Unused New York City Subway service labels

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An R62A car in Corona Yard displays a 12 sign in the apple green color representing the IRT Lexington Avenue Line.
An R62A-class car operating on the 42nd Street Shuttle erroneously shows an upside down 11 sign instead of the usual gray-backgrounded S for shuttles. The purple color currently corresponds to the IRT Flushing Line.
An R32 train erroneously displaying a P sign instead of the proper J
An R32 rollsign erroneously displaying the JFK Express logo. This service was used from September 1978 to April 1990 for limited super-express service to JFK Airport

The New York City Subway currently uses various letters and numbers to designate the routes that trains use over the differing lines in the system. Along with the color corresponding to the route's trunk line, these form a unique identifier for the route, easing navigation through the complex system. Several service labels have either been phased out or never been used. This list covers the labels not used as of June 2021.

A Division numbers[edit]

The A Division uses single-digit numbers for each route. Currently, numbers 1 through 7 are in use.

  • 0, while not used publicly, is used as the internal designation of the 42nd Street Shuttle.
  • 8 was last used for the Bronx portion of the Third Avenue El from 1967 to 1973 (when it was demolished). Previously it was used by the IRT to designate their route that used the Astoria Line, which was originally jointly operated with the BMT prior to 1949. Additionally, it appears on the rollsigns of some trains as a green 8, likely for the same reason as the two digit numbers.[1]
  • 9 was last used for skip-stop service on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line from 1989 to 2005.[2] Previously, it was used as the designator for the IRT Dyre Avenue Line shuttle between 1941 and 1966.

Two-digit numbers have never been used by the A Division, but have been seen on the current rollsigns of some trains, paired with colors used with other services. It is likely that these were assigned arbitrarily, for use if the MTA changed the additional rush hour express service designators from a "diamond" version of the regular number to a separate number.

Two-digit bullets include:

B Division letters[edit]

Trains of the B Division use single letters of the English alphabet. These service letters are unused, but some have been used or proposed for services at various points in time:

Prior to May 1985, the B Division used two-letter combinations to indicate differing variations of similar services, but these were phased out in favor of single-letter designators.[1]

The letters H, and K can be seen on the rollsigns of the older cars, and V trains can be seen on the current subway cars, with colors paired to the last primary trunk line they were assigned to. The letters P, T, U, X and Y can also be seen on R32 side rollsigns as a black letter inside a white circle.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Haddon, Heather (June 16, 2010). "V and W trains join a long list of routes that have bowed out of the subways". newsday.com. Newsday. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Noteworthy – 9 discontinued". May 7, 2005. Archived from the original on May 7, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Showing Image 110075".
  4. ^ a b "Cities 101: Take a Ride on the 8, 10, 11 and 12 Trains in the NYC Subway". Untapped Cities. September 19, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  5. ^ "Spotted: A 13 train on the 1 line". May 29, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  6. ^ MTA (November 19, 2012). ".@NYGovCuomo: Tomorrow at 4am, the MTA will begin providing a free subway shuttle between Far Rockaway & Beach 90th St. It's the #H train". Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  7. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Recovery Service As of November 20" (PDF). Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "MTA News – MTA". mta.info. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Hey, What's a "K" train? 1985 Brochure". Flickr – Photo Sharing!. June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Subway Schedules In Queens Changing Amid Some Protest". The New York Times. January 2, 1973. p. 46. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  11. ^ "Why Are Some Letters Missing From NYC Subways?". February 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Ritea, Steve (January 10, 2008). "LIRR preps for strike that might shut Penn Station". Newsday. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  13. ^ Hirschman, David (July 21, 2008). "The T Train: NYC Will Get Its First New Subway Line in 70 Years". Wired. No. Aug '08. p. 36. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2014. The old (1960s) T service was also called the West End train. The reference was to Brooklyn. By contrast, the new T service will serve the East Side of Manhattan, and 'will unite the Upper and Lower East Sides.'
  14. ^ "Major Subway Changes Set for Monday". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 24, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (November 25, 2009). "If You Took the Train to the Plane, Sing the Jingle". Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  16. ^ MTA T Train (July 26, 2011). "MTA NYC R32 route roll sign scrolling (car 3864)". Retrieved August 30, 2017 – via YouTube.