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Originally Posted by PAUL ROMANO:

If I'm not mistaken, there was a rider on horseback preceding the steam dummy. The riders were called "West Side Cowboys."


Yep, or 10th avenue cowboys..what is amazing is the practice lived on until the 1940's (I think by the end of WWII it had ended). Ironic in that the high line was built to replace the street level trains, and that in the end it never really was used that heavily, in that trucks starting in the 1930's took away its need for existence. 



The first photo is indeed at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. It was probably taken from the foot of the Pedestrian walkway. The cars coming off the Bridge were from the New York Railway or better known as The Green Line. These cars traveled over the Williamsburg Bridge on the North Side roadways to Washington Plaza in Brooklyn. The BQE ramp to the Bridge occupies much of the area that was used for turning these cars in Brooklyn. There were several routes going both uptown and downtown in Manhattan . Service lasted until the early 1930s when operations ceased. The Green Line was the forerunner of  The Fifth Ave Coach Co.


The cars in the foreground were third ave company TARS, and were for a north south line in front of the Bridge. If you look into the distance in the photo, you can make out the Second Avenue Elevated. on Allen Street. Below the area in the photo was the Terminal for the B&QT trolleys that ran to Brooklyn on the South Side of the Bridge. At this time, there was only one roadway 2 lanes on either side of the Bridge for vehicles including both motorized and horse drawn. The trolloeys and the BMT Broadway line ran on dedicated right of ways over the bridge. Looks like they had quite a traffic problem when the photo was taken.


I like the Coney Island Photo as well . In 1940. most of the folks in the photo came to Coney Island via the Culver Line, The SeaBeach Line, The west End Line and the Brighton Line, all on the BMT operating in and out of the Stillwell Avenue Depot.



Chambers treet on the BMT was a busy place before the Nassau loop as well. When the Broadway line was extended over the Williamsburg Bridge to Chamber street toward the turn of the century, the BMT and LIRR operated joint service to the Rockaways over the line. The Center platform at Chambers Treet was used for LIRR trains I believe. This service lasted until about 1917. LIRR MP-41s or Gibbs cars were used, They were similar to the loV's . When the loop opebed in the 1930s, in addition to the Broadway Brooklyn BMT service and the Myrtle Chambers service, there were the Culver local, the West End Short Line and a Franklin avenue express that came into this station as well. It was a popular route to Coney Island from the Williamsburh area although changing to the Seabeach or Brighton or West End regular services at Canal street was quicker.


The West eighth street photo shows the tracks coming from the Brighton line Ocean parkway. I dont remember any Brighton trains coming on the lower level in the early 1950s when the Culver was a BMT line. I think they all used the upper level tracks. West Eight street was also near the location of the Coney Island Trolley terminal PCCs ran in there from the Mcdonald Ave line and the Coney Island Ave line. WE could get to Coney Island from Williamsburg via the 61 Crosstown car, usually the 6000 series single enders , change at Vanderbilt ave for the Vanderbilt avenue car, usually a PCC to Park Circle and then to one of the Coney Isalnd routes to the West Eight Street terminal, both routes worked by PCC's.  

Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Here are a couple of photos of MP-41s, LIRR's first electric cars. They were around until the early 1950s.







23-MP41 1006 and train past J tower-Jamaica-c.1913



The LIRR BRT connection was referred to as the Chestnut st connection. It was in East New York and you can still see  a few girders in the trackway on the BMT Jamaica line near Norwood Ave where this connection once came in. Here is the connection at the BRT



Chestnut St Connection-BMT_ c.1936



and here is the other end at the LIRR



Chestnut St Connx-at LIRR -Autumn Ave.- 1906


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As a kid growing up in Brooklyn during the 1950's I didn't get to ride the trains very much and missed most of what was posted on this thread. The only vestige of NY transit that I remember was the old Franklin Avenue (Culver) shuttle that branched off of the D train. I did ride that once and went for a walk through the old Pennsylvania station once, but that's about it.

Getting back to the fantastic info posted here; it just goes to show how radically NYC changed from a time when the railroads and the Ferries ran just about everywhere in the city. New York City was a mighty manufacturing center back then. 



thanks for posting those great Photos. These images are of the Brooklyn Bath and West End Railroad. They date from about 1885 or so. 


At the time of the Civil war, the city of Brooklyn's developed area  did not go much further south than the area around Greenwood Cemetery which is just north of todays 36th street yard on the former BMT. The area we call Coney Island  was starting to become a resort area . The West End's riginal predecessor road was the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island railroad which was chartered in 1862 . It was the first Steam railroad in Brooklyn at the time. These railroads were associated business wise with hotels which were being built in Coney Island. This one also had commutation service. Its original Northern Terminal was at 26th street and Fifth ave. On the 1880s the line reached Coney Island and and was also extended to the 39th street ferry where a boat connection to downtown Manhattan was available. 


THe terminal we see in KC's first photo, I Think may be the original West End Terminal which was located at 36th street just west of the present 36th street yard. The rail car in Photo 2 was new in the 1880s and they had convertible sides so they were open air in the summer time. Tank Engines were the motive power of the day at that time as we see in the photo 3.


In searching a bit this morning, the following info was found which is interesting to the history of this company.


This photo is an image depicting the Resort Hotels. It refers to the Brooklyn Bath and Coney Island Railroad terminal and dates to 1879. The Sea Beach Hotel and railroad terminal is also shown.




Coney sland 1879



Here is a photo of the terminal in Coney Island. It was to become the forerunner of the great Stillwell Ave terminal of the BMT that many of us remember from the 1950s.






I have added a map of the BRT system in Brooklyn dating to 1913 and it shows the routes of the consolidated Brooklyn steam railroads and elevateds . By now steam is gone from the BRT and Brooklyn itself with the exception of Steam locomotives used by the Long Island Railroad on the Bay Ridge Branch and its Manhattan Beach Line. This is the extent of the system at the time of the Dual Contracts which was the first great expansion of rapid transit in the city of New York in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. 





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In the BRT route map shown in the post just above, perhaps you may have noticed a bit of a BRT route to Canarsie shown in the upper right corner . So lets talk about the Canarsie line or todays "L" route


Its origins trace to the Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach Railroad, chartered December 24, 1863 and opened October 21, 1865, from the Long Island Rail Road in East New York to a pier at Canarsie Landing, very close to the current junction of Rockaway Parkway and the Belt Parkway, where ferries continued on to Rockaway.  The Canarsie Railroad was chartered on May 8, 1906 as a BRT subsidiary. The line was partly elevated, and electrified with third rail on the elevated part and trolley wire on the rest, south of New Lots Avenue. The Long Island Rail Road, which had used the line north of New Lots to access their Bay Ridge Branch. The East New York terminus was extended several blocks along a section of line formerly used for "East New York Loop" service to the Fulton Street Elevated and the Broadway Elevated, at a point known as Manhattan Junction or later,Broadway Junction.


Service, first run on July 28, 1906, ran from Canarsie Landing to the Broadway Ferry at the foot of Broadway in Williamsburg, at the East River. Most of this route is in use today as the Jamaica Line. The route was later extended over the bridge and along the BMT Nassau Street Line to Canal Street and then Chambers Street.


The Dual Contracts subway expansion scheme around World War I saw the rebuilding of the complex train junction at Manhattan Junction into an even more complex flyover junction now known as Broadway Junction. The expansion extended south to the point at which the Canarsie and Fulton Street Elevateds diverged, including a six-track, three-platform station at Atlantic Avenue. The complex was rebuilt under traffic and opened in stages, reaching completion in 1919.


At the same time, the BRT moved to eliminate remaining operations that required elevated trains to operate under overhead wire. In most cases this meant using third rail on fully grade-separated lines. When third rail was extended on the Canarsie Line it was decided to extend this power mode only as far as the important station at Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road. Beyond that point, frequent grade crossings made third rail impractical. This portion of the line was converted to the Canarsie Shuttle using elevated cars in 1917 and converted to trolley cars in 1920.


One grade crossing was retained at East 105th Street despite the third rail, and was the last public rapid transit grade crossing in New York City. The crossing was removed in 1973.


There are many great photos of trains on the complex trackage at East New York where the Jamaica Broadway,Fulton Street and Canarsie lines mixed it up to allow service from the outlying branches to reach downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan by several routes . Adding to the complexity was trackage to access the East New York Shops and yards . The present subway extension from 8th avenue and 14th street through Brooklyns Williamsburg and Bushwick sections reaching the Elevated portion of the line in East New York was completed during the 1920's. Todays scene at these locations is much simpler as only the L service and Jamaica el service remain.


Here are a few photos that show the outer reaches of the Cabarsie line in the glory days. We have atrain set of Multi's , a 5 car articulated train set built in the 1930s and intended for use by the BMT on its older El lines in Brooklyn . New York City had other ideas about Elevated rail lines and the Multis saw service on the Canarsie line as an alternate. This set is arriving on Grade from Manhattan at the Canarsie Rockaway Parkway depot. You can see the Bluebirds in the Canarsie Yard.  





  A set of Multis at the Wiiden Platform and in the yard we have the R-11s second Ave Prototype cars along with the Bluebirds. The oddballs were at home on the Canarsie line. 




 BMT standards worked this line as well and were original equipment when the subway extension to Manhattan was completed in the 1920s. They were on this line into the 1960s as I recall. This set is getting to make the run to Broadway Junction and on to Manhattan





 Here we have a set of Multis getting set to depart for Manhattan . Its the mid 30's and the Multis are almost new here. We have some travelers in their Sunday finest.






The last Photo is interesting. At the 42nd street station Concourse in Manhattan which connects the BMT 4th ave Broadway subway with the IRT 7thavenue line and the IRT Flushung line, there was a sign " to Canarsie" stuck up on one of the steel girders exposed in the concourse that directed travelers to Canarsie. The Canarsie line did not serve this station so the intent of the sign is curious. I wonder if its still there?










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Last edited by LIRR Steamer

Rails photo shows the Ninth ave el along 110th street in Manhattan where the line turned from Ninth ave to go east to Eighth ave in Manhattan. The Ninth ave El was the original elevated line in Manhattan first operating in 1868. Over the years, the line was extended from South Ferry north through Manhattan to 155th street at the Polo Grounds. It continued accross the Harlem river at this point serving the New York Centrals Sedgewick ave station on the Putnam Division. Traveling eastward, the Ninth ave el joined the Woodlawn Jerome line and trains eventually ran all the way to Woodlawn Rd in the Bronx. The Nonth ave el was closed in June of 1940 . All of it was removed at that time save for the Section that ran from 155th st accross the Harlem River to The Woodlawn Jerome line. This piece was known as the Polo Grounds Shuttle and remained in service until 1958. The location in the photo was colloquially referred to as "Suicide curve."  The station and trackways were at a height of 100 feet and it was reputed to be a favorite spot for jumpers, therefore the Suicide Curve moniker.

Bens photos illustrate the magnanimity of the Grand Central Project. It went on for about 10 years and construction was undertaken while trains continued to operate and use the terminal. When enough of the new depressed station facility was completed, it was put into operation and the construction actibity moved westward on the site. It was indeed a remarkable engineering and construction feat of Modern times. The last photo is interesting as it shows the Park Ave roadways and the bridges used for the crosstown streets .These are still in place today even though the entire terminal area is below ground and covered over.

LeavE it to Ben to come up with the Gems.






Interesting view of the entrance to the yard. The train is a set of BRT convertible gate cars most likely in service on the Lexington ave El. This would date the photo to 1950 or earlier. The Lexington ave route started at Eastern Parkway and operated on the Jamaica E; to about Gates ave. It tirned of onto its namesake El line down to Grand Street where it tuned onto the Myrtle ave Line to Brifge and Jay street. Before 1944 this train would run over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row.



east NY


Thats quite a collection of Equipment in the yard. There are standards, R-10s? , R-16s probably near new here, some more gate cars and the R-11 Ben Mentioned. This is [rpba;y about 1957 and those Gate cars were probaby once at work on the Myrtle Ave line but now replaced by the Q cars.





interesting early photo. The Dime savings Bank was yet to rise on the right hand side of the plaza which itself is yet to be completed. Washington Plaza to the right is still waiting the statue of General Washington on his mount'.






Here is the construction photo on the Manhattan side at Delancey Street. I love the horse drawn vehicle on the roadway heading to brooklyn. Weren't many motorized vehicles back about 1906. Construction is underway for the rapid transit facilities. There were two trolley lines and the BRT EL now Jamaica Line. Looks like an El car is in the construction area. When I look at the framework above the construction, i cant help wonder if the BRT originally contemplated an El in Manhattan.





This photo shows the Brooklyn side of the Bridge. Both Bridge Plaza and Washington Plaza are complete. The Bridge roadways are operational as well as trolleys of the BRT on the left and the New York railway ( Green Line). This one was closed in the early 1930s . The company was taken over by what became a New York City Icon, The Fifth Ave Coach company. The slogan was " Go the Motor Coach Way". This company itself is long gone from the New York City Transit scene.


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A Little Christmas in New York


The R-1 R-9 set was out and about 





The Tree at Rockefeller Center would be a destination if you are riding the <useum Train






Heres a New York thing!! Bringing the tree home on the Subway





Some Santas on the way in the Subway






Sometimes the Grafitti carried a festive message






And at the end of the day , the Santas arrived Safe and Sound on New York's Subway System





Wishing all on the Forum a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


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Ok Forum Detectives. You haven't cracked the case yet but Ben has given you several clues.

1. Its Bens favorite El line in Brooklyn, close to home.

2. In the pictures posted in the second post, Ben has showed us locations at both the North end and the South end of the area of interest. The photos can also identify the line as well

3. The El in question had center platforms.

4. The locations identified are stops on this El in the area of interest


Can you guess Now? I think I know the locations but lets see if any of the forumites know the locations with all the hints




Hello Ben F  !!


I KNOW that YOU already know the answers - heh - and so do I. 


Those first two photos are of the 5th Avenue EL in Brooklyn.  I have them in my collection and KNOW what the intersections are.


The 3rd photo  is a Turtle Roof 1000 series BMT EL Car at the 36th St Station next to the abandoned former steam-era massive Elevated Yard and its abandoned multi-track elevated structures seen at left --- the car or train is heading outbound to leave the 5th ave EL at the nearby Y junction -  and turn and head east to go over to the Brooklyn 3rd Ave EL...where it turns left - or south,  to eventually go to the 65th St Terminal of that EL, and connect with the BRT Trolley there.


The next (4th) picture is looking inbound from the end of the single center island  platform of the Atlantic Avenue EL Station on the BMT Fifth Ave EL with the train heading inbound toward  where the 5th Ave EL a few blocks away crosses under the higher Fulton St EL (seen in distance) and does the slight S curve there into Hansen Place and eventually merges a couple of blocks further into the Myrtle Ave EL near that EL's Navy St Station.


I already have all these displayed photos in my BMT EL print photos collection for many decades time now.


Happy Holidays !  -  Joe F

Last edited by Joseph Frank
Originally Posted by Joseph Frank:


Hello Ben F  !!


I KNOW that YOU already know the answers - heh - and so do I. 


Those first two photos are of the 5th Avenue EL in Brooklyn.  I have them in my collection and KNOW what the intersections are.


The 3rd photo  is a Turtle Roof 1000 series BMT EL Car at the 36th St Station next to the abandoned former steam-era massive Elevated Yard and its abandoned multi-track elevated structures seen at left --- the car or train is heading outbound to leave the 5th ave EL at the nearby Y junction -  and east to go over to the Brooklyn 3rd Ave EL...where it turns sound to eventually go to the 65th St Terminal.


The next (4th) picture is looking inbound on the BMT Fifth Ave EL with the train heading inbound toward  where the 5th Ave EL crosses under the higher Fulton St EL (seen in distance) and does the slight S curve there into Hansen Place and eventually merges a couple of blocks further into the Myrtle Ave EL near that El's Navy St Station.

I already have all these displayed photos iun my BMT EL photos collection for many decades time now.


Happy Holidays !  -  Joe F

That's no fair Joe   Would love to see some of those pics from your archives

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