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Monday, November 4, 2013

Nothing But the Facts, Mame: The Official Notes of the End of the Church Avenue Line

Hi Folks:

   I found on the internet this PDF document that was written by the New York City Transit System in October, 1956 regarding the last moments of my favorite streetcar lines (really the only ones I knew that were left), namely the Church Avenue and McDonald Avenue.  It makes interesting reading.   This memo appears to be the official general order of how the "Church Avenue Line" will officially expire, but it did not mention who and when the "plug will be pulled", that is, when the power would be cut.  On the Church Avenue and McDonald Avenue Line, there is either shared tracks or a crossing with the South Brooklyn Railroad.  Since the South Brooklyn Railroad would operate under power for a few more years, all power could not be cut.  Instead, at least at 37th Street and 13th Avenue, where the Church Avenue Trolley crossed the South Brooklyn Railroad under the Culver Line, the Church Avenue trolley power wires were cut at that location but they were then attached to the girders of the Culver Line.  In this way, the wires did not have to be removed and the South Brooklyn Railroad continued under electric power until 1961.  Incidentally, if my memory serves correct, the wires and poles on Church Avenue, 13th Avenue and 39th Street were not removed for a very long time, perhaps until 1960 or 1961.  On 39th Street, from Ninth Avenue to Fifth Avenue, a set of poles and wires, on the northern side of the street was not removed until the 1980's because this set was used to power the Culver Shuttle. When the Culver Shuttle el structure was removed in the 1980's, this set was also removed.

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