Here's my journal entry for January 29, 1998. The day the M trains went up the wrong Broadway. Please note that the text in bold italics are annotations to this entry made just prior to this page's publishing here.
29 JAN 1998
Today I went to Grandmas house, then I went to church. (for an activity there that night.) An interesting story about the journey to church. I took the F train to 4th Avenue / 9th Street to transfer to the R train. It turns out that I missed it. I took the M train that followed it. It followed the R train. At some times, like at DeKalb Avenue or Court Street, I saw the R train. I originally planned to get off at either one of the 3 major transfer points before turning on to the Nassau Street line, Pacific Street, DeKalb Avenue, or Court Street, but had a feeling I should stay on the M train. As I was getting ready to leave the train at Court Street, I heard the conductor say that the M train I was on would run up Manhattans Broadway line. I was like, "Wow. How convenient." The motorman of the M train was talking to the conductor several times during this trip. First at Court Street, then at Whitehall Street, then at Canal Street. At Whitehall Street, the motorman was talking to the City Hall control tower about what to do after this train left Whitehall. I heard the tower say that the train should continue north and go express north of Canal Street, terminating at 42nd Street/Times Square. I was excited because I would be riding the long forgotten Broadway Express, even though the line of the train I was on, Train 1600 Bay Parkway (Because it left Bay Parkway at 1600 Hrs, or 4:00 PM.), wasnt N or R or Q or QB. All I cared about was that I was on the Broadway line, going express north of Canal Street, and I would have a chance of catching up with that R train I missed at 9th Street. I was excited. So excited I was actually singing audibly to the Spice Girls CD I had in my CD player (Remember, this is over two years ago!), and pretending I was the conductor. For example Id say "This is a Times Square bound M train." or something like that. It sounded very unusual saying that because the sign said:
when it should have said:
(17 February 2000: That's an upside-down W.)
The stops at Rector Street, Cortlandt Street, and City Hall happened without event, except for the fact that there was AN M TRAIN RUNNING ALONG MANHATTANS BROADWAY (Line) INSTEAD OF BROOKLYNS! The stop at Canal Street was also unusual. The train stopped normally. The motorman pushed a button that would switch the M train to the express track. The train started to pull out of the station. Then I heard the buzzer sounding in the conductors cab. It turns out that the train was leaving before the train doors had even opened! The train was stopped, with the first car outside of the station, while the conductor was in the second car. The train stayed there for a few minutes, Then, the train doors closed and the train continued past the Prince, 8th, 23rd, and 28th Street stations, stopping only at the 14th, 34th, and 42nd Street stations. The people on the platforms of the stations we passed were staring at the train as if they were wondering "What the heck is an M train doing on Manhattans Broadway instead of Brooklyns?" or "Why did they put the M train on the express track?" I dont know the actual questions they were wondering, but I think that those people were looking at this eight-car Broadway express weird. Then, to my surprise, at either 23rd or 28th Street, I saw a downtown Broadway express, another M train! Even I thought that was weird. The train pulled into Times Square like all the regular Broadway trains. I got off and, knowing that there wouldnt be either an N or an R train for a while, (17 February 2000: I saw none as the train ran express) I transferred to the 7 train and transferred back to the R line at Roosevelt Avenue. I got on that R train thinking that this is probably the R train I missed all the way down at 9th Street. Maybe I finally did catch up to that R train I missed. Maybe that M train did help me connect to that R train after all. I probably will never know. My estimate of the travel times say that it was. I probably DID catch up to that R train, even though I finally connected with it 11 stops beyond where I had expected to catch up with it!
Interesting story, right? If you still don't believe that this actually happened, guess what? It did! I was there, and other people were there, too. I wasn't the only one who was willing to take an M train to Times Square! If you liked this story even the slightest bit, me. (Subject line: M Train Story.)