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Sunday, October 30, 2016

SixtyYears Ago

  Sixty years ago, on October 31, 1956, the last city run streetcar ended service in Brooklyn.  Three lines ended on that date:  Two streetcar lines, namely the Church Avenue (35) and the McDonald-Church Line (50), and the Cortelyou Road (23) trolleybus.  In another part of the city, a line over the Queensborough Bridge would operate until 1957.   Trolleybuses ended on July 27, 1960 and electric trolley freight on the South Brooklyn would last for a few more years.  Searching the net to get photos regarding the Church Avenue Line that I  did not see before, I came across the website below called the "TheTrolleyDoger"

This website deals mainly (after a brief observation) with Chicago rapid transit and PCC streetcars.  Chicago, the second city in the United States has a large rapid transit system and still has an elevated line in the Central Business District.  This website has very interesting material dealing with the variety that once existed and still exists in the Chicago area.  This great picture below comes from their website and is quite rare.  It is rare because it shows two PCC streetcars at the McDonald - Church intersection sometime between 1951 and 1956.  As stated in the blog, Chicago and New York have similar transit histories.  But I disagree.  Chicago appears to be less anti-trolley than New York.  Chicago's trolleybuses lasted until 1973 with many lines.  New York's (Brooklyn and Queens) trolleybuses lasted until July, 1960.   Chicago kept their elevated lines in the Central Business District while Manhattan lost theirs in 1955.  Downtown Brooklyn lost the Myrtle Avenue Line in 1969.  I believe that Chicago's rail equipment (subway, elevated, and streetcar) was very innovative compared to New York's.  The Chicago PCC cars were huge and had an interesting door arrangement.  Chicago trolley's as shown in the"trolleydoger" website operated in very interesting environments:  Streets, under elevated lines, on bridges and private rights of way.  Similar to New York, Chicago is a big city, like New York and is having trouble bringing back trolleys.  One fact that I did not know about Chicago elevated lines: " the central city, the Chicago elevated lines operated over streets... but away from the central city, the elevated lines mainly operated over backyards and private right of ways...."   In New York, including the elevated lines that no longer exist, I would say that the majority is and was over streets.

In the picture above from "thetrolleydodger" website, a southbound streetcar (right) is about to turn into McDonald Avenue perhaps to the 16th Avenue Loop.  To the left, a Bristol Street car is headed east on Church Avenue.  You are facing east on Church Avenue, and you are looking at the Greater NY Saving Bank.

   As I said in the past, after October 31, 1956, the tracks and wires and poles did not disappear overnight.  The wires were up for years and many trolley wire support poles were left but they are all gone, except in some rare places as former trolley loops.   Will trolleys ever come back to Brooklyn?  A group is trying to bring it back but it will not apparently have overhead.  My guess as soon as construction is started,  a cheap Star Trak type of transporter will be made available making rapid transit obsolete.
Tramway Null(0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Trolley Bus System Planned for Morocco and other comments

Hi Folks:

  Please see what was posted in the TrolleyMotion website:

   Material here from the TrolleyMotion web site.

trolley:planung - Marrakech: Neuer Hybrid-Trolleybusbetrieb im Aufbau

10.10.16 - In der marrokanischen Grosstadt Marrakech ist ein neues Trolleybussystem im Bau. Nachdem die marrokanischen Grosstädte Rabat und Casablanca sich für eine Niederflurstrassenbahn entschieden hatten und dieses auch 2011 und 2012 in Betrieb genommen hatten, nahm Marrakech die Planungen für den Aufbau eines weitreichenden BRT-Systems in Angriff.... mehr

A Google translation from the German reveals that a new trolleybus system is planned for Marrakech Morocco and that the vehicles will have a away from the wire capability as a regular feature of the route.  Thus you can see that perhaps away from the wire capability may not mean the end of traditional trolleybuses.  Perhaps the under wire part of the route will be for recharging the unit's batteries.

  I was quite impressed with the Warsaw "Wola 1935" automation.  Warsaw, a city that was destroyed during World War II was reconstructed in 3-D from old photographs, map plans and so on.  The human beings in the automation were based on live models photographed 360 degrees.   This automation focuses only on part of Warsaw, namely the then gas production district in 1935 and the gas company is probably the sponsor.  Now that we are approaching the 60th Anniversary of the end of city run streetcars in Brooklyn, it would have been nice if a 3-D automation would have been done ( perhaps it exists ) showing PCC streetcars on the Church Avenue Line entering and leaving the tunnel at Ocean Parkway... perhaps a view where we enter the tunnel to meet an oncoming car in the middle of the tunnel.  Then we can flash to Kensington Junction below where the IND 6th Avenue Line meets the BMT Culver Line with plenty of streetcar, trolleybus and South Brooklyn Railroad action underneath.  Perhaps call it "Brooklyn 1956 Wola 3-D".  This picture was taken off the web and I lost the source.  I believe it is the New York City Transit Museum and shows the McDonald Cortelyou Road intersection.  You can see the wooden support for the #23 Trolley Bus and McDonald Church streetcars.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October is the month of Transit Milestones

October has these transit events in common:

  1. End of Myrtle Elevated service in downtown Brooklyn (October 4, 1969)
  2. Introduction of the PCC car in Brooklyn (October, 1936)
  3. End of the Church Avenue, Church McDonald and Cortelyou Road Trolleybuses (October 31, 1956.
  4. End of BMT Culver Line service to Coney Island (October, 1954).
  5. Independent Subway  "Prospect Park Line" extended from Bergen Street to Church Avenue on October 7, 1933.  Today this section is incorrectly called the "Culver Line" and is served by both F and G trains.  The picture below was posted previously and the source may be "Daves Rail Pix".  Sorry but I cannot find the source at the moment.  The McDonald - Vanderbuilt line got PCC cars around January 11, 1937.  In the picture below, a # 50 Mc Donald car is headed southbound to Coney Island and is about to cross the Church Avenue Line #35 between 1951 and 1956.  The Church Avenue IND station, now on the F and G routes, is under the street.  Notice the frog above the car ( to the right ) for Church Avenue line northeastern turnouts unto Mc Donald Avenue.