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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Church and Rogers Avenue Intersection in Brooklyn (1949)

On Friday of this week, it will be 58 years since streetcar service ended in Brooklyn on the Church Avenue Line and the McDonald Avenue Line.  Brooklyn's first trolleybus line, namely the 23-Cortelyou Road Line also ended service on October 31, 1956.  I was very small when service ended on the Church Avenue and certain details I remembered.  As a small child, I was fascinated by the overhead and tracks.  At the Church and Rogers Avenue intersection, I remembered that there were some branch offs, but what was unusual was the branch off to Rogers Avenue, north of Church Avenue on the east side of Rogers Avenue lead to one track, about one trolley length long.  The one overhead line was over the track and also ended above this stub track by what I remember as a "V".  I had no idea what this was for.  Later on, when I started to lack at track maps, I discovered that in earlier years, perhaps prior to 1935, there was a two track turnout from Church Avenue north of the intersection to the Rogers Avenue Line.  In 1935, the turnout consisted of a "Y" configuration.  This "Wye" allowed a eastbound Church Avenue car to swing into this stub track, which was part of the Rogers Avenue Line trackwork, reverse parallel to Rogers Avenue and swing into the westbound Church Avenue trackway in a reverse move.  This came in handy because in 1951, the Church Avenue Line was equipped with single ended PCC streetcars. 

The pictures below come from the New York City Transit Museum Archive and were taken in 1949.

This is the Church-Rogers intersection I believe facing south;  Church Avenue runs from left to right in this picture.  Notice the curved turnout track in the foreground.

The same location but facing north.  Notice the turnout from Church Avenue to Rogers.  In 1949, the Rogers Avenue line may still have been operating and by 1956, the tracks on Rogers except for the stub reversing track were paved over.  From the NYC Transit Museum Archive.
Below is a Google shot of Rogers Avenue facing north from Church Avenue.  In the foreground there is no indication that a stub track was on the right side of the street.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fulton Street (Brooklyn) "L" Track Plans - 1912

Source:  Linder, B. "Fulton Street 'L' - Track Plans", In New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroader' Association, Vol. 38, No. 1,  January, 1995, pp.2-4.

For those of you that would like to do research and see the early track plans of the Fulton Street Line in Brooklyn in 1912, please see below.  Notice the Fulton Ferry stub which was very close to the Ferry Line to Manhattan.  The Sands Street station was multilevel and very interesting.  Take a look at "Manhattan Junction" station in 1912.  Some of you are interested in the "Franklin Shuttle" and you can see the prior connection of the "Brighton Line" to the Fulton Street El at the "Franklin Avenue Station".  Parts of the original line at this intersection lasted until the last rebuilding of the line  (Franklin Avenue Shuttle) several years ago.  The structure at Sands Street was complicated and the map does not show the ramp in which streetcars joined the structure for accessing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Indianapolis is to Study Trolleybus Rapid Transit

This interesting information appeared in "Next City" by  Sandy Smith    in their September 30, 2014 issue:

Indy Poised to Build Nation’s First Trolleybus Rapid Transit Line
Among the thousands of projects that received funding in the 2014 round of TIGER grants is one that could lead to the development of a new type of rapid transit using a proven but largely abandoned technology: the nation’s first trolleybus rapid transit line.
Indianapolis’ Fox 59 notes that the $2 million TIGER grant awarded to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization moves the city one step closer to construction of the Red Line, a 28-mile long north-south line running from Carmel to Greenwood via downtown Indianapolis that would be operated by electric buses drawing their power from overhead trolley wires.
The grant will pay for engineering and design studies; the cities of Carmel, Greenwood, Westfield and Indianapolis will chip in to cover the remaining one-third of the $3 million cost of the studies.
A number of U.S. cities purchased trolleybuses, or “trackless trolleys” as they are also known, in the 1940s and 1950s to replace aging streetcars, but most of the cities that operated them eventually took down the wires. Seattle and San Francisco have the most extensive trolleybus systems still in operation today; both cities kept their lines because trolleybuses are better able than diesel buses to scale their steep hills. Boston and Philadelphia also still operate trolleybus routes, but the proposed Indianapolis line would be the first use of trolleybuses in BRT service.
The mayors backing the “rail on tires” proposal tout it as giving Indianapolis an edge in attracting younger residents. Funding to cover construction of the line has yet to be lined up.
The Works is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.
Philadelphia freelance writer Sandy Smith runs the Philly Living Blog for Noah Ostroff & Associates, a Philadelphia real estate brokerage. A veteran journalist with nearly 40 years’ experience, Smith writes extensively on transportation, development and urban issues for several media outlets, including Philadelphia magazine online.

Comments:   I have in my archive from the Electric Railway Association that around August, 1989, the New York City Transit Authority had plans for a sort of Trolleybus Rapid Transit lines in Brooklyn on Church Avenue and near Co-op City (Bx15) in the Bronx and Second Avenue in Manhattan..  Around 1992, the MTA started to actually study this.  Around this time also. Los Angeles also planned a large trolleybus system.  Because the Los Angeles system fell through (in favor of Light Rail), the New York City interest failed as well because of linkage.  Bus Rapid Transit did come to New York City on various routes, but of course, without the trolleybuses.
I wish Indianapolis and its' citizens good luck with this project, they need it.

Tramway Null(0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pelham Subway Line: Track Plan as of 1988

Source:  Linder, B.  "Pelham Bay Line" in New York Division "Bulletin", Vol 31., No. 9, September, 1988, pp.2-7.

  In this older track map of 1988, Linder provides also some interesting statistics regarding ridership.
When the line was built, sections opened in stages from August 1, 1918, to 138th Street-3rd Avenue; to Pelham Bay Park on December 20, 1920.  Notice the temporary inspection shed on the surface north of the Whitlock Avenue Station.  When  the Pelham (Westchester) yard was opened in July, 1927, the inspection sheet was taken out of service.  In the early 1920's the northeast Bronx was not developed and the subway helped create new homes for many persons.  Through service was not provided for many years and either shuttles were operated north of Hunts Point Road or trains were turned.  Express service did not start between 138 Street-3rd Avenue and 177th Street until October, 1946 probably because of an increase in passengers from the huge Parkchester housing complex at East 177th Street.    The peak year for fares was 1947 and then the numbers fell off.  Co-Op City opened in the early 1970's but passenger count fell.  I remember the IRT in the 1970's:  Older R type of equipment, without air conditioning and terribly marked up by Graffiti.  Private express bus service came to Co-Op City on January 18, 1971 providing a cool one seat ride at least to 23rd Street and Madison Avenue.  When Co-Op city opened,  the local paper promised that monorail service was "just around the corner".  Well folks, stop looking at your watches, it does not seem that it will come soon, nor light rail, but there is some talk of creating a "Co-Op City" station on the railroad line east of the complex.  The drop in ridership in the 1970's was the result of the fall of population in the South Bronx and the success of the air conditioned express buses.    The article states  that when older equipment was refitted with air conditioning or the new R62A's arrived on the scene, subway ridership on the Pelham Bay Park Line improved.  Just a note, Co-Op City is north of the Pelham Bay Park station.  To reach Co-op City, years ago many people walked on the highway or took shuttle buses to the five Co-Op City sections.  Co-Op City is located where the New England Thruway and the Hutchinson River Parkway meet in the Northeast Bronx.  The Pelham Bay Park station is the gateway to City Island, Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park and Co-Op City and Westchester County.

To be continued.....