The New, Free H-Train Shuttle Is Now Up and Running in the Rockaways

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The Rockaways, on a roll again. (MTA/Flickr)

htrain The New, Free H Train Shuttle Is Now Up and Running in the Rockaways

All aboard. (Second Avenue Sagas)

Among the indignities visited on the Rockaways by Hurricane Sandy was the destruction of its sole subway route, the A train. As The Observer first reported, this was not merely a case of flooding, but the very foundations of the Broad Channel crossing washing away, creating months, or longer, of reconstruction work for the MTA.

Still, the agency took the unusual step of trucking a bunch of subway cars out to the Rockaways so it could at least run shuttle service along the peninsula, with a bus in Far Rockaway then ferrying riders to the A train in Howard Beach. The service will be up and running as of 4:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, and Governor Cuomo even announced that it would be free until regular subway service is restored. Free subway service—finally some good news for the Rockaways.

As for those wondering why it is called the H train, no, it is not a reference to hurricanes or heroin. That was the original name of the Rockaways shuttle, the run from Broad Channel that runs south to Beach 116th Street. Actually, it was the HH train, when the system merged in 1967, and then it became just the H train when the double letter trains were eliminated.

The H train name was retired in 2004, when the line became a branch of the A train. But as Second Avenue Sagas notes, sometimes, when the subway signs on the older models are mis-rolled, the old designation can still be visible.

As an added bonus/humblebrag, the MTA has posted a video of its workers hoisting the new shuttle trains into place.

Correction:A previous version of this post said that H train service had begun today. It will not be running until tomorrow morning. The Observer regrets the error.