Recently, Subchat posted two interesting items, one dealing with a video showing he last days of the Culver Shuttle by Larry Fendrick (link below) and a discussion of what appears to be a sealed off tunnel at the south eastern end of a two track brick lined tunnel that carries West End (D) subway trains and formerly Culver Line (5) trains until the late 1950's. In addition, at the eastern end of this tunnel, where the two tracks spread out, there appears to be a short branch off as shown below as a posting by stevenpaulino1 in subchat. I am seeing this cut-off for the first time but I know of its' existence because I saw, but I cannot find a track map showing a tiny branch off onto the south western track just as the tracks leave the tunnel. As you can see in the photo below, this branch off is not a brick tunnel described below but is of more modern construction at the eastern end of the portal; where all these mysterious ramps are found. Could there be a hidden tunnel from the bulkhead shown below at the western start of the brick tunnel to the cinder wall shown below?
Video: Final Days of the Culver Shuttle
Posted by Larry Fendrick (NotchIt)-Webmaster on Sun May 10 15:45:46 2015
More to follow about this great video in the future.
You are facing east at the open cut found east of Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. A South Brooklyn railway track joins a south bound "D" train track just at the brick tunnel entrance. To the right of portal, you can see what appears to be an unused tunnel entrance. I remember that this was more visible as a child in the 1950's because the service building (covered in Graffiti) did not exist then. The yard was cleaner in the 1950's. In the 1970's, I asked an "official " at ERA Headquarters about this and I was told that there was nothing behind the wall.
Around the time that the Culver Shuttle was abandoned in May, 1975, ERA ran a historical series dealing with the South Brooklyn Railroad. Although the date of the covering of the PRW was not mentioned, based where the material was found below showing improvements, the tunnel improvement was made probably between 1900 and 1906, well before the modern subway era. By that time, the major passenger traffic came from the Fifth Avenue El and not from the trackways leading to the 39th Street Ferry. How is this all related to the Culver Line? In the 1950's Culver Line service went as far as 36th Street and Fourth Avenue in non rush hours and to Chambers Street in the rush hours (since 1954). The Culver Line passed this wall and I remember it as a child. When Culver trains approached the eastern end of the tunnel, the trains used the more center tracks and not the tracks used by the "D" train today. This branch was dark and never lighted, at least in the 1980's.
To be continued....
" The 1016 foot long open cut extending from Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue was covered by constructing a brick arch tunnel which was lengthened by 132 feet, extending 75 feet east of Sixth Avenue. A retaining wall was built between Third and Fourth Avenue where the tracks descend into the tunnel..." Source: Linder, B. and Eppler, Paul; "South Brooklyn Railway- Part 3, In, New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 18, No. 3, June, 1975, p.5.