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Great photos of Sand Street. This facility was built before the turn of the century and was the hub of BRT/BMT operations across the Brooklyn Bridge for more than 40 years. Around the turn of the century, lines of the BRT including the Sea Beach, West End, Culver line5th Ave line, Brighton Line , Fulton street line, Lexington Ave Line and Myrtle Ave line used this facility to access the Brooklyn Bridge route to Park Row in Manhattan. There were also more than a dozen Street car routes that went through her ,over the Bridge and to Park Row. The Sea beach and West End were the first to be rerouted when the 4th ave subway opened in Brooklyn with these lines reaching downtown Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge. The Brighton line was rerouted in 1920 when the tunnel under Prospect park opened . Remaining lines used the complex up until 1940 when the City took over with the Board of Transportation . Initial actions undertaken by the Board were to close the Fulton Street elevated and the 5th ave Elevated lines. Culver line trains had been rerouted to Manhattan previously via the Montague street tunnel. Sand street continued to be used until 1944 when the Myrtle Ave and Lexington Ave Lines were cut back to Bridge and Jay Street. Sands street was closed and demolished at that time. The facilities at Sand Street allowed trains of all the routes to be routed through Sand Street to Manhattan or terminate at the station using the double loop from Adams street on the upper level. It had to be an interesting place in its day.


Bens photos show the small layup yard just east of the station. There were three storage tracks here and I would think they used these to hold rush hour equipment for over the bridge service only.


The second photo is on the Northwest side of the station. It is dated 1941 so Fulton and Fifth Ave service operates here. The tracks in the photo were from the original Myrtle Ave El which were used to access the upper level loops. There was a similar setup a block east of the location in the photo to bring the loops back to the Myrtle Ave el. Not sure how this was used at this time to 1944 .Perhaps some Lexington Ave and Myrtle Ave el trains turned around at Sands Street using these loops. When the Fulton Street El was closed to Rockaway Ave in 1940, The BMT continued to Operate a Rush Hour Fulton Street el service over the Brooklyn Bridge though Sand Street. These trains left Atlantic ave and joined the Broadway Line at Eastern Parkway, travelling west to Gates avenue onto the Lexington Ave Line , onto the Myrtle Ave Line at Navy Street and through Sands street to Manhattan. This service lasted to 1944 when the Brooklyn Bridge BMT lines were eliminated.  


The third photo shows the structure for the trolley wire for tracks used by BMT trolleys through the station.


The fourth photo shows us the connection on the right from the Myrtle venue El for service from these lines operating over the bridge. The other tracks were for the Fulton Street elevated trains and the Brighton Line through 1920.


So some additional Photos.


This one I believe was made when the sand street station was being built before 1900. It shows the area at the West end of the new station.



sands tr under construction


One the South Side, we can see the double loops on the upper level. There island platforms on two sides of the loop to expedite loading and unloading and maximize the number of trains using the upper loops. In the foreground we can see the stub terminal for the Fulton El at Sands Street as well as the spur that continued west to the Fulton Ferry.





Here is a view of the Bridge line leaving the station. we see a BMT El Train and a trolley both on their way to Park Row. I am surmising that this photo was made in 1944 as both the train cars and the trolley appear to have notices about a service change in the windows. It looks like a white rectangular paper sign in the windows. This was a usual method of publicizing coming service changes in he day.





On the East Side of the station. Not sure when this photo was made but it might be early. Could be a Fulton Train



Sands st Gate cars


 A Little further east and later in time, we see a Fulton El Train of C Type articulateds approaching Sands street from the Fulton Street El. Their was an S curve connector here at about Tillary Street. The C Types were the BMT's initial adventure into Articulated train sets . They were home made from el cars and Preceded the BMT articulated designs as the D Types, the Multis and the experimentals.







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EBT Jim, I do not remember thos NYC yards along the Hudson.  Note that the last picture shows the West Side elevated highway, which doesn't appear in the top picture or the sketch.


LIRR Steamer:  Thanks for the pix of the Tug.  Wanting to learn more, I googled its name and came up with a reail fans web site that had hundreds of picture of the Bush Terminal RR locos.

Similar, not the same.

Those are not former SIRT cars. The number details are different along with the blocked out first window. Also the first car has the round BMT logo. They are lacking headlamps as well.

Those cars in the previous photo and shown below never made it to or from S.I. Non FRA.





Culver Line


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Last edited by SIRT

The city acquired 25 motors from the SIRT in the 1950s. Most were rebuilt for ise on the BMT division, primarily the Culver shuttle  and Franklin ave shuttles. Some were retained for use as work cars and yard offices. The cars that ran on the two shuttles had the center headlight removed as part of the rebuild and after the rebuild, they were repainted and had the new logo. Here are a few more photos. You can see where the center headlight was removed as there still are what look like the base of a bracket which held the light


You can see in the photo below the details to mount the center headlight






On the Franklin ave shuttle




Here is a shot in the 36th st yard in 1954 before the BMT rebuild. Center headlight is there and the cars letterboard say Staten Island.






Just out of the shop after rebuild and ready for Culver service





On the CulverShuttle after rebuild





The file attachment is a roster of BMT retired cars . the last line has cars nos. 2900 to 2924 and references them as SIRT motors.


Last edited by LIRR Steamer

The Brooklyn shops did service work on SIRT cars if the Clifton shop wasn’t able to.

Original SIRT cars were olive green for many years. Car in the bus photo was one of them for servicing or retrofitting. Those headlight cars were not assigned to the BMT.


I was unable to ever locate a close up of the round logo for the BMT version car for MTH as both were in the works at one time. Even Joe F. at the time didn’t have a sample.

The poor economy put a hold on the project so they (MTH) claim.

Maybe someday we will have a few sets of both lines made.

IMW made some shells but making detailed parts along with many hours of labor are not practical or possible for some to complete. One must seek or have the MTH Standards to start with.

If anyone has the BMT round logo, please post it for future reference.



When the SIRT cars were modified and painted Maroon with Beige window panels for BMT service the logo used was the NYCTA type with the R-10 and  the  Manhattan skyline for background, (in color). It was also used on the Ex IRT Q-cars sent over from the 3rd Ave El. They were painted the same Maroon color that was used on the SIRT cars. Which was the Maroon color used on the lower half of the R-15's and the entire R-17's. The Q Car had their canvas roof painted Silver. The marker lights were left in the IRT position and were quite good looking until the roofs were chopped. The Rattan flip over seats in the SIRT cars were painted Red to match the colors of the R-17's. Unfortunately the paint did not stick and would flake off from the flexing due to the people sitting. They began to look hideous. I remember comming down from the Bronx on the D train to ride them on the Culver Shuttle. I like them except for the seats. The LO-V High-V doors looked good though and made up for it. 

Here is a photo of the Triboro Bridge under construction in the 1930s. The towers  in place and cables stringing underway. On Randall Island, the piers for the roadway are in place. To the right of the photo would be the Hellgate Bridge and trackways over Randall 's Island . Passing under the Bridge is a steam tug with an interesting Barge at her side. 1935616_10208625592941327_7818113947063392030_n 


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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

So lets go over to Brooklyn for some combinations. 

First off is the BMT and the Snow.  Not sure which Elevated this is, maybe the West End. Looks like we are in operation just after a big snow storm and trains are running.


We are on the Brighton Line and its snowing. The set of Standards is covered nicely in the snow. Picturesque but glad i am not out there riding,


How about a B&QT Peter Witt 8000 series and an El? This one is near the end of its service career. Some of these cars were held over to cover Rush Hour high traffic needs on remaining lines in the 1950s.


Trolleys went well with Baseball too. Here is the original Clark company prototype PCC car near Ebbets Field, the home of the fabulous Brooklyn Dodgers. 


Brooklyn PCCs and Ebingers Bakery . Both Brooklyn Traditions we would sure like to have back again to enjoy.


And there was a Peter Witt and the Brooklyn Paramount. This Peter Witt is on the Dekalb avenue line and probably went across the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row in Manhattan. Its a great film with fabulous stars of the time that is playing at the Paramount. The Peter Witt in Pre Board of Transport colors is the real star in this shot. Hope you enjoyed Combinations.




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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Well there aren't any more trolleys  The two last pictures there are the most recent   One of them is on the Williamsburg bridge in 1995  It was blamed on the motormans fatigue and he probably fell asleep running into a stopped train   There have been what they call grade time signals installed there to prevent that now  If a train goes above 25 its emergency brakes are tripped and if a train gets too close the same thing happens.

The other one is on the Lexington ave line in 1991  The motorman was going 50 and the switch speed limit was 10.  They have installed grade time signals there also.

The worst subway accident was in 1918 at Malbone street   There was a strike going on and an inexperienced motorman hit the curve at 35 MPH on a 6 MPH limit curve.  They don't use that tunnel anymore as the FRanklin shuttle only uses one track there

malbone 2malbone 3malbone 4malbone 5malbone st 1


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Hi Ben

At the time of this wreck, the BRT operated the Brighton Line to Manhattan via the Fulton El . Sands Street and Park row in Manhattan. There was an on grade turnout that connected the Franklin Ave Shuttle portion of the Brighton Line to the Fulton El. The Brighton Subway connection via Dekalb Ave, Atlantic Ave and the run to Prospect park opened in 1920. At this time, Subway service was established from Coney Island/Brighton Beach via the new connection , over the Manhattan Bridge and up the Broadway Manhattan subway. There was a station at Myrtle Ave used by Brighton Locals. It was eliminated with the Dekalb Ave rebuild. 

Sometime after the new connection was placed in service, the operation via the Fulton El was eliminated creating the Franklin ave Shuttle. There waas a through service from There that operated through Stillwell ave and went express into downtown Brooklyn via the sea Beach line and 4th ave subway. From there it went to Manhattan Chambers street either via the tunnel or the South side  tracks on the Manhattan Bridge depending on the time of day. It was a popular Coney Island service during the summer months . The Southbound track at malbone st was used when these services were in operation and probably when the 1967 NX service operated from Franklin ave for a brief period.

In the photos attached , There is  Green Hornet heading west on the Fulton El . You can make out the crossover and Franklin connection just west of the train. The second photo shows the Fulton El Franklin Ave Station structure with walkways and stairs from the Franklin ave shuttle in 1942. This structure was there for at least 10 more years as I can remember. 

green hornet westbound Franklin ave.

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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

The significant change is the creation of essentially a single track line. In the 1950s, it was operated as a two track line from Prospect Park up to Dean Street station,now gone and single track North of there, although prior to the 50s, there was a second track .  I always remembered the Northbound platform being extended over the Northbound track so that trains on the Southbound track could receive and discharge passengers to both platforms.

Here is a Zephyrette at Franklin back in the day

zephyr at franklin

On Fulton Street, there was a piece of the old Fulton Street El left in place used for walkways to reach the North side of Fulton Street.  It was there for almost 50 years after the El was removed.

franklin entrance

Here are standards at Franklin

stds at frnklin

Here are two shots coming into Franklin 

Low V's

cross atlantic

More modern equipment

into franklin


At Dean Street just South of Franklin, the Northbound track switched over to the Southbound track to continue the short distance into Franklin. Here is a couple of shots of the Dean Street area.

lving dean st

leaving Dean st

At Dean Street


South of Dean street, the line was operated as a two track line. Southbound Shuttles would crossover just before the Malbone st Curve into Prospect Park and discharged passengers on the island platform.   The Northbound local track just South of Prospect Park was used as a layup for a shuttle train. I remember seeing the Zephyrette there.


There was a Franklin service that did go South of Prospect park . It Operated on the Southbound Express track and entered Prospect park using the infamous Malbone st tunnel.  

The El service that connected with the Fulton El at Franklin ended when the BRT extension was placed in Service serving 7th ave and Atlantic avenue into Dekalb. That was in late 1920. A BMT map from 1922 or so still showed the el connection, showing a single dot for the stop. A subsequent map from 1928 till showed the connection but now showed the station as two seperate stops. The map stayed that way for a while after that. Before the turn of the century, the Brighton Franklin route connected with the LIRR at atlantic Ave. when that arrangement stopped after LIRR had control of the Manhattan Beach line, the connection was made to the Fulton El . Appears that it was used for about 20 years.  




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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Hello Ben F and all

There was some controversy about whether this BMT Blue Bird Unit photo was taken at East New York Junction of the BMT Jamaica EL Station there,  or at Queens Plaza as I always stated it was located at.  

Well, here is a large file size of the well known promotional photo -- and it IS CLEARLY a Blue Bird heading Westbound to the LOWER level Manhattan Bound (southerly side of lower level island platform) Track,  on the BMT's "north half" of the Queens Plaza Complex. At the right of the Blue Bird train, can be clearly seen the IRT's "south half" portion of the complex,  with the IRT's lower level Manhattan bound 2nd Ave EL line  track --- which ran along  the northerly side of the IRT's lower level island platform, and  then the IRT  2nd Ave. EL train headed out westward  on this track,  originally heading straight west and out to and upward on to the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan and the IRT 2nd Avenue EL. !!

The BMT Blue Bird Unit seen in the photo attached below, entered Queens Plaza from the BMT 60th Street Tunnel, rising upward toward and on to the UPPER LEVEL track located on the southerly side of the BMT's "north half" upper level island platform station and discharged its passengers ... and then dead-headed eastward out from the upper level station platform,  continuing to the switch back turn-around tracks used solely for the larger and 10' wide bodied BMT subway trains, those switch back tracks located near the IRT Flushing Line tracks near the IRT's EL overpass over the LIRR-PRR Sunnyside Yards.

The BMT motorman changed ends,  and  the Blue Bird consist ( and any BMT subway trains as such ) then headed back westward  - and now descended to the lower level westward track to be returned to Queens Plaza Station complex and now to the BMT's "north half"  southerly side track of the Manhattan-bound  LOWER level BMT Island Platform, located directly UNDER the above upper level southerly side track it earlier arrived upon to Queens FROM Manhattan.

If you look in the outside background of the photo,   you can see the IRT line's "Astoria Line Connection" connective very high up structure and track,  with an IRT Astoria bound train upon it,  crossing south to north -- that structure and track being the same one now that the BMT Division uses (Since November 1949) uses to depart from, via using  the IRT's "south half" upper level Island Platform Queens Plaza Station to Astoria, via the old former IRT 2nd Ave. EL's  "northerly side" of platform  track,  originally for the IRT EL trains from Manhattan to run to Astoria prior to Summer 1942 !!

Also, the unique structure and bracing design, and significant mass and amount of same,  of the supporting steelwork of this Queens Plaza complex,  even on the sole remaining eastern end of the IRT "south half" double deck structure still remaining today and in use,  is readily identifiable and different that the simpler structure used at the East NY BMT Complex.  That remaining "IRT south half"  portion structure is also the easterly end of the structure visible to the right of the Blue Bird Train in the attached photo  !

Ben, I suspect as a NYCTA Motorman, you have probably piloted a lot of subway (either IRT or BMT  "A" or "B" divisions  trains thru there in your time as a motorman presently.

Finally,  the BMT's "north half" double deck Queens Plaza Station and Structure,  the BMT Blue Bird is seen on it,  are many decades long gone.  I well remember seeing many times, the abandoned (since Nov. 1949)  old BMT "north side"  half of the once massive station complex,   thru the 1950's to early 1962 -  and photographed it when it was being demolished in 1962 !


Regards ! - Joe F

 East to S/B BMT BlueBird entering Queens Plaza lower level BMT north side station-1939


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Last edited by Joseph Frank

What a great description of the infrastructure and operation of Queensboro Plaza. In its heyday, it was a rapid transit mecca. Both the Steinway line and the 2nd Ave line connected to Flushing and Astoria. The BMT served with the 60th st tunnel connection and the BMT El cars operated between Queensboro Plaza and Flushing and Astoria. The crossover which allowed the 2nd ave El trains and the Steinway Tunnel trains to access either the Astoria or Flushing line trains is still in place on the Eastbound upper level. It allows the 7 line equipment to access the rest of the subway system via the 60th street tunnel. 

The Bluebird in the photo I think is the number 8000 which was the prototype set from Clark the builder who had the BMT contract to build 50 such car sets. They apparently had many technical features from the PCC trolley design. The prototype set was demonstrated on various lines of the BMT to get exposure to the public. In Joe's Photo , it looks like it was working a run on the Broadway Line down to City Hall station. There are photos showing this prototype on various other BMT routes including the Fulton Street El. The Green Hornet worked that route as well.

When the City took over in May 1940, Clark had 5 -3 car sets on the assembly line. The City put a hold on the contract and only those 5 were completed. After delivery, they were assigned to the Canarsie -14th st line. They were in service until 1956 . As a youngster, I lived near the Canarsie route during the late 1940s and 1950s. I think I may have ridden a Bluebird once or twice in those days. The most common equipment on this line was the Multi]s another BMT lightweight articulated design.

Thanks for posting the photo.

The Bluebird photo is 8000. The way to tell is if you look close you will see theat it has no H2C coupler. It seems that the here is no coupler at all. But if you look real close you will see that it actually ha 2 couplers. The shaft assembly was shaped in a V. It swung out to either side of the car. The right side had a small knuckle coupler head and a the left side had a male end that would mate with the female end of a Van Dorn coupler. This set of Bluebirds  was mainly used on the Fulton Street El.

Now take a look at the photo's of the Green Hornet and the Zephyr in the previous   Photos. They were in service on the Fulton Street El. They had no couplers at all. If there was a problem link bars needed to be used. 


You could file these pics in Current New York if there was such a topic. I took them this morning around the old MO tower in the Bronx behind the 139th St Post Office next to C.Hayes H.S. Exploring with my 4 year old helper. 

She was bored so I'll have to go back to get some better shots. There is a nice ConRail painted 40ft double door boxcar in there. 


A few weeks ago on another Bronx walk a got a few more. First up is a MetroNorth MOW Geep under Macombs Dam Bridge. 


This is from the NYC bridge over the site of the old Put. Now part of the bridge is open and part is a ruin that leads to the new MetroNorth car barn. image

These are from the newly reopened High Bridge. imageimageimage


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Last edited by Silver Lake

Great photos, Silver Lake. Thanks for posting.

Things have really changed around there since I grew up in the area in the 1950s and 60s watching the S motors switch the Mott Haven coach yard.

I can still hear the double or triple headed S motors (16 wheels each unit!) clattering over the multiple crossings where the Hudson line branched off next to Cardinal Hayes. The crossings were once right in the center of the area shown in your first two photos.

I also remember scoring a window seat in senior English class at Hayes so I could catch glimpses of the action. It's a wonder I learned enough English to be able to write those OGR articles in recent years..... or do they show a certain lack of language skills!!!   


Last edited by Jim Policastro

I may have mentioned this before...I have an old New York Central Headlight employee newsletter around here somewhere from the 1940's or 1950's that had a great article about a gentleman who worked at MO and was also an unofficial gardener/landscaper around the tower. I think the gist of the article was that he was retiring at that point. "Back in the day," areas around many stations and even some towers were immaculately maintained and like mini-botanical gardens. The railroad workers took great pride in their horticultural skills. Only one book that I ever saw really covered this little known side of railroading, John Stilgoe's Metropolitan Corridor. 




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Last edited by PRR8976
MNCW posted:

I may have mentioned this before...I have an old New York Central Headlight employee newsletter around here somewhere from the 1940's or 1950's that had a great article about a gentleman who worked at MO and was also an unofficial gardener/landscaper around the tower. I think the gist of the article was that he was retiring at that point. "Back in the day," areas around many stations and even some towers were immaculately maintained and like mini-botanical gardens. The railroad workers took great pride in their horticultural skills. Only one book that I ever saw really covered this little known side of railroading, John Stilgoe's Metropolitan Corridor. 




  If you come across that copy of NYC HEADLIGHT I'd be interested to know which one it is and I'll try and find one, thanks.

Art Sheridan

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