Webrings - Maps - Trolleys and More
Monday, June 4, 2012
Delancey Street Trolley Terminal - Part II
When constructed, the Williamsburg Bridge consisted of two separate vehicular roadways on the north and south sides of bridge and between the roadways were two sets of separate trolley tracks (four in all) that were separated by a two track elevated line. The northerly set of trolley tracks were used by Manhattan streetcars using conduit trackage. These cars ran from several starting points in Manhattan, such as the Post Office Line at Park Row and ended at the Brooklyn plaza of the bridge. The southerly tracks were used by several Brooklyn trolley lines using overhead. Since the Essex Street station did not open until 1908, for five years Brooklyn trolleys ended at a stub just east of Clinton Street on the bridge near the entrance. According to Rogoff (1958), there was a double crossover and a single track connection to Manhattan trolleys on Delancey Street.
Regarding elevated trains, Brooklyn Rapid Transit elevated trains running on Broadway (Brooklyn) did not use the bridge until 1908 when the Essex Street station opened. Prior to this, elevated trains used a terminal at the foot of the East River which was the location of a East River ferry. When the Essex Street station opened in 1908, it was a stub terminal with two tracks with a center platform and two side platforms. If you visit the station today, it looks a little out of alignment because it presently has three tracks with a center platform and one side platform for southbound trains coming off the bridge. According to Rogoff, this station was built in 1908 with wide roof columns for future simple reconfiguration in case the line expanded, which it did. Along the "elevated" train terminal at Essex Street is the huge trolley terminal for Brooklyn trolleys which I described in earlier post. This terminal also opened in 1908? and closed in 1950. The trolley terminal trackage was never connected to the subway\elevated trackage. Currently, there are plans to convert this former trolley terminal into a underground park space. In my humble opinion, since the "L" train is overcrowded and many districts in eastern Brooklyn have experienced recent population increases, a study should be made to see if trolleys going over the Williamsburg Bridge from different communities that have poor rapid transit coverage to the Delancey Street trolley terminal would be a help.