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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Terrain Analysis with GRASS 6.4.1. Test at Smith-9th Street

Visibility Analysis at Smith-9th Street Station -  The pink X is the location of the Smith-9th Street Station and the Red Circle is the location of the Williamburgh Bank Building shown in the picture above.  The dark green areas are areas at street level that are visible from the station.

  In he map above, I added the street grid.  The green area (non-neon) is the area produced by GRASS 6.4.1. in the Terrain Analysis Mode - Visibility Option for the Smith-9th Street station (pink x).  The elevation that I gave for the station was 90 feet.  GRASS 6.4.1 studied the elevation file (neon green color) and calculated the visibility to street level of an observer from the Smith-9th Street elevated station on the F line.  Since I added a street grid, I was able to locate the location of the Williamburgh Saving Bank building which is the the large sandstone pointed building in the center of the picture above obtained from the web.  The bank is indicated by a red circle.  The red circle is near the edge of the green visibility area.   In the photograph above, you can see that it appears on the edge of the viewing area.  If you look above and follow the F train route to the south and west, you can see that the F train splits up (right triangle) near Prospect Park.  Notice that the green area ends at Prospect Park West.  The elevation is very high there and you can see why a person standing at Smith-9th Street station looking west on 9th Street could not see much beyond the park.  The Smith-9th Street is currently going under rehab and it would be interesting to see when the station opens if this analysis is accurate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Calculating Visibility from the Smith-9th Street Station in Brooklyn using GRASS 6.4.1.

In the attached map, New York Subway station and lines were brought in to produce a map.  The street elevation level was added and GRASS 6.4.1 terrain analysis was conducted to produce the visibility to the street surface from the station itself, which is about 90 feet tall.   The x-y coordinate I used was 985286.93, 184579.87   The green area on the map shows the area, if buildings were not in the way, how far an observer will see the surface.  Of course, you can see much further than the green area if you are looking at tall buildings and other structures.  Notice that the visibility area is not circular because the surface has hills in it that would block the observer's view.

These pictures were taken off the web.  The top picture is serveral years old and shows a southbound R-46 F train approaching the Smith-9th Street after leaving the the tunnel at Carroll Street.  The second picture is also off the web and was taken from the same station and is facing north showing the Culver Viaduct declining into the Carroll Street Station.  Notice the buildings on the hill west of the viaduct.  The above picture shows the viaduct above the Gowanus Canal. The station is above the canal and runs to the right.  Notice that on the terrain analysis diagram, the hill in Carroll gardens is blocking the view of the surface (non green area) , just like in the photograph.

   In the map below, the same GRASS 6.4.1 procedure was run,  except that the range was expanded to 700,000 meters.  I do not know why the analysis stops in middle of the harbor.  The Smith-9th Street station is found on the map as a red X.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PCC 1029 at Church and McDonald Avenues in Brooklyn

Source:  Dave Pirmann Collection.  Joe Testagrose Photo from Dave's Rail Pix

  In that wonderful video dealing with Route 4 in Riga, we see many junctions, some of which a very complicated.  In the attached photo, we see a westbound Church Avenue car making  a turn onto McDonald Avenue for a short turn at the Kensington Loop near 16th Avenue.  This almost grand junction, at McDonald and Church Avenues is shown on one of my prior track maps of the Church Avenue Line. Since the Church Avenue line was the last publicly owned trolley in New York State to operate, it is possible that this complicated junction was the last one to operate in New York State as well.  A similar junction was found at the east end of the line.  Under the junction was what was called at that time the Independent Subway Church Avenue Station that was served by "D" trains between Coney Island and 205th Street in the Bronx.  At that time, the subway section of the line was never called the Culver Line.

Monday, August 27, 2012

GRASS 6.4.1 Predicted Correctly the Location of LIRR Bay Ridge Division

  In the first frame, I used GRASS 6.4.1  and a New York City Elevation shape file.  I then used the terrain analysis feature and use the DY derivative procedure.  The shadow of the LIRR Bay Ridge Divisio cut was visible. This is because raster elevation files are aerial photographs.  The LIRR Bay Ridge Division Cut is very narrow in some places.  In the second frame, I added a Rail Road shape file which shows open air rail road rights of way.  The Bay Ridge Divsion trackage as shown in the map using the RR shape file is correctly aligned by the DY land terrain analysis procedure.  This may be helpful for looking for forgotten rights of way.  By the way, the Culver Viaduct does not show up in the DY frame, I was wrong.

DY GRASS 6.4.1 land terrain analysis.  Subway shape file added after analysis.  LIRR cut is visible.

Below, same frame but RR shape file added.  The RR shape file shows outside railroads in yellow. Includes outside rapid transit trackage.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spatial Analysis Experiment Using Elevations to Find Rapid Transit Lines

Elevation in feet
Slope Raster
Profile Curv.  Bay Ridge RR Circled

In the above experiment, I took the raster elevation file of New York City and I analyzed it using GRASS 6.4.1 under Terraine Analysis - Slope and Aspect option. I did not include any railroad or subway shape files.  GRASS 6.4.1 gives the option of producing maps analyzing the slope according to various derivatives and the results are shown above.  Although the resolution is not the best, you can make out various railroad cuts, such as the LIRR Bay Ridge Division Cut that runs from west to east in an arc.  You can see the shadows of various elevated lines, including the Culver Line as well.  Although not clear as posted, in the Red Hook area you can make out faintly the Culver Viaduct.  My guess is that if someone is trying to find the path of  a  past railroad or interurban or other railroad and the person has a good elevation file and a program similar to GRASS, the analyst can find the location of it using this or similar techniques if a good map is not available.  Notice the vertical line that approaches the Coney Island Creek and continues in Coney Island.  I do not believe that this is Cropsey Avenue and it may be some sort of computer error.
Tramway Null(0)
Shaded relief Analysis

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

F Train the New Silicon Subway?

Hi Folks:  Please see the attached article. The F train in Brooklyn covers part of the original Culver Line route.  Who would think that part of the Culver Line would become fashionable?  Map drawn by myself to show New York City neighborhoods connected by the F train in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Shapefile is not of the latest routing.  Tramway Null(0)

15th Street Trolley Line in Park Slope and Red Hook Brooklyn

Source:  B. Linder, New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 3, June 1977, pp. 6, 9.

The 15th Street Line was one of the lesser known streetcar lines in Brooklyn.  It started its' life as a Horse Car line in July 1888 from the historic transportation location of 9th Avenue and 20th Street to Hamilton Ferry.  The line was electricfied in 1893 and cetain cars ran from Hamilton Ferry to Coney Island via the West End right of way.  From 1899 to 1932, the line was extended to Coney Island via the Gravesend Avenue trolley line (McDonald Avenue) from 19th Street and 9th Avenue during various days in the summer season.  In 1929, the terminal was changed from Hamilton Ferry to Erie Basin via Richards Steet to Van Dyke Street.   The line was an early abandonment on November 8, 1941.  I believe this line never used PCC cars.  Historic routing information from Edward B. Watson in op. cit.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Land of Trolley Poles - Riga Tram Route Number 4

  This video, which is over a hour long, was posted in subchat by Jon Bell on August 16, 2012.  The actual time to cover Riga tramway route number 4 is 25 minutes but this video goes over the route one and a half times. What got my attention was the title that he used "The Land of Trolley Poles".  I thought, is this about the poles that support the span wires?   No, as I was surprised, Riga has trams that use the traditional type of current collector that was used in the United States until the revival of light railways in the United States.  The traditional trolley poles are now used by Philadelphia and Toronto streetcars.  The trolley poles in Riga, however, seem extremely long, but I do not know if this is an optical illusion. In this delightful video, you will see the rigid type of overhead that was used in Brooklyn and so many other places in North America and you will see the more flexible type of overhead as well.  You will see Riga trams in all types of running environments, such as streets with mixed traffic, on private right of ways, highways and scenic bridges.  This is really a great video and you will catch a glipse of a Riga trolley bus as well.  Enjoy the great music, it is very uplifting It seems to me that these long trolley poles function very well where there is street construction (you will see this in the video) and the overhead needs to be shifted away from the center of the track.  Also, Riga has a nice trolleybus system and perhaps traditional trolley poles on streetcars work well at crossings.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Montreal and Spokane Washington will look at or study Electric Trolleybuses

News Bulletin of the Edmonton Trolley Coalition
Sustainable Transit for Liveable Communities
Edited by Robert R. Clark, retired supervisor of transit planning

      In the United States and Canada, there is not much news in recent years regarding addtional cities interested in establishing new trolleybus systems.  There is some activity regarding fleet renewals in Seattle and elsewhere, but compared to light rail or tramway activity regarding new starts ups, the situation at least in North America was bleak.  Please see the link above published by the Edmonton Trolley Coalition regarding Montreal and Spokane, Washington.  Not all bus routes have the statistical numbers required for conversion to light rail or tramway and I hope that trolleybuses would fill a nitch.  Worldwide, new trolleybus start ups I believe have been slow as well, with some start ups in Italy and Saudi Arabia.  I think that it is very exciting that Montreal wants to establish big trolleybus system because it is our neighbor to the north and is very close to New York City.  Quebec is rich in hydo-electric resources and will use clean electricity to run it's fleet.  I am not sure about this, but New York City also may get some electric power from Quebec and it is natural that New York City should also consider trolleybus transport.  In fact, for a short period of time, perhaps 20 years ago, electric trolleybus service was considered for First and Second Avenues in Manhattan as a alternative to the Second Avenue subway.  Of course, nothing ever became of the proposal.

... and it may work well with e-trucks.

Tramway Null(0)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Great Photo Shot from the Manhattan Bridge

This photo was shot by docjayva several days ago from the Manhattan Bridge.  The white streak between the Manhattan tower and anchorage is a protective sheet at road level due to road maintenance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Look at Manhattan Land Book 1934 - East 42nd Street

Source:  Manhattan Land Book, City of New York, 1934, Plate 68.  G. M. Bromley & Co.

Serveral months ago, a reader brought to my attention about an incline just east of Second Avenue in Manhattan on East 42nd Street.  In what appears on the 1924 aerial is an incline that seems to be missing trolley tracks for the 42nd Street Trolley.  I went to the Municipal Archive on Chambers Street and I looked at the 1921 and 1934 editions of the "Manhattan Land Book", City of New York by G. M Bromley and Company.  The 1934 map is shown here but for our topic of interest, the layout of 42nd Street on the 1921 map is the same.  The 1934 map differs from the 1921 map in terms of building footprints.  Both maps show a "wall"  (two times) just east of the Second Avenue Elevated station.  There seems to be a marking on the map, two black rectangles just west of First Avenue and the 'hourglass figure" which appears to be the entrance.  No where on the map does the word "tunnel" or "underpass" appear and the trolley tracks in the area are not indicated.  According to my earlier 42nd Street trolley maps, the tunnel is not indicated by B. Linder as well.  The aerial map from 1924 does not show where the east end of it is, but perhaps the 1934 Manhattan Land Book shows that it may be west of First Avenue.   The trolley track mystery is not answered.
 Thanks to "threestationsquare" for bringing this to my attention originally.

Cable Fire Delays Subway Service near Manhattan Bridge Last Night

This photograph, taken by DOCJAYVA, is facing south on Flatbush Avenue Extension near Tillary Street.  The Manhattan Bridge is to the photographer's back.  Burning cables in a manhole just north of the Dekalb Avenue Station (the first station in Brooklyn south of the Manhattan Bridge) knocked out and disrupted subway service between Manhattan and Brooklyn last night.  The fire started about 4 pm and took more than two hours to control.  Thousands of passengers were delayed.  The photographer had to walk across the Manhattan Bridge which is to his back of the photograph.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bergen Avenue Cut-off of the 3rd Avenue El

Source:  B. Linder & J. Erlitz, New York Division Bulletin, ERA, Vol. 48, No. 10, October, 2005, p. 18.

    Many of my posts were on the subject of the Third Avenue El.  In the Roger Arcara film on the subject, the Bergen Avenue cutoff was mentioned when the 143rd Street Station on the 3rd Avenue El was mentioned.  Here is a map showing the layout.  It connected with the I.R.T. White Plains Road Line just as it exited from the tunnel.  The last date of passenger service on this branch was 11/6/1946 and the structure was out of service on 11/10/1949.  The structure was still standing in mid 1950.  Although at the moment I cannot research the service pattern, I believe that this branch was used in the early years of the 1900's by Third Avenue El trains in order to provide service to the new White Plains Road elevated structure because the subway portion (southern underground section) of the line was not finished and may have provided access to the shops for Flushing Line cars after the lower portion of the 2nd Avenue El was abandoned..

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Questions Regarding the correct 5th Avenue El Ramp Continues

Source:  Unavailable.  Obtained from "Subchat" today.

  This photo was taken during the time the 38th Street cut was under construction around 1916.  If you look at the right of the picture, at the skyline, you can see the trolley support poles for the old PRW of the West End and 5th Avenue - Culver elevated trains.  These two ramps, as titled in the photograph are not the set further east that are in use today.  According to the picture, the ramp on the left side have tracks on it.  According to my earlier post aerial from 1924, these set of ramps do not lead to the elevated complex at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue.  As a small child, in 1957, while riding on either the West End or Culver subway trains in the area, as I recall, these ramps did not have ties on it nor were there shadows of buried ties.  In 1957, which was only 17 years after the 5th Avenue El was abandoned, it is unlikely that the old trackage would have been removed, even though it was not in use.  I remember that these two ramps at this location never had handrail protective fences for workers like the two set of ramps to the yard further to the east.  Do you think that for a period of time from 1916 to before 1924, these two westerly ramps had tracks on them in temporary service?  Were these tracks temporary used in the construction of the ramps?  The main line tracks seem to have third rails already installed but they appear to be missing from the ramp on the left.
Tramway Null(0)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Car 6013 Nostrand Avenue Line at Avenue U Loop

Source:  Joe Testagrose Collection from "Daves Rail Pix"
This loop was added late in the lifetime of the Nostrand Avenue Trolley.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

3rd Avenue El Video by Roger Arcara: Chatham Sq to Gun Hill Road Bronx

Roger Arcara film of the 3rd Avenue El (L-5) : Chatham Square to Gun Hill Road (1953-1955)  Film includes last day filmage on May 12, 1955.

    This great video, close to an hour in length, is narrated by the late transportation historian, Roger Arcara, and shows the last days of the 3rd Avenue El from 1953 to 1955.  The film covers the section of the el from Chatham Square to Gun Hill Road in the Bronx only because the South Ferry and City Hall branches ceased service in 1950.
   This video covers the 3rd Avenue El differently than the other video posted or newsreel type of films of the era because the subject matter is covered from a railfan point of view.  You will get to see:
  1. Express station layouts, such as 42nd Street and types of signals.
  2. 125 th Street station and northern trackage.
  3. 129 th Street station and complex and trackage to the 2nd Avenue Bridge.
  4. You will get to see the two layer bridge over the Harlem River from all angles.
  5. You will see the New York and New Haven and Hartford yard with freight cars and you will see the still existing track to the yard with a coal car on it.  According to Mr. Arcara, delivery of coal to the 3rd Avenue El for the stations' pot belly stoves was made by way of the NYNHandH RR connection right to the end. You will see this about 36 minutes into the film.
  6. You will see trackage that is not shown that much on such films, such as the two layer private right of way trackage north of 133 Street and south of the 149th Street station.
  7. You will see the old configuration of the 149 Street - 3 rd Avenue station.
  8. You will get to see lesser shown trackage in the Bronx north of the 149th Street station and abandoned cut off stubs south of the station.
Bronx historians, both transit and and other will get much information from this film. Multi shots from northbound and southbound trains will be shown from the same location.  Service patterns in terms of which local and express services used a particular track is explained in detail.  There is so much here that it has to be shared paticularly about the section around and north of the Harlem River.

Tramway Null(0)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nostrand Avenue Line - South Section

Source:  B. Linder and Edward B. Watson, New York Division Bulletin, Vol 20, No. 2, April, 1977, p2 -10.

Continous service from Delancey Street to Avenue U was not provided by a one seat ride. Passengers had to change at Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues, "The Junction", today at Brooklyn College for the Nostrand Shuttle that was eventually extended to Avenue U in 1917.  The loop at the right of way next to the Long Island Bay Ridge Division opened in 1936 and the loop on the east side of Nostrand Avenue at Avenue U opened in 1938.  The Nostrand Shuttle merged with the Nostand Avenue line in 1945.

Nostrand Avenue Trolley - North Section - 1912-1951

Source:  B.Linder & Edward B. Watson, New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 2, April, 1977, pp.2-5.

  The Nostrand Avenue trolley in Brooklyn was a long route, running from the underground trolley terminal at Delancey Street in Manhattan to Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U in Brooklyn.  It was a busy line that started its' life with horsecars on Junuary 5, 1871 and was electrified on May 10, 1894.  The line did not always go to Delancey Street via the Williamsburg Bridge.  The bridge years were from 1904 to 1923 and from 1931 to December 5, 1948.  The track diagram was very complicated and there were certain "derivative" lines such as the Nostand Shuttle, Nostrand-Culver, Nostrand-Prospect Park, and the Holy Cross Cemetery Line that are associated with the trackage.  Perhaps if we have time, these "derivatives" will be explained.  Thank you, B. Linder for your historical work.

The north section is only shown here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

R-6 and R-11 Class Cars at Bay Parkway on the Culver El, 1972

Joe Testagrose Photo shot on 10/21/72 Titled "R-6 with 1304".  This is at the 22nd Avenue - Bay Parkway station on the "F" line in Brooklyn.
This photo comes from the website.  An interested reader recalls taking in the 1960's trains over the Manhattan Bridge with round windows and wicker seats and deck roofs.  The R-6 car on the left was used originally in the IND subway and sported wicker seats, ceiling paddle fans and a slotted deck roof that the conductor could manually open and close.  The car on the right was an experimental R-11 series car and was the first of the R types that were of stainless steel.  When new, these cars were the prototype cars for the proposed Second Avenue Subway.  They had germ destroying lamps and other innovations.  The windows adjacent to the passenger seats also were unusual in that they were crank operated.  I believe the R-11's were the only BMT-IND cars with portal door windows.

The photo below is an undated photo of A.W. Koster from the collection of Stephen DeLuca.  It shows the interior of a R-11 car constructed by the Budd Company in 1949.  The car in the photo is operating on the Franklin Shuttle and shows it's reconstruction as part of the R-34 contract.  From: