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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As of Tuesday October 30, 2012 7:45 AM ....

As of now, all bus and subway service in New York City has been suspended including the commuter railroads.  It is said that seven subway tunnels that run under the East River are flooded or damaged.  It is not known when service will be restored.  The streets of Brooklyn are deserted.  Please see photos taken by docjayca at Brighton Beach yesterday.

It looks like a rough week ahead for New York City transit riders.

Tramway Null(0)

The picture above is from the web. Not from docjayva.  The Coney Island yard is empty because the cars are stored elsewhere on account of low elevation near the Coney Island Creek.

Friday, October 26, 2012

2nd Avenue "L" South Portion 1934-1942

Source:  Linder, B. "Second Avenue 'L'", New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 10, October, 1992, pp. 2 -6.

Second Avenue "L" North Portion 1934-1940

Source:  Linder, B. "Second Avenue 'L'", New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 10, October, 1992, pp. 2 -6.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2nd Avenue El in Manhattan, 1893-1903

Source:  Linder, B. "Second Avenue 'L'", New York Division Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 10, October, 1992, pp. 2 -6.

This is a map that was compiled by the staff of "Electric Railraods" and is listed as item number M-108 in their catalogue.  This early layout shows Manhattan trackage only.  From South Ferrry to Chatham Square, the 2nd Avenue El shared trackage with it's sister, the 3rd Avenue El.  North of Chatham Square, the two lines split with the 2nd Avenue El going along First Avenue, 23rd street, and Second Avenue.  The lines were re-united at 129th Street before both lines crossed the Harlem River into the Bronx.  The opening dates are as follows:  March 1, 1880, Chatham Square to 65th Street,  August 16, 1880, 65th Street to 127th Street, July 23, 1917 Extended from 57th Street to Queensboro Plaza via Queenboro Bridge.

Closing dates are: June 11, 1940   60th Street to 129th Street
June 13, 1942  Chatham Square to Queensboro Plaza via Second Avenue "L" and Queensboro Bridge.

A few steam trains lasted until September 2, 1902.The first electric experiments started on November 21, 1900. Full electric service started on March 11, 1902.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Route Map of Manhattan Streetcar Lines - 1920

Source:  B. Linder,"Manhattan Street Car Lines  - 1920", New York Division Bulletin, Vol 30, No. 2, February , 1987, pp 4-5.

  I found this interesting map in my archive.  It is a map of Manhattan streetcar routes and does not show the trackwork.  Route infomation is interesting for transportation historians.  This map, as of 1920,  has an interesting table on the right side of map showing the then existing routes and the companies that ran them.  From this map, we can see that Manhattan conduit trolleys, such as Grand Street and Brooklyn, Post Office and Brooklyn, Christopher Street Ferry, 7th Avenue and Brooklyn and 14th Street Crosstown routes used conduit trackage over the Williamsburgh Bridge to Brooklyn.  This is a good research tool.  Tramway Null(0)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge as seen by the Manhattan Bridge on 10/16/12

This great photo, taken last night (10/16/12) around 7:30 pm from the Manhattan Bridge facing the Brooklyn Bridge shows the new World Trade Center under constructuion (tallest building in picture) and a bigger expanse of the FDR Drive.  Thank you docjayva.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Riga Tramway Route 5 with Trolley Pole Disconnect and Reconnect

  In this fine video of Riga tramway route 5, about 3.25 minutes into the video, you will see a tram in the opposite track have it's trolley pole reconnected with the overhead.

There is great Latvian country music three minutes into the video that seems to go "along" with the reconnect.  You will really enjoy this short video!

Tramway Null(0)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Antenna at Former Ninth Avenue Streetcar Depot

    The former trolley depot in Park Slope Brooklyn, located between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and between 19th and 20th Streets was not only an historic depot but a huge one with two tiers.  It was active to the last day of trolley operations on October 31, 1956.  This was the beginning point of the Culver Line steam line in the 19th Century and its' location was shown on some of my posted track diagrams.  PCC research may have been conducted there in the 1930's.  Today the site is occupied by a Catholic High School that has a very tall radio transmission tower located just at the foot of McDonald Avenue.  This point is very high up on a hill and McDonald Avenue takes a plunge as it goes southward to Coney Island. It would be interesting to calculate the visibility from the top of the antenna, since the antenna is located on high ground itself.  The antenna is clearly visible from the Kings Highway elevated station on McDonald Avenue many miles to the south. Using GRASS 6.4.1, I produced a map showing the visibilty to the street surface if a person was perched on top of the antenna.  The problem is that I could not find the height of the antenna after a search on the web and I guessed that it was the same height as the Tech High School antenna at 597 feet but I may be wrong here.  The results indicate that the antenna is visible from many parts of Brooklyn and the surrounding region.  Look at the great  night photo of the antenna shown on the link below.  The former depot is at the center of the circle.  The two colored  rings indicate what street surfaces are visible from the top of the antenna using the guessed height.  Notice that the high hills of Staten Island block the view for Staten Island residents.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why are Riga Tramway Trolley Poles so Long?

  In another blog, an observer posted the above question.  Viewing the wonderful "Riga Latvia Tramway Route 4 Video" posted earlier, I was able to see many scenes with the overhead.  I am not an overhead expert, but here are some of my oberservations:

  1.  When a two way streetcar crossed a trolleybus line, the overhead hardware appears to be that of one trolleybus lane crossing another trolleybus lane at right angles.  Or in other words, the two tramway wires, one let us say going south and one going north join to what looks like a 180 degree trolleybus crossing.  This means for one of the tram wires will be significantly out of place and needs a long pole.  See  "Observed in Riga Diagram".  Riga  has a number of trolleybus lines.  In order to avoid complex tram-trolleybus overhead hardwire at crossings, see top right diagram, a simple trolleybus crossing is used where one of the tram wires is significantly shifted. In a two way tram and trolleybus crossing, instead of having four pieces of complicated overhead you only need two.
  2. I believe that trams that have pantographs need more complicated overhead where there is a trolleybus crossing.  This is avoided using trolley pole technology. Where there is trackwork, I see that the overhead in Riga is shifted significantly.
These are my guesses only, I do not work in this field.

Tramway Null(0)
The picture to the right is a traditional trolleybus crossing.  In Riga, this appears to be adopted for a tram - trolleybus crossing using one piece of equipment.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Some Interesting Facts about the 125 Street "Manhattan Valley" Viaduct

Source: Rogoff, David in "Contract I Construction" in "New York City's Subway Turns 100!", Electric Railroads / New York Division Bulletin,  October, 2004,  pp. 8-20.

   A few days ago. I posted a map dealing with the elevations around the 125th Street - Broadway IRT Station on the Number 1 line.  Here are interesting facts dealing with the street names, proposed extensions and structures:

  • The "Manhattan Valley Viaduct" was known as Section 12 of the subway contract and runs from the south side of La Salle Street which suprisingly was then called West 125 th Street to around West 133rd Street.
  • The original name of the station was "Manhattan Street".  Manhattan Street, now West 125th Street, is located in "Manhattan  Valley" and is the lowest point in elevation.  The elevation between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue does not change that much.
  • The distance of the three track steel and masonary viaduct is 0.41 miles.
  • Due to the steep grades, subway construction in this area is possible but difficult.
  • Originally, the plans were used to construct the viaduct using a series of plate girder spans on steel towers.
  • This type construction would have interfered with the street railway junction at 125th Street and Broadway because of the complicated layout and it was decided after revision to use two hinged arch steel units.
  • The span of the arch was 168 feet and the top of the rail was 52 feet above West 125th Street.
  • Graded embankments run to the portals just south of West 122nd Street and south of West 135th Street.
  • In 1921, Manhattan Street was changed to West 125th Street and the original West 125th Street was changed to LaSalle Street.
  • The "Fort Lee Connection" was a proposed two track steel elevated structure beginning at the portal at West 122nd Street, north to present day 125th Street and one track turning west under the viaduct, then both tracks going west to the Fort Lee Ferry Terminal on the Hudson River.  Some of the Manhattan and Bronx streetcars mentioned in this blog went to this busy location. 
  • To reach the Ferry, one track would have been built on each side of the viaduct.  I do not know how this configuration would look like but it was authorized in 1903 and never built.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Area Around 125 th Street - Broadway Subway Station Manhattan

125th Street - Broadway station in Manhattan is indicated by a red square.  The station is elevated while the other stations in the area are underground.  The "Manhattan Valley" viaduct was contructed by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) due to the great change of elevations near 125 th Street.  You can see this in the above map by the change of colors and the contour lines.  You can clearly see that "Manhattan Valley" runs diagonally across Broadway with 125th Street inside it. Only street grid for the CD shown.  In the map below, contour lines are shown.  The purple underlined numbers is the elevation in feet.  Notice that east of Broadway, West 125th Street is located in a relatively flat valley with few contour lines.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Proposed Staten Island Ferris Wheel and Visibility Experiment

  In the above map, I used GRASS 6.4.1  Terrain Analysis feature it see what the visibility would be from the highest point on the proposed ferris wheel (625 Feet, 190.625 Meters) to the street surface.  I brought in our New York City Elevaton file (legend to the left) and a subway stop and line vector file.  The proposed location of the Ferris Wheel is near the St. George Terminal of the Staten Island Railroad.  I do not have an exact location and my program will allow me only to make a projection of 200,000 meters.  The result is the bluish circle near the tip of Staten Island.  A passenger in a cab at the highest position (625 Feet) would be able to see the street surface in Bay Ridge Brooklyn up to 4th Avenue.  In Staten Island, the passenger could not see much of the street surface south of the wheel because the elevation south of the proposed ferris wheel is quite high.  For the ferris wheel, I used coordinates x= 961859.25, y=175189.3 which is using the same projection as the elevation file.  This is only an experiment.

In the above map, the range was increased to 200,000 meters.  The blue area are those areas where the street surface is visible from the top of the proposed ferris wheel which will be located in the St. George Section of Staten Island (at the center of the circle).  Notice that big sections of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park in Brooklyn will have their surface areas visible including lower Manhattan and even parts of Boro Park near the Washington Cemetary.  The area south of the ferris wheel will not be visible but areas to the west will be visible because of lower elevations near the north shore of the island.  Perhaps in the future, a passenger on the elevated "F" train (culver line) will catch a glipse of the wheel when the train approaches the Bay Parkway station.