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GES175 - Worth St Disused Subway Station, NYC

New York City's metro is called the subway, and like most networks clocking over a century in service, is full of plenty of anomalies, abandoned sections and platforms. There is only really one abandoned station on the subway, and that's City Hall station. All the rest are basically abandoned platform areas. W0rth St is no different. It's basically two platforms, with a set of stairs up to a blocked off section. The station is barely 600m from City Hall station, just down the track.

Our first foray into the network was a patient affair. In the early hours we waited for the right moment. With trains 15mins apart, it put paid to our plans to do more than one station this night. Finally the moment arrived and I climbed off the platform down a small thin metal ladder to the ground, as I turned I saw a transit worker in hi-vis and helmet climb up the ladder on the opposite side. Somehow I'd managed to miss him in the gloom. GE074 watched him climb up and hung back. I was running off down the track, the worker hadn't spotted me, consumed by his routine. I ran back to wave GE074 down, and he got down into the tunnel.

The main thing that differentiates New York's metro from any other, is that it's a 24/7 network, meaning trains run around the clock. The Express trains stop around 11, but  service trains ply their trade on the Express tracks instead, so there's no real let up. The tunnels are also not lit, unlike elsewhere, meaning it's tricky to use a torch without risking attracting attention. So we mostly ran blind, tripping and stumbling along. Not far down the tracks, a service train passed us by. We reached a darkened spot, and curled up in balls, hoping for the best. It passed without stopping or anyone shouting. Not necessarily a good sign, but we agreed to plough on regardless. It was a welcome site to see the flat wall peel away to reveal a platform. I eagerly climbed up onto the platform, and quickly looked for cover to take refuge and a breather. As we acclimatized to the light, we took out our cameras and began to explore the uptown platform. This is where the stairs once went to the floor above. The pillar reinforces the location.

A look back up the platform from whence we came.

The uptown platform seemed rather small, I guess a sign of it's age before longer trains. We then crossed over to the southern end of the downtown platform. The platform was very different. As I walked the length of the platform it became obvious it was much longer than the uptown platform. It also had a wide area at the southern end next to a set of stairs.

We were becoming accustomed to constantly checking for trains, shouting down 'train!' when one was first spotted. My camera wasn't properly set up for this one, but I like the off centre effect.

The ease of access to these places has meant every tagger in the city turning up over the years to leave their mark.

Another train passed through on the downtown platform, across the 4 sets of tracks we'd crossed half an hour earlier.

Stood at the back of the wide customer gathering area on the platform, GE074 shouted from somewhere, 'train!' And I let the train light paint the platform.

The set of stairs on this side of the platform lead up to a blocked off wall. There was a metal flap to the street, but try as I might, it wouldn't budge. Equally annoyingly, I couldn't see where it was located on the surface.

The customer gathering area on the uptown platform. New York's access to plentiful supplies of steel, means nearly all the stations follow the same cut and cover design.

The distance back to the live station platform wasn't as far as when we went down to the downtown platform. We ran back, and hopped back onto the platform, hopeful there were no undercover cops about. Apparently they exist.

It felt good to have some NY metro track experience under our belts, and installed the confidence to keep probing the system. Props to fellow lookout GE074.


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