rapidtransit.net brooklyn rail history
by Bob Diamond
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A1. LIRR Bay Ridge Branch. 1917. Looking west toward 3rd Ave. (Brooklyn) L. In addition to the elevated trains, trolleys are visible to the left on the structure. The former Sea Beach temporary terminal is the ramp visible at right.
A2. As above, but looking east from Third Ave. toward new Fourth Ave. bridge. Note the original Sea Beach RR on left in small tunnel. This is the "mystery" tunnel sometimes talked about. The 4th Ave. BRT subway is carried in lower trough under the cross bridge.
B1. The Bay Ridge branch showing crossings of 53rd Street, old New Utrecht Road, and 18th Avenue in a bucolic scene of less than a century ago.
B2. Same scene as above, after the Bay Ridge branch was depressed.
C1. Culver Line. 1903. Looking south on Gravesend (McDonald) Avenue at Parkville Junction with the Bay Ridge branch. Mechanical interlocking view, taken while South Brooklyn Railway and modern-day "F" line were still at ground level, electrified with trolley wire. Note PP &CI station and string of wood freight cars at interchange.
C2. Same view, 1908 . Now the LIRR tracks pass underneath.
D1. BRT Brighton and LIRR Bay Ridge Crossing (Manhattan Jct.). Where the modern D and Q cross the Bay Ridge line. Here the camera is on the Brighton Line with the Bay Ridge branch above.
D2. The reconstruction is finished and now the camera is turned west so now you are looking at the Bay Ridge line below and the Brighton above. Note there never was an interchange. The old BRT power substation still there today, but abandoned and vandalized.
E1. The LIRR at East New York. The Bay Ridge tracks are on Vesta Avenue here, crossing Fulton Street in the foreground and Broadway in the background. Note the distinctive "spider-web elevated construction on the Fulton Street L.
E2. Vesta Avenue is free of tracks in this view, but an MP 41 electric train on the LIRR's Atlantic Branch branch can be seen at left, still on the surface.
F1. The East New York tunnel, 3,900 feet long, is under construction here, being built by the cut and cover method with reinforced concrete. The Fulton L junction with the Canarsie line is in the background.
F2. Completed East NY tunnel. Note passenger platform at right, freight only bypass tracks at left. As an interesting aside, as late as the early 1980's the freight only tracks had third rail ties spaced every 5th tie. Also, Canarsie line at right, still running at grade, before being elevated under the Dual contracts".
G1. Brighton Beach Line looking north from Beverley Road, 1907. The Bucyrus-Erie type excavator is chewing out what is now the D and Q line. Its larger brothers built the Panama Canal.
G2. Not far from the above, but four years earlier, long crossing gates protect the surface Brighton Line at the Beverley Road crossing. View looking west.
H1. The southbound Brighton local track is open and running (with trolley wire) in the cut near Ditmas Ave as the contractor's equipment still operates on the surface where the express tracks will be. Note flatcars to move dirt spoil up the line to build the embankment south of Newkirk Av, and the mobile tool sheds on flatcars.
H2. Kings Highway looking east at the Brighton crossing.
I1. Here's Avenue C (now Cortelyou Road) between the Brighton Line and the Avenue C trolley, 1903 . My school is on the right--PS 139. [Note--your editor also went to PS 139, albeit for half a year]. Note there are no "frog" castings in any of the special work. The "frogs" were merly rail fitted together with joints custom bent in-situ by the on-site blacksmith, and the rail balls (heads) were chiseled out as required to permit the flanges to pass.
I2. Now it's 1912, the Brighton tracks are depressed, the junction is gone and the familiar Cortelyou Road station house is in place. This was later the site of Brooklyn's first trolley coach line.
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