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Originally Posted by bluelinec4:

Hey Steve  Did you recognize Staten Island in one of my pics


Yes Ben, I have a few photos of that trade zone area. There were 2 gated sidings between the T-VILLE pool and the tunnel. Always a box car or two parked back there.

If you could get in there, I think a few sections of the rails can still be seen today.

I noticed them on the Google earth satellite a few years ago.

Originally Posted by SIRT:
Originally Posted by bluelinec4:

Hey Steve  Did you recognize Staten Island in one of my pics


Yes Ben, I have a few photos of that trade zone area. There were 2 gated sidings between the T-VILLE pool and the tunnel. Always a box car or two parked back there.

If you could get in there, I think a few sections of the rails can still be seen today.

I noticed them on the Google earth satellite a few years ago.


There is a great site that has a lot of info on this  It was called American Dock  Here is the site


The BMT  formerly BRT had an extensive system and transit complex in Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge. All of the BRT els in Brooklyn came into this area and trains from the various lines operated into Manhattan at various times during the period this operation was in existence. The service was during the period 1908 through 1944. In 1940, a substantial portion of the Brooklyn Elevateds were closed. Fukton Strret line trains continued to make the run from the Lefferts blvd station in the east , through Broadway junction onto the Broadway Elevated then onto the Lexingtin ave Elevated , then onto the Myrtle Ave Elevated into Sands street and over the Brooklyn Bridge. The IND A Train did not reach as far east as it does today.  The last train to make the trip was a Myrtle Ave train . The Myrtle ave El truncated at this time to Jay street, continued to operate until 1969 with the Q cars being used.

At Sands Street in Brooklyn, their was a two level complex which served through service to Manhattan on one level and a loop for trains not serving Manhattan on the other level and tracks for trains terminating at Sands Street. Each level had multiple tracks and platforms.Sands Street Terminal had four tracks and four island platforms and a wall platform on the East. This was on the lower level to the West fo the Loop tracks and platforms Sands Street Loop had platforms on High Street(one island and two wall with two tracks) and on Sands Street (also two tracvks and one island and two wall platforms) . This too was on the lower level Sands Street to Manhattan had four tracks and two wall platforms plus two elevated street car platforms to the side of the outermost islands. This was on the upper level.


On the Manhattan side there initially was a station with two tracks and three platforms in a large railroad style train shed. This was expanded to include two separate platform areas and additional tracks. The BRT's Williamsburg bridge line also came into this area but was a subway installation with the Chambers Street Station adjacent to this area but below ground. LIRR trains also used the Chambers street terminal.


There were two tracks for El Trains on the Bridge in the center of the span. On Either side of the El Tracks was a track for streetcars which aslo ran from Brooklyn into Manhattan. The Trolley service lasted into 1950. PCC cars were the last to operate on this line.  Here are photos of Sand Street and Brooklyn Bridge Stations.



Sands Street




broadway junction


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Last edited by LIRR Steamer




Great Highbridge photo.


In the early fifties my father and I would visit that area to watch the construction of the Major Deegan Expressway. Too bad that the highway construction destroyed much of the railroad infrastructure in the area.


The most fascinating thing about the tracks of the Putnam Division was the lack of electrification. It was the only place in the Bronx where we could explore the area along tracks. Everywhere else had that third rail that made the area off limits to kids with any common sense!


It was also the only place where there was any steam in our part of the Bronx, although memories are vague since I was only 5 years old when diesels took over in the very early fifties. 



Thanks for the greayt photo Bob. Just across the bridge we see in the photo was the terminal station for the Putnam division trains on the New York Central. There really were a number of transit choices for New Yorkers during these days.


Here is a photo of the station, 9th ave line in the forefront with the NYC station just behind.


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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Ben That one is easy. It was called Pidgeon street Yard because that was the name of the street on which it was located . The yard opened in 1906 and was in operation until 1976 operated by the BEDT. Freight cars were received at the Kent avenue yard and sorted  and reloaded on a BEDT carfloat and brought to and from Pidgeon street by the BEDT.Capacity was about 100 cars and there were quite a few customers served.


Customers served at Pidgeon street included National Sugar better known as "Jack Frost"  and the Daily News. There was never any direct connection between the LIRR and BEDT although it was discussed initially when the BEDT bought the property Pidgeon street was eventually renamed 55th avenue when Queens went to numbered streets and avenues. It is no longer a mapped street today.


In your photo, No 13 is switching the yard. 13 and 14 were identical locomotives. The Bridge in the backround is interesting . It is a double Bascule . It connected Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn with Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City. The No 61 Crosstown and No 62 Graham ave trolleys used to cross it. I remember seeing it in service , opening and closing quite frequently as there was a lot of traffic on the Newtown Creek. The attached photo show the Bridge open.





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Originally Posted by CNJ 3676:






That was the CNJ car float which ran between Jersey City and the railroad's off line terminal in the Bronx. The locomotive is the 1001, purchased second hand to replace AGEIR boxcab 1000. By this point in time, due to the increasing problems in the neighborhood, the railroad found it prudent to remove the locomotive to the relative safety of Jersey City when the day's work was done.



Wow, I didn't know they were moved that far upriver. I always thought they were designed for lateral W-E and back. Thanks for the info.



I did some additional research on that Pennsy facility at E. 125th Street. During the early 40s, the railroad offered both LCL and CL services here. Also, during the same period, Lehigh Valley hosted a similar operation at E. 124th Street. Evidently, both facilities were physically gone by the late 50s. I've been unable to locate a photograph of either operation.


One of the truly fascinating aspects of waterfront railroading was the ability to conduct operations without the physical presence of tracks on land. Shove the railroad owned vessel - carfloat, barge or lighter - to pier or ship side and away you go.


Here's a great color photo of the B&O's facility at West 12th Street with a substantial number of cars on floats taken in 1972. It was taken by Mr. Tom Flagg, the gentleman who authored the outstanding Morning Sun books about New York Harbor railroads.






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I agree the Books by Tom Flagg are great . You need to see these to see what Nautical railroading was like in its era. The B&O photo is interesting. The three floats we see here had the center platform. Notice the rolling doors on the building that they face. The platforms lined up with these doors so that cars could be unloaded to the platforms and then into the warehouse structure at the pier line. These type of facilities were considered by the railrroads as freight stations . Most of the rail-lines serving New York City had such facilities on both the Hudson and the East rivers to deliver freight for truck pickup at these stations. I believe once empty, cars might be reloaded with freight that was left for outgoing shipments and the float then returning to the railroad's yard  for forwarding on the railroad.

As part of the Dual Contracts, The city brought rapid transit to the borough of Queens when it provided for the IRT and what became the BMT to operated joint service to Flushing and Astoria. As part of the expansion, the largest El Station on the system was constructed at Queensborough Plaza at the foot of the Queensborough Bridge. It was on two levels , had 4 island platforms and 8 tracks. The West 4th Street station on the IND subway replicated this arrangement below ground but the Queensborough Plaza Station had more lines serving it.


IRT lines coming from Manhattan included the Steinway line which is today's # & route and the 2nd El which was discontinued in 1942. The BMT 60th st Tunnel provided Manhattan BMT service. Going out to Queens were the Flushing Elevated and the Astoria Elevated.


On the IRT side , both Steinway trains and the 2nd Ave El had through trains to both Flushing and Astoria, Steinway trains using lov's and 2nd ave trains operating MUDC's or composites . The BMT side from Manhattan terminated at this station. The service used the BMT Standards, the Triplex cars and R-1-9's in the 1940's . Going out to Queens, BMT Q cars and earlier, Gate cars operated from the plaza to both Astoria and Flushing. The Q cars when rebuilt were painted in the Blue and orange city colors in 1939 and handled the special Worlds Fair service for the BMT while the IRT had a fleet of 50 cars it bought for the Worlds fair service which were known as ...well you guessed it.. Worlds Fair cars.


The elaborate service arrangement lasted until 1949 when the dual operations were eliminated and the Flushing service became all IRT and the Astoria service became all BMT. Astoria line was shorter and its platforms had to be cut down to handle the wider BMT cars. I suspect this is how the BMT got the Astoria Line because there was less work and cost associated with the platform modifications.


Here are afew photos.


The station at the Plaza, the IRT Steinway line is in service but the BMT line is still under construction.




A Flushing Line train coming from Manhattan. You can still see the second ave el track.




BMT Standards arriving from Manhattan on the now gone North side of the station. Astoria Train is behind it. The IRT 2nd ave El track is still in place in this view and was probably the last part of the 2nd ave line existing.




At the East End of the North Side of the station, a R-1-9 set is heading to the layup track to turn around for the trip back to Manhattan.




Again on the North Side now beyond the station, we see a group of BMT Q cars handling trains to and From Astoria and to Flushing. Thats a Steinway Transit car in the street. The Bridge line was the last Streetcar line in New York City closing in 1957.




On the Flushing Line heading EAST . the trackwork is now much less complicated. The crossover is still there and represents the only link for the No 7 line with the rest of the NY subway System. The Flushing line heads over Sunnyside yards at this point and in those days, one had quite a panoramma of the PRR long distance trains GG1s and the LIRR Freight yards.




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Great Photo Bob


I think we are looking at Atlantic Avenue. The tracks on the North in front of Howard House are the LIRR line to Atlantic and Flatbush Ave. There were two routes to the Rockaways from Here, one being the LIRR and the second being the Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach RR. The elevated would be the Fulton Street El which ran to the Brooklyn Bridge.


The sign on the building on the right in the photo is insteresting advertising I W Harper a distiller offerring Whiskey for Medicinal purposes. Todays scene is quite a bit differrent. The El is still there except those Brooklyn and Rockaway RR trains are now using it as part of the MTAs Canarsie line. Atlantic Ave is elevated here and the LIRR is below grade and the East New York Station is here. Some of the buildings on Atlantic Ave that we see in the photos are still there at this time.


Thanks for posting

Hi Bob


Thanks for posting that photo. I am thinking that this the 39th street yard on the SBK . Its still there but diesels do the work now . Cars can still be received and sent out to and from the Subway system.


The R-17's started arriving in 1955 . Most went to work on the Lexington Pehlam line . There were a few that did come to the Flushing Line for a short period in the 1950's . Heres a Photo of R-17's at Willets Point.


on flushing


After the 2nd ave el closed in 1942, The Flushing Queens IRT  operation was isolated from IRT operations in Manhattan so Coney Island became the base for heavy repairs of their equipment for this line. When cars were sent to and from the IRT routes in Manhattan, they did go by car float to Bush Terminal and then stret running via SBK to the SBK's operation at 39th street. These are LoV's from the Flushing line heading to the Bronx in this photo


Lovs on float


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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Hi, LIRR Steamer.


As always, thanks for the enlightening information.


The R-17 was one of my favorite car types. During the 80s, I spent a lot of time photographing the IRT West Side Line which, at that time, was dominated by the R-21 and 22 classes; however, as the new R-62 cars were placed in service on the Jerome Avenue and Pelham Lines, R-17s displaced from those services began showing up on the 1 Train much to my delight.


Here's the 6560 which I shot at the 238th Street Station with Manhattan College in the background in 1985:




Returning to the South Brooklyn Railway for a moment, I found this early 20s image of Gravesend Avenue looking south from Ditmas Avenue. Of course, the tracks were a very prominent feature of the street:




I'm sorry I never got to see an SBK train run down Gravesend/McDonald Avenue in person.




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CNJ I traveled that line to Manhattan in the 1960's . Think it was the R-21-22's in those days, green color. Transferred at 168th street from the A train R-10s .


The tracks on McDonald Ave were used also by the BQT's McDonald ave car which ran from the Parade Grounds to the Culver trolley terminal in Coney Island. It was one of the last lines in Brooklyn and PCC's were used from the late 1930's to 1956 when buses came. I like the grade crossing in the photo foreground. Hard to imagine that such things existed in Brooklyn . Photo looks like it might have been in the early 1920's

Great shots of the Broadway line. In those days when you were in the city and rode the R-17s or loV's or standards to go to Lionel aor Flyer showrooms and madison hardware, when you needed to take a refreshment break, you might have had lunch at a Horn and Hardardt Automat. Remember those? I was always amazed at the folks in the change booth. You gave them a dollar and they rolled out of their hand 20 nickels. Never 1 more never 1 less.


enjoy the automat

automat pc




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Over the Williamsburg Bridge, the BMT Broadway El carried BMT standards in Manhattan which ran down to Chabers street in the City Hall area. When the bridge opened to the El Traffic, the LIRR and BRT operated joint service to the Rockaways over the bridge up until  about 1917.


There were also tacks for the BRT , later BQT trolleys which ran into Manhattan from Bridge Plaza . These are visible in this photo. There was also a pair of tracks on the North Side of the Bridge which served trolleys from the Green Line which was a Manhattan Trolley company. It was the forerunner of what became 5th avenue coach. 


On the Bridge at Bedford ave, there was a trolley station where you could ride a car over the Bridge for just 2 cents when the regular transit fare was a nickel . The Green line cars were gone by the 1930s while the BQT service lasted into the very late 40's when buses replaced the trolleys. The 2 cents bridge fare ended at that time as well. THe BQT cars terminated on the Manhattan side of the Bridge in a large underground trolley terminal with about 6 loops. You can still see this station from the J trains when they stop at Essex street in Manhattan.


In the photo we have Peter Witts which were relatively new when this photo was taken.

wb bridge trolley


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PCC's operated into Manhattan on the Seventh ave line which ran accross the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row. This one is on a fan trip in the 1940's and was in a one of a kind paint scheme before the Board of Transportation colors of Green and Silver were applied.




Back in Brooklyn, we have a PCC in Board of Transport Colors on McDonald Ave. The car is waiting for the track to clear as a South Brooklyn Diesel is on the street doing a little switching I believe.


PCC waits for SBK motor on Mcdohald


Since we like Bridge line photos, Here is one sort of rare . It was a fan trip in the 1940's and the car is a double ended Peter Witt waiting in the Delancey street terminal on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. This terminal was below ground at Subway level but no connection. The Essex Street station of the Broadway Brooklyn BMT is in the background.



wb manh


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Bens view above is close to when the station was completed in 1913. Its amazing how busy this area was then. The Third Ave El 42nd street spur is in the view as well.


Here is the same scene just a bit later. The building that was on the right in the photo has been torn down. The Vehicle viaduct that goes around the terminal is still not in place.


GCT 3rd ave spur


One more, this time, the vehicle viaduct is in place over the tunnel entrance. You can see the temporary subway entrances at this location for what is today the 42nd street shuttle , but then part of the original IRT line opened in 1904.


GCT constr


Another viewof the construction. These are early in time as the 42nd street spur was removed in 1924.


GCT with viaduct


The 42nd street spur had two island platforms and there were three stub tracks. It was opened with the original 3rd avenue line in 1978 . It must have been a busy place even then.


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