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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

From Texas to Brooklyn: Univ. of Texas Brooklyn 1913 Street Railway Maps

This informative map comes from the University of Texas at Austin's Map Room.

Perry-Castañeda Library
Map Collection

McGraw Electric Railway Manual Maps, 1913

The maps below are from "McGraw Electric Railway Manual: The Red Book of American Electric Railway Investments" (Edited by Frederic Nicholas). McGraw Publishing Company, Inc., New York City, 1913.

 I took this map and georeferenced into my modern Brooklyn map with recent subway lines and stations using ARCGIS.  The resultant map shows 1913 Street Railway Routes and its' location near (as much as I could georeference) modern subway stops and stations.  Notice some interesting features:
  1. The Brooklyn Race Tracks are still on the map.
  2. The Coney Island Creek is quite extensive.
  3. Notice a strange canal from near Nostrand Avenue near Newkirk to Bergen Beach.
  Please find below the original document from the University of Texas at Austin Map Archive.  It seems to show the proposed subway\elevated routes that were being built at the time (dual contracts).  Also note that in Southern Brooklyn, there are very few streetcar crosstown routes south of Church Avenue. Later on, the 16th Avenue and Cortelyou Road streetcar routes were combined to form the new trolleybus route number 23 that ran on Cortelyou Road from Flatbush Avenue and along 16th Avenue to New Utrecht Avenue and 62nd Street at the West End / Sea Beach subway stations and it was a crosstown route.  This area, which is almost found in one spot,  what I call an "optimal point" where at one point you have: 1)  West End BMT Lines on a Elevated Structure, 2) West End Trolley on the Surface, 3) Cortelyou Road Trolleybus Number 23 nearby with a loop, 4) Sea Beach Line New Utrecht Avenue Station below grade in a subway, and 5)  The Bay Ridge Division of the Long Island Railroad passing several hundred feet away.  I believe that 16th Avenue trolleybus service replaced the 16th Avenue Trolley which may have run via Gravesend Avenue and Church Avenue to Utica Avenue in either 1930 or 1932.  No other crosstown streetcar lines were built in this area even though the BMT corporation may have wanted to because the City of New York was probably against it.  Are there many spots in the world today, that if you point a stick vertically down, you have elevated railways on top, streetcars on the surface, crossed by trolleybus lines and subway / suburban services in a subway?  Perhaps in Germany and Switzerland you may find examples of these "optimal points".

Monday, April 29, 2013

Manhattan 1880 Typographic Map Georeferenced on Modern Subway Map ( Well, Almost)

Using ARCGIS, I took a 1880 historic typographic map of Manhattan, available at the map center at the University of Texas at Austin, and georeferenced it onto my available shapefile maps of the subway system and subway stops and current street names.  I also included open space data as well.  I could not georeference perfectly and my maps are off by about a block.  This may be due to using a 1880 map or because may reference projects were not consistent or due to other errors. At any rate, the map shows that much of the lower East Side was formerly a marsh area prior to 1880?  My mistake may have been that I used the southern boundry of City Hall Park in 1880 which may not have been the same as it is now. The map is still interesting to look at.
In the map below, I focused on the Harlem area.  I brought in the shoreline and I made it red.  Notice that the area around the 148th Street - Lenox Terminal was marshland and the river bank was in a different location according to the 1880 map.

Another map of lower Manhattan.  Notice that in 1880, at least shown on the map, that the shoreline was more inland than today.  It is hard to tell if this 1880 map is showing the typology of 1880 or what was before.  Notice the marsh land near Fulton Street.
In the map below of Harlem, see the yellow pencil line that I added that is near East 107th Street.  Is this a stream that followed East 107th Street and emptied into the East River?  Notice that it crosses 110th Street and runs further north diagonally.  Is this a stream or a depression?

In the map below, which I got off the web, is an ancient British invasion map of Manhattan Island.  I circled that mysterious water flow in Harlem near East 107th Street in Green.  Is this an accurate deduction?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Video of First F Train to Stop at Smith-9th Street

In this video, posted by Mr. Railfan at subchat shows the neighborhood facing north between the Fourth Avenue Station and Smith-9th Streets on the F train last Friday.

A Mr. Railfan photo, what a great shot!  Had to include it here.  In the video above, it starts out showing the wall with the windows blocked out at the Fourth Avenue Station.   See the posting showing a IND R1-4 car with the same wall visible with non transparent glass.
In this picture, a G train of R-68 cars is approaching the newly opened Smith-9th Street staton.  The new World Trade Center is under construction in the background.  Thank you Mr. Railfan for such a great picture.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Smith - 9th Street Station will open today

In the undated picture below, a GG train with head car of type R-4 is getting ready to relay to the northbound track at the Fourth Avenue station, which is one station away from the Smith-9th Street station. Notice that the Fourth Avenue station had window panels with non transparent glass.  I remember the days before the viaduct on 9th Street was called the Culver Viaduct.  Until 1954, the traditional Culver Line never reached this spot.    The picture is from the Joe Testagrose collection from the website.  Before 1979? the G train was called the GG train.  The GG train below looks like it is just about to stop in the southbound express track before it relays for its return trip to Queens.  Notice the crossover track just in front of the train.  The former interlocking plant is just behind the front car on the other side, see the stairway leading to it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rainflow Direction near Riga using GRASS 6.4.1

  This map was created using the GRASS 6.4.1 Hydrology program and used the elevation file to calculate rain water flow and direction.  The short black colored lines both straight and curved shows the direction and strength of rainwater flow.  The map also shows railroads in red and roads in black.  City streets in light blue.  Luckily for Riga, there are not many strong rainwater flow marks in its' region.

Detail of Central Riga with Visibility Data from the Freedom Monument

In the experimental map below, I converted the elevation map of Latvia which is a raster map into a vector map with contour lines for each five meters of elevation.  I magnifiied the central area as well.  The yellow areas are those areas that are visible from the top of the Freedom Monument according to the GRASS 6.4.l analysis done before.  A closer look will reveal that those yellow areas seem to be of higher elevations and they are "nested" showing that those areas are hills.  Since many of areas have contour lines that are far apart, except for near the river, we could say that the terrain of Riga is relatively flat?  In the map, railroad lines are shown in red, major roads in black and contour lines in green.  The distance between contour line is 5 meters of elevation.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Riga Visibility Data Georeferenced Unto ARCGIS Riga Detail Map

In the map below, I took the visibility data from the Freedom Monument observation and georeferenced it to a more detailed ARCGIS map of the Riga region.  The results indicate that the visibility detail is not so concentrated when georeferenced into a more detailed observation map.  The yellow squares indicates that for the detail that is available, the visibility deta generated in GRASS 6.4.1 shows that the Riga region is relatively flat and that not considering buildings, visibility taking height into consideration from the top of the Freedom Monument is very great.  The X's are villages, some of which was used for georeferencing.  This is only an experiement, folks.

New Rochelle-Subway Trolley Line

Source:  Linder, Bernard and Erlitz, J. New York Division, Electric Railroaders Association, The Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 6, June, 2004, pp. 2-4.

I am not that familar with the streetcar systems that ran just north of the Bronx in Westchester County in New York State.  One such line is the New Rochelle-Subway Line that ran from December 22, 1898 to December 17, 1950.  This line ran from NewRochelle to various terminals in the Bronx at various times.  It was extended to the Bronx around 1908 when it was extended to East 177th Street (West Farms Square).  At various times, the line was cut back to Westchester and later was extended to East 229th Street and later cut back to White Plains Road and 241st Street at the IRT subway station.  The Third Avenue Railroad Company and its offshots were owners for various periods of times.  These cars had the letter "A" shown on its' front as early as 1930.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Calculating Visibilty atop Riga's Freedom Monument using GRASS 6.4.1.

  What would I see if I placed a camera atop of Riga's Freedom Monument?  Using GRASS 6.4.1. I used as an input the coordinates of 56.57 and 24.647 and I listed the height of the viewer at 42 meters, the height of the monument.  I used the default range of 100000 meters and the results are shown above.  It seems to me that most of the country would be visible?  Notice that the thin lines, which are either railroads or roads that I added as shapefiles to the map, have no images around them.  Perhaps these roads and railways are at lower elevations?  At any rate, I cannot understand the results and perhaps I did something wrong, but it was interesting to do this experiment.  Notice that for one of the pictures, I choose one with trolleybus and tram wires!  The results indicate as follows:  If I was standing atop of the Freedom Monument and if no buildings blocked my view and I was able to see the flat surface of the earth, I would see most of the yellow areas extensively into the interior and I would see higher elevations (in red) in the distance (over 150 meters high).  I would also see the island area across the water.  Of course, the buildings in Riga would block my view because this calculation was based on natural elevations only and did not take into effect the height of surrounding buildings.  The white areas would be hidden because they are low or because they are behind a high elevation area.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Latvia Carve Stream Map Using GRASS 6.4.1.

In the map below, I used GRASS 6.4.1 and its' Hydrology program to create the attached map.  Instead of using existing streams as an input, I used Latvian Railways.  Roads are also shown on the map.  I believe that the bright yellow areas appearing near railroads are those areas that are in danger of flooding in a strong storm.  I do not work in this field and I am just experimenting with the software.  No decisions should be made using this map.  The software is a great learning tool

Tramway Null(0)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Calculating Visibility from Riga, Latvia

In the map above, I used GRASS 6.4.1 to calculate visibility from the ocean near Riga.  I used coordiates 24.10, 57.07 in the projection and I set the range to 5 X 10 (6) Meters.  The result is based on the elevation file and shows a thin line of red dots along the shoreline and on a neighboring island.  This theoretically means that an observer standing at the point that the road runs perpendicular to the Ocean will find visibility to the shoreline and the ocean, but not much on shore.  This is only an experiment and I am not sure of the results; there may be an error here.

In my choice of x,y coordinate, I picked one at random and I am not sure if it is in the City of Riga and the height of the elevation of the observer is 1.5 meters or the height of a person  A more interesting perspective would be a calculation from a point of interest, such as the top of the railroad bridge near 13 Janvara iela or other point.  If someone has a nice point of interest to calculate visibility from Riga, I will nead the x, y coordinate and the height in meters.

Example:  Freedom Monument, 42 Meters High, 56" 57,  24"4.

Tramway Null(0)

Latvia Grass 6.4.1 Experiment using Elevation Files

The map below was produced using GRASS 6.4.1 in which I added shapefiles for Latvian elevation and railroads.  These shapefiles are on the web.  The thin lines are Latvian railway lines.  In this first attemp, I tried to use the hydrology program to "carve channels" using the railroad vector file as the source of the streams.  So far, I was not able to get a positive result.  Is it possible that Latvian railways are all on the surface or embankment?  If time permits, I will experiement later,  In working with data from a country or location which is different from your source maps, it is important to first bring in your first file, shape or otherwise to a blank map, and then use the "o" option to set the projection to the area where the map is.  Even though this map is in my New York directory, by bringing in the first file from Latvia, and setting the code to option "O", my coordinates are now for Latvia.  More to follow later.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Riga Latvia Tram Route Map

  I found this map at the rapid transit map directory that I posted earlier regarding the University of Texas.  I posted this map because it is a good companion to the two Riga tram youtube videos that I posted. In the video showing the first part of the tram route number 5, which starts at llguciems on the east bank of the river, I was surprised what appears to be a rural area is so close to the city center.   This is the video of a "trolley disconnect" which is very interesting.  Does the disconnect take place just before Darza Iela?  On Riga tramways, the stops are announced by automated recording and this map can be very helpful in tracing the route on the videos that I posted and others that are on the web.  Notice how long the Ilguciems-Milgravis route is.  Enjoy!  Check out the University of Texas links to rapid transit maps on the web.  You will need to scroll a bit, the link above is not direct to the rapid transit map site.
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Rare 1889 Brooklyn Map from the Perry Castaneda Map Collection, Univ. Texas at Austin

If you are able to view this map, there is interesting information here as of 1889.  I believe that the Church Avenue Line is listed here on the map as an "electric railroad".  This is around the time that electric traction became available commercially.  At any rate, check out this great map resource site for maps of all over the world. Sorry that I cannot make this map larger to view.  Please check the website at the University of Texas.

Incidentally, there may be another former racetrack between Coney Island Avenues and Ocean Parkway south of the Bay Ridge Division RR (south of Avenue H) in 1889.  There is another mysterious "ring".  Check it out for yourselves.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Marcy and Ocean Avenue Lines in Williamsburg Brooklyn

Source: B. Linder, New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railway Association, Vol. 23, No. 3 & 4, March - April 1980, pp.2-3,7, 10.

These two lines that ran in Williamsburg have a complicated history.  Just as a side point, the Marcy Avenue Line had its' depot located at 37 Street and 13th Avenue during 1895-1898.  This was very far away from its' base of operations.  I posted earlier a street level view of 13th Avenue and 37th Street  from 1956.  The depot was previously located on the left side of the picture. When a block of garages were demolished in the early 1970's at the site, I saw a lot of bent rails in the ruble.  History may follow in the future.  The depot at 37 th Street was a Nassau Electric yard.  Regarding the Ocean Avenue Line map below, I remember after the Church Avenue trolley stopped in 1956 and before, the unusual configuration of wires and tracks at Rogers and Church Avenue.  As a small child, I could not figure out why the track curved from Church Avenue to Rogers and ran only for a few hundred feet northerly on Rogers Avenue.  Later on, I discovered that it was a turn around "wye" for single ended PCC cars on Church Avenue that needed to return in a westerly direction, perhaps in emergencies.  The wires and poles on Church Avenue remained many years after abandonment, perhaps lasting to the beginning of the Kennedy administration?

  The Marcy Avenue Line, Rogers Avenue Line and the Ocean Avenue Line were at some time owned by the Nassau Electric Company who had a yard at 37th Street. 

The Marcy Avenue Line according to Edward B. Watson in the op.cit started in April 1,  1897 and ran from Broadway Ferry at the East River east to Nostrand Avenue and west via Bergen Street to Hamilton Ferry. An earlier version of the line opened in 1895 and was also called the Marcy Avenue Line but ran via Ocean Avenue to Emmons Ave at Sheepshead Bay and the line was renamed the Manhattan Beach Line in 1896.  During 1897, the line was again renamed the Broadway Ferry & Coney Island Line and was extended to West 8th Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

More history of these three lines in the future.

Tramway Null(0)

Please find below an ARCGIS map of the Williamsburg area using some old shape files from 2008-9.  See if you can find Bridge Plaza which is a bus terminal.

Similar to the map above, but I used a 1975 Typo Map from 1975  with 2008-9 Transit Data for Williamsburg.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Culver Shuttle Track Plans 1954-1975

Source:  B. Linder and J. Erlitz, "Culver 'L' Track Plans", The Bulletin, New York Division, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 43, No. 9, September, 2000.  Page 4.

   Of all the subway and elevated lines in New York City, my favorite line was the obscure Culver Shuttle.  Not only was it a few blocks away from my home, but it was my portal to the world.  The Culver Shuttle had everything:  A typical underground station, passage along an embankment, an incline to a typical 1914-1920 elevated structure and a stub terminal track at Ditmas Avenue.  It passed coal silos, factories, some of which were abandoned, and underneath were various sets of tracks with charged trolley wires for freight.  You would see frequently a special steeple cab locomotives equipped with a trolley poles pulling freight underneath.  The Culver Shuttle passed the Cortelyou Road trolley bus line and meet the Church Avenue Trolley at 13th Avenue.  At Ditmas Avenue, the Kensington trolley loop still had wires and of course, there were plenty of track junctions just south of the Ditmas Avenue station.  When I came along, I remember the BMT Standards on the line, the Staten Island Rapid Transit cars and around 1960,  IRT Lo-V cars equipped to run in BMT territory.   The third rail on the Culver Shuttle was not covered by a wooden board (except at Ditmas Avenue or perhaps Ninth Avenue Stations), the rail itself might have been it what was called elevated line position.  You can imagine the electric show that you would see when there was an ice or snow storm!  Although not shown on this map, I remember the Culver Line running to 36th Street and Fourth Avenue before the drastic cuts of 1958.  I got to see up close the various mystery ramps, and tunnel openings that appeared to be blocked off west of the Ninth Avenue Station.  More to follow later.
The above photo, comes off the web by Joseph D. Korman.  This shot taken from either the front or back of the culver shuttle, is facing west towards the 13th Avenue Station and you can see where the former west bound track branches off.  You can see the Flatbush Industrial building in the distance and the 38th Street Park.  Near this spot, the Cortelyou Road trolleybus crossed under the el.  From the clues in the picture, I would date the picture as sometime between 1961 and 1967.  The westbound tracks are rusted and not and use so this is after 1960..  The unused western and center tracks were removed around 1967 so this picture must be before 1967.  The Ditmas Avenue station is towards the photographer's back.

In the track diagram below, the Culver Line trackway map is shown from 1931 to 1954 from the source sited on page 3.  At the position shown on the photo above, up to 1954 there was three functioning tracks at this spot curving into the Ditmas Avenue station.   There was no crossover between tracks at this spot up to 1954.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

London Terminus 1944

 This British education film was posted in subchat today.  It is very interesting and you will enjoy to see various forms of London transport in 1944.  You will not see trams or the underground, but steam and electric suburban and long distance services.  I got the "feel" of Grand Central Station in Manhattan viewing this short.  You will see an interesting utility tunnel used for transporting luggage and other freight by some sort of carts that appear to be battery driven.  The film is quite impressive even though it did not show how London transport services were disrupted by bombardment. Interesting interlocking pictures as well and men at work performing maintenance functions.

Friday, April 5, 2013

2020 Polar Ice Cap Melt Map: Possible Flooding on the Sea Beach Line from Bay Parkway South

In the above map, I brought in my 2020 Polar Ice Cap Melt Scenario shapefile and followed the "green line" marking flooding on the Sea Beach Line (N) to the most northern extent, which is Avenue "O" just south of the Bay Parkway Station.  The Sea Beach Line is built in a open cut but it is surprising to see that the street elevations in the area is about 26 feet.  As posted earlier, the Transit Authority in planning should convert the "N" train to the "N" Trolley Boat from south of the Bay Parkway Station to 86th Street.  I am really surprised by the extent of anticipated flooding so far north of the Coney Island Creek.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What is that Straight Green Line in Brooklyn?

  I brought up my NYC Polar Cap Melt Scenario shapefile and applied it for Southern Brooklyn.  A very long straight line caught my eye.  The straight line represents an area that is in danger of flooding by 2020 if the polar ice caps should melt.  What do you think that it is? Hint:  _ "as in "Nancy".  This result is the same as an earlier posting using "GRASS 6.4.1" program using the hydrology option for raster files  (Hydrologic Modeling, Carve Stream Channels.) to produce a stream map.
The map below includes a building footprint shapefile and concentrates on the Marlboro Houses area.


FEMA Surge Data For Upper Manhattan Marble Hill Area

  In the map below, I brought in FEMA Sea Surge data with my subway and railroad shape files.  Surprisingly, there is less area for concern than I thought would be the case.  Notice the loop shaped area of concern in orange-yellow right at the northern tip of Manhattan.  This was the original path of the Harlem River before it was diverted. This is just an experiment and please do not make any decisions based on this map.
Notice that only one surge height was generated by the map which is not the case in other locations around the city; particularly near the open ocean where many ranges are displayed.