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Howard Beach – JFK Airport (IND Rockaway Line)

Howard Beach – JFK Airport
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Subway platforms at night
Station statistics
Address 159th Avenue & 103rd Street
Queens, NY 11414
Borough Queens
Locale Howard Beach
Division B (IND, formerly LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch)
Line IND Rockaway Line
Services       A all times (all times)
Transit connections Bus transport MTA Bus: Q11
Airport transportation AirTrain JFK
Structure At-grade
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 4 (2 in regular service)
Other information
Opened April 1913 (1913-04) (LIRR station)[1]
December 17, 2003 (2003-12-17) (AirTrain JFK)
Rebuilt June 28, 1956 (1956-06-28) (as a Subway station)
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Passengers (2014) 963,503[2] 40.8%
Rank 367 out of 421
Station succession
Next north Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue: A all times
Next south Broad Channel: A all times

Next Handicapped/disabled access north Aqueduct Racetrack: A all times
Next Handicapped/disabled access south Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue (via Rockaway): A all times
Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street (via Rockaway Park): A rush hours, peak direction

Howard Beach – JFK Airport is a station on the IND Rockaway Line of the New York City Subway. Located at Coleman Square between 159th Avenue and 103rd Street in Howard Beach, Queens, it is served by the A train at all times.


  • History 1
  • Station layout 2
    • New York City Subway platforms 2.1
    • AirTrain JFK platforms 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The station originally opened in April 1913 as a Long Island Rail Road station, which replaced the former 1899-built Ramblersville station that was built 0.2 miles to the south.[3] In 1923, the station was retrofitted with sheltered sheds on both sides of the tracks. On May 7–8, 1950 a fire that broke out between The Raunt and Broad Channel stations destroyed the bridge over Jamaica Bay, and the line was acquired by the New York City Transit Authority. On June 27, 1955, this station, along with all the rest of the Rockaway Beach Branch stations that were south of the now defunct Ozone Park station, was taken out of service due to an eight-month restructuring and upgrading of the train tracks, so that these tracks could accurately comply with the New York City Transit standards to rapidly transport the subway trains. On June 28, 1956, the Howard Beach station was reopened as the subway station that it is today and the previous Long Island Rail Road station of this stop was razed.

The JFK Express, which provided a link to John F. Kennedy International Airport to the east from Manhattan, terminated at this station from 1978 to 1990, which included free shuttle bus service to the airport. The shuttle bus service was the only one to link the airport with this station until the debut of AirTrain JFK on December 17, 2003.

Due to extensive damage to the IND Rockaway Line by Hurricane Sandy, this was the southern terminal for A trains that normally traveled to the Rockaways while the line was being repaired. Full service to the Rockaways was restored on May 30, 2013.[4][5]

Station layout

AirTrain JFK level
Inbound Howard Beach Branch toward Terminal 8 (Lefferts Boulevard)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right Handicapped/disabled access
Inbound Howard Beach Branch toward Terminal 8 (Lefferts Boulevard)
Mezzanine Fare control and overpass; transfer between subway and AirTrain
Handicapped/disabled access (Elevators at Coleman Square and 159th Avenue)
Ground level
Side platform, doors will open on the right Handicapped/disabled access
Northbound local toward Inwood – 207th Street (Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue)
Northbound express No regular service
Southbound express Trackbed
Southbound local toward Far Rockaway ( toward Rockaway Park PM rush hours) (Broad Channel)
Side platform, doors will open on the right Handicapped/disabled access
Street level station house Exit/ Entrance
Handicapped/disabled access (Elevators at Coleman Square and 159th Avenue)

New York City Subway platforms

View of subway platforms

This grade-level station has two side platforms and four tracks with the two center express tracks not used in revenue service. The southbound express track has been severed and has permanently been removed from service, while the northbound express track is unused in regular service. South of the station, there are switches and crossovers between all four tracks before the two outer tracks merge with the center ones. The two-track line then crosses Jamaica Bay to Broad Channel, which is 3.5 miles to the south, making the crossing the longest section between two stations in the system.

Both platforms have concrete windscreens on either ends and steel canopies in the center, where the station's mezzanine is. It is built in a modern, glass enclosed building above the platforms and tracks with a large stainless steel sign on either side reading "HOWARD BEACH JFK." A set of staircases, elevators, and escalators from each platform go up to fare control above the platforms and tracks that has a token booth and turnstile bank. The east side of the building has the fare control for AirTrain JFK while on the west side, a twisting staircase and two elevators go down to the east side of 103rd Street by the T-intersection of 159th Avenue.

The Rockaway-bound platform has two High Entry/Exit Turnstiles and one exit-only turnstile leading to a short staircase that goes down to the intersection of 159th Road and 103rd Street. The Brooklyn-bound platform has a set of doors leading to the parking lot just north of the AirTrain JFK station.

AirTrain JFK platforms

Building for AirTrain platforms

The AirTrain JFK platforms at this station have two tracks and one enclosed island platform on the upper level of the terminal that leads to Parking Area C. The next stop to the southeast is Lefferts Boulevard. Since it is owned by the Port Authority, it uses a separate fare control from the subway.


  1. ^ LIRR station history
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 
  3. ^ Electrification of Rockaway Beach Branch from Ozone Park to Hammel's Wye (Arrt's Arrchives)
  4. ^ "Rebuilding the Rockaways After Hurricane Sandy". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  5. ^ A Train Service Restored to Rockaways

External links

Station entrance
  •—IND Rockaway: Howard Beach
  • Station Reporter — A Rockaway
  • Howard Beach AirTrain station announcement
  • The Subway Nut — Howard Beach – JFK Airport Pictures
  • entrance from Google Maps Street View
  Former services  
Preceding station   LIRR   Following station
toward Grand Street
Rockaway Beach Branch
toward Rockaway Park
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