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Underground Transit in New York City: From the Scientific American Archive

The origins New York City's rapid transit system, parts of which remain flooded and compromised this week due to Hurricane Sandy, date back to 1870, when the editor of this magazine financed a prototype pneumatic subway in the Big Apple

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From the July 17, 1915 issue:

"Skeleton Model, Showing how the Subway Twists on Lexington Avenue. North of the station, trains are classified as bound to or from the East or the West branch, while south of the station they are classified as expresses or locals.....[ More ]

From the May 13, 1915 issue:

"Moving Platform Subway for New York City: Speed of Seat Platform, Nine Miles per Hour. Capacity, 48,000 Seated Passengers per Hour… Toward the close of November last year, there appeared before the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners of this city several leading railroad officials and engineers, with a proposal to build a moving platform subway below Thirty-fourth Street between First and Ninth Avenues in this city.....[ More ]

From the December 5, 1908 issue:

(Pennsylvania and Erie Railroad Tubes) "Huge Double-Deck Caissons at Junctions of Hudson River Tubes with those along the Jersey Shore... These caissons, 45 feet wide, 45 feet deep, and 106 1/2 feet long, the largest ever constructed, are built of reinforced concrete.....[ More ]

From the August 4, 1906 issue:

"…[T]hree different lines of tunnels are now being built under the East River, two of which are within a half mile of each other, yet the material through which they are being cut is different in each case and, furthermore, is of an entirely different character from that encountered in the Harlem River and the Hudson River.....[ More ]

From the August 12, 1905 issue:

"Map Showing the New Jersey Tunnels and Subway; Also the East River Tunnels Recently Authorized by the Rapid Transit Commission. By this system a passenger, landing at any of the Jersey City railroad terminals, will be able to take a train direct to central points between Forty-second Street and the Battery.....[ More ]

From the April 8, 1905 issue:

"The Double-Deck Subway System Applied to Broadway, New York. This system does not interfere with sidewalk vaults; provides room for pipe galleries; and may be used on the narrower thoroughfares."....[ More ]

From the August 27, 1904 issue:

"Interior of the Car Used for the Instruction of New York Subway Motormen... That 'the man in charge of a train to run in New York's Subway may be entirely competent to fulfill his responsible position, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company is using an instruction car, where the prospective motorman may be taught something of the construction and operation of the apparatus he is to handle."....[ More ]

From the October 31, 1903 issue:

"Construction of the Rapid Transit Tunnel Beneath the Harlem River. By this method an air-tight caisson is built on the line of the tunnel and the water is expelled by pneumatic pressure. The mud is then excavated and the cast-iron tunnel is built within the working chamber thus formed.....[ More ]

From the December 20, 1902 issue:

"Rapid Transit Subway at the Battery, and East River Tunnel, New York... The new section of the Rapid Transit Subway now under construction from City Hall Park, Manhattan, to Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, Brooklyn, is in some resspects the most important link in the whole rapid transit subway scheme.....[ More ]

From the December 20, 1902 issue:

"Rapid Transit Subway at the Battery, and East River Tunnel, New York... The new section of the Rapid Transit Subway now under construction from City Hall Park, Manhattan, to Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, Brooklyn, is in some resspects the most important link in the whole rapid transit subway scheme.....[ More ]

From the September 27, 1902 issue:

"Typical Cross-Section of Subway on Fourth Avenue, Showing Method of Supporting Trolley Tracks and Gas and Water Mains During Construction."....[ More ]

From the November 2, 1901 issue:

"Map of the New York Rapid Transit Tunnel Showing Progress of Construction… In spite of the long and exceedingly trying summer weather, the work of constructing the Rapid Transit Tunnel has been pushed forward with greater activity than at any other period since the work was opened in March of the year 1900.....[ More ]

From the January 19, 1901 issue:

"Progress of the New York Rapid Transit Tunnel… Work on some sections of the Rapid Transit tunnel is so advanced that it is now possible to get a good idea of the appearance of the inside of the tunnel as it will look when completed.....[ More ]

From the July 1, 1899 issue:

"The Proposed East River Tunnel... The question of building a tunnel under the East River is just now attracting a large amount of attention and, if we are to believe the press reports, a large amount of capital also.....[ More ]

From the March 5, 1870 issue:

"The portal of the tunnel, shown in Fig. 5,'is a massive ornamental structure, of circular form, nine feet in diameter, its bed twenty-one and a half feet below' the surface of Broadway….Fig.....[ More ]

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