Dear Visitors:

Please scroll down the page to see present and archive blogs.

Thank you very much: Tramway Null(0)

Webrings - Maps - Trolleys and More

Navigation by WebRing.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NewsFlash: Los Angeles eHighway to be constructed and completed in July, 2015

  Several years ago, I reported about experiments with trolley trucks in Europe.  It seems that according to the attached article, a test system will be built in Los Angeles near the port.  The line, about a mile long will go directly into the port and construction is to begin in early 2015 and be completed by July, 2015.  Perhaps the interest this experiment generates will bring renewed interest in trolley buses as well.  This is very good for the environment.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Somewhere Along McDonald Avenue

The photo below, also comes from the New York Transit Museum Archives and it is from the Lonto-Watson collection.  It was taken on April 9, 1955 somewhere along McDonald Avenue.  This is the period after the Culver Line was "captured" by the IND Subway in October 1954 and PCC streetcars were found on the last three streetcar lines in Brooklyn (Church Avenue, Church-McDonald and Coney Island Avenue)  Streetcar service ended under the Culver Line on October 31, 1956.  This great shot shows a train of R1-9 cars on the Independent "D" Line (Sixth Avenue Line) between 205th Street in the Bronx and Coney Island.  Great side view shot of the PCC car and the"D" train. The PCC car shares its' tracks with the South Brooklyn Railroad.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Look at the Delancey-Essex Street Trolley Terminal at the foot of the Williamsburgh Bridge

 These series of photographs were available at the New York City Transit Museum website in their archive division.  My attempt here is not to "steal" them but just to present to you some photographs that are not that well known.    I believe about a year ago plans were announced to make the former trolley terminal, at the southern side of the Essex Street subway station in Manhattan, on the Lower East Side into an underground park lighted by natural light conveyed through fiber optics.  Other transportation facilities in Manhattan, such as the former "High Line", an elevated freight line on the west side.  Please look at these photographs and you will see that the former trolley terminal has many characteristics in common with an ordinary subway station and is similar to the trolley terminal at Newark station in New Jersey.  These photographs come from the Lundin Collection.

In these photographs, you can see the overhead wire support apparatus and the shiny tracks.

In my humble opinion, such a resource should not be wasted.  If the city wanted to construct a light rail line across the Williamsburgh Bridge today, how much would such an underground terminal cost if built from scratch?  I believe that west of the trolley terminal provisions were made to join the trolley tracks to the BMT Jamaica Line downtown to Canal Street or for a new trolley subway tunnel perhaps north of Delancey Street.

    Many areas in northern and eastern Brooklyn are experiencing a real estate boom with the "L" train severely overcrowded.  I would:
  1. Bring streetcars across the bridge.  I would not use heavy light rail vehicles but very light streetcars.  Their tracks can be in the regular roadway without requiring deep construction.
  2. Some bus lines in the area near Washington Plaza would be converted to streetcar so they can make the trip across the bridge.
  3. If possible, some streetcars should use the less used tracks south of the station to the area around Canal Street.
  4. By converting some bus routes in Williamsburgh or Greenpoint to streetcar, a one seat ride can be provided to Essex Street were transfer can be made to the J, M, Z or F trains without going into the street or having a smelly diesel bus terminal on the surface.
This is my opinion but I do not know if this is doable from a practical and engineering standpoint.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Some New York El Drawings from the 1930's

   The el system that developed in Manhattan from the middle of the 19th Century was quite useful in transporting cheaply and efficiently passengers for many years.  Els also developed elsewhere in New York City as well, particularly in Brooklyn and Queens and as extensions to Manhattan els into the Bronx.  Other cities, such as Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and perhaps Kansas City as well had their el lines as well, with Chicago perhaps being more famous for having els more  than Manhattan.  With the development of subways, the pressure to get rid of els increased because they were considered eyesores as well.  In an very interesting blog called "Ephemeral New York", some of the topics covered here, such as gas tanks, old buildings and els are discussed in detail.  I came across some interesting drawings made in the 1930's on one of our favorite subjects, the els of Manhattan.  These drawing are posted in their blog.

In the drawing below, by Francis Criss is a 1933 drawing titled "Third Avenue El".
This somewhat abstract drawing also contains a "Bishop Crook" streetlamp.

The next drawing is etching by Martin Lewis (1931) and shows the el station at 6th Avenue and 23rd Street in a winter storm.

  You really get the feeling of being in Manhattan on a snowy day  I know how it feels.  What a wonderful drawing showing the period clothes and the postures of the people on the street.  Under the staircase is a small news booth.

Our last drawing was drawn in 1934 by Charles L. Goeller and is titled "Third Avenue".

 This drawing is in a different style than the two above.  Notice the space rocket like famous New York skyscraper and of course, a few of my Bishop Crook streetlamps. 

More discussion will hopefully follow in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New York Railways Eighth Avenue Line (1855? -1935)

Source:  Linder, B. "Eight Avenue Line" in Electric Railroaders Association " New York Division Bulletin", Vol. 32, Number 9, September, 1989, pp.2- 5.

  The track map below refers to the New York Railways "Eight Avenue" streetcar line in Manhattan.  According to Linder, the exact date of the start of horse car service is not known but the 1855 date is the date that the company bought from the owners the road from Barclay Street to 59th Street.  The line was extended in stages to 159th Street and Eight Avenue in 1897.  Portions of the line were electrified in 1898.

   The Eighth Avenue streetcar line does not follow the Eighth Avenue Subway directly that runs under it, but they share some common streets such as Eight Avenue in midtown and a portion of uptown.  The IND (Eighth Avenue) subway opened in 1932 but construction started in 1925.  Since the construction was mainly of the "cut and cover" kind, this would mean that the surface had to be turn up, including the trolley tracks and its' underground conduit.  Since according to Linder, there does not appear to have been major disturbances to streetcar service during construction (at least as explained in his brief article), streetcar service may have run on temporary tracks.  At any rate, by 1932, perhaps new track was installed on the surface of Eighth Avenue.  It is ironic that three years later, in 1935, the line was abandoned even though the track was relatively new.

Around 1904, a branch of the Eighth Avenue Streetcar opened to the Cortlandt Street ferry via Greenwich Street, Dey Street Washington Street and Cortlandt Street.  If you look at the downtown portion of the map, you can see the curve at Fulton Street and Church Street.  Fulton Street used to run from river to river.  The Fulton - Church Street intersection was at the entrance to the old World Trade Center.  Of course, before the development of the first World Trade Center, the street pattern was different and you had in the area a lot of electronics stores.  With the construction of the World Trade Center superblock in the late 1960's, the smaller streets at the site were eliminated.  This was the area of the historic Corlandt Street Ferry.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A View of the Culver Viaduct from Below

Many of my posts deal with the area around the Smith-9th Street station in Red Hook.  This viaduct, that includes the Smith-9th Street station was built in the late 1920's and early 1930's for the city run Independent  (IND) subway extension to Church Avenue.  Unlike earlier elevated lines, this structure is very high and the steel is covered with a layer of concrete.  This viaduct has just recently undergone a multi dollar renewal.  This is not the only concrete viaduct for subway service.

  In this shot below, which is taken from the New York Transit Museum archive, shows Smith Street facing north.  The Smith-Street station is towards the photographer's back and you see the curve of the structure as it swings to the west and starts to decline into the tunnel.  The structure is not over Smith Street but to the west side of the street.  Smith Street had trolley service as well.  The photo was taken on November 29, 1950 by Leon and it is part of the Lundin Collection.  You are looking at Smith Street between West 9th Street and Huntington Streets.

  If you look to the right (east side of Smith Street), you can see not one, but I believe two gas tanks (holders) that are adjustable?   It is said that gas tank site has many toxins buried underneath.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Trip to Prague, 1960

Hi folks.  Please check out this old video of the Prague Tramway system in 1960.  A lot of old equipment which was trolley pole driven.  A lot of focus on the overhead and architecture.   Views of street construction, trolley breaking systems and you will hear a nice jingle.


Very nice with great photography from 1960.  In black and white.