattan Island the great army of workers who spend the business day in the offices, shops, and warehouses of the lower portions, and it was therefore obvious that the general direction of the routes must be north and south, and that the line must extend as nearly as possible from one end of the island to the other.
The routes proposed by the Rapid Transit Board in 1895, after municipal ownership had been approved by the voters at the fall election of 1894, contemplated the occupation of Broadway below 34th Street to the Battery, and extended only to 185th Street on the west side and 146th Street on the east side of the city. As has been told in the introductory chapter, this plan was rejected by the Supreme Court because of the probable cost of going under Broadway. It was also intimated by the Court, in rejecting the routes, that the road should extend further north.
It had been clear from the beginning that no routes could be laid out to which abutting property owners would consent, and that the consent of the Court as an alternative would be necessary to any routes chosen. To conform as nearly as possible to the views of the Court, the Commission proposed, in 1897, the so called "Elm Street route," the plan finally adopted, which reached from the territory near the General Post-office, the City Hall, and Brooklyn Bridge Terminal to Kingsbridge and the station of the New York & Putnam Railroad on the upper west side, and to Bronx Park on the upper east side of the city, touching the Grand Central Depot at 42d Street.
Subsequently, by the adoption of the Brooklyn Extension, the line was extended down Broadway to the southern extremity of Manhattan Island, thence under the East River to Brooklyn.
The routes in detail are as follows:
[Sidenote: Manhattan-Bronx Route]
Beginning near the intersection of Broadway and Park Row, one of the routes of the railroad extends under Park Row, Center Street, New Elm Street, Elm Street, Lafayette Place, Fourth Avenue (beginning at Astor Place), Park Avenue, 42d Street, and Broadway to 125th Street, where it passes over Broadway by viaduct to 133d Street, thence under Broadway again to and under Eleventh Avenue to Fort George, where it comes to the surface again at Dyckman Street and continues by viaduct over Naegle Avenue, Amsterdam Avenue, and Broadway to Bailey Avenue, at the Kingsbridge station of the New York & Putnam Railroad, crossing the Harlem Ship Canal on a double-deck drawbridge. The length of this route is 13.50 miles, of which about 2 miles are on viaduct.
Another route begins at Broadway near 103d Street and extends under 104th Street and the upper part of Central Park to and under Lenox Avenue to 142d Street, thence curving to the east to and under the Harlem River at about 145th Street, thence from the river to and under East 149th Street to a point near Third Avenue, thence by viaduct beginning at Brook Avenue over Westchester Avenue, the Southern Boulevard and the Boston Road to Bronx Park. The length of this route is about 6.97 miles, of which about 3 miles are on viaduct.
At the City Hall there is a loop under the Park. From 142d Street there is a spur north under Lenox Avenue to 148th Street. There is a spur at Westchester and Third Avenues connecting by viaduct the Manhattan Elevated Railway Division of Interborough Rapid Transit Company with the viaduct of the subway at or near St. Ann's Avenue.
[Sidenote: Brooklyn Route]
The route of the Brooklyn Extension connects near Broadway and Park Row with the Manhattan Bronx Route and extends under Broadway, Bowling Green, State Street, Battery Park, Whitehall Street, and South Street to and under the East River to Brooklyn at the foot of Joralemon Street, thence under Joralemon Street, Fulton Street, and Flatbush Avenue to Atlantic Avenue, connecting with the Brooklyn tunnel of the Long Island Railroad at that point. There is a loop under Battery Park beginning at Bridge Street. The length of this route is about 3 miles.
The routes in Manhattan and The Bronx may therefore be said to roughly resemble the letter Y with the base at the southern extremity of Manhattan Island, the fork at 103d Street and Broadway, the terminus of the westerly or Fort George branch of the fork just beyond Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the terminus of the easterly or Bronx Park branch at Bronx Park.
[Sidenote: Location of Stations]
The stations beginning at the base of the Y and following the route up to the fork are located at the following points:
South Ferry, Bowling Green and Battery Place, Rector Street and Broadway, Fulton Street and Broadway, City Hall, Manhattan; Brooklyn Bridge Entrance, Manhattan; Worth and Elm Streets, Canal and Elm Streets, Spring and Elm Streets, Bleecker and Elm Streets, Astor Place and Fourth Avenue, 14th Street and Fourth Avenue, 18th Street and Fourth Avenue, 23d Street and Fourth Avenue, 28th Street and Fourth Avenue, 33d Street and Fourth Avenue, 42d Street and Madison Avenue (Grand Central Station), 42d Street and Broadway, 50th Street and Broadway, 60th Street and Broadway (Columbus Circle), 66th Street and Broadway, 72d Street and Broadway, 79th Street and Broadway, 86th Street and Broadway, 91st Street and Broadway, 96th Street and Broadway.
The stations of the Fort George or westerly branch are located at the following points:
One Hundred and Third Street and Broadway, 110th Street and Broadway (Cathedral Parkway), 116th Street and Broadway (Columbia University), Manhattan Street (near 128th Street) and Broadway, 137th Street and Broadway, 145th Street and Broadway, 157th Street and Broadway, the intersection of 168th Street, St. Nicholas Avenue and Broadway, 181st Street and Eleventh Avenue, Dyckman Street and Naegle Avenue (beyond Fort George), 207th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 215th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Muscoota Street and Broadway, Bailey Avenue, at Kingsbridge near the New York & Putnam Railroad station.
The stations on the Bronx Park or easterly branch are located at the following points:
One Hundred and Tenth Street and Lenox Avenue, 116th Street and Lenox Avenue, 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, 135th Street and Lenox Avenue, 145th Street and Lenox Avenue (spur), Mott Avenue and 149th Street, the intersection of 149th Street, Melrose and Third Avenues, Jackson and Westchester Avenues, Prospect and Westchester Avenues, Westchester Avenue near Southern Boulevard (Fox Street), Freeman Street and the Southern Boulevard, intersection of 174th Street, Southern Boulevard and Boston Road, 177th Street and Boston Road (near Bronx Park).
The stations in the Borough of Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Extension are located as follows:
Joralemon Street near Court (Brooklyn Borough Hall), intersection of Fulton, Bridge, and Hoyt Streets; Flatbush Avenue near Nevins Street, Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue (Brooklyn terminal of the Long Island Railroad).
From the Borough Hall, Manhattan, to the 96th Street station, the line is four-track. On the Fort George branch (including 103d Street station) there are three tracks to 145th Street and then two tracks to Dyckman Street, then three tracks again to the terminus at Bailey Avenue. On the Bronx Park branch there are two tracks to Brook Avenue and from that point to Bronx Park there are three tracks. On the Lenox Avenue spur to 148th Street there are two tracks, on the City Hall loop one track, on the Battery Park loop two tracks. The Brooklyn Extension is a two-track line.
There is a storage yard under Broadway between 137th Street and 145th Street on the Fort George branch, another on the surface at the end of the Lenox Avenue spur, Lenox Avenue and 148th Street, and a third on an elevated structure at the Boston Road and 178th Street. There is a repair shop and inspection shed on the surface adjoining the Lenox Avenue spur at the Harlem River and 148-150th Streets, and an inspection shed at the storage yard at Boston Road and 178th Street.
[Sidenote: Length of Line.]
The total length of the line from the City Hall to the Kingsbridge terminal is 13.50 miles, with 47.11 miles of single track and sidings. The eastern or Bronx Park branch is 6.97 miles long, with 17.50 miles of single track.
[Sidenote: Grades and Curves.]
The total length of the Brooklyn Extension is 3.1 miles, with about 8 miles of single track.
The grades and curvature along the main line may be summarized as follows:
The total curvature is equal in length to 23 per cent. of the straight line, and the least radius of curvature is 147 feet. The greatest grade is 3 per cent., and occurs on either side of the tunnel under the Harlem River. At each station there is a down grade of 2.1 per cent., to assist in the acceleration of the cars when they start. In order to make time on roads running trains at frequent intervals, it is necessary to bring the trains to their full speed very soon after starting. The electrical equipment of the Rapid Transit Railroad will enable this to be done in a better manner than is possible with steam locomotives, while these short acceleration grades at each station, on both up and down tracks, will be of material assistance in making the starts smooth.
Photograph on page 26 shows an interesting feature at a local station, where, in order to obtain the quick acceleration in grade for local trains, and at the same time maintain a level grade for the express service, the tracks are constructed at a different level. This occurs at many local stations.
On the Brooklyn Extension the maximum grade is 3.1 per cent. descending from the ends to the center of the East River tunnel. The minimum radius of curve is 1,200 feet.
The track is of the usual standard construction with broken stone ballast, timber cross ties, and 100-pound rails of the American Society of Civil Engineers' section. The cross ties are selected hard pine. All ties are fitted with tie plates. All curves are supplied with steel inside guard rails. The frogs and switches are of the best design and quality to be had, and a special design has been used on all curves. At the Battery loop, at Westchester Avenue, at 96th Street, and at City Hall loop, where it has been necessary for the regular passenger tracks to cross, grade crossings have been avoided; one track or set of tracks passing under the other at the intersecting points. (See plan on this page.)
The contract for the building of the road contains the following somewhat unusual provision: "The railway and its equipment as contemplated by the contract constitute a great public work. All parts of the structure where exposed to public sight shall therefore be designed, constructed, and maintained with a view to the beauty of their appearance, as well as to their efficiency."
It may be said with exact truthfulness that the builders have spared no effort or expense to live up to the spirit of this provision, and that all parts of the road and equipment display dignified and consistent artistic effects of the highest order. These are noticeable in the power house and the electrical sub-stations and particularly in the passenger stations. It might readily have been supposed that the limited space and comparative uniformity of the underground stations would afford but little opportunity for architectural and decorative effects. The result has shown the fallacy of such a supposition.
Of the forty-eight stations, thirty-three are underground, eleven are on the viaduct portions of the road, and three are partly on the surface and partly underground, and one is partly on the surface and partly on the viaduct.
[Sidenote: Space Occupied]
The underground stations are at the street intersections, and, except in a few instances, occupy space under the cross streets. The station plans are necessarily varied to suit the conditions of the different locations, the most important factor in planning them having been the amount of available space. The platforms are from 200 to 350 feet in length, and about 16 feet in width, narrowing at the ends, while the center space is larger or smaller, according to local conditions. As a rule the body of the station extends back about 50 feet from the edge of the platform.
At all local stations (except at 110th Street and Lenox Avenue) the platforms are outside of the tracks. (Plan and photograph on pages 30 and 31.) At Lenox Avenue and 110th Street there is a single island platform for uptown and downtown passengers.
[Sidenote: Island Platforms]
At express stations there are two island platforms between the express and local tracks, one for uptown and one for downtown traffic. In addition, there are the usual local platforms at Brooklyn Bridge, 14th Street (photograph on page 34) and 96th Street. At the remaining express stations, 42d Street and Madison Avenue and 72d Street, there are no local platforms outside of the tracks, local and through traffic using the island platforms.
The island platforms at Brooklyn Bridge, 14th Street, and 42d Street and Madison Avenue are reached by mezzanine footways from the local platforms, it having been impossible to place entrances in the streets immediately over the platforms. At 96th Street there is an underground passage connecting the local and island platforms, and at 72d Street there are entrances to the island platforms directly from the street because there is a park area in the middle of the street. Local passengers can transfer from express trains and express passengers from local trains without payment of additional fare by stepping across the island platforms.
At 72d Street, at 103d Street, and at 116th Street and Broadway the station platforms are below the surface, but the ticket booths and toilet rooms are on the surface; this arrangement being possible also because of the park area available in the streets. At Manhattan Street the platforms are on the viaduct, but the ticket booths and toilet rooms are on the surface. The viaduct at this point is about 68 feet above the surface, and escalators are provided. At many of the stations entrances have been arranged from the adjacent buildings, in addition to the entrances originally planned from the street.
The entrances to the underground stations are enclosed at the street by kiosks of cast iron and wire glass (photograph on page 33), and vary in number from two to eight at a station. The stairways are of concrete, reinforced by twisted steel rods. At 168th Street, at 181st Street, and at Mott Avenue, where the platforms are from 90 to 100 feet below the surface, elevators are provided.
At twenty of the underground stations it has been possible to use vault lights to such an extent that very little artificial light is needed. (Photograph on page 35.) Such artificial light as is required is supplied by incandescent lamps sunk in the ceilings. Provision has been made for using the track circuit for lighting in emergency if the regular lighting circuit should temporarily fail.
The station floors are of concrete, marked off in squares. At the junction of the floors and side walls a cement sanitary cove is placed. The floors drain to catch-basins, and hose bibs are provided for washing the floors.
Two types of ceiling are used, one flat, which covers the steel and concrete of the roof, and the other arched between the roof beams and girders, the lower flanges of which are exposed. Both types have an air space between ceiling and roof, which, together with the air space behind the inner side walls, permits air to circulate and minimizes condensation on the surface of the ceiling and walls.
The ceilings are separated into panels by wide ornamental mouldings, and the panels are decorated with narrower mouldings and rosettes. The bases of the walls are buff Norman brick. Above this is glass tile or glazed tile, and above the tile is a faience or terra-cotta cornice. Ceramic mosaic is used for decorative panels, friezes, pilasters, and name-tablets. A different decorative treatment is used at each station, including a distinctive color scheme. At some stations the number of the intersecting street or initial letter of the street name is shown on conspicuous plaques, at other stations the number or letter is in the panel. At some stations artistic emblems have been used in the scheme of decoration, as at Astor Place, the beaver (see photograph on this page); at Columbus Circle, the great navigator's Caravel; at 116th Street, the seal of Columbia University. The walls above the cornice and the ceilings are finished in white Keene cement.
The ticket booths are of oak with bronze window grills and fittings. There are toilet rooms in every station, except at the City Hall loop. Each toilet room has a free closet or closets, and a pay closet which is furnished with a basin, mirror, soap dish, and towel rack. The fixtures are porcelain, finished in dull nickel. The soil, vent and water pipes are run in wall spaces, so as to be accessible. The rooms are ventilated through the hollow columns of the kiosks, and each is provided with an electric fan. They are heated by electric heaters. The woodwork of the rooms is oak; the walls are red slate wainscot and Keene cement.
Passengers may enter the body of the station without paying fare. The train platforms are separated from the body of the station by railings. At the more important stations, separate sets of entrances are provided for incoming and outgoing passengers, the stairs at the back of the station being used for entrances and those nearer the track being used for exits.
An example of the care used to obtain artistic effects can be seen at the City Hall station. The road at this point is through an arched tunnel. In order to secure consistency in treatment the roof of the station is continued by a larger arch of special design. (See photograph on this page.) At 168th Street, and at 181st Street, and at Mott Avenue stations, where the road is far beneath the surface, it has been possible to build massive arches over the stations and tracks, with spans of 50 feet.
TYPES AND METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION
Five types of construction have been employed in building the road: (1) the typical subway near the surface with flat roof and "I" beams for the roof and sides, supported between tracks with steel bulb-angle columns used on about 10.6 miles or 52.2 per cent. of the road; (2) flat roof typical subway of reenforced concrete construction supported between the tracks by steel bulb-angle columns, used for a short distance on Lenox Avenue and on the Brooklyn portion of the Brooklyn Extension, also on the Battery Park loop; (3) concrete lined tunnel used on about 4.6 miles or 23 per cent. of the road, of which 4.2 per cent. was concrete lined open cut work, and the remainder was rock tunnel work; (4) elevated road on steel viaduct used on about 5 miles or 24.6 per cent. of the road; (5) cast-iron tubes used under the Harlem and East Rivers.
[Sidenote: Typical Subway]
The general character of the flat roof "I" beam construction is shown in photograph on page 28 and drawing on this page. The bottom is of concrete. The side walls have "I" beam columns five feet apart, between which are vertical concrete arches, the steel acting as a support for the masonry and allowing the thickness of the walls to be materially reduced from that necessary were nothing but concrete used. The tops of the wall columns are connected by roof beams which are supported by rows of steel columns between the tracks, built on concrete and cut stone bases forming part of the floor system. Concrete arches between the roof beams complete the top of the subway. Such a structure is not impervious, and hence, there has been laid behind the side walls, under the floor and over the roof a course of two to eight thicknesses of felt, each washed with hot asphalt as laid. In addition to this precaution against dampness, in three sections of the subway (viz.: on Elm Street between Pearl and Grand Streets, and on the approaches to the Harlem River tunnel, and on the Battery Park Loop) the felt waterproofing has been made more effective by one or two courses of hard-burned brick laid in hot asphalt, after the manner sometimes employed in constructing the linings of reservoirs of waterworks.
In front of the waterproofing, immediately behind the steel columns, are the systems of terra-cotta ducts in which the electric cables are placed. The cables can be reached by means of manholes every 200 to 450 feet, which open into the subway and also into the street. The number of these ducts ranges from 128 down to 32, and they are connected with the main power station at 58th and 59th Streets and the Hudson River by a 128-duct subway under the former street.
[Sidenote: Reinforced Concrete Construction]
The reinforced concrete construction substitutes for the steel roof beams, steel rods, approximating 1-1/4 inches square, laid in varying distances according to the different roof loads, from six to ten inches apart. Rods 1-1/8 inches in diameter tie the side walls, passing through angle columns in the walls and the bulb-angle columns in the center. Layers of concrete are laid over the roof rods to a thickness of from eighteen to thirty inches, and carried two inches below the rods, imbedding them. For the sides similar square rods and concrete are used and angle columns five feet apart. The concrete of the side walls is from fifteen to eighteen inches thick. This type is shown by photographs on page 41. The rods used are of both square and twisted form.
[Sidenote: Methods of Construction Typical Subway]
The construction of the typical subway has been carried on by a great variety of methods, partly adopted on account of the conditions under which the work had to be prosecuted and partly due to the personal views of the different sub-contractors. The work was all done by open excavation, the so-called "cut and cover" system, but the conditions varied widely along different parts of the line, and different means were adopted to overcome local difficulties. The distance of the rock surface below the street level had a marked influence on the manner in which the excavation of the open trenches could be made. In some places this rock rose nearly to the pavement, as between 14th and 18th Streets. At other places the subway is located in water-bearing loam and sand, as in the stretch between Pearl and Grand Streets, where it was necessary to employ a special design for the bottom, which is illustrated by drawing on page 42.
This part of the route includes the former site of the ancient Collect Pond, familiar in the early history of New York, and the excavation was through made ground, the pond having been filled in for building purposes after it was abandoned for supplying water to the city. The excavations through Canal Street, adjacent, were also through made ground, that street having been at one time, as its name implies, a canal.
From the City Hall to 9th Street was sand, presenting no particular difficulties except through the territory just described.
At Union Square rock was encountered on the west side of Fourth Avenue from the surface down. On the east side of the street, however, at the surface was sand, which extended 15 feet down to a sloping rock surface. The tendency of the sand to a slide off into the rock excavation required great care. The work was done, however, without interference with the street traffic, which is particularly heavy at that point.
The natural difficulties of the route were increased by the network of sewers, water and gas mains, steam pipes, pneumatic tubes, electric conduits and their accessories, which filled the streets; and by the surface railways and their conduits. In some places the columns of the elevated railway had to be shored up temporarily, and in other places the subway passes close to the foundations of lofty buildings, where the construction needed to insure the safety of both subway and buildings was quite intricate. As the subway is close to the surface along a considerable part of its route, its construction involved the reconstruction of all the underground pipes and ducts in many places, as well as the removal of projecting vaults and buildings, and, in some cases, the underpinning of their walls. A description in detail of the methods of construction followed all along the line would make an interesting book of itself. Space will only permit, however, an account of how some of the more serious difficulties were overcome.
On Fourth Avenue, north of Union Square to 33d Street, there were two electric conduit railway tracks in the center of the roadway and a horse car track near each curb part of the distance. The two electric car tracks were used for traffic which could not be interrupted, although the horse car tracks could be removed without inconvenience. These conditions rendered it impracticable to disturb the center of the roadway, while permitting excavation near the curb. Well-timbered shafts about 8 x 10 feet, in plan, were sunk along one curb line and tunnels driven from them toward the other side of the street, stopping about 3-1/2 feet beyond its center line. A bed of concrete was laid on the bottom of each tunnel, and, when it had set, a heavy vertical trestle was built on it. In this way trestles were built half across the street, strong enough to carry all the street cars and traffic on that half of the roadway. Cableways to handle the dirt were erected near the curb line, spanning a number of these trestles, and then the earth between them was excavated from the curb to within a few feet of the nearest electric car track. The horse car tracks were removed. Between the electric tracks a trench was dug until its bottom was level with the tops of the trestles, about three feet below the surface as a rule. A pair of heavy steel beams was then laid in this trench on the trestles. Between these beams and the curb line a second pair of beams were placed. In this way the equivalent of a bridge was put up, the trestles acting as piers and the beams as girders. The central portion of the roadway was then undermined and supported by timbering suspended from the steel beams. The various gas and water pipes were hung from timbers at the surface of the ground. About four sections, or 150 feet, of the subway were built at a time in this manner. When the work was completed along one side of the street it was repeated in the same manner on the other side. This method of construction was subsequently modified so as to permit work on both sides of the street simultaneously. The manner in which the central part of the roadway was supported remained the same and all of the traffic was diverted to this strip.
Between 14th and 17th Streets, because of the proximity of the rock to the surface, it was necessary to move the tracks of the electric surface railway from the center of the street some twenty feet to the east curb, without interrupting traffic, which was very heavy at all times, the line being one of the main arteries of the Metropolitan system. Four 12 x 12-inch timbers were laid upon the surface. Standard cast-iron yokes were placed upon the timbers at the usual distance apart. Upon this structure the regular track and slot rails were placed. The space between the rails was floored over. Wooden boxes were temporarily laid for the electric cables. The usual hand holes and other accessories were built and the road operated on this timber roadbed. The removal of the tracks was made necessary because the rock beneath them and the concrete around the yokes was so closely united as to be practically monolithic, precluding the use of explosives. Attempts to remove the rock from under the track demonstrated that it could not be done without destroying the yokes of the surface railway.
The method of undermining the tracks on Broadway from 60th to 104th Streets was entirely different, for the conditions were not the same. The street is a wide one with a 22-foot parkway in the center, an electric conduit railway on either side, and outside each track a wide roadway. The subway excavation extended about 10 feet outside each track, leaving between it and the curb ample room for vehicles. The construction problem, therefore, was to care for the car tracks with a minimum interference with the excavation. This was accomplished by temporary bridges for each track, each bridge consisting of a pair of timber trusses about 55 feet long, braced together overhead high enough to let a car pass below the bracing. These trusses were set up on crib-work supports at each end, and the track hung from the lower chords. (See photograph on page 42.) The excavation then proceeded until the trench was finished and posts could be put into place between its bottom and the track. When the track was securely supported in this way, the trusses were lifted on flat cars and moved ahead 50 feet.
At 66th Street station the subway roof was about 2 feet from the electric railway yokes and structures of the street surface line. In order to build at this point it was necessary to remove two large gas mains, one 30 inches and the other 36 inches in diameter, and substitute for them, in troughs built between the roof beams of the subway, five smaller gas mains, each 24 inches in diameter. This was done without interrupting the use of the mains.
At the station on 42d Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, where there are five subway tracks, and along 42d Street to Broadway, a special method of construction was employed which was not followed elsewhere. The excavation here was about 35 feet deep and extended 10 to 15 feet into rock. A trench 30 feet wide was first sunk on the south side of the street and the subway built in it for a width of two tracks. Then, at intervals of 50 feet, tunnels were driven toward the north side of the street. Their tops were about 4 feet above the roof of the subway and their bottoms were on the roof. When they had been driven just beyond the line of the fourth track, their ends were connected by a tunnel parallel with the axis of the subway. The rock in the bottom of all these tunnels was then excavated to its final depth. In the small tunnel parallel with the subway axis, a bed of concrete was placed and the third row of steel columns was erected ready to carry the steel and concrete roof. When this work was completed, the earth between the traverse tunnels was excavated, the material above being supported on poling boards and struts. The roof of the subway was then extended sidewise over the rock below from the second to the third row of columns, and it was not until the roof was finished that the rock beneath was excavated. In this way the subway was finished for a width of four tracks. For the fifth track the earth was removed by tunneling to the limits of the subway, and then the rock below was blasted out.
In a number of places it was necessary to underpin the columns of the elevated railways, and a variety of methods were adopted for the work. A typical example of the difficulties involved was afforded at the Manhattan Railway Elevated Station at Sixth Avenue and 42d Street. The stairways of this station were directly over the open excavation for the subway in the latter thoroughfare and were used by a large number of people. The work was done in the same manner at each of the four corners. Two narrow pits about 40 feet apart, were first sunk and their bottoms covered with concrete at the elevation of the floor of the subway. A trestle was built in each pit, and on these were placed a pair of 3-foot plate girders, one on each side of the elevated column, which was midway between the trestles. The column was then riveted to the girders and was thus held independent of its original foundations. Other pits were then sunk under the stairway and trestles built in them to support it. When this work was completed it was possible to carry out the remaining excavation without interfering with the elevated railway traffic.
At 64th Street and Broadway, also, the whole elevated railway had to be supported during construction. A temporary wooden bent was used to carry the elevated structure. The elevated columns were removed until the subway structure was completed at that point. (See photograph on page 45.)
A feature of the construction which attracted considerable public attention while it was in progress, was the underpinning of a part of the Columbus Monument near the southwest entrance to Central Park. This handsome memorial column has a stone shaft rising about 75 feet above the street level and weighs about 700 tons. The rubble masonry foundation is 45 feet square and rests on a 2-foot course of concrete. The subway passes under its east side within 3 feet of its center, thus cutting out about three-tenths of the original support. At this place the footing was on dry sand of considerable depth, but on the other side of the monument rock rose within 3 feet of the surface. The steep slope of the rock surface toward the subway necessitated particular care in underpinning the footings. The work was done by first driving a tunnel 6 feet wide and 7 feet high under the monument just outside the wall line of the subway. The tunnel was given a 2-foot bottom of concrete as a support for a row of wood posts a foot square, which were put in every 5 feet to carry the footing above. When these posts were securely wedged in place the tunnel was filled with rubble masonry. This wall was strong enough to carry the weight of the portion of the monument over the subway, but the monument had to be supported to prevent its breaking off when undermined. To support it thus a small tunnel was driven through the rubble masonry foundation just below the street level and a pair of plate girders run through it. A trestle bent was then built under each end of the girders in the finished excavation for the subway. The girders were wedged up against the top of the tunnel in the masonry and the excavation was carried out under the monument without any injury to that structure.
At 134th Street and Broadway a two-track structure of the steel beam type about 200 feet long was completed. Approaching it from the south, leading from Manhattan Valley Viaduct, was an open cut with retaining walls 300 feet long and from 3 to 13 feet in height. After all this work was finished (and it happened to be the first finished on the subway), it was decided to widen the road to three tracks, and a unique piece of work was successfully accomplished. The retaining walls were moved bodily on slides, by means of jacks, to a line 6-1/4 feet on each side, widening the roadbed 12-1/2 feet, without a break in either wall. The method of widening the steel-beam typical subway portion was equally novel. The west wall was moved bodily by jacks the necessary distance to bring it in line with the new position of the west retaining wall. The remainder of the structure was then moved bodily, also by jacks, 6-1/4 feet to the east. The new roof of the usual type was then added over 12-1/2 feet of additional opening. (See photographs on pages 46 and 47.)
Provision had to be made, not only for buildings along the route that towered far above the street surface, but also for some which burrowed far below the subway. Photograph on page 47 shows an interesting example at 42d Street and Broadway, where the pressroom of the new building of the "New York Times" is beneath the subway, the first floor is above it, and the first basement is alongside of it. Incidentally it should be noted that the steel structure of the building and the subway are independent, the columns of the building passing through the subway station.
At 42d Street and Park Avenue the road passes under the Hotel Belmont, which necessitated the use of extra heavy steel girders and foundations for the support of the hotel and reinforced subway station. (See photograph on page 48.)
Along the east side of Park Row the ascending line of the "loop" was built through the pressroom of the "New York Times" (the older downtown building), and as the excavation was considerably below the bottom of the foundation of the building, great care was necessary to avoid any settlement. Instead of wood sheathing, steel channels were driven and thoroughly braced, and construction proceeded without disturbance of the building, which is very tall.
At 125th Street and Lenox Avenue one of the most complicated network of subsurface structures was encountered. Street surface electric lines with their conduits intersect. On the south side of 125th Street were a 48-inch water main and a 6-inch water main, a 12-inch and two 10-inch gas pipes and a bank of electric light and power ducts. On the north side were a 20-inch water main, one 6-inch, one 10-inch, and one 12-inch gas pipe and two banks of electric ducts. The headroom between the subway roof and the surface of the street was 4.75 feet. It was necessary to relocate the yokes of the street railway tracks on Lenox Avenue so as to bring them directly over the tunnel roof-beams. Between the lower flanges of the roof-beams, for four bents, were laid heavy steel plates well stiffened, and in these troughs were laid four 20-inch pipes, which carried the water of the 48-inch main. (See photograph on page 49.) Special castings were necessary to make the connections at each end. The smaller pipes and ducts were rearranged and carried over the roof or laid in troughs composed of 3-inch I-beams laid on the lower flanges of the roof-beams. In addition to all the transverse pipes, there were numerous pipes and duct lines to be relaid and rebuilt parallel to the subway and around the station. The change was accomplished without stopping or delaying the street cars. The water mains were shut off for only a few hours.
As has been said, the typical subway near the surface was used for about one-half of the road. Since the sewers were at such a depth as to interfere with the construction of the subway, it meant that the sewers along that half had to be reconstructed. This indicates but very partially the magnitude of the sewer work, however, because nearly as many main sewers had to be reconstructed off the route of the subway as on the route; 7.21 miles of main sewers along the route were reconstructed and 5.13 miles of main sewers off the route. The reason why so many main sewers on streets away from the subway had to be rebuilt, was that, from 42d Street, south, there is a natural ridge, and before the construction of the subway sewers drained to the East River and to the North River from the ridge. The route of the subway was so near to the dividing line that the only way to care for the sewers was, in many instances, to build entirely new outfall sewers.
A notable example of sewer diversion was at Canal Street, where the flow of the sewer was carried into the East River instead of into the Hudson River, permitting the sewer to be bulkheaded on the west side and continued in use. On the east side a new main sewer was constructed to empty into the East River. The new east-side sewer was built off the route of the subway for over a mile. An interesting feature in the construction was the work at Chatham Square, where a 6-1/2-foot circular brick conduit was built. The conjunction at this point of numerous electric surface car lines, elevated railroad pillars, and enormous vehicular street traffic, made it imperative that the surface of the street should not be disturbed, and the sewer was built by tunneling. This tunneling was through very fine running sand and the section to be excavated was small. To meet these conditions a novel method of construction was used. Interlocked poling boards were employed to support the roof and were driven by lever jacks, somewhat as a shield is driven in the shield system of tunneling. The forward ends of the poling boards were supported by a cantilever beam. The sides and front of the excavation were supported by lagging boards laid flat against and over strips of canvas, which were rolled down as the excavation progressed. The sewer was completed and lined in lengths of from 1 foot to 4-1/2 feet, and at the maximum rate of work about 12 feet of sewer were finished per week.
At 110th Street and Lenox Avenue a 6-1/2-foot circular brick sewer intersected the line of the subway at a level which necessitated its removal or subdivision. The latter expedient was adopted, and three 42-inch cast-iron pipes were passed under the subway. (See photograph on page 50.) At 149th Street and Railroad Avenue a sewer had to be lowered below tide level in order to cross under the subway. To do this two permanent inverted siphons were built of 48-inch cast-iron pipe. Two were built in order that one might be used, while the other could be shut off for cleaning, and they have proved very satisfactory. This was the only instance where siphons were used. In this connection it is worthy of note that the general changes referred to gave to the city much better sewers as substitutes for the old ones.
A number of interesting methods of providing for subsurface structures are shown in photographs pages 51 to 54. From the General Post-office at Park Row to 28th Street, just below the surface, there is a system of pneumatic mail tubes for postal delivery. Of course, absolutely no change in alignment could be permitted while these tubes were in use carrying mail. It was necessary, therefore, to support them very carefully. The slightest deviation in alignment would have stopped the service.
[Sidenote: Concrete-lined Tunnel]
Between 33d Street and 42d Street under Park Avenue, between 116th Street and 120th Street under Broadway, between 157th Street and Fort George under Broadway and Eleventh Avenue (the second longest double-track rock tunnel in the United States, the Hoosac tunnel being the only one of greater length), and between 104th Street and Broadway under Central Park to Lenox Avenue, the road is in rock tunnel lined with concrete. From 116th Street to 120th Street the tunnel is 37-1/2 feet wide, one of the widest concrete arches in the world. On the section from Broadway and 103d Street to Lenox Avenue and 110th Street under Central Park, a two-track subway was driven through micaceous rock by taking out top headings and then two full-width benches. The work was done from two shafts and one portal. All drilling for the headings was done by an eight-hour night shift, using percussion drills. The blasting was done early in the morning and the day gang removed the spoil, which was hauled to the shafts and the portal in cars drawn by mules. A large part of the rock was crushed for concrete. The concrete floor was the first part of the lining to be put in place. Rails were laid on it for a traveler having moulds attached to its sides, against which the walls were built. A similar traveler followed with the centering for the arch roof, a length of about 50 feet being completed at one operation.
On the Park Avenue section from 34th Street to 41st Street two separate double-track tunnels were driven below a double-track electric railway tunnel, one on each side. The work was done from four shafts, one at each end of each tunnel. At first, top headings were employed at the north ends of both tunnels and at the south end of the west tunnel; at the south end of the east tunnel a bottom heading was used. Later, a bottom heading was also used at the south end of the west tunnel. The rock was very irregular and treacherous in character, and the strata inclined so as to make the danger of slips a serious one. The two headings of the west tunnel met in February and those of the east tunnel in March, 1902, and the widening of the tunnels to the full section was immediately begun. Despite the adoption of every precaution suggested by experience in such work, some disturbance of the surface above the east tunnel resulted, and several house fronts were damaged. The portion of the tunnel affected was bulkheaded at each end, packed with rubble and grouted with Portland cement mortar injected under pressure through pipes sunk from the street surface above. When the interior was firm, the tunnel was redriven, using much the same methods that are employed for tunnels through earth when the arch lining is built before the central core, or dumpling of earth, is removed. The work had to be done very slowly to prevent any further settlement of the ground, and the completion of the widening of the other parts of the tunnels also proceeded very slowly, because as soon as the slip occurred a large amount of timbering was introduced, which interfered seriously with the operations. After the lining was completed, Portland cement grout was again injected under pressure, through holes left in the roof, until further movement of the fill overhead was absolutely prevented.