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Friday, June 15, 2012

Gothenburg Trolley # 79 on McDonald Avenue near Avenue I on 4/16/61

Source:  Trolley Museum of New York,  Item Number 5774, Used with permission.

The shot, taken on 4/16/61 is at the same spot where a previous post shows a PCC car passing a South Brooklyn RR diesel a few years earlier.  It is hard to believe that almost six years after city owned trolley service stopped in Brooklyn and ten months after the last trolley bus ran on July 27, 1960, the overhead wire on McDonald Avenue was still charged.  The last trolley over the Queensborough Bridge ran in 1957.  This European car I believe is presently is in the New York Trolley Museum in Kingston and dates back to the early 20th Century.  This car run was a special event I believe was organized by the Electric Railway Association.  After this picture was taken, the South Brooklyn Rail Road sent a letter to the Transit Authority on December 27, 1961 ordering that the TA should de-energize the overhead  (B. Linder, New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 2, Part 8, page 4, April, 1976).  Complete removal of poles, overhead and other equipment between Fort Hamilton Parkway and the Coney Island Freight yard was accomplished by November 19, 1965.  Branford Electric Railway got  an agreement to remove the remaining overhead between Fourth Avenue and New York Bay.
.  Other trolley runs in Brooklyn after this date, I have been told, was an experiment in the Coney Island Yard in 1968 using a section of overhead that was still intact and was recharged by connecting it to a third rail power source.  Other trolley runs were for move shots and of course, experiments by Bob Diamond in Red Hook on the waterfront.

   After trolley service stopped on McDonald Avenue  on  October 31, 1956, the only electric vehicles running there was electric locomotives pulling freight cars.  After studing a report dated January 7, 1958 estimating that it would cost $32,000 to rehabilitate the trolley wire and trough on McDonald Avenue (B. Linder, op. cit.),  South Brooklyn decided to pull the plug on electric trolley freight service and decided that two second hand diesels were sufficient for motive power.  Although $32,000 does not appear expensive today for a government agency, it was a lot a money in 1958.
Probably if the system remained intact after repairs, movie shots today may have brought in more than $32,000 per year in taxes and fees.

  In the section of the South Brooklyn Railway that you see above between the Fourth Avenue Tunnel and Coney Island, in 1961 averaged 70 loaded cars in and two cars out monthly.  In October and November 1961, South Brooklyn handled 60 carloads of grapes, which was one-fourth of the tonnage handled in 1920 (B. Linder, op.cit.).

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