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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.

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