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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.

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