Skip to main content

Hi Richie


See you liked he BMT . Standards running in the 1950s. I made the same trip at times. Would get on at Marcy Ave and change at Canal but would take the express trans from Canal up to Union Square or Herald Square. Sometimes we would walk up  to North 7th street and take the Canarsie to Union Square . The Multi's ran in those days. At Union Square you could take the Broadway Local up to 28th street and walk back to Lionel at 26th street and American Flyer at 25th street.


I can remember riding the trolley car across the Williamsburg Bridge to get to Manhattan and Delancey street . The Trolley fare was normally 5 cents but you could board the trolley on the Bridge at Bedford Ave and ride to Delancey for a mere 2 cents . When Buses replaced the trolleys on the Bridge, this service from Bedford ave was eliminated.

Bob Diamond was certainly a character.  I took the tour of the Atlantic ave tunnel before the locomotive was "found"  ( Still don't think any was found ) It was basically like walking in a sewer.  Nothing spectacular.   Mr Diamond had a plan to reinstitute trolley service in the Red Hook and Boerum hill neighborhoods  He had a number of PCC cars ready to go but the city shot it down

More on the Eight Foot Law from the NY Supreme Court, Bronx County, relating to vehicles:


…This gave rise to the so-called “eight-foot” law applicable to street-cars and which might at the same time have equally been made applicable to other public conveyances.

   The following is from the prevailing opinion…178 App. Div…Second Department, 1917, after the enactment of the eight-foot law.

   The plaintiff left the sidewalk with the intention of boarding a trolley car which had stopped for the purpose of taking on passengers and when within eight feet of the car was run down by the defendant’s automobile. The defendant’s car was in that place in violation of an ordinance of the City of New York and the question is whether under these circumstances, the plaintiff exercised due care in guarding against injury from the defendant’s car entering the prohibited zone. The ordinance forbidding vehicles to move within eight feet of a trolley car standing for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, was enacted for the very purpose of preventing such accidents as the one under consideration.

  The question came up whether the injured party should have been more careful…The plaintiff relied on the assurance of safety in the eight feet zone which the law gave, and that reliance is not negligence as matter of law.”  



Last edited by PRR8976
Originally Posted by MNCW:That 1st. car on the right is a 1950 Plymouth which was the first car I ever owned back in 1961

...Turns out it says "Obey the 8 foot Law" being clearly visible (along with a dented car body) in this view also in Yonkers from almost exactly the same area, just slightly to the right of the first picture...note this trolley has Tuckahoe by its number, for Tuckahoe Road or the neighboring village of Tuckahoe. Gas pumps of the day are visible in the right of this picture. Both pictures have Coke advertising signage to the left on one of the buildings.






This picture is of the St Johns building  This was the southern terminus of the High Line.  After the High Line was abandoned Merrill Lynch purchased this building.  It was used solely for computer operations  The second floor was entirely a computer room that housed six mainframe computers, 31 large laser printers and a gaggle of disk drives and tape drives.  The raised floor was 4 feet high to accommodate all the bus and tag cables.   Funny thing was that the railroad tracks were still under that floor.  I worked in that building for about a year while I was with IBM. 

The Rockaway line was considered by the LIRR an important operation. When the railroad began its electrification program, this Branch was the first to be electrified in 1905. Electric trains operated from The Flatbush Ave terminal in Brooklyn ro Woodhaven Junction and then South through Ozone Park across Jamaica Bay to the wye at Hammels dividing to go either east to Far Rockaway or West to Rockaway park or Beach 116th street. In the summer, this was the beach resort to be at . There was also a connection north of Woodhaven Junction to the Railroads Montauk Branch. Eventually a line was constructed North to the present LIRR main to join at Rego Park. The LIRR was a six track main in this area.


The railroad operated a round robin type of service between Penn station , Flatbush Avenue and the Rockaways. Some trains went via Jamaica, Valley Stream  and the present Far Rockaway LIRR Branch while others operated over the Jamaica Bay trestle. At Ozone park, there were very long platforms and there was a "Change at Ozone Park"  ritual depending on which which Rockaway you were going to . a Brooklyn Train would arrive followed by a New York Train on the same platform. Passengers could change from one train to the other. The same procedure was on the Northbound side as well when heading to Flatbush ave or Pennsylvania station.


Before the electrification, the LIRR built a connection to the BRT's Jamaica Elevated near Cleveland street in East New York. The LIRR could access the Broadway Ferry for passengers to cross the East  River . BRT trains used the connection as well to reach the Rockaways. When the Williamsburg Bridge opened at the  BRT extended accross the Bridge the electric LIRR trains also crossed the Bridge to arrive at Essex Street in Manjattan in 1908. The line and service was quickly extended South to Chambers Street and City Hall area . This was LIRR's first access to Manhattan and it preceded the Pennsylvania station route. For those of you who are familiar with the platform layout at Chambers street, there is a center platform between the center tracks which connect to the lay up tail spur. That Platform was used by the LIRR in those days. The service lated until 1917. There were trolleys operated to the Rockaways over these lines as well.


The city had long been interested in acquiring the LIRR's Rockaway line as an extension of the city's rapid transit system. Trestle Fires were a common problem plaguing the LIRR and the 1951 fire did it in. The LIRR continued operations on the line to Hamilton Beach and to Rockaway Park via Far Rockaway. This lasted to 1954-55 when the route was acquired for the extension of the 8th avenue subway line. The LIRR continued to serve Far Rockaway from Brooklyn and Penn station as it does today . Service was continued to Ozone Park until the early 1960s . The Right of way owned by New York City remains and is unused. The first 8th avenue trains started service in 1956 and it was a shuttle service from Euclid Avenue. A second fare was collected making this line a two fare line at the time.


I can remember riding the LIRR to the Rockaways when I was a kid. Rockaway Playland was a great attraction and remained so after the subway took over.  

I was lucky to catch the French Connection tonight and then found some details as to where it was filmed...

Here are some of the details on the subway/car chase footage:


"He requisitions a passing car and begins the movie’s famous chase sequence atBay 50th Street Station. The car chase filmed (over five weeks) beneath theBensonhurst Elevated Railway – 26 blocks (count ’em) of Brooklyn’s Stillwell Linefrom Bay 50th Street Station along Stillwell Avenue, into 86th Street and finally right into New Utrecht Avenue, ending at 62nd Street Station..."


Details from:





Images (1)
  • FrenchConnection_Bensonhurst


The New York Herald and the New York Times were arch rivals in the Newspaper business in New York around the turn of the century. The Herald was at 34th street and the times at 42nd street. So the intersects with Broadway which runs sort of on a diagonal in Manhattan and the avenues 6th and 7th aves at 34th street  and 42nd street respectively were named after the newspapers whose locations were at those squares. These two newspapers were among the most influential corporations in New York City at the time.


The Herald was owned by the Bennett family . The also owned the Telegram and in later years would acquire the NY Sun and Joseph Pulitzer.s NY World . Two well known newspapers evolved from this combination, the Herald Tribune and the World Telegram and Sun. 


Note in the photp there are no automobiles to speak but horse drawn cabs and plenty of streetcars. Thinking the Streetcars were electrically powered . The 5th Ave El had to be converted to electric power shortly after this photo was taken. 

The street cars on Broadway were operated by the Metropolitan Street Railway, a predecessor of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. The service goes back into the civil war era operating as Horse cars. In the 1889's , it was converted to a cable car operation and electrified in the early 1900's , about 10 years later. The line was acquired by the NY Omnibus company which was affiliated with the 5th ave Coach company. In 1936, the company replaced the streetcars with buses.


Iinterestingly, this companys competitor Third Ave Railway system chose to build a new fleet of street cars which it operated on its routes in manhattan. By the end of the second world war, these new streetcars were being sent to European cities to replace cars destroyed during the war.


The two photos we have seen posted so far show the company at an interesting time in its history. Most likely, the earlier photo showing the streetcar operation dates from when the cars were electrified using the original cable car conduit in the street for a power source.. The later photo is probably about 1937 as the 6th ave. el is still in operation in the photo.


Here is one more photo at this location with its focus on the streetcar line. We see lady shoppers of the day getting on the car, most likely to head to a residence down toward Gramercy Park and Washington Square. Mote the mother with child in arms getting ready to board. There is a conductor in the view and he was likely helping with the ladies getting on the car. And its likely a spring or early summer day in New York City.





Images (1)
  • Broadwaytrolley
The train in the foreground is a 2nd ave train. It could be a train heading to the Bronx . The cars look like they have the end of service notices in the windows. The 2nd ave el closed in 1940 north of 59th street . @nd Ave trains continued to serve Queens over the Queensboro Bridge until 1942. In the photo there are two other trains you can see. All the way on left is a 2nd ave train inbound to City Hall. In the center just behind the 2nd ave train is a 3rd ave train heading uprown. The El station at City Hall was on two levels. @nd Ave El trains used the upper level and 3rd ave El trains used the lower level. . The photo is taken from the South Ferry Spur of the 3rd ave El.

2nd ave el at chathan


Images (1)
  • 2nd ave el at chathan

That's a pretty cool pic Larry. 


Somebody asked about the Atlantic ave tunnel.  The Atlantic ave tunnel is the oldest known subway tunnel in the world  It was built in 1844 and was used until the 1870's I believe  The architect was none other than the Long Island Railroads Cornelius Vanderbilt.   In the 1980's Bob Diamond unearthed the tunnel and conducted tours of it along with a history lesson  Was pretty cool to go down there even though it was like touring a sewer. The city sealed the tunnel claiming it was unsafe.  Bob Diamond had plans to reopen the tunnels and run PCC cars from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn Fulton street.













Images (9)
  • 2010tunnelpic_by_jblakeslee
  • 10501902_929269160439335_4130219535974548275_n
  • 11096690_929269077106010_8316499000390626037_n
  • 11137155_929269257105992_211230685227037697_n
  • 11150520_929269323772652_3592321638197815789_n
  • atlantic_avenue_tunnel_brooklyn
  • bk3
  • red-hook-trolley
  • trolley

The Third Ave Railway System (TARS) operated a streetcar line in Manhattan on Third Ave of all places. One route ran from Park Row below City Hall uptown to a place known as Fort George. The system used a power pickup in an underground conduit in the center of the trackway with ground return in the riding rails,  The system was converted to Busses shortly following the end of World War 2 . TARS had a modern fleet of cars built in its shops. The ones we see in the following photos were built in 1938.


WE are at Park Row just South of the City Hall spur of the Third Ave El. There was a turn around crossover to allow the cars to reverse direction. The Bus in the view is The New York Ominibus , part of Fifth Ave Coach Lines. Some may remember the Hobbyland store which was about where the photographer was standing. It was one of several important Lionel shops in New York City






Just a bit North of this Spot, we see a Car emerging from under the City Hall Spur of the Third ave El. The Municipal Building at Chambers street and directly above the BMT's Chambers Street Station is to the right of the car.



TARS_134Park Row3rd ave eljpg


So we move onto Third Ave. We are under the Third Ave Ell and we are about where the Cooper Union is located. Appears that the Third Ave had a layup track here and we have three cars awaiting a call to service.





Last for now, we are uptown at 66th street and it looks like there is a delay heading that way.





Images (4)
  • TARS_626ParkRowatBroadwayendofTlinea
  • TARS_134Park Row3rd ave eljpg
  • TARS_191-643ThirdAve6thStFourthAvean
  • TARS_137ThirdAvenr65thSta

THE Long Island Railroad handled Mail on its routes from the 19th century up until 1965. They had some unique electric equipment for this service. The railroad operated a mail train from Pennsylvania Station to Jamaica using a two car train , an rpo and abaggage express car both electric powered. This train at time went to the rockaways over Jamaica bay.


we see the two car train resting in the yard at Jamaica in the early 1960s.





Images (1)
  • 11034256_10203859356347517_8957573129825301788_n
Originally Posted by LIRR Steamer:

THE Long Island Railroad handled Mail on its routes from the 19th century up until 1965. They had some unique electric equipment for this service. The railroad operated a mail train from Pennsylvania Station to Jamaica using a two car train , an rpo and abaggage express car both electric powered. This train at time went to the rockaways over Jamaica bay.


we see the two car train resting in the yard at Jamaica in the early 1960s.




MU Railway Express Agency car #4212 and Railway Post Office car #4209 are coupled as a two-car "mail/express train" and as such is laying up in the Johnson Ave. Yard in Jamaica in April, 1962.  The yard was located south and slightly west of the Jamaica station tracks and near the Dunton Electric Car Shops.  Nearby was the LIRR's freight station.  This view is looking west. (Brad Stiles photo, Dave Keller archive)


The West Side line in New York had a long history. Its origin goes to the Hudson River Railroad as it was called. The company was formed in 1847 and the line opened to Albany in 1851. The rationale for the railroad was that ice closed the Hudson River to Navigation in the Winter and that the railroad could provide year round service. Its southernmost point was a terminal at Chambers street and West Street and it had a second terminal further north at 30th street. To put the City's development in perspective with the time period,in the 1830's  the areas north of 4th street were mostlyt rural and farm land . Greenwich Village was likely a surburban community.


On the east side around 1850, The New York and Harlem railroad was building North along what became today's White Plains Harlem Route . It was a Horse car line in New York City.The Vanderbilt interests were in control of this line and began at the same time acquiring stock in the Hudson River Railroad. By the 1870s the railroads had been merged, a connecting line built from Spuyten Dievel built to the Harlem route in what was to be known as Mott Haven and the first Grand Central erected on the East Side.


At some point thereafter, passenger service for the New York Central and Hudson River was consolidated into Grand Central. Passenger service was originally provided in 1851 by the original Hudson River Railroad from the terminal at 30 street. In 1865, The Lincoln Funeral Train left from the 30th street station to head north towards Albany following  a viewing at New York's City Hall. When Passenger service ended on the West Side Line, Mail and Express continued to be handled from the 20th st station until its removal in 1931.


Here is an aerial view of the 30th street station looking towards 11th ave and the Hudson River dating to the late 1920s. Lots of steam in the photo.



30th street terminal



The Terminal leads crossed 10th ave and went through the 31st st yard and turned North on 11th ave. The view below shows that yard.




yards 30 th 1929



This building was in use as the Freight House at 30th st. It was erected in 1851 and most likely was the railroads station and headquarters building at that time. It remained in use for the freight and express business until demolished in 1931.



Station Bldg 1851



Here is a photo from street level of 30th street about 1930. In the background just right of center is the rising Empire State Building which became the tallest building in the world.



terminal 1930



The railroad handled a sizeable Milk business at this location. Here we see many milk cans which would be loaded on and off insulated cars used in dairy service. Not all Milk cars had bulk tanks like the Pfaudler cars modeled by Lionel. At small depots alomg the route, dairy farmers might leave their produce for shipment in Milk cans. In this view, the platforms have a large number of cans on them.



milk cans



Although New York City had ordinances prohibiting Steam Locomotive operations in the 20th century, there would seem to have been exceptions and variances to the rule. Here we see New York Central switchers working the yard and terminal at 30th street about 1927. 



31st 1927



And if there was steam at 30th street, well there must have been Water tanks as well. So here we have a view of a Tank at 31st street. Thinking that is a Ten Wheeler we see along with the Dummy steam switcher. 



wt at 31st st


Images (7)
  • 30th street terminal
  • yards 30 th 1929
  • Station Bldg 1851
  • terminal 1930
  • milk cans
  • 31st 1927
  • wt at 31st st
Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.