We still didn’t quite understand what a substation was after the tour but it was still cool. After some googling, we have our answer: “It coverts High Voltage AC current into the DC current used by the New York City subways.” Quoted from untappedcities.com.
We joined the NY Transit Museum so we could go on the City Hall Station Tour (We’ve been waiting a long time to see the old restored station.) We booked the substation tour out of curiosity. It was a large group and there wasn’t enough time to linger and take pictures.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is the largest regional transportation system in the Western Hemisphere. The MTA and it’s affiliates move more than 8.5 million customers per day. It covers 12 counties in NY and 2 in Connecticut. They employ about 65,000 employees.
Originally, public transit routes were privately owned. In 1827 Abraham Brower established the first public transit route ran from Battery to Bleecker Street by 12 seat coach and was called Accommodation.
The first subway was created by Alfred E. Beach. It was a 312 foot tunnel that ran under lower Broadway. The subway was operated by pneumatic pressure which is basically being blown by a giant fan.
Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was the original private underground NYC subway line that opened in 1904 as well as elevated and other public transports. The city purchased the IRT in June 1940. The current number lines are the old IRT ones. On October 27, 1904the first IRT ran from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway.
Substation #21 at 21 Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights is a delight. You see modern day equipment and relics of the past. The old machinery is still there, during modernization things had to keep running so you have old and new equipment. This substation has been active since 1908.
The IRT was a frugal group. They often reused equipment and building new substations was policy.
We take the train all the time. This tour made me really appreciate the sheer size of the MTA. We have a massive public transportation system in the tri-state area. A lot of native NYer’s are handicapped. A lot never learn to drive and a lot of the ones that do hate it. Our mass transit system is the lifeblood of the city. We would be crippled without it.