Jamaica Yard Leads & World’s Fair Connection

Published on: December 2nd, 2015 | Last updated: December 1, 2015 Written by:

The tracks leading to Jamaica Yard under Queens Blvd. are a complex testament to the forward thinking applied to much of the construction of the old IND route lines.

Going east from 71st Continental Avenue, the 4 track tunnel contains two ramps heading downward. These lead to a lower level that also spreads out into 4 tracks. These tracks are used to turn any trains terminating at 71st ave, as well as to lay up a few trains. This second lower level continues all the way to Union Turnpike, where the tracks turn northward into Jamaica Yard.

Further east, two more ramps lead back up to the Queens Blvd line tracks, reconnecting just west of Van Wyck blvd station.

That might sound like a lot of subway parking and space never seen by passengers, but history tells a different story: during the 1939 worlds fare, a subway route was built exiting Jamaica Yard and going even further north, up along land that is now the Van Wyck expressway – ending at a temporary 2 track terminal.

Worlds Fair subway heading back to Queens Blvd.

There was some thought given to making this route permanent, at a cost of a mere $6 Million dollars – but the Board of Transportation (in charge of such matters at the time) determined it to be a waste of money considering there were no permanent attractions at the park at the time. Today, the neighborhoods nearby this former route are considered ‘transportation deserts’, with only limited bus service and high dependence on cars to get people around.

The route was served by the GG train (later simply the G line), as well as some E trains during rush hour.

The tracks beyond the yard were torn up in 1941 – just a few months after the fair closed, but these tunnels still exist today.

Read between the lines

July 4, 2005.

This night started random enough. Me, ‘The Chef’ and ‘Sleazy Santa’ ran into each other on the street. Chef had some cash to attend to, so me and sleaze went off to the subway lookin’ for something to do. Nothin’ seemed nice on the GOs, so I suggested and we went to the Jamaica Yard leads.

There were trains laying up left and right. It was way too hot, both in terms of actual heat and activity wise (trains moving around, workers, etc) to venture far into the place. This time though, it was the middle of the night on a holiday weekend. The tracks were packed with trains, with red signals everywhere. Nothing was moving, so we were moving in.





First down to inspect the layups. There were a few of them. Doors unlocked, no lights or ACs. It’s a little creepy when they leave the doors open, as you half expect someone to be in there doing who knows what. We go one emergency exit down and can see and hear trains turn and lay up not too much further down, at 71st/Continental. We head back, taking in the awesome sight of ancient Quik, Min and SE 3 tags. These have survived here since the early and mid 80s.




Finally back where we started, we venture further into the other direction, as the tracks narrow from 4 to 2, and take a severe curve. We pass another exit and keep on going until finally we’re next to a yard. Yards have guards and people working, so we’re not going to touch that, at least not tonight. Just as we start plotting our next move though we hear someone coming.


This is a tight spot, not a lot of room to breathe. We slide under the train just as the workbum comes around the bend perhaps a carlength away. He sees nothing and / or acts as if he heard nothing.

We bolt down a new tunnel that comes down to join these tracks. It’s back as hell, and on the way up we have to hide from a train on the upper level.


After that, everything is cake. We check out another exit, some strange little indent in the tunnel wall, and proceed to the next stop, past more lay ups, dodging and hiding from trains passing in both directions.



We might have come out a bit dirty, but this shit is a job and getting over on the man is always expected.


This post supersedes a post from July 4, 2005 called ‘Quik Spot’ – this newer version contains bigger photos, refined text, etc.

4 responses to “Jamaica Yard Leads & World’s Fair Connection”

  1. Mr. Blizzard says:

    Glad you’re updating older posts and using larger photos – it makes reading about your explorations even better!

  2. Control says:

    Thanks – it’s a lot of work – so much of it was just thrown online back in the day when I was too busy to do much else with it. But the goal is to crank up the quality of everything on here, and introduce nothing new that is sub-par. Started last year with the industrial stuff, and I’ve had some time now to dig through the old subway stuff and bring it up to snuff.

  3. PegLegGuy says:

    1966 – I’m riding an E or F train from 169th St to Roosevelt Ave.

    Coming home from a drivers ed class at Delahanty, on Merrick Blvd.

    I’m 16.

    Got my face plastered against the front window, hands up to the side to block out the light, when I first spotted the ramps to the lower level.

    Made a mental note to get down there.

    Cool spot.


  4. Mitch45 says:

    Robert Moses would never have allowed the City to make the World’s Fair line permanent. He wanted that ROW for the Van Wyck Expressway, which is there today.

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  • About The Author

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe
    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC's more forbidden locations. When not underground, he's probably bitching about politicians or building something digital. 
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