IT IS HARD TO believe that Times Square, the "Crossroads of the World," was once merely another local station on the IRT. The area was called Long Acre Square until the New York Times moved its operations uptown at the same time the new subway was coming through. In fact, because of the erection of the newspaper building, this was one of the trickiest engineering challenges of the IRT; the subway tunnel actually passed right through part of the basement of the new building. Also, the Times had its presses in the basement (below the subway), and subway vibrations were certainly not good for their proper operation. When the IRT was extended north and south of 42 Street in 1918, much of what was then the downtown wall (the southern side) of the station was torn away, to make a connection with the new Times Square station for what is now the 1/2/3/9 lines. The changeover from round pillars to I-beams clearly demarcates the position of the original wall. Some of this wall, however, does survive at either end.
AS WAS DESCRIBED on the Grand Central page, when the segment under 42 Street became a shuttle, what was once the downtown express track was covered over with a platform at either end of the segment, so that the remaining three tracks could all be accessed from the Times Square end. What was once the uptown express track actually continues on today beyond Times Square station and merges with the 1/2/3/9 lines, just as it did in 1904; there is a metal walkway over the track. Much of the uptown platform wall remains the same. The elaborate "TIMES SQUARE" name panels are similar to those at Borough Hall on the 4/5 trains. There was once an underpass between the uptown and downtown platforms. It has been sealed over on the downtown (south) side (although vault lighting disks remain in the floor), but the stairway leading to it is still visible on the other side.
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