MARKER LIGHTS

Back in the early days of the New York subway system, the cars had no signs on the ends to tell the riders the train's destination or route. The sides of the cars had rollersigns or metal plates with the route and destinations on them. However, the tower operators needed to know what train was to go where at junctions. Marker lights were used to display this information to the track side tower and dispatching personnel.

On the original IRT cars, these lights were actually made to look like kerosene lanterns and were mounted on the roof of the cars. Photo of IRT Lo-Voltage car showing marker lights. The color display was changed by a handle attached to the lantern.




As the car equipment became more streamlined, the lamps were replaced by recessed lenses in the car ends. A series of levers were used by the train operator to set the colors. Later cars had a twist handle to change the colors. One handle was in the cab and the other was behind a panel opposite the cab.



Marker lights were used on cars purchased up until the R-38 class in 1968.


As time went on, the riding public grew to know what the color code meant also. A knowledgable rider could tell an A train to Far Rockaway, from one to Lefferts Blvd, just from the colors of the marker lights.


In 1969, the Transit Authority ordered a set of cars called the R-40 Class, which only had an end sign telling the route not the destination and no marker lights. At that time the E line had five different destinations (four during the rush hours). It was impossible to know where the train was going till you were able to see the side signs.

The TA also began consolidating the control towers into a limited group of Master Towers, this created less of a need for marker lights, since the master towers could not see the trains anyway.

Here then are the marker lights in use in the subway.

The headings 'CAB' and 'OPP' stand for the side of the motorman's cab and the side opposite. This was to avoid confusion of left and right as it pertains to viewing out of the train or looking at the train.

Jump to BMT-IND 1969 markers


IRT DIVISION ('A') Division - Dated 1/24/73

1 Broadway Local

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

YELLOW RED South Ferry

YELLOW RED 242nd Street

WHITE RED Dyckman Street

GREEN RED 137th Street


2,3 Seventh Ave Express

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN WHITE Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn

WHITE WHITE Utica Ave, Brooklyn

RED WHITE New Lots Ave, Brooklyn

GREEN WHITE 148th Street - Lenox

RED WHITE 241st St. - White Plains Road

WHITE WHITE 238th St. - White Plains Road


4,5 Lexington Ave Express

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

YELLOW GREEN South Ferry/Bowling Green

GREEN GREEN Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn

YELLOW GREENAtlantic Ave, Brooklyn

WHITE GREENUtica Ave, Brooklyn

RED GREENNew Lots Ave, Brooklyn

GREEN GREENWoodlawn, Jerome

YELLOW GREENE. 180th Street

WHITE GREENDyre Avenue

RED GREEN241st Street - White Plains Road


5 Lexington Ave Thru Express (W.P. Road EXP)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE YELLOWUtica Ave, Brooklyn

RED YELLOW241st Street - White Plains Road


6 Lexington Avenue Local - Pelham

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN REDBrooklyn Bridge/South Ferry

GREEN REDPelham Bay Park

YELLOW RED177th Street Parkchester


7 Flushing Local

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE REDTimes Square

WHITE REDMain Street, Flushing

YELLOWRED111th Street/Willet's Point

7 Flushing Express

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN REDTimes Square

GREEN REDMain Street, Flushing


8 Third Avenue (el in the Bronx)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED RED149th Street

RED REDGun Hill Road


Shuttles

Times Sqauare - Grand Central
Lenox Ave - 145th to 135th Streets
South Ferry - Bowling Green
-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED REDboth directions


RED REDRear of all trains

Return to IRT 1973 markers


BMT-IND Markers 4/15/69

A Washington Heights - 8th Ave - Fulton St

-- CAB ----- OPP -- BETWEEN

RED RED207th St - Lefferts Blvd

YELLOW RED207th St - Euclid Ave

RED YELLOW207th St - Far Rockaway

RED WHITE207th St - Rockaway Park


AA Washington Heights - 8th Ave Local

-- CAB ----- OPP -- BETWEEN

RED GREEN168th Street - Hudson Terminal (WTC)


B Washington Heights - 6th Ave - West End

-- CAB ----- OPP -- BETWEEN

GREEN WHITE168th Street - Coney Island

GREEN RED168th Street - Bay Parkway

B 6th Ave - West End

YELLOW WHITE57th Street/6th Ave - Coney Island


CC Concourse - 8th Ave

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE WHITEBedford Park - Hudson Terminal


D Concourse - 6th Ave - Brighton

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN GREEN205th Street (exp) - Brighton Beach (exp)

GREEN YELLOW205th Street (local) - Brighton Beach (exp)

WHITE GREEN205th Street (local) - Brighton Beach (local)

WHITE YELLOWBrighton Beach (exp)- Bedford Park (local)


E Jamaica - 8th Ave -(Fulton St)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN GREEN179th Street - Euclid Ave

YELLOW GREEN179th Street - Lefferts Blvd

GREEN YELLOW179th Street - Far Rockaway

WHITE GREEN179th Street - Rockaway Park

WHITE RED179th Street - Hudson Terminal


EE Jamaica - Broadway

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN YELLOWContinental Ave - Whitehall St (South Ferry)

YELLOW WHITEContinental Ave - Canal St


F Jamaica - 6th Ave - McDonald Ave (Culver)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED RED179th Street - Coney Island

YELLOW RED179th Street - Kings Highway

RED WHITE179th Street - Second Ave


GG Brooklyn - Queens Crosstown

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE YELLOWContinental Ave - Smith/9th Streets

WHITE WHITEContinental Ave - Church Ave


HH Rockaway Local service

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED YELLOWEuclid Ave - Far Rockaway

GREEN YELLOWEuclid Ave - Rockaway Park

RED YELLOWEuclid Ave - Rockaway Park - Far Rockaway (Round Robin)


KK Jamaica (BMT) - 6th Ave

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE WHITETO 57th/6th Av (from any below)

WHITE WHITETO 168th Jamaica

RED YELLOWTO Atlantic Ave

RED GREENTO Eastern Parkway

GREEN REDTO Metropolitan Ave


LL Canarsie - 14th Street

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED REDRockaway Parkway - Eighth Ave

GREEN GREENMyrtle Ave - Eighth Ave

RED GREENAtlantic Ave - Eighth Ave


M Myrtle - Chambers

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN REDMetropolitan Ave - Broad St

MJ Myrtle - Jay Street (original el line)

RED REDMetropolitan Ave - Bridge/Jay Streets


N Broadway - Sea Beach

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED WHITEConey Island - 57th/7th Ave

RED YELLOWKings Highway - 57th/7th Ave


QB Broadway - Brighton

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED GREENConey Island - 57th/7th Ave

QJ Jamaica - Broadway (Brooklyn) - (Brighton)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN GREEN168th Street - Broad St

RED RED168th Street - Coney Island

GREEN WHITE168th Street - Kings Highway


RR Astoria - Broadway - 4th Ave (Brooklyn)

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

WHITE WHITE95th Street - Astoria

WHITE YELLOW95th Street - Queensboro Plaza

WHITE RED95th Street - Chambers St (Nassau St)

RED WHITEAstoria - 36th St/4th Ave (Brooklyn)

YELLOW WHITEAstoria - Canal St


S Rockaway Park - Broad Channel

-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

GREEN REDRockaway Park - Broad Channel


SS Shuttles

Culver - Ninth Ave - Ditmas Ave
Franklin - Prospect Park - Fulton St
-- CAB ----- OPP -- DESTINATION

RED REDBoth directions


Work Trains, Extras and Specials

YELLOW YELLOWBoth directions


RED REDRear of all trains


IRT 1973 markers

BMT- IND 1969 markers


This page is in no way connected to the MTA or NYCT. It is presented as is and is of historical value only, these markers are no longer in use.


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- Joseph D. Korman - The JoeKorNer