On April 21, 1917, the first 7 Train left Grand Central at two in the afternoon, carrying city officials, engineers, and businessmen through the heart of Queens to celebrate the public opening of the Corona extension. The new line, which connected Bridge Plaza, or Queensboro Plaza as we know it today, to the Alburtis Avenue station in Corona, presently named 103 St-Corona Plaza.
As reported in a New York Times article published on April 22, 1917, the opening of the extension—planned in part by Queens civic organizations—took place 100 years ago this April 21, which also happens to be Earth Day. Back then, only 15,000 commuters were expected to travel each way during the day along a line that had 11 stations (including Rawson St, Lowery St, Bliss St, Lincoln Ave, Fiske Ave, Broadway, 25 St, Elmhurst Ave, Junction Ave, and Alburtis Ave).
Today, the Flushing line serves 22 stations and carries an average of 525,000 weekday riders with 622 trips across the line.
The 7 Train is not without its headaches, despite this centennial milestone. It is currently undergoing a $774 million dollar upgrade with a computer-based control system that is expected to improve service and communication. However, with so much history behind the “International Express”—memories of world fairs, Mets games, tennis matches, and some of the best food in New York City—it deserves a nod.
Join Access Queens and the New York Transit Museum at 1pm on April 21, 2017, in recognition of the 100th birthday of the Corona extension! See more details after the image...
1:00 pm: Meet & Greet
Meet members of Access Queens/7 Train Blues and representatives from the New York Transit Museum. Speak with train enthusiasts, residents, and advocates about the 7's past, present, and future.
Back end of Flushing-bound 7 Train Platform, Grand Central (Lower Level)
1:15 pm: Commemoration
A historical look at the Corona extension with guest speakers Jodi Shapiro, Joe Raskin, and Andrew Sparburg, New York Transit Museum.
1:45 pm: #HBD7Train & Photos
Visitors are encouraged to post pictures, video, and live broadcasts on social media using #HBD7Train. Or, send pics and vids to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2:00 pm: Centennial Ride
Ride the "Train of Many Colors" to 103 St-Corona Plaza. Learn about the Flushing line's history and other fun facts. The nostalgia train is made up of 10 vintage IRT cars manufactured between 1948 and 1964.
The "Train of Many Colors" is expected to arrive around 2:00 pm. Board promptly as it runs on regular local service!
2:30 pm: De-board
103 St-Corona Plaza. A free transfer to Manhattan-bound local service is available. Riders may choose to remain on nostalgia train to Flushing-Main St.
In further celebration of the 7 Train, the New York Transit Museum is opening an exhibit on July 29, 2017, titled "Minutes to Midtown" at the Grand Central Terminal Gallery.