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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Thursday is the 57th Anniversary of the End of Streetcar Operations in Brooklyn with Trolleybus Number 23

This Thursday, October 31, 2013 marks the 57th Anniversary of the end of streetcar service in Brooklyn.  In the photo below, by Frank Pfuhler and was shot on 2/12/1954, you can see a

southbound PCC car, either a McDonald Avenue or Church Ave - McDonald Avenue streetcar  near the junction of both elevated structures, just about to enter below the Culver Line elevated structure.  The structure in the foreground is the BMT mainline Culver structure that was in use on that date and towards the right is the then not completed IND ramp leading to the Church Avenue Station.  If you look closely toward the extreme bottom - center of the photo you will see some white lines and these are the overhead wires of a short turnout for the South Brooklyn Railroad.  The main South Brooklyn Railroad mainline is below the Culver Line structure in the foreground.  Unfortunately, I cannot make out the overhead of the Cortelyou Road Trolleybus (B-23)  which would be more towards the left of the photo perpendicular to the Culver Line structure.  About two and half years later, on October 31, 1956, the plug would be pulled on the Church Avenue, Church-McDonald Avenue  streetcars and the Cortelyou Road trolleybus.  The wires under the elevated structure would be charged until 1961.  Today, the Culver Line mainline structure  (in the foreground) was removed while the ramp to the underground Church Avenue Station would now be considered the Culver Line mainline for the "F" -  Sixth Avenue subway service.  The South Brooklyn Railroad tracks were pulled out within the last twenty years and the Culver Line structure was removed in the 1980's.  The area in the foreground is a concrete processing and distribution plant.  The storage warehouse is still there.  Other trolleybus lines, in other parts of Brooklyn would last until 1959 or 1960.  The Cortelyou Road Line was never connected to other Brooklyn Trolleybus Lines.  The only artifacts in the area regarding streetcar service is some shadows of rails under asphalt near the path of the South Brooklyn Railroad and some trolley line support girders, embedded into the retaining wall of the subway incline.  There is even a few inches of trolley line support wire in horizontal position near the top of some selected girders.   It is unfortunate that the prospect of future streetcar service in Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York City is very bleak.  At one time, streetcars were a part of city life in New York just as much as they are today an important part of life in Riga, Warsaw, Lodz, Berlin and countless other cities.
I would be happy even if a short museum with a few hundred feet of track would be established but this is not likely.  With the establishment of clean hybrid buses and the establishment of Select Bus Service (Bus Rapid Transit) in New York City, the prospect of some form of electric surface rapid transit returning to the streets of Brooklyn are just as bleak as on November 1, 1956.  The transit authority and many political people are unfortunately not interested in establishing a future light rail or trolley line in New York City.

Monday, October 21, 2013

There is a tramway null after all; Not in Warszawa but in Łódź.

 In the video above, although the main subject is not tramways, it still gives you a chance to glance at various Lodz tramways in various settings.

The historic tram 5N with the "Combined Wagon" 5ND, consisting of two wagons of the early '60s. The last tramway like this  disappeared from the tour in 1991. Since 2003 he has returned as a streetcar line "0". You can tour it with a normal ticket. The historic tram line "0" on Sundays in July and August carry passengers on the route between The Health Park and the limit switch at Wycieczkowa Street . The tickets are validated in the electronic validating machine, although there is a tram conductor.

Please see this short that clearly shows a historic tramway route "0" in Łódź.
Czesc to my Polish friend that brought it to my attention.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Of Horsecars, Extinct New York Streets: The East Belt Line

Source: "East Belt Line" by B.Linder in "The Bulletin", New York Division, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 46, No. 11, November, 2003, pp. 2-5.

  The information provided by Bernard Linder (op. cit.) tells us about a very long horse car line whose running time in 1888 was two hours and 16 minutes.  The exact starting date is not known but it was known that in 1869,   the line ran from South Ferry to East 59th Street and Fifth Avenue and was called the East Belt Line.  It was extended several times including west to West 54th Street and Tenth Avenue and in 1898 to East 125th Street and First Avenue.  In 1913, partial battery car operation was from East 59th Street to Grand Street.  On July 1913, the last horse car ran and the line was fully battery car operated.  In 1914, the line was divided into two parts; South Ferry to Grand and Goerck Street and Grand and Goerck Streets to East 59th Street and First Avenue.  In 1917 the line was again through routed and on June 3, 1919, after a cutback, the line was discontinued.  The line was one of the first to go in Manhattan and was never conduit operated.  Parts of the line ran in commercial districts where trucks  were used.  These heavy trucks damaged the tracks and the Third Avenue Railway could not afford to renew or upgrade the tracks to conduit operation.  Also the heavy trucking operation on many of  the streets caused running time to be slow and thus was not attractive to passengers.

  Goerck Street:  Where did I hear it before?  My father mentioned Goerck Street that existed in the lower east side, along with other strange streets such as Attorney Street.   According to the article above, the following streets on the attached map are no longer "on the map":  Cannon Street, Goerck Street, Corlears Street, Front Street, Oliver Street, James Slip and Burling Street.  Many of the old time lower east side streets were destroyed when urban renewal replaced these streets with new parks,  housing developments and highways.  Goerck Street kind of sounds nice.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spatial Distribution of Tramway stops near ŁÓDŹ

ŁÓDŹ: When you blow up the map from the previous posting and you concentrate on Central Poland, you can see the tramway stops in ŁÓDŹ. The shape file provided did not have the currect Polish characters. Notice that all stops are not named or representated. Notice the spatial layout on this map and the main map as well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Spatial Distribution of Tramway Stops in Poland with Elevation

In this mapping experiment, I brought in a shapefile that was available on the web dealing with Poland.  In the shapefile that dealt with points of interest, I observed the table and I found that there were items showing tramway stops and names for several cities in Poland.  In ARCGIS, I set the type to "tramway stop" and I got a distribution of points around some selected cities.  When I brought up the map and looked closely at Warszawa and Lodz, not all stops were represented.  Nevertheless, if many tramway stops are available, and they are geocoded properly, one can see the proportion and location of tramway stops to the total surface area of Poland.  I brought also an altitude (elevation) raster file. The red areas are actual tiny points representing tram stops.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Smith Street - Prospect Park Line - Your are 80!

  The Smith Street - Prospect Park Line is the subject of many of my postings.  The segment opened up in the heart of the Depression eighty years ago on October 7, 1933 and joined other sections that opened earlier in the year.  Today this segment is served by "F" and "G" trains and parts are known as the "Culver Viaduct".  Andrew Culver, the 19th Century owner of the Culver Line would not have been pleased about this because his original Culver Line never ran on this route, although it may have run near it on McDonald (Gravesend Avenue) near the top of the hill.  Nevertheless, this segment is very interesting and includes the highest elevated station on the system and an unusual viaduct that just has been repaired.  This viaduct is sort of strange because I remember that there was a stub track in the middle of the viaduct between Fourth Avenue and Smith-9th Street that ended below the grade of the other four tracks.  This stub, which ended near Second Avenue (Brooklyn) was rumored to have been built to serve a United States Post Office near the Second Avenue intersection.  The mail was supposed to have been elevated down to the Post Office from the stub track?  Other interesting facts is that the Fourth Avenue station  which is out in the open is 33 feet higher than the Seventh Avenue station which is in a tunnel.  In addition, there have been provisions to  extended the express tracks to Staten Island via Fort Hamilton Parkway.  Speaking about those express tracks, though built in 1933,  express service did not arrive using those tracks until the Summer of 1968.

This picture, take by Gin Yee on 3/23/2009 (and taken from http://www.NYCSUBWAY.ORG ) shows the old layout on the "Culver Viaduct" between Smith - 9th Streets and Fourth Avenue.  This segment opened 80 years ago.  If you look closely to the left of the double red signal, you can see a single track descend slowly into a mysterious pocket that ended below grade at 2nd Avenue under the structure.  This perhaps was a spur to handle mail freight?  In the recent renovation to the structure and tracks, the crossover and tracks for this spur have been ripped out.  It the left of the picture, I believe a " G" train is moving south in order to prepare to relay at Fourth Avenue. It consists of R-46 cars.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Some Trolley Transfer Tickets from New York City and Westchester

Source: "Third Avenue Railway System Transfer Forms", by Melvin Rosenberg, in New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 34, Number 1, January, 1991."

  A brief introduction to this topic will follow in a few days.  Although this topic does not deal with maps or analysis, railway transfer tickets may be the only information that a person may have of certain street railway information from about 100 years ago.  In the New York region, these artifacts provide a great deal of information that otherwise would be lost regarding routes, route numbers, transfer rules and even ticket and printing technology.  More to follow on this topic.
Tramway Null(0).  This topic comes from an historical article written by Melvin Rosenberg many years ago.

Avenue "P" Sunrise on the Culver Line

This photo was taken 50 minutes ago (7:15 am) from the Manhattan bound platform of the "F" train (Culver Line) at Avenue "P" facing east.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Southeast Queens Subway Line (Route 131-D)

Source: "New York Division Bulletin", Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 47, No. 12, p.8.
This line was never built and proposed in 1971 and was supposed to be connected to the IND Queens Boulevard Line in Queens, New York..

Bronxville Line 1929

Source:  B. Linder in "New York Division Bulletin", Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 47, No. 12, pp.2, 4.

  I am not familiar with Westchester County (New York State) streetcars.  The line shown has dates from December 8, 1899 to February 8, 1931.  Unlike the streetcars that ran in Manhattan and Brooklyn, many of the sections shown above are single tracked.  The drawing is by J. Erlitz.