168th Street was the terminal station on the demolished section of the BMT Jamaica Line. Located between 165th and 168th Streets on Jamaica Avenue, it had two tracks and one island platform. The next stop to the south was 160th Street. This station was built as part of the Dual Contracts in 1918, and was closed in 1977 in anticipation of the Archer Avenue Subway, and due to political pressure in the area.
168th Street was part of two Dual Contracts extensions of the BMT Broadway-Jamaica Line east of Cypress Hills and the "S-Curve" from Fulton Street to Jamaica Avenue. It opened on July 3, 1918, replacing 111th Street as the line's terminus. 168th Street station also replaced the Canal Street Station along the Atlantic Avenue Rapid Transit line (today part of the LIRR Main Line), which closed nineteen years earlier, and supplanted the trolley service on Jamaica Avenue.
The station was constructed with a diamond crossover switch west of the station, and a large signal and switch tower built to the south side of the elevated structure at 165th Street. The entrance to the station at this location was built into an alcove of the signal building, which contained storefronts at ground level. Past the crossover, the line expanded to three tracks, with the middle track ending at 160th Street. While reports say the station had a concrete platform, photographs show a wooden platform. It served trains from the BMT Jamaica-Nassau Street Line to Manhattan (the predecessors to today's J and Z trains) and from the BMT Lexington Avenue Line. The station also connected to the nearby 165th Street Bus Terminal (opened in 1936) at 89th Avenue and Merrick Boulevard via an exit on 165th Street.
In 1937, the Queens Boulevard Line of the city-owned Independent Subway System was extended to a new terminal at 169th Street and Hillside Avenue, four blocks away. The opening of the IND terminal drew passengers away from the BMT lines.
Many groups had called for the removal of the extension in the Jamaica Business district since shortly after it opened, and by the 1960s the city planned to close the station and significant portions of the line in Jamaica. Many merchants credited the line with causing blight and hurting business in the neighborhood.
The line was also torn down in preparation for the completion of the Archer Avenue Subway one block south, which would serve the Jamaica Line and a spur of the IND Queens Boulevard Line. Construction of that line began in 1972. 168th Street closed at midnight on September 10, 1977, and by 1979 the elevated structure from 168th Street to Sutphin Boulevard was torn down. The line was truncated to Queens Boulevard, with the Q49 bus replacing the demolished portion of the line until December 11, 1988.
In spite of the support of local business owners for the demolition of the line, stores continued to suffer and several establishments closed due to the absence of the El. This included the large Macy's location in the 165th Street Pedestrian Mall near the bus terminal.
Unlike the 160th Street and Sutphin Boulevard stations, which were completely demolished in 1979, 168th Street's former control tower, known as the "Station and Trainmen's Building", still remains standing on the southeast corner of 165th Street and Jamaica Avenue. It sits inactive atop a block of storefronts. The exit stairways for the station were purchased by a private citizen to be used on their estate in Nissequogue on the Long Island Sound.
The Archer Avenue Line was completed in 1988, nearly ten years after the closure of the station, but it does not extend east to 168th Street. The closest subway stations to this former station are Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer, at Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue, which is nine blocks west and one block south, as well as the existing 169th Street station which is four blocks to the north on Hillside Avenue.