American Experience

Constructing New York's First Subway

Clip: Season 9 | 1m 23s

Construction on New York's Interborough Rapid Transit, or IRT, began in 1900. William Parsons, the project’s chief engineer, used a variety of techniques for underwater digging. Sometimes hydraulic shields were used; other times methods were improvised, like digging a trench in the riverbed, then sinking the tunnel roof down on top of it. At least 7,700 men would be needed to build the IRT.

Aired: 02/17/97

Rating: NR

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