A New Route for the M Line

The MTA is cutting subway and bus service in a number of places--but a mile-long subway tunnel on the Lower East Side is actually being revived.

The tunnel will be used to weld together the eastern branch of the M line and the V line. The tunnel runs from the Broadway-Lafayette station, near the end of the V line, under Houston Street and then south along Chrystie. Although it may sound like the same route as the current F line, the F actually goes further south and then runs under the East River. The abandoned tunnel turns onto the Williamsburg Bridge, merging with the current J, M and Z trains as they go into northern Brooklyn.

The Chrystie Street tunnel dates back to the late 1960s, when the K line ran through it into Midtown. Then, in 1976, with the MTA facing an arguably even worse fiscal crisis than it is today, that service was discontinued.

The MTA says the tunnel is still used by work trains and is kept in pretty good shape. A 355-foot stretch of track is being replaced under a routine maintenance schedule. That will be completed along with some other work before the tunnel reopens in late June.

The half of the M subway line that reaches into Bensonhurst is being eliminated. Even though more of the M route is disappearing and very little of the V route will be changed, the MTA decided that because the M had been around much longer--the V has only existed since 2001--the the new, hybrid line will be known as the M. The V designation will be dropped.