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At the New York Transit Museum, taking stock of the century-old 7 train

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Relive over 100 years of the 7 train’s history through these incredible historic photos

Via Dennis Livesey

A new exhibit at Grand Central Terminal examines the over 100 years of the 7 Train’s existence, from its start in 1915 as the Corona Line right up to its expansion to Hudson Yards in 2015.

The exhibit, located at the New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery Annex and Store (in the Shuttle Passage next to the Station Master’s Office) is mostly comprised of historic photos from the early days of the train, juxtaposed with recent images taken by photographer John Sanderson.

Entitled 7 Train: Minutes to Midtown, the exhibit also includes “a New York & Long Island City ferry ticket from the late 1800s, station wayfinding signs dating from between 1928 and 1949, and a Queensboro Bridge Railway token from 1945,” along with archival transit maps that detail the expansion of the 7 line over the years.

When it opened in 1915, it was meant to spur growth in Queens and expand the city eastward. It did just that, and in a really big way. The population of the borough increased from 284,000 in 1910 to 1,079,000 in 1930, 25 years after the launch of the 7 train.


IRT Steinway Car #4751, 1916
Via NYTM

Main Street Flushing, 1923
Via G.W. Pullis

Queens Boulevard Viaduct, 1916
Via G.W. Pullis

Overpass to Queensboro Plaza, 1963

One hundred years after the line opened, the train’s expansion is doing something similar in another part of town: Hudson Yards. Over four years after the groundbreaking, the megaproject is moving forward at breakneck speed and transforming Manhattan’s West Side.

This exhibit is the second in a three-part series by the New York Transit Museum. The first, Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island, debuted last summer and looked at the evolution of public transport in Brooklyn and how those modes of transport connected to Coney Island. The final exhibit, From Fulton Ferry: Building Downtown Brooklyn, will open at the museum’s home in Downtown Brooklyn this fall.


Queens Boulevard: IRT Corona Line, 1913
Via G.W. Pullis

Reconstruction of Steinway Tunnel, 1915
Via G.W. Pullis

“We are incredibly proud to share this story of Queens and how it was transformed from bucolic farmland to the world’s cafeteria in the span of a century,” Concetta Bencivenga, the Transit Museum’s director, said in a statement.

With the expansion to Hudson Yards now complete, a plan to extend the train to Secaucus, New Jersey is currently under examination by the Port Authority, which feels it would help reduce congestion at their main building.

Via John Sanderson

The 7 Train exhibit will be up and running until October 29 this year.