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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

125th Street Crosstown (Manhattan) 1933-1947

Source:  B. Linder, New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 2, February, 2001, Pages 2-4.
The trackage shown above, for the 125th Street Crosstown Line was shared by several other streetcar lines such as the Amsterdam and 3rd Avenue Line and the Broadway-Amsterdam Avenue Line and the Willis Avenue Line at one time.  I am thankful to Bernard Linder who is not only a map designer, but who has written extensively on the history of the streetcar companies, equipment roosters and so many other aspects of rapid transit history.  Here I am focusing on several aspects of the 125th Street Crosstown Line and the related Willis Avenue Line that interests myself and perhaps our readers:  (All material from B. Linder, op.cit)
  1. Horsecars started running on 125th Street on October 15, 1870.
  2. Cable cars started to run between First and Twelfth Avenues on December 1, 1886.
  3. Electric cars using electric conduits started running on September 28, 1899.
  4. An experiment using compressed air  car was tested on 125th Street during the summer of 1896.
  5. An experiment using a gasoline-electric car from November 1909 to September 1910 and this car had only one breakdown (B. Linder, page 2, op.cit).  This car had a high acceleration that was not needed on a crosstown line and the cost was twice that of battery cars.  It was decided not to use this technology because a seperate shop would be required.
  6. A battery car using Exide batteries was tested using automobile type motors in 1910 for a period of time.
  7. By March 25, 1936, the beginning of the end started by cutting back the line to  3rd Avenue and 125th Street.
  8. Buses replaced street cars on June 29, 1947.
  9. The 125th Street Crosstown and the Broadway-Amsterdam-125th Street were the last Manhattan streetcar lines whose power came entirely from underground conduit.  The 149th Street Crosstown, a line that used both overhead and underground conduit stopped running on August 17, 1947
  10. Notice the PLOW PIT on 125th Street between First and Second Avenues.

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