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Monday, February 3, 2014

Some Brooklyn Trolley Overhead Artifacts

Readers of this blog know that many times the topic of interest in this blog is the last days of trolley operation, both streetcar and trolleybus in Brooklyn.  Streetcar service ended in Brooklyn in 1956 and trolleybus service in 1960.  For many years after abandonment, entire section of wire and poles remained standing, but surely over the past decades, nothing almost remains.  Yes, there are a few poles around in various parts of Brooklyn, specially near many BMT rapid transit facilities.  I mentioned the horizontal span wire segments along the incline of the "F" route Culver Line south of Ditmas Avenue.  Here is a close up generated by Google Maps:

The view is facing south east along McDonald Avenue.  Notice the green girder with the horizontal insulator and a few inches of span wire.  Former southbound McDonald and McDonald-Church trolleys ran southbound along this wall.  In the incline are four IND subway tracks joining the Culver Elevated south of Ditmas Avenue.  I believe that the incline was built sometime between 1933 and the late 40's.  This green girder has been holding the span wire and segment for a very long time!

 Another area of focus was the trolley turn on the waterfront for the Church and Eighth Avenue trolleys at 39th Street near First Avenue.  Some poles remain and is that the original span wire?  There appears to be two "clamps" for the power cables at the right position.

  Notice the "span" wire between the two poles.  The attachments to the poles do not look original but look at the span wire and what appears to be small clamps.  I believe the view is west towards New Jersey.  This is the present turnaround loop for the B-35 Church Avenue Bus.

Another area that is interesting is near the 62nd Street - New Utrecht Avenue intersection.  Here you had everything: 1)  Sea Beach Express Line in open cut (N train today),
2)  West End Line on Elevated Structure (Present Day D train).
3) West End Trolley under the el on New Utrecht Avenue and
4) LIRR passenger and freight using electric overhead (at least during the freight days) to the mid sixties and now consists of one track that is diesel operated in open cut slightly to the side, and
5) Trolleybus # 23 turnaround  (Cortelyou Road Trolleybus) from roughly 1932? to October 31, 1956.  The poles from the turnaround for the trolleybus operation and probably date from 1932.  The second pole was hidden behind a tree so I did not include it in the picture.

The view is southwest towards New Utrecht Avenue.  You are facing the 62nd Street station of the BMT West End Line.  The concrete building is the entrance to the joint entrance area for both the Sea Beach (N) and West End (D) trains.  You can see the walkway to the elevated station to the right of the picture. Due to budget cuts, the B-23 Cortelyou Road bus has been cut from service for several years already.  It is interesting to note that the line was important enough in the 1930's to be tested with the first trolleybus operation in Brooklyn.  Other areas with trolley overhead artifacts can be found, but they are getting fewer and fewer.

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