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Thank you very much: Tramway Null(0)

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Friday, March 6, 2015

13th Avenue and 37th Street in the 1950's

I am always on the lookout for new photos showing the Church Avenue Line in Brooklyn.  This great photo, taken from the site.  Some new photos were posted ( or those that I missed) and above you see a photo from the Pfuhler collection.  A east bound Church Avenue Trolley is just about to go under the el structure at 13th Avenue and 37th Street in Brooklyn.  In front and perpendicular to the PCC car are the tracks of the South Brooklyn Railway.  You are looking west down 13th Avenue.  The PCC car is just about to make a hard right onto 37th Street.  Notice the stairway to the 13th Avenue station the BMT Culver Line.  Notice the wooden supports for the trolley wires.  I noticed that there is a rectangular sign just above the car but I do not recall any sign there.  The photo has to be from 1951 to 1956.  The 13th Avenue station  is above and to the right of the streetcar.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Gas Tanks and Triplexes Go Good Together

  This picture above, was taken from the archives of the New York Transit Museum.  It was shot in 1942 as part of the xxx collection.  According to the archive, you are looking at a BMT West End (Local or Express?) train consisting of Triplex (Type D) cars at the large Stillwell Avenue - Coney Island terminal in Brooklyn.  You are facing north and the north end (not canopied) part of the station.  You also see a large gas holder that lasted until the 1970's?  This large gas tank is on the banks of the Coney Island Creek and I believe that many toxins are deposited at that site.  The Triplex was one of my favorite types of subway equipment.  Three sections, connected by an articulated unist and with unique signage system.  The Triplex was one of the first BMT cars to have front lighted destination signs and lighted signs on the side.  They had a unique back lighted glass plates that stated "VIA BRIDGE" or "VIA TUNNEL".  The triplex was associated for many years with the Sea Beach Express but it may have appeared on some of the other southern division lines.  It even appeared in 1964 for a few days on the Culver Shuttle with the number 5 in front..  They made interesting train noises similar but not the same as the R1-9 series.  I associate them with the SEA BEACH EXPRESS runs on Fourth Avenue on the express track in Brooklyn while passing the parade of sun lighted and dark sections of the tunnel.  Remember from an earlier post, the medians on Fourth Avenue Brooklyn were wide and had grills that let in a lot of sunlight.  The Triplexes also sported, as I remember a unique white faced route sign that when lighted, showed the route in white print even though the sign was all white.  When this sign was not illuminated, you could not make out the route.   Memories....

Monday, February 16, 2015

McDonald and Church Avenues Brooklyn: 1952

  I came across this picture taken in the Spring of 1952 from the Transit Museum Archive.  You are looking north along McDonald Avenue at the Church Avenue intersection.  Notice the turnoff in this picture, which is turning south west to Church Avenue.  A northbound or eastbound PCC car is shown.  I am not sure if it will continue its' trip north along McDonald Avenue or will turn east to Bristol Street in Brownsville.  According to earlier posted map showing the McDonald Avenue Line (1940-56) by B. Linder( (ERA Bulletin, October, 1977), this turnout curve was installed in the Spring of 1952 and occupies the south west quadrant.  This will allow eastbound Church Avenue cars to turn south on McDonald Avenue and perhaps use the loop near 16th Avenue.  This new turnout will only have a few years service until the entire operation was bustituted in October, 1956.

Some Thoughts from an Old Timer

Hi Folks:

   I have not posted some pictures and maps for a long time because of both hard and software problems... therefore  I would like to apologize to you all.  Currently, I am running out of ideas to post and I do not know how long I can continue this blog.  Now I would like to give you some of my biased options about the current state of affairs of transit in the New York region.

  1. Lack of Interesting New York City Subway Equipment.  Today, for both the IRT and IND-BMT divisions, in my humble opinion, the current equipment lack variety.    On the IRT subway lines, you basically have two types of equipment:  The R-62's and the R-142's, and newer R-188's.  There are two basic types and the newer equipment is similar to the R-142's which is similar to the R-160's on the BMT-IND Lines.  In the "B" division, you have the elderly R-32's which are interesting, R68's which are similar to R46's, some R-42's, and similar R143's and R-160s.  So generally speaking you have two major classes for the IRT and five on the BMT-IND, you have generally seven types of cars.  One person posted me and told me that unlike the old days, we have air conditioned cars and better signage.  This is true but system wide, there is only seven basic types.  I was told... well, in the old days, you had only three basic types:  On the IND, you had the R1-9 series, for the BMT, you had the BMT Standards and for the IRT, you had the Low-V's.  While this is somewhat true, let us pick a year and see what types of cars were around. Let us pick, the year that the Third Avenue El stopped running in Manhattan in 1955.  Generally, on the IRT, you had Low-V's  and there were some variants around.  You had the Steinways, you had old elevated equipment such as the Q types and other types.  You had the post war R-12  to R-15 types on the Flushing Line and I believe the R-17's. On the BMT, you had the BMT standards, some elevated equipment as the "C" types, you had the very different Triplexes. You had some borrowed SIRT equipment on the Culver Line.  Even the BMT standards had two classes as well with different types of roll signs and roofs.  What was interesting, is that you had some IND equipment on the BMT, such as  on the Fourth Avenue Line and you had some modified Low-V to run on the BMT around 1959.  On the IND, you had only two types, the R1-9's and the R-10's.  Some R1-9's had experimental features.  I believe the R-11 experimental cars were also around.  In short, passing and viewing a train yard was very interesting those years.  No one would mistake a Low-V interior for a BMT standard interior.  Today, the interior of IRT cars are similar to the cars on the Lettered Lines.  Yes, the current information systems on board the newer equipment is wonderful , but when the newer R160's style equipment gets old, and the same style would be copied in the future,  riding the subway would be very boring indeed because of lack of variety.  And if the equipment should be vandalized, the boring environment will not be a pleasant one, just as was in the 1970's on the IRT, where the R 17 to R -35? equipment looked alike.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Great Russian Transit Simulator: Autobus, Tram and Trolleybus

Hi Folks:

  I came across this video by accident.  I cannot make out the Russian title but it was posted in Polish which translates as a "Great Russian Simulator:  Bus, Tram and Trolleybus"

I did not see any trams in this segment and the sounds of the trolleybus is similar to the autobus.  During simulation, speed, acceleration and bending angle is measured, in Russian.  Very interesting.
More to follow..

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Look at this, folks!

This picture comes from a Facebook account called "Trolleybus" which deals mainly with trolleybuses and some art work that is connected with them  This site is very interesting and posted this picture that I came across by accident.  According to the information presented , it is from the Italian City of Bologna and it is not a recent picture.  Some viewers call it a fake.  Is this vehicle connected with the maintenance of the trolleybus facilities or is it a general sanitation truck for the city of Bologna?    I do not know.  By the way, I do not know the status of the Los Angeles trolley truck demonstration.  Is it being built?  All that I can say to all you folks who do not believe in trolley trucks, ... wake up and smell the ... garbage.

Thanks, Tramway Null(0)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

20 Light Rail Lines for New York City

Auto-free New York has been on the scene for many years promoting various rail friendly projects including light rail for 42nd Street in Manhattan.  According to their website, on January 20, 2015 they had a guest speaker that suggested that New York City can use twenty light rail routes.  The introductory paragraph on the matter is shown below:

 Paul Gawkowski, former MTA planner and our guest speaker in December, brought to the December 30 forum his list of twenty NYC bus lines that are best candidates for conversion to light rail. The list was of considerable interest to City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, as he is concerned with a five-borough approach to transit improvement. The challenge for the working group is to make the case that advancing vision42 will stimulate citywide interest in light rail lines for each of the five boroughs.


A member of the group has given me a list of these twenty routes and they are below:  Notice that City Councilman Y. Rodriquez is also interested in this list.  Remember that a few weeks ago, MTA officials stated that they are interested in light rail for New York City as a fast way, probably using unused rights of way of rapidly bringing rapid transit to underserved areas.  I saw this list for the first time a few hours ago and I will make the following comments.   A member told me that lines for Staten Island should have been included.  I am familiar mainly with Broooklyn and here are my comments:  The B-46 Utica Avenue route, B-44 Nostrand Avenue, b-35 Church Avenue, B-41 Flatbush Avenue streetcar routes were among the last trolley routes in Brooklyn and they lasted until 1951-1956.  These are heavily used routes. Perhaps they lasted so long because the carried the most passengers and were efficient.  Other routes such as the McDonald Avenue, Coney Island Avenue routes lasted almost to the end but were not included in the list.  Notice that the B-6 Avenue D route is way up there and it was never a streetcar route.  I remember seeing in an ERA Bulletin a piece that said that the New York Regional Plan recommends light rail for bus routes that meet a certain criteria of passenger use.   It also said that most Manhattan bus routes meet this criteria.  Sorry folks, I cannot give you a reference.


More to follow on this interesting topic in the future.