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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hudson River Depths Near Lower Manhattan

In the map below, I included a new shapefile that I got from New York State dealing with Hudson River depths.  It is interesting to see how deep the transit tunnels must be to clear the river floor.  The other New Jersey files I posted the source already from an earlier posting.  Hudson River depths are in meters.  This is only a test and the data should not be used for any type of analysis or construction.  Data may be from 2007.

Hudson River Shapefile Source: 
Contact_Organization:New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Contact_Person:Division of Information Services, GIS Unit
Address_Type:mailing and physical address
625 Broadway
3rd Floor
Contact_Voice_Telephone:(518) 402-9860
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone:(518) 402-9031
Resource_Description:Data can be obtained through primary contact.
User assumes all liability in the use of this data.
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Horse Cars, El Trains and Gas Tanks, Oh my!

In doing research regarding gas tanks in Brooklyn, I came across this old map of the 12th Ward in Brooklyn showing the gas tanks and horse car routes near Smith Street Brookyn.  Very interesting 1892 map.  It will be interesting, in the future to see if the horse car routes shown on this map match the historical information provided by Bernard Linder in his series of streetcar history maps.  The Gowanus Canal is still poluted and is the former site of the gas works shown in yellow. It is still unbuilt upon probably because it is a toxic waste site.  I believe last week, a sick whale entered the canal and died an hour before high tide.  The toxic water did not help in the survival of this sick whale.

In this 1924 aerial of the area around Belmont and Alabama Avenues in Brooklyn, we can see a non rigid height adjustable gas tank (holder) with the familar lattice around it.  We can also see four blocks to the left the trackway of the BMT Carnarsie Line and one avenue north of the tank Pitkin Avenue with the BMT Pitkin Avenue City Line Elevated.  The el makes a sharp 90 degree turn north to join with the Carnarsie Line.

In the 1924 aerial, the east side of Manhattan is shown with the 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue Els in view.  Notice how the 2nd Avenue El, which runs near the tanks on First Avenue, swings west on 23 rd Street.  The "tank farm", which is shown as located east of First Avenue between 20th Street and 23rd Streets, is presently the site of Peter Cooper Village.  The large tank is at 20th Street just east of First Avenue.  Since many gas tanks were at the location of gas production, it is possible that the soil under present day Peter Cooper Village is toxic.  I saw this at a web site that deals with former gas production locations.  I did not know that production of gas is very toxic and leaves a residue after many years.  At any rate, it would have been interesting to be in the lead southbound car of a 2nd Avenue El train making the curve on 23rd Street unto First Avenue and seeing the tanks.  Notice that the tanks are of various heights depending on the amount of gas stored.

A more recent picture of the area:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station Elevations at Street Level

In the two attached maps, I brought in the New Jersey State Contour (Elevation) in feet and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail shapefiles.  I did a spatial join using ARCGIS where I joined the station location in the Hudson-Bergen shapefile to the nearest contour line up to 1000 feet.  Each station was assigned the surface level (street level) elevation.  The actual platform elevation will be different because the platform may be on an elevated structure or in an open cut.  The map below is a little clearer to make out the elevation at street level of the light rail stations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tanks Alot! The Gas Tanks of Kings County (Brooklyn)

The map above used a typology shapefile that I obtained from a website connected with Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Although it is dated and appears to be at least 20 years old, it provides very interesting information regarding railroads, subway tracks and yards and many other features, including gas tanks!

The above two photos where taken off the web while the photos below come from the website.  Many of these yard photos were shot by Steve Zebel and are in the Joe Testagrose collection.  Most appear from 1979.

Brooklyn like many other cities had gas tanks or gas holders all over the place. Some where movable in which the tank rose in height as more gas was stored.  The tank floated in a pool of water at its' base..  The Coney Island tank shown in the picture was of the rigid type.  I remember tanks located at Smith Street where the IND subway train declines into the subway to Carroll Street.  A movable tank was just accoss the street from Kings County Hospital, at Clarkson Avenue.    I was surprised as a child that such a tank would be accross the street from a large hospital.  What happened if the tank exploded?  Other tanks where near the Sea Beach Line in Bay Ridge but I am not sure where.  The Coney Island Tank is shown in these pictures.  The bridge that carrries
present day Sea Beach and West End Line trains was almost at the base of the tank.  Other tanks were in East New York and in Greenpoint.  The last two twin tanks were in Greenpoint and were dismantled by explosives I believe in August, 2001, right before 9-11.  Manhattan had it's share of tanks and one large one was in Bridgeport Connecticut, visable from Metro North.  A smaller set of tanks were also found at the south east corner of the Coney Island yard, at the Coney Island Creek and the Belt Parkway near Shell Road where the baseball field is today, next to the Culver Line El that goes over the Belt Parkway.
This shot was taken from a West End Train.
 A group of BMT Standard cars and Triplex Type D's near the West End Lead In?
A train of IND R1-9 cars in the Coney Island Yard.
 A group of vandalized R-32 and  R-36 cars.
A Steve Zobel Photo taken in 1979 showing a group of restored EL cars and a Boston PCC Trolley that resided for some time in the yard before being sent elsewhere.
Another shot of the yard.  I cannot make out if the train consists of R-38 cars?  I believe in regular Sea Beach (N) service.  Our "friend" is in the background beyond the Belt Parkway.

In the 1951 aerial below, what appears to be a rigid style gas tank (white circle) that is casting a giant shadow is located at 64th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Brooklyn.

                                            The gas tank is here.   The right of way for the Bay Ridge LIRR Division and the BMT Sea Beach Line is about one and half blocks away.  The street to the right that goes off on the diagonal is Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

R-38 Simulator on the Brighton Line

Hi Folks:

 Please check out this train simulator posted in Subchat by Dj Hammers.   Dj Hammers is very talented.  Focus is on the Brighton Line ( B and Q trains) in Brooklyn south of Prospect Park.  Incidentally, most of the R-38 class, that entered service in 1967?, have been scrapped.  It is nice to see them in this simulation which is under development.  Please note the text posted in subchat below where I got the link.


Tramway Null (0)

The R38 for OpenBVE Train Simulator - BIG Update!

Posted by Dj Hammers on Sat Jan 19 23:04:49 2013
Some more progress on the R38 that I am working on...

I'm almost done, just need to code some 3D headlights, fix a couple textures issues, and make the window frames look nicer. As always, expect a release on

Check out the preview video:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Typographic Map Showing Transit Lines, Streets and Ice Cap Melt Scenario for Lower East Side and Williamsburg Brooklyn

In this map, I used a typographic shape file to show streets and other interesting details and included the 2080 Polar Ice Cap Map Scenario file.  This map shows parts of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg Brooklyn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Southern Staten Island Ice Cap Map Scenario

This map was constructed using the same shapefiles that were used  on the Red Hook Polar Ice Cap Map Melt map and the same precautions apply.  See previous Ice Cap Map Scenarios for details.  It seems that the major impact will be felt in the 2020's to 2050's, if this scenario is played out.  This is just an estimate.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trolley Bus Wires by Night

I got this picture from the Trolley Motion Web Site that deals with European Trolley Buses.
I believe it is in Luzerne.  I love the light reflection off the trolleybus wires.  Wish I would see this in New York...and the "UFO's" in the upper middle of the photo are also enjoying the overhead and the trolley buses as well..

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shapefile Data From New Jersey

Some maps created using shapefiles provided free by the State of New Jersey.  Maps showing elevations, fire harzards in Bergen County are found above.  In the Bergen County map, I wanted to show that New Jersey Transit trains travel through some fire hazard areas and could be delayed, let us say due to brush fires and other hazards.  The darker the green, the higher the danger.  Shapefiles may be used by such programs such as ARCGIS after being unzipped.  The data can be transferred to GEODA and playing around with elevations and earthquake magnitude, there was a slight correlation which was modified by location (autocorrelation).  These maps are just experiments and should not be used for any scientific work.  The fire hazard file is probably from 2007.  Thank you State of New Jersey for providing the public with these free shape files.  Source of shape files:
Welcome to the web page of the :

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Plenty of BMT Standards in this short clip

In this short clip of the "Naked City", which was filmed in New York City in 1948, you will see some of the subjects of this blog, namely the Williamsburgh Bridge, Delancey Street and the BMT  subway line that ran over the bridge equipped with the BMT Standard Cars.  You will see how New York City looked in 1948.  You will see plenty of Bishop Crook Street Lamps, one of my favorite items.  Although I looked for streetcar trackage on Delancey Street in this short or on the bridge, I did not find it.  Enjoy the clip and some of you will recognize some of the "old timers" actors.  Tramway Null(0).

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Photo of Ninth Avenue Lower with BMT Standard Cars

A Culver Shuttle train rests in the middle track of the Ninth Avenue Station during the days that the line was equiped with BMT Standard Cars.  The staircase leads to the West End Line trains.  I believe that the front of the train is facing west based on the reflection on the glass window panel  (lower picture).
Source>Collection of: David Pirmann
Date: 2/21/1965 for second picture.  First picture is probably from the same source.

(173k, 1044x708)<br><b>Country:</b> United States<br><b>City:</b> New York<br><b>System:</b> New York City Transit<br><b>Line:</b> BMT Culver Line<br><b>Location:</b> 9th Avenue (Lower Level) <br><b>Route:</b> Culver Shuttle<br><b>Car:</b> BMT A/B-Type Standard 2764 <br><b>Collection of:</b> David Pirmann<br><b>Date:</b> 2/21/1965<br><b>Viewed (this week/total):</b> 0 / 4395

Friday, January 4, 2013

Culver Madness

The source for these two pictures is  and Dave's Rail Pix.

The top picture shows an older streetcar on the Church Avenue Line eastbound to Bristol Street. It just turned on 37th Street and just entered the begining of Church Avenue.  The lumber yard, I am told, was formerly one of the building connected with the Nassau Electric yard on 37th Street near 13th Avenue.  Notice how close the streetcar runs close to the lumber yard.  Also towards the back of the picture, you can see the northbound platform windscreen on the Culver El structure.  You can make out probably some of the overhead wires from the South Brooklyn Rail Road that used to run directly in its' own PRW under the structure.  In other posts from this blog, I published pictures directly from that platform.  In the second picture, you see a BMT Standard car in Culver Shuttle service resting in the 9th Avenue Station.  The 9th Avenue Station lower level never got a lighting upgrade and was lighted by incadescent lights, which does not make for good photography.  This BMT Standard is parked in the middle track and you can barely make out the tiles on the station walls.  I found the BMT Standard cars very comfortable.  Notice the middle double doorway towards the left of the photo.  This served as the conductor's position for controlling the doors and you can see the push button control panel.  In cars in which the conductor was not present, the controls were not active and so many children, including myself, played with the push buttons.  My father asked one time a conductor that he knew how he liked being a conductor, and the conductor's response is that he enjoys pushing the buttons all day.  The BMT Standard photograph is probably from 1965 and the Church Aveue Trolley picture I do not yet have a date for.  Sorry for the quality of the Church Avenue Trolley photo.