Understanding New York subway routes in 1966

The New York City subway of today has much in common with the subway of the mid-1960s: most of the train numbers and letters are the same, and they generally follow the same routes they did more than 50 years ago.

But some things have changed, as this guide to the various subway routes (included with a 1966 folded subway map) shows. For one thing, I don’t think anyone born after the 1960s knows the different lines as the IND, IRT, or BRT, though these initials remain on some old station signage.

The double letters indicating a local train are also long gone. And what happened to trains like the HH, or the T? The MTA seemed to offer more shuttles back then, like for 145th Street. And I’m guessing the Myrtle Local is today’s M train?

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26 Responses to “Understanding New York subway routes in 1966”

  1. Tony Towle Says:

    I never heard of the BRT. That branch of the system was called the BMT.

  2. Janice Schiestl Says:


    Sent from iPhone Janice

  3. ForceTubeAvenue Says:

    The BRT was the predecessor to the BMT. It was a BRT train that was involved in the multi-fatality crash at Malbone Street, near today’s Prospect Park station. The crash was so horrendous, Malbone Street was renamed Empire Boulevard. The Myrtle local was the Myrtle Avenue elevated, running from downtown Brooklyn to Ridgewood, Queens. The stainless steel subway car with the aqua stripe was an R38, brand new at the time. I could go on. Thanks for the map. Cheers

  4. Rich W Says:

    The Myrtle local was the Myrtle Ave el train running along Myrtle Ave to flushing Ave. amd then to queens. A part of the superstructure of the el still remains today for 2 blocks on Myrtle near flushing Ave. The M train runs into Brooklyn via the Williamsburg bridge.
    The west end train was the B train and ran elevated along 86 St in Brooklyn like the D does today.
    The 14 St line was the L train of today.

  5. John Goodman Says:

    BMT = Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit

  6. Andrew J. Lederer Says:

    The Myrtle Ave El was (mostly) torn down in 1969, I think, if that factors into your Myrtle Local thinking.

  7. countrypaul Says:

    Pretty confusing reading for someone not familiar with the city. They’ve cleaned things up since then, of course. Thanks for the memory flash – I remember that subway map!

  8. countrypaul Says:

    I should mentioned that a few years ago, on a subway museum tour of The Hub in the Bronx, there was still a tile sign in an active corridor directing people to the Third Avenue El. (I love those anachronisms….)

  9. Erwin Schaub Says:

    Yes, Today’s M Train roughly correlates to the Myrtle Local in the old guide. Main difference is a few years after this guide was printed, the line was truncated at Broadway, where M trains now pick up the J line. The el tracks to Jay St. Were demolished. This was the well known Myrtle Ave El, that used to cross to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge, and return to Brooklyn from there.

  10. Bill Wolfe Says:

    I didn’t know the IRT was no longer called the IRT! I rode it every day to City College, circa 1980-81.

  11. ironrailsironweights Says:

    The Culver Shuttle was gone within a decade.


  12. velovixen Says:

    I grew up on Dahill Road, about two blocks from the Culver Shuttle’s Ditmas Avenue terminus. Back then (mid 60s-early 70s), it was on its last legs. We occasionally took it to see my grandparents, who lived on 39th Street near Fort Hamilton Parkway. The difference between it and the Culver Line (today’s “F” train) was hard not to notice!

    In those days, people still commonly referred to the BMT, IRT and IND. The Culver Shuttle, in fact, connected an IND line to the BMT.

    Speaking of which: I now live near the only station where BMT and IRT trains stop on the same platform. A cherry lime rickey or chocolate egg cream to anyone who can name the station! 😉

  13. velovixen Says:

    I extend my offer (wink) to anyone who can tell us about the NX train.

    • ForceTubeAvenue Says:

      That train traveled through the Stillwell Avenue Terminal connecting the Brighton and West End lines. (May have been Sea Beach)

      • velovixen Says:

        Force Tube-I congratulate you on two counts : for answering both of my questions, and for taking your screen ID from the coolest street name in Brooklyn.

        (To my knowledge, the NX was the only line in the history of NYC subways for which the Stilwell Avenue station was a stop, but not a terminus.)

        So…Are you going to take me up on my offer?

      • ForceTubeAvenue Says:

        Due to Covid and some other physical challenges, I will have to take a rain check on your kind offer. However, I complement your knowledge of things ephemeral! Cheers and regards.

  14. John Daly Says:

    On Mon, Feb 8, 2021 at 3:14 AM Ephemeral New York wrote:

    > ephemeralnewyork posted: ” The New York City subway of today has much in > common with the subway of the mid-1960s: most of the train numbers and > letters are the same, and they generally follow the same routes they did > more than 50 years ago. But some things have changed, as ” >

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