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The following photo was posted on the Electric Railroaders page. There was some discussion as to the timing and circumstances of the photo. The initial thought was that it was some sort of fan trip. However after more study, it appears the photo likely dates to the opening of BRT service on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1908. At this time, the line switched off of the Broadway El in Brooklyn to access the bridge and the tracks went across the bridge to an underground terminal at Essex Street and Delancey street in Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, the BRT tracks were extended west and south in Manhattan to the Bowery , Canal Street and Chambers street stations. BRT and the LIRR had joint operations on this line so this was the LIRR's initial terminal in Manhattan, two years prior to Pennsylvania station. The cars that were used on the BRT and LIRR were wood sided El type cars as we see in the photo. The LIRR probably did operate mp-41s on this route although i have not come across a photo yet.

The trolley in the picture to the right is a Metropolitan Street Railways car, perhaps a Grand street or 4th ave car . It was on its way to Washington Plaza on the Brooklyn side where the company had a large trolley terminal. This company operated street cars on the North side of the Bridge until 1932. Metropolitan Street Railways was acquired by New York Omnibus corporation which subsequently became Fifth Avenue Coach company. I do not believe that this company ever operated busses on the Williamsburg Bridge after 1932.  The Tracks of the B&QT trolleys were to the left of the view in the picture. These cars accesed an underground terminal in Manhattan went across the Bridge and served various routes in Brooklyn and Queens.

El cars used by the BRT at the time were Woodsided gate cars . These operated on the Bridge line down to Chambers street via the subway at the time. The BRTs first steel car was the Standards and these did not arrive until 1916. Note in the photo, that the third rail was not covered as they are today.

Enjoy the Photo. It is the earliest photo I have seen of BRT operations on the Williamsburg Bridge. It is also a rare photo of a Metropolitan street Railway car on the bridge as well.

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Did  a bit more research regarding the photo of the first day or El service on the Williamsburg Bridge and found this second photo taken also at the Manhattan End but earlier in time bfore service was started, 

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Note in this photo we clearly see overhead trackways for the EL not a Subway style entrance which is what was built and put into service. Planners of the day were considering a loop system to connect rapid transit on all three bridges, ie the Williamsburg, The Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridges The BRT envisioned an Elevated line similar to the Chicago Loop to connect these bridges on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sides. The loop design was considered a more efficient way of moving trains with passengers in and out of the area avoiding terminal trackage , layups and a need to change ends. 

about 1906 a decision was made by the Public Service commission to proceed with a loop concept gut as a Subway. So the El structure was removed and a subway style entrance to Essex street was built in 1908. Over the next few years , the Centre street subway was built down to Chambers street along with the connection from the Manhattan Bridge at Chambers street, The connection to BRT ELs at Park Row was never made, but eventually the Subway was extended South through Broad street and into the Montague street tunnel which allowed Loop service from the Dekalb Ave complex. The rest of the loop heading North in Brooklyn to tie to the Broadway Jamaica EL was never Built .  

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Saw this in the New York Times this morning. They had a story about New York and its Toys. It discussed how the Toy Industry Association was born. AC Gilbert was a big part of that but before his American Flyer Association. The group had its operations in a building on 23rd street and broadway. 

The article included the following photo which shows the building on the left. Ineterestingly this photo in the center shows the former Gilbert Hall of Science which was on 25th street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. To the right of the photo at 15 East 26th street was the headquarters of the Lionel Corporation. Dissapointingly, the article failed to mention Lionels and American  Flyers long association with New York City's Toy Industry. Enjoy the photo.

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LIRR Steamer posted:

...The last photo for this post takes us out of Brooklyn and up to the Bronx, ie 242nd st and Broadway, just South of Manhattan College Parkway. I know there are a few Bronx guys that follow this thread. Maybe some of you went to Manhattan College as did I albeit a few years after this photo was made. You might remember the Pinewood on Broadway and the Greenleaf on Manhattan College Parkway. I think the Schaefer Beer sign is a nice touch.

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Geez! The Green Leaf? That was the first bar I ever drank at and paid the price as a passenger in my friend's car (we'll leave it to your imagination). Thanks for posting the photo.

Tom

RJR posted:

Don, thanks.  Outstanding collection.  A few items I remember, like the USS Prairie State and the NYNH&H grain elevator.  Interesting to see how many tracks the current Amtrak line under the GW Bridge to Spuyten Duyvil used to have.

Yes, those pictures were very sharp. Everything from "dummy" steam locomotives, West Side Cowboys, loads of crossing shanties, (regular) steam locomotives doing some street running, vintage advertising and cars/trucks...it doesn't get much better.

You mentioned Spuyten Duyvil.  DV tower controlled movements for the West Side back in New York Central days. On May 22, 1967 there was a collision between two NYC freight trains resulting in 6 railroad personnel being killed. 

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigat.../Pages/RAR1967A.aspx

One of the outcomes of the investigation was that the Central appointed Loyal "Buddy" Reynolds as a safety supervisor. Buddy was a longtime conductor on the Central and his service lasted into the Metro-North years. As a conductor, his usual territory was the Upper Hudson, serving on Budd cars, gaining the nickname "Buddy of the Budd cars." I was fortunate to know his wife and she gave me several of the original documents/reports from the investigation. One of the contributing factors was that there were apparently two many employees in DV Tower which distracted the operator.

Tom 

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LIRR Steamer posted:

Saw this in the New York Times this morning. They had a story about New York and its Toys. It discussed how the Toy Industry Association was born. AC Gilbert was a big part of that but before his American Flyer Association. The group had its operations in a building on 23rd street and broadway. 

The article included the following photo which shows the building on the left. Ineterestingly this photo in the center shows the former Gilbert Hall of Science which was on 25th street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. To the right of the photo at 15 East 26th street was the headquarters of the Lionel Corporation. Dissapointingly, the article failed to mention Lionels and American  Flyers long association with New York City's Toy Industry. Enjoy the photo.

22NYTODAY2-sub-master675i

Wow... brings back a lot of memories. That pic was taken on the south side of 23rd Street, directly in front of the pointy corner of the famous Flatiron Building (a few stories taller than Andre's version though   ). I was a Lionel kid and I remember my dad taking my brother and I to the Lionel Showroom in the early 60's. Later in life, I went to college in the area (many of my classes were on 23rd & Lex or 26th off Park Ave. South). I then worked on 26th between Madison and Park Ave. South for 34 years. I imagine I would have spent a lot of lunch hours at the Lionel layout if it had survived into the late 70's. I hope the article also mentioned Lionel Nirvana - Madison Hardware was one block east of where the pic was taken... two blocks east if you cross to the north side of 23rd Street!!! I'll have to see if I can find the article online.

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RJR posted:

The West Side cowboys actually rode down 11th Ave ahead of locos to warn drayers and others a loco was coming.

Regarding the 2 pictures of the swing bridge at Spuytun Duyvil: The curve on the line that doesn't cross the bridge is also the location of the recent Metro North commuter train derailment.

I've been searching for a book that features a good amount of quality photos of the ground level line down 11th Avenue for some time with no luck; can anyone recommend such a book if one does in fact exist ? Thank you.

 

I couldn't see them,  Those pix were fascinating. I grew up in NJ, atop the Palisades right across from 79th Street NYC, during the 40's.  I did not realize until seeing these that there was such an extensive railroad network on the west side of Manhattan.  So busy 80 years ago, and now there is no freight RR service on Manhattan.

Some good info:

http://www.kinglyheirs.com/New...t1.html#.V5v6xaKtZ30

 

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Many lithographs of the 19th century documented important scenic venues with the use of 'birds eye views".  This one, by the Franklin Lithographic Co. commemorates the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.  Casual research seems to indicate that comparable Currier and Ives prints of the same subject are much more common.   It's poor condition and cropping devalue the print. Still, it's a fascinating look at a momentous event.

A parade marches along the promenade on that beautiful May 24th day as New Yorkers look on from the rooftops.   A similar parade from Brooklyn meets the Manhattan majorettes in the middle of the span for the ribbon cutting ceremony.  Immediately below them, among a flotilla of sailing ships, steams the paddle wheeler Pilgrim.  Everywhere flies Old Glory.

Bruce

 

RJR posted:

I couldn't see them,  Those pix were fascinating. I grew up in NJ, atop the Palisades right across from 79th Street NYC, during the 40's.  I did not realize until seeing these that there was such an extensive railroad network on the west side of Manhattan.  So busy 80 years ago, and now there is no freight RR service on Manhattan.

Some good info:

http://www.kinglyheirs.com/New...t1.html#.V5v6xaKtZ30

 

This website is great! Thank you.

Peter

That was their new boat.  During WWII and thereafter, they had 4 vessels tied up at their 41st St pier:  The DeWitt Clinton, which I recall to have been a sidewheeler with 3 stackes abeam; the Alexander Hamilton and another, which I recall as being sidewheelers with 2 stacks.  The 42nd St Ferry docked at the next pier north, having come over from Weehawken RR terminal. 

mk posted:

Wasn't the Peter Stuyvesant tied up to Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant in Boston in the 1970's?

Yes it was. I remember there being a gift shop on it when I ate at Anthony's back in the mid 70's. Interestingly enough, after diner, on our way back to our hotel, we drove past an open area nearby and saw the Freedom Train was there and there were no lines!!! I believe the Stuyvesant "went down" in a winter storm in the late 70's.

Here's an Army Corp of Engineers New York port facilities map from 1924 which shows the layout of the yard along with street boundaries and pier numbers:

PRRMAP

Although not labeled, that's Eleventh Avenue at the yard's east end.

The map is from Mr. Philip Goldstein's superb site covering New York's off-line terminals and short line, industrial and military railroads.

http://www.trainweb.org/bedt/IndustrialLocos.html

Bob 

 

 

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hi Ben

 

The Brooklyn Bridge photos show the facility not to long after the cable cars were eliminated and the now  BRT lines have been electrified. The gate cars we see here were the very latest of the day and they had center doors to speed up the departure and entry of passengers. There is a date on 1903 on the original photo. In later years, the elevated terminal at Sand street had tracks over street levels for the trolleys that went across the bridge. This photo is before that change was made. All cars we see on the bridge entered and left the bridge from street level. Notice quite a few walkers on the bridge and almost all of the vehicular traffic is Horse and wagon. Oh how we have changed since then.

The trolleys look like there is a jam up on the line. Thinking these were Boston cars perhaps.

 

Great pics!!!....Brings back memories...I remember as a kid we use to take the B train (West End) from 55th and get off at 9th Ave and jump on the Culver Line...did this just for fun...had to catch the train back to 55th street before my mom found out...all for the cost of a token which I believe may have been about .15 back then...

A great collection of Photos Ben. I can recall riding the Culver line in the BMT days. We would ride the Jamaica line across the Williamsburg Bridge down to Chambers street. There you could change for the Culver Local which went via the Montague street Tunnel to DeKalb avenue ddown to 36 th and then switched off to reack the lower level of ninth ave and up on the el along McDonald Ave. At Chambers in the summer months, there was a Franklin Avenue Express service as well that went over the Bridge and travelled to Coney Island via the express tracks of the Sea Beach, again BMT standards like the Culver. I can also remember riding the NcDonald avenue PCCs which ran under the Culver El to the trolley terminal in Coney Island. Your photos show operations over a wide time period, including the gate cars from the 5th Ave El days , the Standards and the Low V's and SIRT cars used on the final shuttle operations.  

 

Hello Ben F  (blueline) !

Shame on you Ben, heh heh  !!    That photo in your post above depicts NOT A BMT "Q" TYPE  !!    It shows an IRT LOW-V Car and train with body side extender steel plates (and slanted side baffles to prevent cretins from riding on the sills, heh) -- so as to be able to run on both the BMT Culver Shuttle and the BMT Franklin Shuttle.    The BMT wooden "C" type EL cars were created from gate cars in 1924 using a similar "body extender" plates --  to close the six-inch gap where 9' wide cars were run on into stations designed to clear 10' wide subway cars. 

Here below - top photo shows  a side view from street level,  notice NO CENTER DOORS - and the bottom photo shows the head-on "face" of a Q Type -- and you know where these were taken !

Have a Happy Holiday Season Ben, and the same to all here at OGR  Subways / Transit / Traction Forum

 regards !! -- Joe F

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Hey Ben  Merry Christmas

Joe already filled you in about this being a modified Low V . I think the location of the photo is at the last stop, Franklin and Fulton . There was a switch at just North of Dean street that joined the two tracks and fed the single track in use at the last stop. This is the way I remembered it from the 1950s. I never saw the Low Vs on the Culver but have seen photos.

So let’s visit the BMT’s Broadway Elevated in Brooklyn on the west end of the line. The former junction at the Marcy Ave station once served the Brooklyn Broadway El Grand Street Ferry Spur. The Ferry spur junction, the switch tower and the stub remain to this day.

The history of this ferry spur is different in that the El was built west to the ferry. In 1888, the "Old Main Line", or Broadway El was extended west to the Broadway Ferry Terminal at Kent Avenue with a stop at Driggs Ave.

In 1885 the first Brooklyn El went out of Park St near Sands Street to Grand St and across Grand to Lexington Ave and on to Gates Ave on Broadway. With initial success of the first Brooklyn El, the El was extended further East on Broadway to Alabama Ave and the Broadway El was built west to the Broadway Grand Street Ferry. In October 1899, LIRR trains started through service from Broadway Ferry to Jamaica and the Rockaways using the Chestnut Junction.

The Broadway Ferry El terminal was built with two levels, but only the upper deck had tracks, which was at the same elevation as the El structure When El trains began using the Williamsburg Bridge to reach Manhattan, the Broadway El Ferry line became a shuttle but it was still a very busy service. It served the neighborhood from Bedford Ave with the Driggs Avenue station to the Ferry terminal at the docks at Kent Avenue The single BRT car 998 ran in non-rush hour shuttle service to Marcy Ave and was supplemented by two three car trains through during the rush hours. LIRR - Broadway Ferry El service ended in in May 1909, when that service was switched over to the Williamsburgh Bridge to Manhattan.

With the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge connection, the Broadway Ferry El became a spur and service was reduced to a shuttle service to Marcy Ave using BRT Car 998. July  1916 saw the last day of service for the BRT Broadway El Ferry Shuttle because the Broadway El was being third tracked from Marcy Ave to Broadway junction at East New York.

Trolley service replaced the El shuttle and subsequently buses replaced the trolley cars. A paper transfer was in place at Marcy Avenue to access this service.

The Broadway El structure was gradually reduced to a single track-way and was completely removed in May of 1941.

 

So some photos. Here we have the junction at Bridge Plaza about when it was completed in 1909. The El was not electrified here until near this time.

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The Ferry Terminal had a two level structure for El Trains. Only the upper level had tracks. Steam power handled the trains in the beginnining. One of the shots has a Forney in it which was the common locomotive used back then.

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Here is what Broadway looked like in 1890. The Driggs ave station is within view on the EL. On the left are the Williamsburg and Kings County Banks. Peter Lugers was on the right side. At the turn of the century, Williamsburg Brooklyn was an important Commercial industrial area. It is said that about 10% of the nations GDP was associated with this area.

driggs ave

When the connection to the Bridge was opened , it was an on grade junction so the tower played an important role in the operations here, handling Ferry Trains Bridge Trains and LIRR operations.

Brdwy El at Marcy

Brdwy El to Delancy St 1908

After 1916, the line was used as a lay up area for Broadway El service. trains. A couple of photos showing this at this time.

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stding under WB

This is a view of the El Spur looking West. The Bridge on the right completes the panorama.

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In 1940-41, the long service unused structure was removed . The last shot shows a train of BMT standards on the connection to the Bridge. Its a short Train so maybe a Broadway Local to Atlantic Avenue. The El Spur is almost gone and we reach the end of the story

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