BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The 7 train made its first trip from Grand Central Station to 103rd Street in Corona at 2 p.m. on April 21, 1917.
In celebration of the train’s 100th anniversary, Access Queens and the New York Transit Museum held a commemoration event on Friday at the Flushing-Main Street-bound 7 train platform on the lower level of Grand Central Station.
Approximately 25 Queens residents turned out for the event.
The celebration began at 1 p.m. with a meet and greet, which allowed riders to talk with Access Queens and representatives from the New York Transit Museum about the train’s past, present and future.
“We started Access Queens in order to have a mechanism to deal with the ongoing service issues on the 7 train, so we formed this community called ‘7 Train Blues,’” said Melissa Orlando, a representative for Access Queens. “We come together to share real time information and to help each other out as the 7 train goes through this transformation of getting this modern day signaling system.”
When the 7 train first made its way to the borough, only 15,000 commuters were expected to travel each way during the course of a day along a line that had only 11 stations. However, today, the Flushing line serves 22 stations and carries an average of 525,000 weekday riders during 622 trips across the line. As a result, riders have long complained of overcrowding.
“We are hoping that as the 7 train transformed Queens in the previous years, CBTC [communications-based train control] is going to transform the line as well and give us a modern experience, allow people to get on the train and allow the train to be on time and run efficiently,” Orlando said.
Although the 7 train has long been a topic of heated discussion, speakers during the event celebrated its presence in the community for a century.
During the commemoration, New York Transit Museum guest speakers Jodi Shapiro, Joe Raskin and Andrew Sparburg shared historical photos of the 7 train and transformation photos of how the railroad line looked before the 7 train arrived.
Members of Access Queens brought balloons with “Happy Birthday” written on them as well as a large cake with the number “7” on it.
At 2:05 p.m., the historic “Train of Colors,” which is made up of 10 vintage IRT cars manufactured between 1948 and 1964, arrived at Grand Central Station for a centennial ride to 103 Street-Corona Plaza.
Those who attended the commemoration were joined on the ride by commuters and parents who took photos of their children in front of or riding the historic train.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org