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South Brooklyn Railway

INDUSTRIAL, OFFLINE TERMINAL RAILROADS & RAIL-MARINE OPERATIONS
OF BROOKLYN, QUEENS, STATEN ISLAND, BRONX & MANHATTAN:

South Brooklyn Railway So Bk Rwy SoB SBRR Railroad SBK

SUNSET PARK, BOROUGH PARK, GREENWOOD, KENSINGTON, PARKVILLE, GRAVESEND, CONEY ISLAND, BEDFORD and BATH BEACH; BROOKLYN

South Brooklyn Railway New York Municipal Railroad Prospect Park Coney Island Long Island Nassau Street Rapid Transit Manhattan Heights

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updated:
SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2018 - 23:45


update summary:

date:
May 1975 #9 (second) photo added29 July 2018 Locomotive Photos
info on Bedford Station added
customers added, chapter expanded
20 July 201815)  Bedford Car Load Freight Station
Customer & Freight Station Locations (Old & New Era)
BMT surface (streetcar) map added14 July 2018A Little Look-See Into SBK Delivery - The Old Era
names added
chapters expanded, maps & photos added
11 July 2018Customer & Freight Station Locations (Old & New Era)
9)  Kensington Junction
14)  Culver Depot to the Coney Island Yard
new chapters added08 July 2018Customer & Freight Station Locations (Old & New Era)
A Little Look-See Into SBK Delivery - The Old Era
names of Greenwood Industries, information added
October 1978 ERA Bulletin Map (1960) added
1921 - First Annual Report of Transit Commission added
05 July 20188)  Greenwood Industrial Sidings & 37th Street & Thirteen Avenue Freight Station
Trackage, Right Of Way & Facilities
History
M. DeLuca images added
memorabilia added
maps added for 37th Street & Thirteenth Avenue Freight Station
and Avenue U & Gravesend Avenue Delivery Station
chapter added
Zach Summer video of 0L914 move
02 July 2018

Locomotive Photos - #9, #12, #13, #N1 and #N2
Memorabilia
8)  Greenwood Industrial Sidings & 37th Street & Thirteen Avenue Freight Station
13)  Avenue U & McDonald Ave
Escort Vehicles
NYCTA R156 moves

chapters rewritten, corrected and expanded 29 June 2018 Rerouting Through the Years
Current & Future Operations
NYCTA R156 move - May 1, 2012

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Special Thanks to:

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As this particular website deals with an active railroad as well as government and business entities, 
viewers should be aware that this webpage or its authors are not affiliated with: 

South Brooklyn Railway,  New York City Transit Authority,  Metropolitan Transit Authority,  City of New York,
South Brooklyn Marine Terminal,  New York City Economic Development Corporation,  New York New Jersey Rail, 
Davidson Pipe Supply Company,  or Costco Wholesale Corporation;
or any of their subsidiaries, holding companies or parent organizations; their employees or otherwise;
and no affiliation or connection with those companies or municipalities is suggested or implied.

This website and the information contained within has been compiled for the use of reference only, and any inaccuracies are purely accidental.
This webpage sees revision for the purpose of the addition of information, or correction of inaccurate data.

Suggestions or corrections should be sent directly to:
bedt14@aol.com

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INDEX

Overview

A Little Look-See Into SBK Delivery - The Old Era

Customer & Freight Station Locations (Old & New Era)

Trackage, Right Of Way & FacilitiesRerouting Through the YearsOriginal Right Of Way Remnants
Escort Vehicles
NYCTA R156 move
May 1, 2012
LIRR Caboose C-60 Move
April 4, 2009

Dual Couplers, Compromise Couplers
& Transition Cars

Locomotive & Equipment Overview

Locomotive Photos
electric & diesel including videos!

Locomotive & Equipment Roster
builders data, previous owners & disposition info

Memorabilia

Memoirs

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South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Co. Freight House - unknown date
Believed to be looking east: Automobile is on Second Avenue, between 37th Street (left) and 39th Street (right).
This structure would be razed unknown year, and the location subsequently occupied by a brick yard, Davidson Pipe and now CostCo Wholesale club.
courtesy of P. Matus

added 13 July 2010

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Overview

Private Ownership

   The South Brooklyn Railway or "SBK" (as it is known within New York area railfanning groups) as organized, was unique in the fact that it at one time; handled both freight and passenger service. This webpage will focus itself upon the freight aspects of their operations, with intermittent mention of passenger operations where relevant.

  According to the New York Times article dated July 16th, 1892 (seen at right); the South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company was organized in 1887, but its history really predates this by one year. In September 29, 1886, the South Brooklyn and Flatbush Railroad Company was incorporated to operate a steam railroad. It never got off the ground and on November 10, 1887, the name was changed to South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company. 

   Even at this time, it was not an operating railroad in that it owned no locomotives or rolling stock, but had been merely organized as a property holder no longer than a few city blocks, which was organized with the intent to be leased to another operating railroad that wished to the connect to the Ferry Terminal at the foot of 39th Street. Unfortunately this did not take place and the tracks remained unused..

   In 1892, the South Brooklyn Railway & Terminal Company spent a great deal of money to purchase that land and extend the route to the new ferry terminus at the foot of 39th Street and the shoreline of New York Harbor. A Terminal Station and Freighthouse was built at Third Avenue & 37th through 39th Streets.

   In 1897, the Long Island Railroad, (which had been operating passenger trains from their own ferry terminal at 65th Street via the Bay Ridge Branch and connecting with the Prospect Park & Coney Island RR at Parkville Junction), now leased the South Brooklyn Railway & Terminal Company, (and LIRR eliminated their Bay Ridge Branch to Parkville Junction passenger train). Quick side bar here: in 1893, Andrew Culver sold his Prospect Park & Coney Island RR (which ran along Gravesend Avenue) to the Long Island Rail Road).

   The Long Island Railroad operated the South Brooklyn Railway & Terminal Company using steam powered locomotives (former elevated locomotives of 0-4-2T and 0-4-4T wheel arrangements) from June 1897 and until June 1903.

   Unfortunately, these locomotives were not adequate for freight operations, and the line was electrified in 1899. In spite of this, the LIRR continued to run irregular steam powered "Racetrack Specials" to the Brooklyn Jockey Club / Gravesend Racetrack located at Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway.

   On December 19, 1899, the South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company was foreclosed upon, and the company was reorganized as the South Brooklyn Railway on January 13, 1900 by the new owners, Brooklyn Rapid Transit. Even under this new Brooklyn Rapid Transit ownership, the Long Island Rail Road would continue to operate the trains.

   In June 1903 (some references cite 1905), the Long Island Rail Road ceased operating the trains on the South Brooklyn Railway and Brooklyn Rapid Transit would assume passenger service.  

   It should be recognized that in the early days of operation, the South Brooklyn Railway, being a subsidiary of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit; operated over several other already established railroad / railway routes that by this time had been absorbed under the parentage of Brooklyn Rapid Transit.

   On 06 January 2009, I acquired a copy of the "Brooklyn Rapid Transit - Track Mileage Book" originally dated January 1, 1910; which reflects that the South Brooklyn Railway (freight) would have operated over the following passenger "routes". Reference to these several different "routes" led me to understand these routes were operated by several different "owners", which was quite confusing.

   While I hope the following is accurate there is a small possibility of error. Please note the locations given are passenger stops / stations. Corrections are welcome:

owner route from to distance from
39th Street
Ferry Terminal
Property of the City of NY Ferry Terminal connection of South Brooklyn Railway..... 0.094
South Brooklyn Railway Co. (Private Right of Way) connection of South Brooklyn Railway Second Ave & 39th Street 0.264
Brooklyn City RR 39th St Ferry - Coney Island..... Second Avenue & 39th Street Third Avenue & 39th Street 0.302
Brooklyn City RR 39th St Ferry - Coney Island Third Avenue & 39th Street Fifth Avenue & 39th Street 0.746
Nassau City Electric RR Culver Fifth Avenue & 39th Street old city line 1.184
Sea Beach Railway Co. Culver old city line Ninth Ave connection to Culver Line 1.370
Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad...... Culver Ninth Avenue connection to Culver Line..... Fort Hamilton Parkway 1.640
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Fort Hamilton Parkway Thirteenth Avenue 1.908
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Thirteenth Avenue Kensington Junction 2.472
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Kensington Junction Eighteenth Avenue 2.840
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Eighteenth Avenue Parkville 3.085
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Parkville Twenty-Second Ave 3.517
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Twenty-Second Avenue Woodlawn (Avenue N) 4.005
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Woodlawn (Avenue N) Avenue P 4.357
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Avenue P Kings Highway 4.683
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Kings Highway Gravesend Race Track* 4.965
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Gravesend Race Track* Gravesend (Avenue U?) 5.308
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Gravesend Avenue W 5.490
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Avenue W Van Sicklen 6.295
"           " "     "     "       " "       " "          " "       " Van Sicklen Culver Terminal 6.723

* = also known as the Brooklyn Jockey Club 

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   In 1913, all freight and railway express handled by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit was again reorganized to simplify accounting and all freight handling motive power was transferred to South Brooklyn Railway ownership. 

   The construction of new subway and elevated lines in Brooklyn, especially the Fourth Avenue Subway; was expedited by the presence of the South Brooklyn Railway, which provided an affordable and convenient service by hauling in the raw materials and hauling away the excavation tailings and debris. A temporary connection installed at 38th Street and Fourth Avenue allowed South Brooklyn Railway equipment to enter and keep pace with the progress of construction of that subway route.


  

    In June of 1922, the South Brooklyn Railway purchased the majority of the capital stock of the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad (which was still owned by the LIRR). By 1923, the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad and New York & Coney Island RR (which was operating the Norton Point trolley line) was merged into the South Brooklyn Railway, giving them access to Coney Island.

   Also in 1923, Brooklyn Rapid Transit filed bankruptcy and was reorganized into the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), which in effect became parent organization to the South Brooklyn Railway, and all ICC regulations remained as before.

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New York City Ownership

   In May 1940, the South Brooklyn Railway became part of the New York City Board of Transportation, which consolidated ("the Unification") all the individual transit companies and street car lines in the New York City proper under one municipal government organization: the Board of Transportation. The BoT entered into contract with the South Brooklyn Railway to provide labor, supplies and ultimately, equipment.

   Railroad freight traffic, which had been tapering off with the advent and proliferation of motor trucks, figuratively exploded with the entrance of the United States in World War II. Wartime restrictions and rationing of gasoline and other petroleum products curtailed motor truck usage and the South Brooklyn Railway (which was electric powered) found itself with plenty business.

  At some point during this time frame, the South Brooklyn Railway also operated a fleet of trucks for delivery of incoming freight direct to customers doors.

  In 1946, the World War II was over and the South Brooklyn Railway would purchase two surplussed ex-U.S. Army Whitcomb 65 ton diesel locomotives, #8 & #9 (first).

  In 1953, the New York City Board of Transportation was renamed the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA).

  On October 31, 1958; passenger service by streetcar along McDonald Avenue was discontinued, leaving that route to the exclusive use of the South Brooklyn Railway for freight movements (although it would have to share that thoroughfare with automobiles).

   In 1960, two more diesel electric locomotives were purchased (#12 & 13) and a sad milestone in South Brooklyn Railway history occurred in December 27, 1961, when the overhead trolley wire was de-energized, effectively ending electric locomotive operations along the South Brooklyn Railway. It was deemed cost prohibitive to refurbish the aging overhead trolley wire along the right of way. The surviving electric locomotives (#4, 5, 6 & 7) were turned over to the NYCTA where they would continue to see life working on the various elevated and subway routes as they were equipped with third rail pick up shoes.. Fortunately, their historical value is recognized and were restored and kept as museum pieces.

   The switches at Kensington Junction were locked into the 37th Street position (some references state they were removed altogether) thereby isolating the branch up to the Ninth Avenue & 20th Street Depot, which was no longer needed with the cessation of passenger streetcar operations. 

   Freight would continue to be transported along the South Brooklyn Railway to several merchants, but like the rest of the terminal railroads located in Brooklyn; freight traffic was dwindling due to the ever increasing use of the motor truck.

   In 1978 the street trackage east of Fort Hamilton Parkway, as well as that upon McDonald Avenue trackage was abandoned. Portions of the line were paved over around 1991.

   In 1994, the last non-NYCTA customer, Davidson Pipe closed their yard bound by Second and Third Avenues and 39th and 37th Streets. The South Brooklyn Railway would continue to partake somewhat of the Bush Terminal Interchange to intermittently utilize the Long Island Rail Road's Bay Ridge Division.

   While the South Brooklyn Railway remains in operation as a freight subsidiary to the New York City Transit Authority, it has not hauled new or rebuilt inbound subway cars since 1992 with the delivery of rebuilt R44's; or outbound obsolete subway cars for scrapping or rebuilding since circa 2004.

   It was however placing obsolete subway cars in the Second Avenue and 39th Street Yard for asbestos removal as late as 2007. But these cars were not interchanged with New York Cross Harbor / New York New Jersey Rail or shuttled to & from the float bridge at Bush Terminal or LIRR Bay Ridge Branch.

   Beginning in May and throughout June 2012, the South Brooklyn Railway saw haulage of new equipment for the NYCTA: the delivery of twenty-eight R156 diesel-electric work locomotives. Delivery took place upon the completion of the reconstruction of street trackage along First Avenue to the new South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at 39th Street. Any updates regarding this will appear in the Current & Future Operations chapter below.

   The schematic seen below shows the original route of the South Brooklyn Railway (in blue) and the connections and interchanges to the BMT Subway (light gray), Bush Terminal (red); Fleet Supply Base of the US Navy (dark gray), Brooklyn Army Terminal (in green) and the NYNH&H / LIRR Bay Ridge Division (shown in brown).

   Please keep in mind, is it not to scale and is a composite of the various railroads and industries that operated throughout the Twentieth Century, even though some of the businesses may not have existed all at the same time.

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RETURN TO INDEX

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A little "Look-See" into SBK Delivery Network - The Old Era

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Trolley / Streetcar Delivery System

   It is most important to remember that the South Brooklyn Railway, unlike any other of the freight terminal railroads throughout Brooklyn, that its delivery system was based upon the vast network of passenger streetcar trackage laced throughout the borough. It did not haul freight along a fixed route from Point A to Point B until much later in its existence.
 
   When the South Brooklyn Railway was first created it handled the freight delivery for most of, if not all the passenger carrying streetcar lines throughout Brooklyn. There were untold customers and countless sidings and spurs off the streetcar routes that snaked their way through Brooklyn. This early history must not be forgotten despite it being slowly erased from our collective memories.

   When presently discussed all that seems to be remembered about the South Brooklyn Railway is that it hauled subway cars for the NYCTA from Bush Interchange to the Coney Island Shops. It has become too easy to think in simplistic terms of the fixed route service discussed at length below and I, more than anyone; am guilty of this. The South Brooklyn Railway was so much more than that. Hence the creation of this chapter.

   It also must be understood, that there were two varieties of freight being handled by the South Brooklyn: carload and less-than-carload. Carload freight is comprised of an entire railway car for a single customer. It could be a box car of metal castings for an assembly firm, sacks of hops or barley for a brewery, flatcars of granite to be cut for curbstones or to be carved into headstones, gondolas of steel pipe or hoppers of coal for a coal dealer to resell or to heat or power a electrical generating station for a large industry. 

   Originating at locations throughout Brooklyn would be the trolley gondolas carrying ash from coal stoves used in home and business heating as well as the manufactured good originating in Brooklyn. 

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Carload and Less-Than-Carload

   For carload delivery, Brooklyn had no connection to the mainland US rail network until 1916, and even then it was a limited affair. So once a freight car arrived at the freight terminal dock via carfloat for the South Brooklyn Railway (and almost certainly the Bush Terminal Railroad), the carloads were pretty much handled by the electric locomotives and delivered to the designated consignee / customer. 

   The other kind of freight haulage is less-than-carload. In most cases, this would be a boxcar loaded with many different items or materials from different consignors for different customers. By itself, that partial load would have been a waste of space in assigning an entire boxcar to deliver just a single customers few crates and would have been cost prohibitive. When many small loads shared one boxcar and thereby sharing the expense of shipping, it cut the cost of shipping. But, these less than carload shipments were the most labor intensive. It is with these types of deliveries, that the final delivery agent (in this case the South Brooklyn Railway) needed a large roster of freight cars for it network of customers.

   It was the less-than-carloads that usually were transferred to the "freight box motor" or similar equipment. This was really nothing more than a powered boxcar with a platform on both ends (sometimes one) for the motorman to operate from. Basically it was the next step in the evolution from horse-drawn wagon delivery in urban environments.

   As such, the South Brooklyn Railway had dozens of these trolley box motors and trolley gondolas to serve the needs of its customers. They would pretty much fan out throughout Brooklyn on a daily basis to hundreds of different customers and return to the freight stations for more deliveries arriving throughout the day. The best I can compare it to in modern times, is think of it as a primitive UPS distribution system, but instead of brown trucks, it was brown (or dark red or olive green) trolleys!

   Another factor to be considered was that the standard size freight cars in use by the transcontinental railroads at that time were too large in dimension for easy transport through narrow city streets (yet tiny in comparison to the freight cars of today!) So the less-than-carloads were transferred to smaller trolley sized equipment such as those shown below.

   And of course, the South Brooklyn Railway worked for the growing rapid transit system - the subways and elevateds; by hauling tunnel excavation debris and delivering the various materials needed for the building of tunnels, stations and the elevateds. 

   It should be remembered that the subways and elevateds were considered "rapid transit" because the train could go blocks without stopping, covering more distance in less time than opposed to the "surface transit" of which the trolleys and streetcars pretty much stopped on every street corner much like the present bus routes. The rapid transit and surface transit systems thought of as separate operations in those days.

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#9444 - "freight box motor" - 1928 

#9137 - "trolley flatcar" - 1959

   And the South Brooklyn Railway delivery network was vast. By referencing that 1914 article, we can see by the list of delivery stations in Brooklyn as far north as Greenpoint, as far south as Coney Island and as far west as Bay Ridge. If there was a set of trolley tracks in the street, you can be pretty sure the South Brooklyn Railway had an agreement with the owning railway operator to deliver freight along that route. And there were dozens of streetcar line operators throughout Brooklyn... And since the streetcar operators kept getting consolidated into the larger Brooklyn Rapid Transit and then Brooklyn Manhattan Transit conglomerate, it only made sense to keep the freight traffic "in the family".

   The following map, circa 1930, shows the surface streetcar routes (solid red lines) of Brooklyn of that date. It has been annotated by the author as such but as one can plainly see, the streetcar network was vast and with it, the early delivery network of the South Brooklyn Railway. It should be noted that all freight stations or all customers did not exist at the same time.

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RETURN TO INDEX

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Customer & Freight Station Locations


   Up until 1904, the Long Island Rail Road, Brooklyn Heights Railroad and several other subsidiaries (the South Brooklyn Railway being one of many) of Brooklyn Rapid Transit (the main holding company) handled the freight traffic throughout Brooklyn. 

   On April 16, 1905, South Brooklyn Railway took over freight handling from Long Island Rail Road.

   Also, this year is doubly significant for it is the year the South Brooklyn Railway entered into direct agreement with Bush Terminal Railroad to forward freight from the Class 1 mainland railroads yards in New Jersey through Bush Terminal via carfloats. Without this agreement, the South Brooklyn Railway most certainly would not have enjoyed the cost savings and convenience of someone else doing the carfloating, and doubtfully would have been so successful.

   In 1907, newly enacted legislation by the Interstate Commerce Commission resulted in the South Brooklyn Railway being split off from the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, and of which would now operate the South Brooklyn Railway under its own name as a completely separate company. This required a slew of trackage rights and terminal agreements being canceled by the original subsidiaries and new contracts issued by the South Brooklyn Railway.  Had this not been done, the entire Brooklyn Rapid Transit system (almost entirely a passenger hauling company) would been made subject to Interstate Commerce Commission regulations.

   Upon the formation of the South Brooklyn Railway (as will be discussed in The Old Era chapter above), there were dozens if not hundreds of small customers that received freight via the streetcar delivery network. Unfortunately, quite a few of those names have been lost to history until a receipt or a document makes itself available, at which time it will be added to the list below. 


Official Railway Guide - June 1911

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   What we do know is that the South Brooklyn Railway had freight stations at the following locations (some of which have been discussed at length, others very little is known). The August 27, 1915 - Volume 9, No. 9 issue of Railway Age Gazette (a railroad trade journal) lists the following locations as freight stations for the South Brooklyn Railway:

  • 39th Street and Third Avenue - Main Freight Station - South Brooklyn
  • 20th Street and Ninth Avenue - Greenwood (Prospect Park & Coney Island Railway car barn) 
  • Avenue C and Gravesend Avenue - Kensington 
  • Eighteenth Avenue and Bath Avenue - Bath Beach / Bay Ridge

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   While researching various other documents (i.e.: Documents of the Senate of the State of New York - 1917, the Joint Report with Comprehensive Plan and Recommendations, Volume 1, Part 4 -1920 as well as numerous others), we have come to learn that the following locations also came to be freight or delivery stations for the South Brooklyn Railway. 

  • 37th Street and Ninth Avenue - Sunset Park
  • 37th Street and Thirteenth Avenue - Borough Park
  • Culver Yard (Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad / Long Island Rail Road) - Coney Island
  • West 8 and West 12th Streets - (Sea Beach Railway Yard) - Coney Island


   Some of the information for actual customers comes from the ten part Bernard Linder / Paul Eppler series of articles on the South Brooklyn Railway as published in the Electric Railroaders Association bi-monthly magazine: "Bulletin". Benjamin W. Schaeffer fortunately has the complete set in his personal library. Furthermore, with the kind generosity and courtesy of Jeff Erlitz, present editor in chief of the ERA Bulletin, we have secured permission to republish the articles on this website. 

   From this series and from official filings, lawsuits, announcements, magazine articles, property map notations as well as recollections and information from the various transit buffs of the South Brooklyn Railway for both old and new era of operations, we have been able to compile the list below. As we learn more, they too will be added to the list below. 

customercommoditylocationstreet car / direct?years served
New York City Transit Authority and predecessors subway cars and parts thereof; track components36th / 38th Street Yard, Coney Island Shopsdirect1899 - present
Davidson Pipesteel pipe38th Street & Third Avenuedirectca. 1955 - 1994
Armour Packagingdistribution plant38th Street & Third Avenuedirect
Greenwood Cemetery cut stone for mausoleums, headstones38th Street & Ninth Avenuedirect
Phoenix Hermeticsheet metal, canning / packaging supplies, lithographic plates37th Street & 14th Avenuedirectca. 1916
Roberts Foodspickles, mayonnaise, condiments37th Street & Fort Hamilton Parkwaydirectca. 1960's - 1978
Klein's Lumberdimensional wood & building supplies37th Street & Thirteenth Avenuedirectca. 1930
Culver Lumberdimensional wood & building supplies 37th Street & Fifteenth Avenuedirectca. 1930
Berkshire Structural Steelsteel beams37th Street & Fort Hamilton Parkwaydirect ca. 1917 to ?
Bay Ridge Coalcoal37th Street & Fifteenth Avenuedirect
Flatbush Industrial Buildingmachinery (H. W. Cotton), manufacturing lofts37th Street & Fourteenth Avenue direct
1922-1978?
Prospect Coalcoal37th Street & Fort Hamilton Parkwaydirectca. 1917 to ?
Flatbush CoalcoalGravesend Avenue (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Sdirectto 1978
Kingsway Lumberdimensional wood & building suppliesGravesend Avenue & Cortelyou Road (Kensington Junction)directca. 1930
Rubel Ice & CoaliceDahill Road & Cortelyou Road (Kensington Junction)direct1922
Gravesend Racetrack & Brooklyn Jockey Club?hay & feed?Gravesend Avenue (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Udirect?1920's
W. A. Case & Sonplumbers supplies49th Street & Twentieth Avenue (Parkville Junction)directca. 1907
Somers & Andersoncoal, tin plate & stamping?Fort Hamilton Parkway & Culver Linedirectca. 1913
Ansonia Clockclock  manufacturer20th Street & Ninth Avenuedirect?
Maltine Co.medical preparations20th Street & Ninth Avenuedirect?
Cullen FuelcoalWest 8th Street & Surf Avenuestreetcar
E. H. Cook CoalcoalWest 8th Street 1600' north of Sheepshead Bay Roadstreetcar1905
Cropsey & MitchelllumberCropsey Avenue & Bay 35th Streetstreetcar1910
Knickerbocker IceiceFlatbush Avenue & East 32nd Street streetcar1912
Desbrock Coal & Companycoal & ice16th Avenue & 63rd Street (Sea Beach Line) streetcarca. 1913
Graniteface (?)cut graniteSeventeenth Avenue1926
Robison Clay Productsvitrified pipeSeventeenth Avenue & Sea Beach Linestreetcars
Brooklyn Borough Gasmanufactured illuminating gas and gas storageStillwell Avenue? Coney Islandstreetcar1926
Advexadhesives, chemicalsMontgomery Street & Franklin Avenuestreetcar1922 to 
Consumers Park BrewerybreweryMontgomery Street & Franklin Avenuestreetcar
Nassau BrewerybreweryDean Street & Franklin Avenuestreetcar
American Steel Barrel (Brooklyn Meurer Steel Barrel)steel containers & barrelsFlushing Avenue & Nostrand Avenuestreetcarca. 1913
Cranford AsphaltsandAvenue R and Brighton Line (East 16th Street)streetcar
J. M. Huberprinting ink63rd Street & Sixth Avenuestreetcarca. 1913
Trommer's Evergreen BrewerybreweryBushwick Avenue & Conway Streetstreetcarpre-1929
Piel BrothersbreweryLiberty Avenue & Georgia Avenuestreetcarpre-1929
Atlantic Pacific & Gulf shipyardKemble Avenue, Mill Basin, Brooklyn streetcar1916
Arabol Manufacturingadhesives, synthetic gum arabicNostrand Avenue & Park Avenuestreetcar1904 - 1917
Amid Durontallow, stiffening gums, rosin soaps, soluble oils for textilesNostrand Avenue & Park Avenuestreetcar1912
Charles Froebwine & liquor wholesalerTompkins Avenue & Flushing Avenuestreetcar1912
J. W. Oelerichesfood packagingSanford Street & Park Avenuestreetcar1912
Metropolitan Engineeringelectrical cabinets & cutout boxesNostrand Avenue & Atlantic Avenue streetcar1918
paving stoneKent Avenue & Division Streetstreetcar
Brooklyn Navy Yardmaterial and supplies for US GovernementFlushing Avenue & Claremont Avenuestreetcar1919
Iron Clad Mfr steel kegsFlushing Avenue & Cook Streetstreetcar1904
League Storage & WarehousewarehousingThird Avenue & (proposed) 2nd Street (exact location unknown)streetcar1919
Pathe Freres Phonograph Co.materials, goods for manufacturing and coalGrand Avenue & Park Avenuestreetcar1921
public carload siding 
lumber yard
coal yard
located at Unionville a/k/a Ulmer Park
(former Brooklyn Bath & Coney Island Railroad siding)
streetcar
public carload siding Bath Avenue & Bay 19th Street  (former American Express Co Bath Beach Depot)streetcarca. 1910

   We know that there were 49 sidings in 1913 growing to 72 sidings by 1917, that were being served by the South Brooklyn Railway.
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Pier Stations

   The above list is not all the South Brooklyn Railway hauled. Surprisingly, it was learned that the South Brooklyn Railway also operated from two piers: one located at the foot of 63rd Street in Bay Ridge in Lower New York Bay, and the other at the foot of Meserole and Stagg Streets on Newtown Creek in Greenpoint.

   These piers were used for the receipt of various types of bulk aggregate, sand, stone and other construction materials via scow and barge. They were unloaded directly from barge or scow at these locations and distributed to customers via trolley gondola on the streetcar network.  
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Ash & Cinder Collection

   The South Brooklyn Railway also collected cinders and ash from factories as well as its own power generating station at Kent Avenue & Division Street. It also hauled this ash from residential homes. This ash was hauled to landfills and used for filling in of marsh and tidal wetlands.

   One of these landfills was located at 13th Avenue and 78th and 79th Streets and received 130,000 cubic yards for the Harway Improvement Comapny in 1907.
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Newspaper Delivery
   
   Also uncovered from several old court filings, was that the local newspapers chartered trolleys from the South Brooklyn Railway to haul newspapers to various distribution points in Brooklyn.

   Applications and appeals to the Public Service Commission by the South Brooklyn Railway sought to increase the tariff rate for the use of chartered trolleys handling the newspapers.
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Subway Tunnel Excavations

   Another contract had the SBK hauling excavation material from subway tunnels under construction. Spoils were hoisted from the tunnels via vertical shafts located at:     The South Brooklyn Railway then hauled these spoils to dumps near: .
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"Paramount Station"

   One of the most unusual arrangements the South Brooklyn Railway engaged in, long before any other common carrier did, was their "Store to Door" delivery trucking.

   The South Brooklyn Railway entered into contract with Horstmann Trucking to furnish the trucks and drivers. If a consignee specified "Paramount Station" on their waybill, that freight was delivered to the main freighthouse at Third Avenue & 39th Street. Here the South Brooklyn Railway unloaded the freight from the Class 1 railroad freight car (brought in by Bush Terminal via carfloat) and placed it upon a motor truck for haulage to the final delivery location. The reverse held true for outgoing shipments.

   The South Brooklyn Railway would also carry mail under contract from the United States Post Office Department.

The Decline

   There was a marked decline in customers following the conclusion of World War I. But this also coincided with the advent of the internal combustion engine and motor trucks. and as a result the streetcar delivery system (and like railroads elsewhere) began to diminish. It was the second step in the progression from horse drawn wagons. Little by little, as more trucks were built and entered service there was less need for trolley motors to ply the routes. Now a truck could be sent and returned within hours and without having to shoehorn its way into a trolley schedule and be sent out again quickly. 

   Another factor hastened the end of the streetcar system (both freight and passenger) in New York City as well as other cities in the U.S. Namely, the well documented General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy. So much has been written and said on this subject that it is not justifiable to expend the time or effort in reiterating it here. 

   Some of this decline was ameliorated by World War II due to gasoline and rubber rationing, and the South Brooklyn Railway held on. After World War II the "chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" way of life really took off, spelling doom for passenger carrying streetcars everywhere because the privately owned automobile was now in reach of just about everyone.

   The South Brooklyn Railway's vast borough-wide delivery network was whittled down, and by 1956 only a solitary route through Brooklyn survived. It is this route that is best remembered in the collective memories of todays transit buffs and railfans that lived in Brooklyn in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.

   Unfortunately, as stated in the Transit article below, and like the other contract terminals in the New York City, the South Brooklyn's freight customers were vanishing even along the fixed route. With the closing of Davidson Pipe in 1994 on Third Avenue and 38th Street (and where the South Brooklyn Railway would store their locomotives), the New York City Transit Authority was the only "business" for the South Brooklyn Railway. 

RETURN TO INDEX

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Trackage, Right of Way & Facilities

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   Following the end of passenger streetcar service in Brooklyn on October 31, 1956, (and probably predating that by a bit) the South Brooklyn Railway had a solitary route through Brooklyn when it hauled general freight for customers. And only customers situated along this route could get freight service from the South Brooklyn Railway.

   The line began (or ended - depending on your point of departure) at 38th Street and First Avenue Yard where incoming freight arrived via interchange with the Bush Terminal Railroad was received. From here, the South Brooklyn Railway route took it though the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Greenwood / Borough Park, Kensington, Parkville, Midwood, Gravesend and Coney Island.

   Joe Korman was gracious enough to allow me to use the following two images from his website www.thejoekorner.com. These two images, which are from a New York City Transit Employees internal magazine, called (what else?) "Transit".

   The article was published in the March 1955 issue, and contains some interesting information on the South Brooklyn Railway:. Most importantly, that by this date; the South Brooklyn Railway is illustrated is that solitary dedicated route. 


both images above:
 March 1955 issue of "Transit Magazine"
collection of Joseph D. Korman

added 07 Sept 2009

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   As of July 2018, we now have two maps at our disposal showing South Brooklyn Railway trackage. Recently discovered in an October 1976 issue of the ERA Bulletin is a map which is dated 1960. I took a little time and effort and cleaned it up for legibility. While there are not too many differences between this map and the Raudenbush map of 1961 below (they are dated within one year of each other), this 1960 ERA map shows the locations of derail and bumping posts (end of tracks) and quite as importantly, the names of a few of the customers served! It is not to scale.


original map courtesy of October 1976 issue Electric Railroaders Association Bulletin
map cleaned and modified by author
added 05 July 2018

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(click on map above for large scale image)

(numbers correspond to map locations above)


   While we are discussing the routing of the South Brooklyn Railway, it should be also be noted that it shared a portion of its route with four different subway lines over its history. Adding confusion for a lot of non-Brooklyn railfans as well as modern era NYC Transit buffs, was that these four different subway lines used various or the same parts of the Culver Elevated over its the history. While this technically has nothing to do with the actual operation of the South Brooklyn Railway, it does reflect why subway cars on the elevated lines in those photos taken throughout the decades have different route letters displayed. Further confusing matters on Transit Maps was that the line "bullets" (the colored circles) changed colors throughout the years.

Culver LineCulver LineCulver LineCulver LineCulver ShuttleCulver ShuttleCulver Shuttle
1925 - 19541954-19671967-19791979-present1954-19601960?-19671968-1975

   Beginning in 1925, with the delivery of the BMT D Type or "Triplex" cars and the IND R1 cars in 1931, head end destination signs were incorporated into the design. The line that followed the South Brooklyn Railway routing was known as the BMT 5 or Culver Line.  

   Commencing from the lower level of the Ninth Avenue Station at 37th Street, the BMT took to an elevated structure directly over the South Brooklyn Railway right of way. This elevated line turned south at Kensington Junction and continued over Gravesend Avenue. This elevated was completed in several stages throughout 1919 until gradually reaching Coney Island in 1920.  


   In 1932, Gravesend Avenue would be renamed McDonald Avenue (in honor of John. R. McDonald, 
chief clerk of the Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court, who died suddenly).

   In 1954, with the construction of the IND Culver Ramp between Church Avenue and Ditmas Avenue completed, the BMT Culver Elevated was transfered to the IND Division, becoming the IND Culver Elevated, but the BMT  train began running upon the Culver Elevated over McDonald Avenue from Ditmas Avenue to Coney Island. Also on this date, the BMT route was truncated. This now shortened route operated between Ninth Avenue (lower level) and Ditmas Avenue and was designated the Culver Shuttle .

   In 1960, the Culver Shuttle was given the new graphics route bullet: which in turn became the  in 1968. These new bullets appeared only on the maps because in fact the older equipment relegated to the actual shuttle service was not equipped with the new graphics. 

   On November 26, 1967 with the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection in Manhattan, the  operating over the Culver Elevated was replaced with  the  Culver Line / Sixth Avenue Local.

   On May 11, 1975, the Culver Shuttle service was abolished. 

   In 1979, the color of the subway line bullets were changed to reflect and color coordinate their primary Manhattan routing. Therefore the    became the (with the orange color denoting Sixth Avenue routing regardless of being express or local)

   The Culver Shuttle elevated structure would not be demolished until the mid 1980's, well after the South Brooklyn Railway right of way under the el had been abandoned in 1978. The   still operates on the elevated over McDonald (formerly Gravesend) Avenue.

   And if this didn't help you figure it out, nothing will.. My head still spins trying to figure it out too. So let us get back to the SBK, shall we? 

  

Location List Corresponding with the numbers in the 1961 Raudenbush Map

1)  39th Street & First / Second Avenue Yard ....................2)  Second Avenue Bush Terminal Interchange 3)  Davidson Pipe - SBK Offices
4)  38th Street & Third / Fourth Avenue Yard 5)  36-38th Street BMT Yard 6)  36th Street SBK Yard
7)  37th Street & Ninth Avenue Station 8)  Greenwood Industrial Sidings & 37th Street and Thirteen Avenue Freight Station
9)  Kensington Junction
10)  20th Street & Ninth Avenue Depot

11)  Parkville Interchange

12)  Avenue S & (Gravesend Avenue (McDonald Ave)
13)  Avenue U & Gravesend Avenue (McDonald Ave)

14)  Culver Depot to the Coney Island Yard

15)  Bedford Car Load Freight Station
16) Motor Truck Delivery

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1 - 39th Street Yard & Terminal - Sunset Park

   The northwestern-most point of the trackage was the ferry terminal and storage yard located between 39th and 38th Streets between Second Avenue and the Upper New York Harbor bulkhead. Also at this location, the South Brooklyn Railway connected with ferries and a loop track was in place for turning trolley cars.

   On 02 January, 2010, Joe Roborecky located two maps in the Library of Congress' Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Records; U.S. Navy Fleet Supply Base, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY.

   Referencing these two maps, it appears that the Brooklyn Rapid Transit / South Brooklyn Railway sold a portion of its property to the US Navy, which went on to build its own yard and railroad upon this land.

   The first map is undated but appears to be circa 1913, as the proposed (but not constructed) "South Brooklyn Marginal Railroad" is shown. It appears that the Brooklyn Rapid Transit trackage extended to and occupied a pier north of the Ferry Terminal. Notice how 38th Street is still a through street. You may click on the map below to bring you to a larger version. Use your back arrow to return you here:


Brooklyn Rapid Transit / South Brooklyn Railway, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY - circa 1913
Library of Congress - Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Engineering Records

added 02 January 2010

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   The second map is dated August 20, 1919 and shows a great deal more trackage and a significant yard belonging to the US Navy abutting the north property line of Brooklyn Rapid Transit Yard (which is the South Brooklyn Railway and unfortunately this trackage is not shown in detail).

   However, if you take note; the pier north of the ferry terminal is now flanked by a pair of float bridges ("terminal bridges"), and according to the legend the trackage is now marked for the US Navy (solid lines = Navy RR, broken lines = other RR).

   Also take notice that the 38th Street thoroughfare is no longer shown and the "Property of the South Brooklyn RR" is now a two block parcel. It is this parcel which would become Davidson Pipe Yard in later years.

   Again, you may click on the map below to bring you to a larger version. Use your back arrow to return you here.


Brooklyn Rapid Transit / South Brooklyn Railway (U.S. Navy Fleet Supply Base), Brooklyn, Kings County, NY - August  20, 1919
Library of Congress - Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Engineering Records

added 02 January 2010

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   So at the least, it appears that Brooklyn Rapid Transit sold part of its property to the US Navy for the construction of their supply base. The Navy would continue to occupy that piece of property abutting the South Brooklyn Railway's 39th Street Yard through at least the 1950's. Whether this property was sold voluntarily or involuntarily by Brooklyn Rapid Transit to the US Government remains to be discovered.

   (If by chance you are interested in the Navy operation, I have authored a webpage on that history and of which may be read here: US Navy Fleet Supply Base - South Brooklyn Section)

   In 1930, in an effort to compete with trucking companies, the South Brooklyn Railway entered into contract with the Horstmann Trucking Corporation to handle interchange freight at this location. In the tariff filings, this location was called "Paramount Station, Brooklyn, NY". This venture was short lived unfortunately, due to the extra expense in having to offload the freight into trucks to deliver the freight off the South Brooklyn Railways' route. 

   The closest item that has surfaced to date that reflects the track structure of the South Brooklyn Railway at this location in the 1940's, is a Port Facilities & Terminals Map dated 1942. As the property between Second & Third Avenues that would become Davidson Pipe Yard was still in fact owned and part of the South Brooklyn Railway during the time of this map, it is shown here for continuity.


Port Facilities & Terminals Map - 1942
US Army Corp of Engineers
authors collection

added 02 January 2010

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   When passenger service ended on the South Brooklyn Railway in 1958, this yard became strictly freight. At some point in time (exact date unknown) after 1958 and 1966, the trolley loop would be removed and the yard would be rebuilt. The following configuration closely (but not exactly) represents that trackage:


39th Street Yard & "Bush Junction" - ca. 1905 - 1994

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   In 1994, the interchange trackage was rebuilt and in 2000, the yard itself would be reconstructed. The diagram below is representative of both of those changes and show the current track configuration.

   A gate on the west border of  the 39th Street Yard allows two tracks to exit the yard and enter the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (no affiliation with the South Brooklyn Railway). These two tracks merge and form a single track which services a set of loading docks located along the north wall of the pier shed. This pier shed was the location of American Stevedoring. This location is situated upon the site of the old 39th Street Ferry Terminal.

   Oddly, the South Brooklyn Railway did not service this customer, but in fact the New York Cross Harbor Railroad did. This Marine Terminal is currently vacant and sees no rail service; but as of 2010, it is under extensive reconstruction and rail operations are part of the plan.


39th Street Yard & "Bush Junction" - 1994 - 2003?

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Readers Please Take Note:

   It is now understood from documents located on the web, that the 39th Street Yard is now part of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal property which is owned by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and operated by Axis Group; and the 39th Street Yard is no longer owned or operated by the South Brooklyn Railway / New York City Transit Authority / Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

   As current data reflects that the South Brooklyn Railway / New York City Transit Authority / Metropolitan Transportation Authority no longer has interest in the 39th Street Yard ; all updates pertaining to this location, will be posted in the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal chapter of the New York New Jersey Rail page of this website.  

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2 - Bush Terminal / South Brooklyn Railway Interchange a/k/a "Bush Junction"

      On Second Avenue, there was interchange with the Bush Terminal Railroad until 1972, when New York Dock assumed operation of the Bush Terminal properties. In August 1983 the New York Cross Harbor Railroad was organized (absorbing the New York Dock operation) and this company operated until 2006, with the current operation being known as New York New Jersey Rail.

    It is this location that is referred to as Bush Junction and is shown below.


"Bush Junction" 1905 - 1994

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    Before we go any further, it is imperative to understand that the Bush Terminal Railroad (and likewise its successors) had a significant involvement in South Brooklyn Railway history. For it was at Bush Terminal where freight cars destined for and from the South Brooklyn Railway customers had arrived and departed from Brooklyn via the Bush Terminal float bridges.

   Without the float bridges at Bush Terminal, the South Brooklyn Railway would not have been able to received or ship freight cars nor would it have lasted long as it has.

   Throughout the decades, countless new subway cars arrived at, and many obsolete subway departed via carfloats at the 50th Street float bridges of the Bush Terminal Railroad:


Bush Terminal 50th Street Floatbridge - April 24, 1950
"Seagoing subway cars - Somewhat out of their natural element, cars being transferred
from Queens IRT line to Bronx shops make detour through Brooklyn by way of Bush Terminal dock."
Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper archives
Brooklyn Public Library

added 22 Dec 2009

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Bush Terminal 50th Street Float Bridge "Bush 1" (southern float bridge) - ca. 1985 - 1987
R68's on left and right tracks with an R32 loaded on flat car on center track.
unknown photographer

added 22 Dec 09

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   Once new cars arrived at Bush Terminal, they would then be moved by Bush Terminal locomotives to the South Brooklyn Railway Yard at 39th Street and Second Avenue. From here, South Brooklyn Railway locomotives would bring them to the NYCTA Yard at either 36th Street or Coney Island.

   Freight cars however, would be distributed to the various customers (when they existed) along the South Brooklyn Railway route by South Brooklyn locomotives.


Bush Terminal RR #2 and South Brooklyn Railway #13 - September 28, 1965 - Second Avenue & 38th Street
Brand new R32's arriving at the BTRR/ SBK Interchange.
BT #2 on northbound track, SBK #13 on southbound track.
G. Landau photo
authors collection

added 22 Dec 09

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New York Cross Harbor RR #25 - 1983 - Second Avenue & 38th Street
Brand new R62's arriving at the BTRR/ SBK Interchange.
NYCH #25 is ex-BEDT #25 ALCo S1 coming off northbound track and
is about to enter the South Brooklyn Railway's 39th Street Yard.
unknown photographer
P. F. Strubeck collection

added 22 Dec 09

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   Reportedly, when delivery of the first R68's was made on February 4th, 1986, they failed to negotiate a sharp curve on South Brooklyn Railway trackage on 38th Street in Brooklyn. Supposedly, this curve had to be rebuilt and the radius eased somewhat; with delivery finally occurring on February 26th, 1986.

   An inquiry made to Fred Briemann, locomotive engineer on the New York Cross Harbor Railroad at that time; relates that no trackage or curve was realigned for the delivery of these subway cars nor were any delays incurred on a delivery of subway cars to the South Brooklyn Railway.

   However, he does recall that the turnout (highlighted in red in diagram to right) on the northbound track of Bush Terminal RR trackage on Second Avenue into the South Brooklyn Railway 39th Street Yard was temperamental, with many cars over the years "picking the points".

   It should be kept in mind, trackage at this location was aged, located in a street and abused by heavy commercial vehicular traffic. Also contributing to the factor, was that the turnout was a "single point" or "tongue & nape" switch (designed primarily for streetcar / trolley use), see Glossary.

   Joe Roborecky adds: this switch point was held in position by a wedge; and the roadbed was "soft", with the rail flexing in a vertical direction under load which contributed to the point moving. Fortunately, speeds were slow and either the "minor derailment" or "unintentional reroute" was remedied immediately.

   Therefore, this "point picking" problem could have been misinterpreted by the novice as a radius problem..

   The diagram below reflects several changes taking place in 1994 and afterwards:
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  1. The disconnection and removal (unknown date) of the west / southbound track between 40th Street and the interchange turnout (this is Bush Terminal RR trackage),
  2. The removal of the west / southbound interchange turnout (unknown date), ¹
  3. The elimination of the street diamonds (unknown date) ¹
  4. Installation of a heavy duty turnout, eliminating the single point switch,
  5. The new alignment through the Costco property.
  6. The rebuilding of the 39th Street Yard (which took place in 2000).

       ¹ It is presumed (but not confirmed) that the removal of the street trackage on Second Avenue (#2 and 3 above) took place upon rebuilding of the interchange in response to the new trackage alignment for Costco property.


"Bush Junction" 1994 - present (with new 39th Street yard constructed in 2000)

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   According to research conducted by Paul Strubeck, the contracting firm of T. Glennon of Piscataway, NJ rebuilt the street trackage portion of Bush Junction.

   This yard was last used in 2007 as a location for asbestos removal from obsolete subways cars that were outbound prior to reefing.

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3 - Davidson Pipe Yard - SBK Offices

   Traveling east from Second Avenue, the tracks run on through a two block parcel bordered by 39th and 37th Streets, Second and Third Avenues.

   In the years prior to circa 1959; this was another modestly sized railyard of the South Brooklyn Railway. As seen in a historicaerial.com aerial photo dated 1954, there were many team tracks in this location. This image is quite blurry, so the exact track layout is indeterminable. According to Peter Davidson, this was the site of a brickyard prior to Davidson Pipe moving here. Eventually, Davidson Pipe purchased the property from the City of New York.

   Paul Strubeck sent the following scan on 25 December 2009. While it states the location of the South Brooklyn Railway to be at 370 Jay Street, (which is the Headquarters of the New York City Transit Authority) the other address shown is 990 Third Avenue. Research shows this location to be the Davidson Pipe Yard.

.

   Davidson Pipe would occupy this location, which was known simply as the "Davidson Pipe Yard". Tall stacks of pipe of many types and varieties were stored in this yard for commercial resale. Davidson Pipe was a large and very significant customer for the South Brooklyn Railway and countless gondolas were brought in by the South Brooklyn Railway for unloading here. Davidson Pipe would also be South Brooklyn Railway's last "non-Transit Authority" customer.

   It appears (but is unconfirmed) that the pipe was simply stacked on the trackage rendering it out of service. However three tracks would remain unblocked for use: the northern track, effectively made a dead end siding by a pile of pipe (the track continued under this pile to a 90 degree street crossing on Second Avenue); a middle "through track" that ran straight through the yard; and the southern "runaround track", but also a through track.


Davidson Pipe Yard: ca. 1960 - 1994


Davidson Pipe unloading Erie Lackawanna gondola #43599
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

..

   On 28 December 2009, I contacted Mr. Peter Davidson, of Davidson Pipe; which is still located in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn. Mr. Davidson was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions regarding their occupancy of the property at 39th Street & Third Avenue:
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   Mr. Davidson might have some images of the Davidson Pipe Yard operation, but needs some time to locate them, so stay tuned for further updates.   

   In 1994, Davidson Pipe closed this yard. 

   They were the last non-NYCTA customer for the South Brooklyn Railway. The property was subsequently sold to Costco (the wholesale membership club), and due to their construction plans, the South Brooklyn Railway right of way would have to be relocated from the middle of the property to the extreme southern edge.

   


Costco: 1994 - present

   Exiting east out of the Davidson Pipe Yard (and now Costco), the tracks would cross Third Avenue. Prior to the construction of the Gowanus Expressway, the tracks crossed Third Avenue, which was a "simple" two way street. When the Gowanus Expressway (elevated) was constructed in the 1940's, Third Avenue would be widened to accommodate the elevated superhighway, and this became a "major" crossing, with tracks now having to cross 3 lanes of southbound traffic, a wide island in the middle, (in which the supports for the Gowanus Expressway are located) and then three lanes of northbound traffic.

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4 - 38th Street between Third & Fourth Avenue Yard - "Unloading Yard"

   East of this crossing would be another small yard. In later years, at this location was the ramp built of railroad ties with rectangular structural tubing laid upon it and kept in gauge by welded cross braces. This ramp was used to load / unload subway cars that were transported on top of flat cars. To my understanding, this ramp has not been used in quite some time. 

   With thanks to Dave Pirmann, I was finally able to secure images of this ramp in use, and these photos can be seen in the Locomotive Photo section below.

   At the east end of this yard, the right of way begins to run subgrade under Fourth Avenue (actually the land contour rises). This tunnel entrance can be seen by the chain link gates and interlocking signals in the photo below. The South Brooklyn Railway enters the former Brooklyn Manhattan Transit "BMT" West End line (current NYCTA & subway lines) at this point.

   From this point, it runs for about half a block in open subgrade and then enters a tunnel to yet another railyard located a block and a half east at Fifth Avenue.

   
South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - April 13, 2008
looking southeast, showing the subway car unloading ramp.
Fourth Ave and interchange with subway interchange in background.
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

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Close up of unloading ramp. Yes, this is what the New York City Transit Authority used
to unload subway cars that were transported on top of flatcars.

P. F. Strubeck photo
added 16 Dec 2009

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South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - January 26, 2010
Looking east toward Fourth Avenue and subway interchange with subway car unloading ramp.
P. M. Goldstein photo

added 03 May 2012

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South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - January 26, 2010

Looking west toward Third Avenue grade crossing and CostCo parking lot (under Gowanus Expressway).
P. M. Goldstein photo
added 03 May 2012

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   As of late April 2012, this yard has been cleaned up of rubbish and being reconstructed for intended interchange with New York New Jersey Rail..The original subway car unloading ramp seen in the above images has been removed, but allegedly it will be replaced by a new unloading ramp reportedly to be installed by the manufacturer of the new locomotives.


South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - May 1, 2012
New signs on vehicle entrance gate.
J. McCluskey photo

added 03 May 2012

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South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - May 1, 2012
J. McCluskey photo

added 03 May 2012

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South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - May 1, 2012
Showing lack of unloading ramp.
J. McCluskey photo

added 03 May 2012

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   A new ramp would be built at NYCTA Linden Shops, and brought to this location for the intended unloading of the R156 work locomotives. However, after the third locomotive, the ramp would be relocated to New York New Jersey Rail's Bush Terminal Yard where it remains today. 

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South Brooklyn Railway "38th Street Yard" between Third and Fourth Avenues and 38th Street - May 12, 2012
Showing new unloading ramp recently relocated from Linden Shops for the unloading of R156 work locomotives.
J. McCluskey photo

added 12 May 2012

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5 - 36th-38th Street (BMT) Yard

   Exiting eastbound from the tunnel from Fourth Avenue, the tracks open up into the "36th-38th Street Yard" of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and former Brooklyn Manhattan Transit "BMT". It is a rather decent sized railyard, bordered by 36th and 39th Streets and Fifth and New Utrecht Avenues. This railyard continues to operate to this day as a track maintenance facility as well as a storage yard for ties, rails, track components, panel track and panel track assembly, etc; for the NYCTA. However, no subway car repair or maintenance takes place at this facility. This yard and facility is subgrade and to get to it you have to drive or walk down ramps to yard level. General access is restricted.

   The South Brooklyn Railway employed the use of the overhead trolley wire, as used by its passenger streetcars; but its locomotives were also equipped with third rail pick-ups (over-riding type) for use on the BMT trackage that is also served by the 36th Street Yard. 

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6 - South Brooklyn Railway 36th Street

   
South Brooklyn Railway - 36th Street  Yard - unknown date
unknown photographer
authors collection
added 20 July 2018

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   In viewing the 1961 Raudenbush Map at the top of this chapter, it appears there was a definite separation between the BMT 36th Street Yard and the South Brooklyn Railway's 36th Street Yard, so it appears that in the earlier days most of the South Brooklyn Railway had its own area of the yard; the northern edge of the property along 37th Street between Eighth and Tenth Avenues.

   In later years, the NYCTA's reconstruction of the 36th Street Yard appears to have obliterated this separation and thereby making the 36th Street Transit Facility one big yard.

  At the east end of the yard, the South Brooklyn could also be routed to the BMT West End Line (elevated) via concrete ramps at this location. In later years after street trackage was removed, it would be at this location that the South Brooklyn Railway would enter and run over the elevated to Coney Island Yard (red line on map above).

   Continuing east out of the yard at street level however, South Brooklyn Railway trackage paralleled 37th Street for about one half of a mile to Dahill Road and it is this route that we shall continue.

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7 - 37th Street & Ninth Avenue Delivery Station

   According to the book "Brooklyn - A National Center of Commerce & Industry", published by the Committee on Industrial Advancement of the Brooklyn League in 1914; in the chapter "Freight Depots, Piers & Stores" on page 42, lists this location for deliveries of freight on the South Brooklyn Railway. 

   Referencing the 1916 series of E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps, no discernible structure seems to be present at 37th and Ninth Avenue that would represent a freight station as there is at 37th Street and Thirteenth Avenue. As the east end of the 36th Street Yard facility falls at 9th Avenue, perhaps at one point something was here but specifics elude us.

   Referencing 1924 Fairchild Aerial Survey Photograph and shows a structure between the tunnel portals for the Culver Line and 37th Street with two stub tracks. This might be the delivery station being referenced. By the time the 1951 Aerial Photo was taken some of those structure are gone with most of this particular area open.  

   Judging from the 1961 Raudenbush Map, it appears these two sidings are what the earlier publication is referring to.

   By the next aerial photograph available to us to examine (dated 1996) the NYCTA has constructed a long slightly curved building on this land utilizing those two stub tracks.

   This is where the original South Brooklyn Railway trackage returned to street level. After the elevateds were built; the South Brooklyn Railway would retain its right of way at street level. The BMT "Culver Shuttle" would have its transition incline to its elevated at this location. It should be noted from this location, the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line followed the same route as the South Brooklyn Railway, albeit on an elevated structure. The Culver Shuttle last ran on May 10, 1975, with South Brooklyn abandoning their street running February 1, 1978. The elevated structure and the SBK tracks underneath stood until demolition of the elevated began in August 1985.

   Since the demolition of the Culver Shuttle elevated and abandonment of the SBK street trackage, the SBK street tracks were covered over either by concrete, asphalt or in some cases simply backfilled with dirt that became hardpacked and the land was used for parking lots and storage for local industries and businesses. Before gentrification became the "buzz" word it is now, the 1990's saw the construction of multifamily dwellings along most of the former right of way between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Dahill Avenue.

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8 - 37th Street & Thirteenth Ave Delivery Station and the Greenwood Industrial Sidings:

Berkshire Structural Steel
Prospect Coal
Roberts Foods
Klein's Building Material
Phoenix Hermetic
Bay Ridge Coal
Flatbush Industrial Corp. Building
Culver Lumber "Fisher's Siding"
unnamed sidings



   The 1960 ERA and 1961 Raudenbush track maps shows several sidings in this general area to both the south and the north of the right of way.

   For clarity, we will address the property in order from west to east (Ninth Avenue to Fifteenth Avenue) with oldest map on top for a given area. Due to the different map plates, and having been stitched together for display, some images below overlap. Also, attempts has been made to scale the maps to one another, but this is not always the case. Please use caution when reviewing. 

   I also became aware of a discrepancy in the street grid in the Raudenbush Map. It shows the alignment of 37th Street to jog north between Old New Utrecht Avenue and Fifteenth Avenue. This was not the case, even evidenced by the 1906, 1916 and 1929 E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps as do the 1924 Fairchild Aerial and 1951 Aerial Photos. While I will on occasion and quite frequently question track and siding layout on the property maps, I do not question the street grid and I certainly won't dispute actual images. Needless to say, the 37th Street curbline of block 5349 remained in line with the blocks to the east (5368) and west (5301). So I have corrected the applicable segment of the Raudenbush Map below to reflect this. 

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Ninth Avenue to Fort Hamilton Parkway

   From west to east, the first siding encountered in the 1906 E. Belcher Hyde Property Map was between Ninth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway on the southern side of the right of way. This siding is for the coal yard (Lot 57).  


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1906
Volume 6, Plate 1, Volume 5, Plate 30
courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
stitched version ©2018 by author

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   This same siding is also encountered in 1916 edition of the E. Belcher Hyde Property Map.  If there is any degree of accuracy for the trackage shown in the property maps (and I almost always doubt it) the siding appears to be lengthened west to mid block to the Lot 74 property line.


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1916
Volume 2, Plate 12
courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
annotated version ©2018 by author

   By 1929, the adjoining property west to the coal yard (Lot 57) was built up and is now occupied by Berkshire Structural Steel (Lot 67). It is not confirmed that South Brooklyn Railway actually delivered to them, but they were located on the siding. 

   The siding is not shown, but believed to be hidden under the Culver Line elevated which opened to service on March 1919, and now shown on the map.


 

   We also see that a pair of sidings now joins the street trackage west of Tenth Avenue (Block 5581 - Lot 153-4) with a hoist house at the end of the northern siding.


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1929
Volume 3, Plate 57
courtesy of Historic Map Works
annotated version ©2018 by author

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Fort Hamilton Parkway to Fourteenth Avenue

   Resuming at Fort Hamilton Parkway, the tracks continue without any note of siding. But the orientation of east-west building (Block 5291 - no lot number shown but an exclamation point) and the large spaces to either side, leads us to believe it may have had rail service. A siding is shown here in the 1960 Raudenbush Map. 

   S. Klein Building Materials (Block 5295, Lot 60) was confirmed to have a siding and accompanying rail service, despite not being shown in the map below, hence the angled buildings and alleyway through to 38th Street. Klein is also listed as being a coal dealer as well. 


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1929
Volume 3, Plate 58
courtesy of Historic Map Works
annotated version ©2018 by author

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Thirteenth Avenue to Fifteenth Avenue

   According to the book "Brooklyn - A National Center of Commerce & Industry", published by the Committee on Industrial Advancement of the Brooklyn League in 1914; in the chapter "Freight Depots, Piers & Stores" on page 42, lists the location of 37th Street & Thirteenth Avenue for deliveries of freight on the South Brooklyn Railway. 

   While not shown in either the ERA map of 1960 or the Raudenbush Map in 1961, there was in fact a South Brooklyn Railway Freight Station located in Block 5301 (bound by 37th and 36th Streets and Thirteen and Old New Utrecht Avenue Avenues. This structure is shown on both 1906 and the 1916 E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps with trackage to the building. Note that there a connection for the Church Avenue trolley line to the South Brooklyn Railway trackage as well, which is not surprising given the knowledge of the streetcar delivery network.


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1906
Volume 5, Plate 29
courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
annotated version ©2018 by author

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   Block 5349 would become home to the Flatbush Industrial Building in 1922 and I have noted this in the 1916 Map. Also, the factory (Lot 45) would become Phoenix - Hermetic, which was engaged in the metal crafting trades. I have found references to them making items such as coated lithograph plate, metal covers and caps for glass jars, and other metal canning and closing items.  Their siding is not shown in this map, but is in the 1929 edition.

      Of particular note is a track in center of 37th Street. It is believed that this track was a remnant from the lead to the Thirteenth Avenue Freight House (shown in the 1916 Property Map above) and may just being used as a team track by 1960 (see next map).


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1916
Volume 5, Plate 29 

courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
annotated version ©2018 by author
added 30 June 2018

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State of New York Transit Commission -  First Annual Report
April 25, 1921 - December 31, 1921
added 05 July 2018

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   The Flatbush Industrial Corp. Building siding and Fisher's sidings were both located on the northern side of 37th Street with the turnout for the Flatbush Industrial Building facing points west and the turnout for the Fischer Siding points facing points east. Due to the confines of the property, the Fisher switch was encountered first going eastbound then the Flatbush Industrial Building switch and the tracks crossed each other on a diamond into the properties. This was a popular arrangement for rail service in tight confines as in Lot 48. While not shown, the siding for Flatbush Industrial in fact curved back west, crossed Lot 52 and ran through the open central corridor of the structure. By the Raudenbush Map, the Fisher Siding is shown as a broken line and thereby assumed to be out of service.

   Research has revealed the the original occupant of the building was H. W. Cotton and his business was the fabrication and assembly of machinery such as lathes, mills and the like. Found online is an agreement between the South Brooklyn Railway and H. W. Cotton dated September 24, 1920 for the SBK to construct and provide rail service to the building (see above).

   By the issue of the 1929 E. Belcher Hyde Property Map, Block 5301 (the SBK Freight Station) appears to be one large empty lot, and the Flatbush Industrial Building (Lot 68) is now shown along with Culver Lumber (Lot 42). Culver Lumber is listed as "Fisher's Siding" in the 1960 ERA Map. Research shows a Charles Fisher at this location engaged in the paper & allied trades in a 1963 trade journal. 

   One the south side of 37th Street, Block 5300, Lot 48 was occupied by Phoenix Hermetic and their siding is shown along the north property line of the lot. Phoenix Hermetic was in the business of manufacturing caps for glass jars, canning and sealing as well as lacquering steel and tin plates for the lithograph industry among several other things. 

   In Block 5348, it is unknown if either Anchor Corrugating Iron Works (Lot 54) received rail service.  At they were in the business of manufacturing metal shed and buildings, it seems logical rolls of steel would arrive via rail.  Bay Ridge Coal & Lumber (Lots 49 & 53) did receive rail service and is shown in the 1960 ERA as well as 1961 Raudenbush Maps. Research shows Bay ridge Coal & Lumber was incorporated by January 1922 as reported in a coal trades newsletter.

   It should be noted that while not shown, an extended storage siding and runaround track to service and switch out the customers in the area extended for two blocks between Thirteenth and Fifteenth Avenues on the south side of 37th Street and was located between the Phoenix Siding and the "main line" trackage.

   What is also not shown in the next map, is the track in the middle of 37th Street (as seen in the 1916 map above). I vaguely recall as a child in the mid 1970's, my grandfather having business in the area and a boxcar standing in front of the Flatbush Industrial Corp. Building in the middle of 37th Street. This memory stands out because I wondered in awe "how a boxcar got there and when the train would come to get it." But don't quote me on it.


1929 E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps -
Volume 3 - Plates 58, 59, 60, 123

courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
stitched version ©2018 by author

added 06 July 2018

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   Rail service to the Flatbush Industrial Building is believed to ceased with the abandonment of this portion of the line in 1978. The Flatbush Industrial Building went on to house a food packaging company and other tenants when I visited it in 2008. Part of the central alley with rail siding has seen an expansion of the structure since original construction. This building was recently renovated and upon completion in 2017; it has become a mixed use business center called "Brooklyn Square".


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      The segment for the South Brooklyn Railway from Fort Hamilton Avenue to Thirteenth Avenue that parallels the south side of 37th Street has been pretty much obliterated, with residential townhouses having been built on what was once the right of way. 


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9 - Kensington Junction.

   Upon arriving at Dahill Road the right of way begins to curve to the south, diagonally cutting the northeast corner of Cortelyou and Dahill Roads and the southeast corner of Cortelyou Road and McDonald Avenue, and finally entering the centerline of McDonald Avenue.

   This location was known as "Kensington Junction". It was here that trains could be switched to the 37th Street routing, or streetcars could continue north up Gravesend Avenue (see #10 below).


South Brooklyn Railway / Brooklyn Rapid Transit - Kensington Junction - October 19, 1915
South Brooklyn Railway right of way curving left in center of image to 37th Street, trackage from center of image to right edge lead north along Gravesend Avenue to 20th Street.
Taken prior to and presumably for the construction of the BMT Culver Shuttle / IND Culver Line elevated structure.

This photo is part of a large transit infrastructure survey series taken by the City of New York throughout the 1910's and 1920's.
I have heard rumors that most of the glass plate negatives in this series were found in dumpsters
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courtesy A. Huneke archives
added 05 July 2018

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South Brooklyn Railway Kensington Junction Tower - date?
Looking east at the back (west) wall and elevated over Gravesend Avenue.
courtesy of P. Matus

added 13 July 2010

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   Please note that McDonald Avenue was originally known as Gravesend Avenue, and had been renamed in 1933.

   Also at this location, the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line elevated (now demolished) connected with and had it's eastern terminus across the platform from the Independent Subway / IND "Sixth Avenue Line"  Line and also an elevated (which still exists).

   The South Brooklyn Railway (and Prospect Park & Coney Island RR) right of way would continue to run under this IND el in later years, which is now the NYCTA line. 

   In the early years and up to at least the mid-1950's, photographs show the tracks were not embedded in the street as we have come to expect, but in fact the trackage between intersections was typical rails on ties construction (and apparently covered in dirt) and the automobile traffic drove to the outsides of the elevated structure (where automobiles park in the present day). Presumably as railroad freight traffic decreased and automobile traffic increased, girder rail (rail with a built in flangeway made for street use, see Glossary) was laid and the right of way paved so it can be shared by train & automobile alike.


Gravesend Avenue - December 16, 1924
Looking south from Ditmas Avenue. Kensington Junction is half a block behind photographer.
Under the IND "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
E. E. Rutter photo
B. Merliss archives

added 29 December 2009

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   Viewing the 1929 edition of the E. Belcher Hyde Property Map,  there were two customers located at Kensington Junction: Rubel Ice and Coal (they had other locations throughout Brooklyn as well) and Kingsway Lumber. Research shows Kingsway Lumber filed for bankruptcy in 1932. I also recollect a building supply / lumber yard was located at this location throughout my years living in Brooklyn. 

   Ironically, the railroad may be long gone, but a brickyard and a small concrete mixing plant occupies this very same location in 2018. 


E. Belcher Hyde Map Co. Inc., 1929
Volume 3, Plate 134

courtesy of Historic Map Works
added 11 July 2018

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Kensington Junction - 1953
Looking north along McDonald Avenue (Gravesend Avenue) and
under the IND "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
with South Brooklyn Railway tracks branching to left, (former Prospect Park & Coney Island RR to right)
Compare with 1915 photo above.
unknown photographer
A. Huneke archives

added 29 December 2009

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10 - Ninth Avenue & 20th Street Depot

   A set of tracks also ran north from the Kensington Junction, up Gravesend Avenue (McDonald Avenue), turning northwest at 20th Street and ending at the Ninth Avenue & 20th Street Depot, which was the northern terminus of the Prospect Park & Coney Island RR.  

   The PP&CI was the passenger carrying railway that originally used this trackage, until Brooklyn Rapid Transit was organized and then upon insolvency, subsequently became Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit. These passenger carrying streetcars shared the trackage with the South Brooklyn Railway until 1958 when trolley service was discontinued. The carbarns at Ninth Avenue and 20th Street would be demolished circa 1960 and the property developed into Bishop Ford High School. It is now a NYC Board of Education facility.  No traces remain.

   The August 27, 1915 issue of Railway Age Gazette (Volume 59, No. 9) lists this location as a freight station for the South Brooklyn Railway, and from nthe Eppler / Linder article we now now two customers received freight here: Ansonia Clock and Maltine, Co. but little more is known about this location. 

   Continuing south from Kensington Junction, the South Brooklyn Railway right of way heads almost due south towards Coney Island.

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11 - Parkville Interchange

   At Gravesend (McDonald) Avenue and Avenue I, there was an interchange with the Bay Ridge Branch of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road.

   As the South Brooklyn Railway tracks running north/south were street trackage, as were the LIRR tracks running east/west, both crossed each other at grade. This photograph is courtesy of Bob Diamond:


South Brooklyn Railway / Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad crossing with Long Island Rail Road - 1903
Parkville, Brooklyn, NY
Looking south (towards Coney Island) on Gravesend (now McDonald) Avenue at Parkville Interchange.
Long Island Bay Ridge Branch tracks crossing from left to right.
Note string of wood freight cars in right background - they are on LIRR / SBK interchange. Parkville Station on left.
R. Diamond archives

added 24 Dec 2009

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   The Long Island Rail Road embarked on a grade crossing elimination project beginning in 1905. As part of this, the railroad excavated the Bay Ridge Branch and after 1906, the South Brooklyn Railway would now run over the subgrade NYNH&H / LIRR tracks:


South Brooklyn Railway / Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad - 1906 - Parkville, Brooklyn, NY
Looking south (towards Coney Island) on Gravesend (now McDonald) Avenue at Parkville Junction.
Long Island Bay Ridge Branch now subgrade (out of view) evidenced by bridge wall on left of photo.
R. Diamond archives

added 24 Dec 2009

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   The turnout for the interchange was south of this overpass at the "triangle" intersection of McDonald Ave (a/k/a Gravesend Avenue), Avenue I and 20th Avenue. This track connected the south and west legs of the interchange. (There was another leg connecting the south and east legs of this interchange but this was removed in 1917.)

   According to the State of New York Transit Commission of New York First Annual Report of 1921, the South Brooklyn Railway razed the Parkville Station (built in 1885, 2 1/2 story, 20' x 40' for the cost of $5,200.00.

   This location, according to Robert Emery maps of the Bay Ridge Branch courteously furnished by Steve Lynch, show the last remnants of a freight yard that existed until 1959. It was in the middle of the lead tracks for this yard that the South Brooklyn Railway would interchange at this location.

   It also appears that South Brooklyn Railway access to this location was limited to the southern most portion of the twin interchange leads, and that the South Brooklyn did not service this yard or adjacent industry spurs.


ca. 1920 - ca. 1959
R. Emery map
courtesy of S. Lynch
(modified by author and reoriented for north)

added 11 Dec 2009

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   Sometime after 1969, Penn Central Transportation Co. (or simply Penn Central) had taken over freight service on the Bay Ridge Branch from the Long Island Railroad. It is unclear at this time exactly who the Penn Central serviced along this route (we do know that Penn Central serviced G & R Packing which was located further west at 8th Avenue (through at least 1973) as well as Leeds Paper and Scheck Brothers at Parkville Interchange. Freight service would gradually diminish along this branch, as carfloating operations ceased at the Bay Ridge Yard in 1971, resulting in its being abandoned.

   In 1976, Penn Central itself would dissolve after filing for bankruptcy back in 1970. This in turn partially led to the formation of Conrail, of which would necessitate Conrail to run local freight service on the Bay Ridge Branch.

   In 1984, the Long Island Rail Road would purchase the Bay Ridge Branch from Conrail, thereby returning LIRR presence to where it had been once before.

   In 1997, the Long Island Rail Road reached a decision to privatize its freight operations. The "New York & Atlantic Railway" was organized in May 1997, and contracted with the LIRR to provide freight service in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau & Suffolk counties.

   On May 21, 1999, the City of New York awarded Bay Ridge Yard to the New York & Atlantic Railway and it is the New York & Atlantic Railway that operates the Bay Ridge Branch to this day.

   So, what does all this have to do with the South Brooklyn Railway?

   It appears from several photos (not shown here) dated January & February 1972 seen on Dave Pirmann's website www.nycsubway.org, that even during the Penn Central owned years, LIRR would transport the subway cars along the Bay Ridge Branch to Parkville Interchange for interchange with South Brooklyn Railway.


Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn NY - March 21, 1965
Looking north. Photographer is standing on Scheck Brothers Warehouse siding.
The crossing diamond is barely discernible under the snow next to the R32 and gondola.
The siding leading to the Leeds Paper Warehouse can be seen between the chain link fence and Lehigh Valley gondola.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn NY - March 21, 1965
Looking northwest. Subway cars and gondola on interchange track. Boxcars are on Bay Ridge Branch freight lead.
Property to left of concrete foundation is former location of LIRR Parkville Station Freight Yard.
D. Grotjahn photo
D. Pirmann collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - March 21, 1965
Looking northwest. Note the air reservoir in the gondola. According to Paul Strubeck, that Lehigh Valley gondola was modified
for use in hauling subway cars on Lehigh Valley trackage on mainland U.S. Why it is seen here is not known,
(considering SBK has it's own transition cars) but apparently it is capable of transition use between
standard AAR couplers (on Class 1 and SBK diesels) and the H2A type couplers on the R32's.
D. Grotjahn photo
D. Pirmann collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - February 18, 1972
Looking north. New R44's being delivered with R1 transition car (Note end of transition car is marked "MCB" for MCB coupler.
Other end of transition car will have Form 70 Walton electric coupler). Box car on left edge of photo is on Leeds Paper warehouse.
Points and turnout under lead truck of subway car lead to Scheck Brothers siding.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - March 5, 1972
Looking north-northwest and taken from the elevated platform of the Avenue I station of the IND 'F' (Sixth Avenue Local) line.
#12 on interchange track at curbline of Avenue I with Penn Central Bay Ridge Branch (ex-NYNH&H / LIRR) tracks in background.
Note boxcar at top center of photo is on "Leeds Paper" siding and gondola with pipe is on Bay Ridge Branch freight lead.
Also note the single interchange track (as opposed to twin interchange tracks and other parallel trackage) shown in Emery map above.
Telephoto compression makes length of track appear shorter than actual.
G. Povall photo
authors collection

added 18 Dec 2009


Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - March 5, 1972
Looking south-southeast. #12 on interchange track at curbline of Avenue I with
McDonald Avenue (
IND "Culver / Sixth Avenue" elevated line) in background.
G. Povall photo
authors collection

added 18 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - April 23, 1975
Looking north-northwest and taken from the elevated platform of the Avenue I station of the IND 'F' (Sixth Avenue Local) line.
Unidentified NYCTA diesels at head of train of R46's. The red Plymouth Valiant is the official "SBK escort" car for street running. 
S. Zabel photo
D. Pirmann collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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   It is also inferred (but not confirmed) that South Brooklyn Railway would also provide occasional freight service to the tenants of that weirdly shaped building (Leeds Paper & Scheck Brothers) at the Parkville Interchange, as photos taken in 1972 exist of freight cars on these sidings with an South Brooklyn Railway locomotive in view and apparently performing switching services..

   This Leeds / Scheck structure is quite unique and the north wall was gull winged, as the walls actually curved to accommodate the unique "criss cross" arrangement of the siding tracks. The curved walls may be seen in a bing.com aerial photo:


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   As of January 26, 2010; this structure was in the process of being razed (see photo in remnants chapter).

   Returning to the "mainline" of the South Brooklyn Railway, the right of way would continue south towards Coney Island following McDonald Avenue to Kings Highway, where both the McDonald Avenue and the South Brooklyn Railway jogs a little to the west.

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12 - Avenue S & McDonald Avenue - Flatbush Coal & Oil - Gravesend

   There was a coal dealer located between Kings Highway and Avenue S. Heading south on the southbound track (west side of the street), the train would encounter a trailing point turnout and a spur led into and under the coal silos of Flatbush Coal & Oil.

   I am deeply indebted to Ben Schaeffer for recording the name of the industry, as for many years now it has bothered me that I could not remember for myself! As I lived just a few blocks away, I was always intrigued with the operation, but the short-sightedness of my youth precluded me from taking note of the name. I distinctly recall seeing the "4 pack" coal silos looming above the Avenue S entrance/exit of the Kings Highway Station of the F train. As I lived on Avenue S (and East 8th Street), this was my stop and I used it frequently.

   This turnout's arrangement was so a locomotive and train heading south (on the southbound track) could pull past the turnout with a cut of hoppers full of coal, where a trainman would throw the point and then the locomotive could then reverse direction and push the hoppers into the Flatbush Coal & Oil spur and under the silos. Presumably there was a "between the rails" pit, where the coal could then be unloaded and a conveyor would carry the coal to the top of the silos where it could be dispensed.



E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1929
Volume 4, Plate 137
courtesy of Historic Map Works
annotated version ©2018 by author
added 11 July 2018
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   After researching 1916 E Belcher Hyde Property Maps, I took note that this location was originally William F. Voorhie's Grain Elevators. A track connection or siding is not shown at that time (see below). 

   This leads me to wonder if the Voorhies Grain Elevators been used for storing feed for the horses for the Brooklyn Jockey Club, which at that time was pretty much across Gravesend Avenue from the Gravesend Race Track and the stables one and a half blocks south?

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13 - Avenue U & Gravesend (McDonald) Avenue Delivery Station - Gravesend

   According to the book "Brooklyn - A National Center of Commerce & Industry" as published by the Committee on Industrial Advancement of the Brooklyn League in 1914; in the chapter Freight Depots, Piers & Stores on page 42, lists this location for deliveries of freight on the South Brooklyn Railway.

   It is unclear if a team track, a platform or a full freight station was located here; and once again, by the issue date of the 1961 Raudenbush Map does not reflect any presence here, so we might conclude it was long gone by that date.

   In referencing the 1916 E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps for this area (seen at right); it was learned there were rather lengthy sidings between Kings Highway and Avenue U along Gravesend Avenue for the "lay up" of the "Brooklyn Jockey Club Specials" that the Long Island Rail Road ran to bring passengers and spectators to the Gravesend Race Track events.

   These trains are well documented on Art Huneke's website:

Brooklyn Jockey Club / Gravesend Race Track 

   and these LIRR steam trains were in addition to the regular scheduled streetcars & trolleys operating along Gravesend Avenue.

   Interestingly enough, one of the three sidings (the east most) is dramatically shorter than the others. Whether this is of any significance remains to be seen.

   After viewing this map, this author had a epiphany. What if (and this is strictly conjecture here), the Brooklyn Jockey Club itself was the delivery station?

   That book mentioned above lists it as a "delivery station" and not a "freight station" as other stations are listed on the South Brooklyn Railway. Could the difference in description be that this location was in fact a receiving station only for the Brooklyn Jockey Club, for items such as grain, hay and other commodities required for the operation of the Gravesend Race Track?

    It is very doubtful there would have been any type of outgoing freight from a horse racing track per se other than the passengers at the end of the events, except for maybe manure and perhaps the 'has been' mounts enroute to the glue or dog food factories. Just kidding!

   While is a small isolated structure on the northeast corner of Avenue U and Gravesend that I have noted in the map at right, but its size doesn't lead me to believe it was actually the delivery station. All other building in the area and south of Avenue U, appear to be row buildings.

   By the next series of E. Belcher Hyde property atlases are issued in 1929 (excerpt shown below), the entire Gravesend Race Track is gone and the street grid being built to plan.

   But yet, two of sidings show in the 1916 Map have been cut back to stub tracks ending at Avenue T. Perhaps this would be the impetus to install a delivery station at this location? 

   Fortunately, we can see in the 1924 Fairchild Aerial Photo, several freight cars shown on the sidings. This was after the Gravesend Race Track was demolished, the street grid completed and residential housing being constructed, as we can still see the turf oval of the racetrack in quite a few of the unimproved and empty lots. 

   Needless to say, the exact location and any information of whatever "delivery station" that was in fact at this location is sorely needed.


1924 Fairchild Aerial Survey Photo
original photo courtesy of New York City Department of Information, Technology & Telecommunications
annotated version ©2018 by author
annotated by author
added 11 July 2018


E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1916
Volume 2, Plate 12
courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Archives
annotated version ©2018 by author
added 30 June 2018


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E. Belcher Hyde Property Map - 1929

Volume 4, Plate 138

courtesy of Historic Map Works

annotated version ©2018 by author

added 30 June 2018

14 - PP&CI Culver Yard and NYCTA Coney Island Yard & Shops

   Over its history, the South Brooklyn Railway would come to have at least three different locations in Coney Island that it would call home to its freight house, and we will address them in chronological order.

   The first of these would be located at the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad's Culver Station. 
This streetcar depot also had a yard and turning loops for the trolleys. We know by viewing both the 1907 Hyde Property Map below and the 1924 Fairchild Aerial photo that this location also had various sidings for local industries throughout its existence. I think it can be safely surmised that the South Brooklyn Railway (as freight agent for the Brooklyn Rapid Transit and owner of the PP&CI) service this industries.

 

1907 E. Belcher Hyde Property Map
courtesy of New York Public Library Digital Collection
annotated version ©2018 by author

added 11 July 2018

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   In 1909, the South Brooklyn Railway filed an application with the Public Service Commission to discontinue using the freight building at the Culver Yard, Coney Island. This freight station, which was owned by the Long Island Rail Road and operated the PP&CI RR; and was stated to be in dilapidated condition. As a result, the South Brooklyn Railway wished to relocate about 1000 feet to a new freight house on the property of the Sea Beach Railway between West 8 and West 12th Streets: 

   The right image below, reflects the trackage on the Culver Terminal from the June 11, 1904 trade journal "Street Railway Journal". While not specifically mentioned, it gives us an a detailed visual reference of the 'new' Culver Yard & Depot. It is believed that the "dilapidated freight house" in question is on the spur marked "To Long Island RR Freight Yard" on the left edge just south of the Sheepshead Bay Road grade crossing, but this is not confirmed. 

   The left image is the 1924 Fairchild Aerial Survey Photo below (annotated by the author). This image, while showing more than the basic area pertaining to the South Brooklyn Railway, was deemed beneficial as it shows the various locations used throughout the history of operations of the South Brooklyn Railway in relationship to one another and in one image.


1924 Fairchild Aerial Survey Photo
courtesy of New York City Department of Information, Technology & Telecommunications
annotated by author

added 11 July 2018

image to right: June 11, 1904 Street Railway Journal
Google Books
added 11 July 2018

   When completed in 1920, the IND "Culver / Sixth Avenue" elevated line and (now the present  ) would come to dissect the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad Culver Yard.

   As originally built, the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad right of way (and with it the route that South Brooklyn Railway followed) veered a bit to the east at Avenue X and Gravesend Avenue and came out from under the Culver elevated. This route took it through undeveloped land and tidal marsh back in those days, and it was built upon fill with a small trestle crossing the Coney Island Creek (before it was filled in). 

   Also, at the intersection of Gravesend (McDonald) Avenue and Avenue X, the name of McDonald Avenue changes to Shell Road. And, upon being built in 1926, the southwest corner of this intersection begins the Coney Island Shops of the New York City Transit Authority. 

   At some point between the construction and opening of the Coney Island Yards & Shops in 1926 and 1929, the South Brooklyn Railway relocated to this location. By the publication of the 1929 edition of the E. Belcher Hyde Property Maps; the BMT Coney Island Yards are shown. But more importantly a subyard is shown connected to the Shell Road street trackage. And this would become the South Brooklyn Railway Coney Island Yard, if it is not already.


1929 E. Belcher Hyde Property Map
courtesy of Historic Map Works
annotated version ©2018 by author

added 11 July 2018


   Also, it bears noting, that after the construction of the Coney Island Shops and Yard in 1926, the streetcar trackage of the was also realigned a few hundred feet to the west to follow the newly constructed Shell Road (and which would continue under the Culver el for another few blocks south). The reason for this being the tidal marshes were filled in to the east of Shell Road with residential housing being constructed in the adjacent areas.

   In this next image, the 1951 Aero Service Corp Aerial Photo; we can see the Coney Island Shops and Yards and where the SBK would have its southern terminal. We can also compare the topography of the area, namely the filling in of the tidal marshes and the truncation of the Coney Island Creek allowing the Coney Island Shops to be built.


1951 Aero Service Corp Aerial Photo
annotated by author
added 11 July 2018



   
   Quick side note: the official name of this vast facility is "Coney Island Rapid Transit Car Overhaul Shop". It is the largest rapid transit yard in New York State as well as one of the largest in all of the United States. All told, it covers in excess of it covers 75 acres. There is very little that cannot be done at the Coney Island Complex, and not only is the vast roster of revenue subway cars repaired & overhauled here, but also the diesel work locomotives and maintenance of way equipment, and the rolling stock that makes up the NYCTA Museum Collection, including the South Brooklyn Railway steeplecab electric locomotives #5, #6 and #7.

   The Shell Road routing of the South Brooklyn Railway actually bypasses the Coney Island Shop structures, and arrives at a facing point turnout on Shell Road between the intersections of Avenue Y and Cobek Court (#1 and #2 in the left diagram below). Taking the diverging track (heading south) from this turnout would lead into the South Brooklyn Railway Yard. Freight service did not extend past this turnout by this time. Continuing straight would lead to a trolley loop located on West 6th Street (and to the former PP&CI Culver Yard). Again, keep in mind that by this date the South Brooklyn Railway was no longer engaged in street car delivery or less than car load delivery and the only "customer" here was the NYCTA.

   Once the South Brooklyn Railway train has entered their yard and passed over turnout #3, this turnout would be thrown and the train would reverse direction and proceed north into the Coney Island Shop trackage. This "switchback" maneuver is shown in the left image below. 

   Please take note: the track work of the South Brooklyn Railway Yard seen in the left image was partially "reconstructed" from examining a 1954 aerial photo seen on historicaerials.com. It appears a significant amount of trackage was "in the dirt" and barely viewable, so the possibility of more trackage at this location exists. 

   In the right image below, the original South Brooklyn Railway yard lead track into the Coney Island Shop track can be seen, and it is represented by the number 4 in the diagram at left. The resurfacing of Shell Road and subsequent reconstruction and expansion of the Coney Island Facility, made this location in the photo the ad hoc end of track.


April 2008 - South Brooklyn Railway yard lead at Coney Island Yard
(looking northeast at intersection of Shell Road and Avenue Y)
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

"switchback" track arrangement for
South Brooklyn Railway trains to enter
Coney Island Yard
added 15 Dec 2009

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15 - Bedford Car Load Freight Station

   On 10 July 2010, I was doing research for the Union Inland Freight Station in Manhattan. I took out my 1943 Map of Railroad & Terminal Facilities in the Port of New York, and after referencing the Union Inland Freight Station, I began to "explore".

   I took note of a solitary facility way out in the middle of Bushwick, Brooklyn. It shows simply "Bedford, S. Bklyn" and the location is noted as being Car Load Delivery. The problem here is, there is no trackage to this location!


1943 Map of Railroad & Terminal Facilities in the Port of New York
authors collection

added 10 July 2010

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   Originally, when this page was first composed, there was no reference to this location anywhere else and as far as I have searched. At that time, I could only come to the following hypothesis as to the purpose of this location:

1)  it was served by electric streetcar, or
2)  it was part of the South Brooklyn Railway's door to door motor freight.

   Ongoing research conducted in 2018, now revealed some interesting information on this location. As it would happen, this location was the premises of Arabol Manufacturing at 56 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Upon reading a very lengthy testimony transcript contained within the Notice of Appeals for the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court; Brooklyn Heights Railroad  v. Alfred Steers dated March 1912, it is revealed that the Arabol Manufacturing Company acted as freight agent (as well as being a customer themselves) for several local businesses in conjunction with the South Brooklyn Railway. 

   According to photographs contained in the exhibits, this location had a sign "Bedford Freight Station - South Brooklyn Railway" and businesses that utilized this "freight station" include Amid Duron (in the same building with Amadol), Charles Froeb (wholesale distributor of wines & liquors) and J. W. Oelerich (food packaging). 

   Upon reading this transcript, this Mr. Steers had brought suit against the South Brooklyn Railway / Brooklyn Heights Railroad for blocked the sidewalk with freight cars on a spur that ran into the Amadol property. (It is both sad and refreshing to see that "NIMBYism" dates way back and is not particular to this modern era of litigiousness!)

   So at least we now know something about this Bedford Freight Station and are slightly relieved that we were correct with out first option above. And, I think it can be safely concluded that service to this location would have concluded with the cessation of streetcar traffic.

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16) Motor truck delivery service

   As it turns out, I might just be closer to figuring out the actual purpose for the Bedford location above, than I realized. By referencing a particular paragraph in the article below, an unusual facet of South Brooklyn Railway's operation comes to light:


excerpt from March 1955 issue of "Transit Magazine"
collection of Joseph D. Korman

added 10 July 2010

   
   Coincidentally, in the chapter discussing the South Brooklyn Railway, it is mentioned on page 75 of "Railroads of New York" by G. W. O'Connor (Simmons Boardman Publishing, 1949):

   "It also operates a fleet of trucks."

   We know now that the South Brooklyn Railway contracted with Horstmann trucking, this is discussed a little more at length in the Customers Chapter. 

   With this "Bedford" location still shown on the 1949 edition of the New York Harbor Terminals Map, but no longer shown on the 1951 edition or subsequent issues of the New York Harbor Terminals Map; the exact year this facility was closed now appears even clearer, however the exact year that South Brooklyn Railway motor truck delivery ceased remained unknown. It is my foregone conclusion that the reason service stopped is that this service become superfluous with the widespread use of the private motor truck.


Rerouting Throughout the Years

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Original Route:
39th Street / 37th Street / Kensington Junction / Gravesend Avenue to Culver Terminal

(inception to 1926)

Original Route:
39th Street / 37th Street / Kensington Junction / Gravesend/McDonald Avenue to Coney Island Yard & Shops
(1926-1978)



    According to Jay Bendersky's book "Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways"; on February 1, 1978, the South Brooklyn Railway ceased operations on the portion of trackage south of Fort Hamilton Parkway, including the trackage between Dahill Road and Avenue I along McDonald Avenue.

   Also, according to an email received on 09 January 2010 from Dan C. he states:

"I lived near McDonald Avenue from 1960 to 1990. McDonald Avenue was reconstructed in 1978. It was at that time that the tracks were removed from the rebuilt LIRR overpass between Foster Avenue and Elmwood Avenue. Tracks were also removed at the intersection with Avenue X / 86th Street. These removals severed the connection. But for some unknown reason the now useless tracks were left in the street on McDonald Avenue while the outer lanes were properly torn up and rebuilt. When I left Brooklyn in 1990 the tracks were still there. If I remember correctly, they were paved over by 1992 and have been subsequently ripped out of the roadbed by the NYCDOT.

Even stranger was that in 1979 the NYCDOT painted Railroad Crossing indicators on the pavement of all the streets crossing McDonald even though by then it was by then impossible for trains to run there. They also put up little Railroad Crossing inventory tags on the pillars of the el. Maybe some of them are still there."

   His email caused me to recollect the fresh "R X R" pavement markings, so this may be my source for believing the McDonald Avenue trackage was still in service. But, with that Avenue X / McDonald Avenue trackage removed, it would have been impossible for trains to access the Coney Island Rapid Transit Car Overhaul Shop, (or more simply: "the Coney Island Shops") and Coney Island Yard via McDonald Avenue trackage.

   While I originally understood the right of way to have been shut down in two phases (36th Street Yard to Avenue I and Parkville Junction to Coney Island Yard), a lengthy telephone conversation with Ben Schaeffer; his information shows my understanding to be faulty, as the entire South Brooklyn Railway right of way from the east exit of the 36th Street Yard to Coney Island Yard being shut down at the same time. (Therefore I now believe that the street markings of R X R are what is causing me to think of a two segment shutdown.)

   According to Ben, the last movement of any kind on the southern segment (Parkville Interchange to Coney Island Yard) was Sperry Car #402 being brought from Coney Island Yard to Parkville Junction on Thursday, January 31, 1978. On that same day, Conrail BR-1 (Oak Point Yard, Bronx to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn) dropped several cars for pick up by South Brooklyn Railway at Parkville Interchange.

   The next day; on Friday, February 1, 1978; South Brooklyn Railway removed those few cars from Parkville and brought them points north along the Kensington Junction to 36-38th Street Yard segment. After this last movement, all street trackage between the 36-38th Street Yard and the Coney Island Yard including 37th Street and McDonald Ave was embargoed. The reason for this embargo was for the anticipated resurfacing of McDonald Avenue.

   In July of 1978, the New York City Department of Transportation sent a crew to apply the "RXR" pavement markings at each intersection as compliant with highway safety regulations. Ironically about the same time, a notice for abandonment was filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission by the South Brooklyn Railway to abandoned its trackage south of Fort Hamilton Parkway.

   To the best of Ben's recollection, on or about August 1981 the abandonment was approved. In approximately 1983, the McDonald Avenue overpass over the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch was scheduled for reconstruction. When it was rebuilt, street trackage was not part of the new design. This author distinctly remembers the tracks embedded in McDonald Avenue abruptly ending on both the north and south sides of the new overpass, but no tracks in the newly poured concrete of the overpass itself! This was before I became a historian, and I also recalled saying to myself "what idiot designed this? How will the South Brooklyn Railway use the McDonald Ave trackage!?!?" (Not realizing at that time the SBK street trackage along McDonald Avenue had been abandoned.) 

   No matter, as no train had or would ever transverse the trackage, since 1978 or would again. Most of the trackage on McDonald Avenue did remain embedded yet visible in the street for many years to come. 

   Due to the lobbying of Dov Hikind, a local Brooklyn assemblyman; the trackage along McDonald Avenue was at first simply paved over. The Parkville Interchange was in his district, and I believe it was stated in his proposal, that the:

      At some point during the 1990's, that resurfacing had grown dilapidated and to so effect a proper job, the now buried rails needed to be excavated and new substrate laid. And so McDonald Avenue was completely torn up, the rails removed and the thoroughfare resurfaced.

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   Also, it is interesting to note that some of the neighborhood Italian elders used the South Brooklyn Railway tracks north of Kensington Junction as a boccie court with the rails serving at out of boundary markings. As dirt and mud packed between the rails and hardened, it was found to be ideal for playing boccie. These boccie courts were even appointed with removable backstops, so that when that occasional train would venture down the line, the elders would simply remove the backstop to allow the train to pass. As train speeds were only a few miles an hour and as the elders had long since established a relationship with the locomotive crews, there were never any issues! 

Alternate Route 1 (red):
NYCTA BMT West End Line - Coney Island Shops Routing:
1916 - present (especially post-1978) and 2012-2013

   Following the abandonment of street trackage south of Fort Hamilton Parkway including McDonald Avenue in 1978;  the main route for the transport of subway rolling stock and MOW matériel on flatcars and in gondolas is along the existing elevated trackage. This route would take South Brooklyn movements via the BMT "West End Line" elevated (currently the  train) along New Utrecht & Stillwell Avenues and into the Coney Island Rapid Transit Car Overhaul Shop, (or more simply: "the Coney Island Shops"). 

   The Coney Island Shops are one of only two major overhaul facilities for all the subway equipment in New York City (the other major overhaul shop being 207th Street in Uptown Manhattan). Staten Island Railway equipment is also repaired at the Coney Island Shops, but must be trucked over the Verrazano Bridge.

   Returning to the routing, it must also be understood that with this routing, two factors have to be kept in mind when using the West End Line elevated:

1) There are clearance restrictions due to platforms and station canopies that prevent larger freight cars (i.e. boxcars), so movements via this route are mainly comprised of just subway cars, flatcars & gondolas. 
2) Non-revenue train movements of the type that South Brooklyn Railway handles would have to be dovetailed into the off-peak schedules of those regular subway trains.

   This South Brooklyn Railway routing enters this elevated trackage at the east end of the 36-38th Street Yard (just a couple of tracks south of where they used to enter street running on their former route along 37th Street). It is here that South Brooklyn Railway trains would be switched from yard trackage to the "mainline" of the West End Line, (which circumvents the 36-38th Street Yard for its continuous and unhindered routing under Fourth Avenue).

   An inclined transition from the subgrade trackage to the elevated had been constructed in 1916 with the construction of the West End Line elevated.

   This route is shown in red in the map above.

Alternate Route 2 (green):
Bush Terminal / Second Avenue / First Avenue / Brooklyn Army Terminal / Bay Ridge Branch / Linden Shops
1987 - ca. 1990's, 2012

   In 1987, it was discovered that the Williamsburg Bridge was in dire need of major repairs and required emergency repairs. This required closing the bridge to both vehicular traffic and transit services. As closing the bridge would isolate some of Northern Brooklyn's subway lines, access would still be needed to get subway equipment in need of maintenance & repair to and from the NYCTA's Coney Island Rapid Transit Car Overhaul Shop, more easily called "the Coney Island Shops". So, on or about October 1987, the South Brooklyn Railway entered into an agreement with Long Island Rail Road (both entities being operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority).

   This agreement allowed for the South Brooklyn Railway to operate over Long Island Rail Roads' Bay Ridge Branch between the hours of 19:00 and 03:00 (thats 7:00 pm and 3:00 am for those of you who cannot read 24 hour / military time). This route allows movements from the LIRR Bay Ridge Yard to the NYCTA Linden Shops or Canarsie Yard, both located in East New York.  It would also require the South Brooklyn Railway to operate on New York Cross Harbor Railroad trackage under a separate agreement, as well. All told the route was very arduous to say the least.

   A South Brooklyn Railway test train was scheduled, and the route was as follows:

From Coney Island Yard, north up the West End Line (currently the NYCTA  train),
switch off the West End Line at the SBK switch between 4th and 5th Avenues,
west through the Third Avenue & 38th Street Yard, to Second Avenue and 39th Street.
Here, the South Brooklyn Railway would switch upon and turn south onto the New York Cross Harbor Railroad trackage on Second Avenue at "Bush Interchange",
south for two blocks along Second Avenue to 41st Street and curve under the corner of the warehouse (of which so many photos are taken),
turn west down 41st Street for one block to First Avenue turning south again,
South along First Avenue to 58th Street,
through the Brooklyn Army Terminal to Long Island Rail Road Bay Ridge Yard and turning east onto the LIRR Bay Ridge Division. 
From here, up to either the Linden Shops (for track & structures) or to a point just north of the BMT Canarsie Line New Lots Avenue Subway Station Train,
A reverse move was necessary to switch onto the Canarsie Line  Line and finally
entering into the East New York Yard. 

   Even after the Williamsburg Bridge was rehabilitated, the South Brooklyn Railway would still see use of the Bay Ridge Branch (see Memoirs), and would still utilize it today if need be.

   

   The original plan, as part of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal reconstruction had the South Brooklyn Railway's 39th Street Yard between Second and First Avenues being ceded to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal property. 

   It also had the South Brooklyn Railway now interchanging with New York New Jersey Rail (the successor to New York Cross Harbor Railroad) at South Brooklyn Railway's 38th Street Yard between Third & Fourth Avenue (two blocks east of the original interchange point) but this is not shown in the diagram. Matter of fact, none of South Brooklyn Railways trackage was represented and their39th Street Yard is shown as "green space".


November 28, 2007 presentation by New York City Economic Development Corp (NYCEDC)
to ASICMA on "Infrastructure in New York City"

     As such, it seem to be that New York New Jersey Rail would have operating rights on the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal trackage, proceeding across Second Avenue, utilize the trackage adjacent to Costco, cross Third Avenue and possibly interchange with South Brooklyn Railway at the South Brooklyn Railway's 38th Street Yard.

   It appears by 2012, that plan had changed. Information now handed down to the author now had the South Brooklyn Railway interchanging with the New York New Jersey Rail at First Avenue & 39th Street, one block west of the original interchange point, following a complete restructuring of the track layout.

   The graphic below has the yard trackage for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal still oriented for north / south (and of which the former SBK 39th Street Yard is currently oriented east / west), but with the tracks moved to the eastern boundary of the property instead of running up the center. And with that revised track entrance being located at 39th Street and First Avenue providing access into the yard for New York New Jersey Rail and allowing an interchange with South Brooklyn Railway.

   This original graphic below was originally from the "Sunset Park Vision Plan" of 2009 and was modified by the author to reflect all changes prior to May 2012.

   As the proposed reconstruction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal shows trackage splitting east and west from a First Avenue and 39th Street access point, this arrangement would have effectively dissected the original South Brooklyn Railway 39th Street Yard. Therefore, this South Brooklyn Railway Yard was removed in its entirety to facilitate the new trackage alignment.

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The new NYNJ Rail South Brooklyn Interchange:
2012 - present


   In 2006, the New York Cross Harbor Railroad became New York New Jersey Rail also known as NYNJ Rail. Also about that time, the NYNJ Rail welded the turnout point located at First Avenue and 41st Street for the First Avenue alignment. This weld prevented New York New Jersey Rail traffic or South Brooklyn Railway traffic from using 41st Street to Second Avenue and then to the Bush Interchange where interchange at Second Avenue & 39th Street could take place.

   In short, the SBK was now isolated at Second Avenue and 39th Street. Therefore the transfer of any freight traffic (if any!) from NYNJ Rail to SBK now had to go through the Brooklyn Army Terminal and to the Long Island Rail Road / New York & Atlantic Railway Bay Ridge Yard to NYCTA Linden Shops for transfer anywhere else in the NYCTA System. Until 2012, it was not an issue as NYCTA was not receiving any freight traffic or equipment via rail from NYNJ Rail.
   
   This would change in 2012. When the order for the twenty-eight new R156 work locomotives (MotivePower MP8AC-3) was proposed, a way was needed to transfer those locomotives to the NYCTA / South Brooklyn Railway. As NYNJ Rail was already revamping its track structure, and as part of the New York City Economic Development Corporations' Sunset Park Improvement Plan, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal was being reconstructed. So, the opportunity presented itself for a new interchange with shallower radius curves and heavier rail as well as eliminating the sharp reverse curves encountered previously along the 41st Street routing. 

   The NYNJ Rail "main" was continued north along First Avenue for one more block to 39th Street (it previously ended mid-block between 41st and 39th Streets at a large industry), then turning gradually to the east to a turnout where the track would split to either a multi-track siding serving the the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal or connect with the South Brooklyn Railway. This new interchange was no more than one city block west of the old "Bush Interchange" but it so dramatically eased the curvature of the track alignment.

   Unfortunately, this new interchange was not ready for use by May 1, 2012 when the first locomotive (0L912) of the new order arrived for the NYCTA. It would be the second locomotive delivered that would have the honor of being the first NYNJ Rail / SBK interchange to utilize this new interchange!



SBK N2 / N1 & NYCTA RD 411 / 0L912 - MotivePower Incorporated R156 move - May 1, 2012 (and other R156 arrivals)
.

   On May 1, 2012, the first locomotive in the 28 unit order for a new low emission diesel-electric work locomotive that had been placed by New York City Transit  / Metropolitan Transportation Authority was delivered to the NYCTA Linden Yard is Brooklyn., NY

  The locomotive was transported on her own trucks, but loaded upon an TTX Corp 64' specialty flat car HTTX #91796, and transported from MotivePower Inc.; in Boise, Idaho. It should be noted that HTTX 91796 is a 64' flatcar (which was specified by the NYCTA for delivery of these locomotives). This length flat car (or lack there) of would come into play in a future delivery.

   Two interesting tidbits, for this locomotive not SBK related:

1) The next number available for NYCTA work locomotives was to be 911. However, this became a sensitive number due to the 9/11 Terror attacks in 2001. So, the 911 number was skipped over, leaving 912 to be the next available number in sequence.
2) Technically, the locomotive number assigned to this first locomotive is 0L912  ("Zero El Nine One Two" not "Oh El Nine One Two". "Zero El Nine One Three" would be next, et al) Inside sources confirm this, despite the wrong character used in lettering!

  John Dooley posted the following image confirming this locomotives arrival in Bush Terminal via New York New Jersey Rail carfloat and subsequent haulage down First Avenue to the NY&A / LIRR interchange at 65th Street / Bay Ridge: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?133502.


First Avenue & 53rd Street, Brooklyn, NY - May 1, 2012
NYNJ Rail #1133 w/ NYCTA OL912 enroute to 65th Street / Bay Ridge Yard interchange with New York & Atlantic Rwy.
John Dooley photo
used with permission
added 03 May 2012

   NYNJ Rail brought the locomotive into Brooklyn via carfloat at their 50th Street float bridge and hauled it along First Avenue, through the Brooklyn Army Terminal to the 65th Street / Bay Ridge Yard. Here it was interchanged with the New York & Atlantic Railway who picked it up in 65th Street / Bay Ridge Yard and made final delivery at NYCTA Linden Shops via the Bay Ridge Branch.

   From there, South Brooklyn Railway locomotives N2, N1 and NYCTA rider car RD411 brought 0L912 through the BMT system to the NYCTA Coney Island Shops for final calibration and testing. Click on screenshot below to watch video:


SBK #N2, NYCTA #0L912, NYCTA Rider Car #RD411 and SBK #N1
coming through DeKalb Avenue Station in Brooklyn, being push (N1) / pull (N2) South Brooklyn Railway locomotives
video by Trevor Logan, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

added 03 May 2012

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   A new unloading ramp was constructed and installed at Linden Shops to unload 0L912 from its flatcar. After 0L912 was unloaded, the unloading ramp was relocated from Linden Shops to the Third Avenue & 38th Street "Unloading" Yard by May 20, 2012. The new unloading ramp was placed where the old subway car unloading ramp once stood.

   Before delivery of the next locomotive however (and as previously mentioned above), a notable event took place: the new interchange turnout between SBK and NYNJ Rail (now located at First Avenue and 39th Street) was tested January 2013 and activated. This "reconnection" allowed rail traffic to be directly interchanged between NYNJ Rail and the SBK once again and without involvement on the New York & Atlantic Railway. 

0L913 arrives - February 7, 2013

  The next locomotive to arrive: 0L913 arrived in Brooklyn on February 7, 2013. It too came in via carfloat by NYNJ Rail and was brought to Bush Terminal Yard. Here South Brooklyn Railway locomotives N1, N2, a transition car and a flatcar were dispatched to haul the 0L913 on its flatcar to the unloading ramp at Third Avenue and 38th Street, where 0L913 was then unloaded. 

   After unloading, the empty flat car was returned to NYNJ Rail. Incidentally and according to Ben Schaeffer, that flat car has the honor of being the last interchanged freight car to cross Third Avenue on the South Brooklyn Railway as of the June 2018 update to this website.

0L914 arrives (twice!) - March 21, 2013

   On March 21, 2013, the third locomotive of the order: 0L914 arrived. And here was where a problem arose. Remember in previous chapters above it being mentioned that the locomotives were specified to be shipped on 64' flatcars? 

   Well, 0L914 came in on a 89 footer XTTX 14278 due to the unavailability of a 64 footer. NYNJ Rail unloaded the flatcar from the carfloat with the locomotive on it and brought it to Bush Terminal Yard, where a NYCTA crew was waiting waiting to take delivery using two standard R52 TA work locomotives [GE 45ton]: #77 and 76  (and not SBK N1 or N2) as well as two idler flatcars: OF616 and OF609. 

   The load was spotted by NYNJ Rail, the NYCTA crew coupled onto the load and away they went, enroute to the unloading ramp at Third Avenue and 38th Yard. Lo and behold, the flatcar would not navigate the curve approaching Third Avenue! And this being on the fairly recently installed (ca. 1995) trackage around Costco property perimeter... This new trackage was designed and tested to handle 75' subway cars, and it was not anticipated that very long modern freight cars would need to traverse the line..

   Upon this discovery, the NYCTA crew calls the NYCTA MOW Department, who rushed over to the Third Avenue and 38th St "Unloading" Yard, disassembled the new unloading ramp, transported it (disassembled) to NYNJ Rail's  Bush Terminal Yard and reassembled it. Once that was accomplished, the NYCTA train crew returned to Bush Terminal Yard with the flatcar and locomotive load and they proceed to unload it. And thanks to this, 0L914 would become the first new R156 to be "delivered" on its own wheels via the South Brooklyn Railway!

   It was at this time that the powers that be wisely decided it would be best to keep unloading the subsequent locomotive deliveries at Bush Terminal Yard, and thereby eliminating the possibility of a repeat of this situation as well as the necessity of having the following locomotives shipped only on 64' flatcars. 

   We are fortunate to now share a video of this particular move. The video was filmed by Zack Summer and posted on YouTube: 

MTA NYC Subway R156 Diesel Train Delivery via South Brooklyn

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   The next three locomotives and their arrival dates are as follows:   

   with others coming in fairly regularly (and no longer worthy railfan news!) with delivery completed about end of June.

   After the final locomotive was delivered, the unloading ramp was removed from the track and set aside in Bush Terminal Yard where it remains. 

   No further movements have taken place on South Brooklyn Railway trackage to date.

RETURN TO INDEX




Current & Future Operations

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   Since 1994, with the closing of the Davidson Pipe Yard, the South Brooklyn Railway has had no other general freight customers other than the NYCTA, if you would even call the NYCTA a customer - as it is more of a "parent organization".

   While the South Brooklyn Railway is still theoretically in operation as a freight subsidiary to the New York City Transit Authority, it has not hauled new inbound subway cars or outbound obsolete subway cars for scrapping or rebuilding to or from either Bush Terminal Yard (or the NYCTA East New York Shops via the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch) since.


1983 - new NYCTA #L899 and L900 [General Electric SL50] locomotives being delivered to 39th Street Yard (between First and Second Avenues
Brooklyn, NY
M. DeLuca photo
collection of P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck
added 02 July 2018

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Bombardier R62A Subway Cars ('A' Division - IRT ) at 39th Street Yard (between First and Second Avenues waiting to be brought to the 38th Street "Unloading" Yard
Brooklyn, NY
M. DeLuca photo
collection of P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck
added 02 July 2018

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   After hauling the last R156 work locomotives in 2013, there have been no other South Brooklyn Railway movements. Unless other new subway equipment is scheduled to arrive via New York New Jersey Rails' carfloats, or via New York & Atlantic Railway at 65th Street; the South Brooklyn Railway has no work other than internally with the NYCTA System, and its two locomotives work alongside the myriad of other work equipment of the NYCTA. 

   Sadly, the maroon and silver paint of locomotives N1 and N2 is fading and peeled, and it is uncertain if it even warrants the TA in repainting them in SBK colors. More likely than not, what with the arrival of the new R156's, the GE 47 tonners quite simply, are tired. They were built in 1975, and have been rebuilt at least once since then. But, if there is any justice in the world - and someone of authority in the NYCTA reads this; please save one (or both!) and keep it with SBK steeplecabs #6 & 7 in Coney Island Yard!

   What does the future hold for the South Brooklyn Railway? This is a good question. Without a definitive answer. As we have seen throughout history after the cessation of carload and less than carload delivery by South Brooklyn Railway, the South Brooklyn solely serves its parent organization, the New York City Transit Authority. 

   And if there is nothing to haul, it exists in name only.

RETURN TO INDEX

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LIRR caboose C60 move by South Brooklyn Railway - April 4/5, 2009

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   On April 4, 2009; the Twin Forks Chapter of the National Railway Historic Society lent their recently restored Long Island Rail Road N22a "C60" caboose to the New York City Transit Museum located in downtown Brooklyn.

   The New York City Transit Authority's Transit Museum held an exhibit: "The Route of the Dashing Commuter: The Long Island Rail Road at 175" (celebrating the 175th anniversary of the LIRR - and this exhibit ends at the end of March 2010).

   The Long Island Rail Road handled transportation of C60 from Twin Fork's Riverhead, Long Island location to New York & Atlantic Railway's Fresh Pond Yard. From there New York & Atlantic Railway took the caboose to the NYCTA's Linden Avenue Shops in East New York.

   However, the South Brooklyn Railway handled the rest of the move from that location to the Transit Authority's 207th Street Yard in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, as C60 needed final preparation for display in the Transit Museum.

   The following is an itinerary of the move:

Long Island Rail Road / New York & Atlantic Railway:
April 4, 2009 - 6:00 am - 8:00 pm
14 hours time in transit

Due to LIRR speed restriction of 15 mph along entire route. This special move also was required to take a siding to allow revenue trains to pass.
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South Brooklyn Railway:
April 4, 2009 - 10:30 pm / April 5, 2009 - 7:00 am,
9.5 hours time in transit

This move of LIRR C60 on NYCTA trackage was quite convoluted due to trackwork,
forcing the South Brooklyn Railway to take the following route from Linden Shops:

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   The total time C60 spent in transit encompassed 25 hours, roughly 100 miles (of railroad travel), three railroads, and five counties: Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Kings [Brooklyn] and New York [Manhattan].

   Paul Strubeck, himself a member of Twin Forks; was instrumental to the restoration of C60 and the subsequent move, and he obtained several outstanding photographs. Here are the images pertaining to the South Brooklyn Railway portion of the move:


LIRR C60 w/ SBK N2, NYCTA "rider car" RD411 and SBK N1 in background.
April 4, 2009 - NYCTA Linden Shops, Brooklyn, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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NYCTA "rider car" RD411 and SBK N1 - April 4, 2009 - NYCTA Linden Shops, Brooklyn, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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SBK N2 (foreground) with NYCTA "rider car" RD411 and SBK N1 - April 4, 2009 - NYCTA Linden Shops, Brooklyn, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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SBK N2 & LIRR C60 - April 4, 2009 - NYCTA Linden Shops, Brooklyn, NY
Note airline extension and coupler extension (which according to Paul Strubeck it weighs approximately 200 pounds,
is over 75 years old and was originally from the Boston & Maine RR).
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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SBK N2 & LIRR C60 - April 4, 2009 - westbound on the "BMT Jamaica / Broadway Line"; now NYCTA lines
crossing the Williamsburg Bridge; East River, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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SBK N2 & LIRR C60 - April 4, 2009 - Subway Tunnel; Manhattan, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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SBK N2 & LIRR C60 - April 4, 2009 - BMT "West End Line" / now NYCTA line - Ninth Avenue Station
 Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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RETURN TO INDEX

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Original Right Of Way Remnants

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   On 26 January 2010, my long time friend and fellow New York rail enthusiast Dave Gellerstein and myself traced the original route of the South Brooklyn Railway to commit as many of the remnants we could find to record before being completely obliterated.

   We began our journey at the Coney Island Yards of the New York City Transit Authority. Unfortunately, shadows and a chain link fence make a good image difficult of the track that led out onto McDonald Avenue:


South Brooklyn Railway track (foreground) at Coney Island Yard - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   The next location north that we could locate and knew of, was that of the coal supplier located between Avenue S and Kings Highway. While the concrete coal silos were torn down many years ago, the ground floor entrance still remains as does tracks embedded in the sidewalk.


South Brooklyn Railway spur into Coal Dealer at Avenue S and McDonald Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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South Brooklyn Railway Spur into former Flatbush Coal at Avenue S and McDonald Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Our next stop traveling north was Parkville Interchange. Nothing remains of the trackage, but the ironically the unique curved wall warehouse of Leeds Paper / Scheck Brothers was in the process of being demolished that very day! We were a little too late for the Scheck portion of the wall, but the Leeds wall was still standing. So, we took pictures. You can barely make out the curved wall at the middle of the left edge of the photo.

   Oh, and that driveway is the former right of way connecting the South Brooklyn Railway with the New York New Haven & Hartford & Long Island Railroads:


Leeds Paper / Scheck Brothers Warehouse - SBK & NYNH&H / LIRR Parkville Interchange - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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  The next stop was Kensington Junction, but truly nothing remained and while we able to identify the right of way; new structures, a gas station canopy and a red moving truck occupied the scene. Just under the station canopy, the sea-green Culver Elevated can be seen:


looking southeast at McDonald Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Now, while we continuing north, 37th Street ran against us, so we circumvented this portion and proceeded to Second Avenue and 39th Street, to back track. But I am posting the images of 37th Street here to keep the continuity of our "journey" north / westward.

   At Fifteenth Avenue, a rail can be seen peeking out of the concrete of a parking lot for cement mixers:


Looking west from 15th Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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.

   In the photo above, the large multistory warehouse can be seen. Upon first examination, we could find no remnants of trackage leading to the warehouse. Hopping back in my truck we circled around the block and I had to wait for the traffic light. I looked down at the pavement and saw a crease in the asphalt. A few feet further, I could barely make out another crack. Lo and behold, the creases were as wide as railroad track!

   I immediately put my truck in reverse and backed into a parking spot to examine a little closer. The beige Nissan SUV in the image below is actually parked upon the tracks and the creases in the asphalt can be seen leading out towards the middle of the street from the two front tires:


Looking northwest on 37th Street between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Avenues - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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The next photo was taken from the other side of the Nissan, and the rails can be clearly seen in the pavement:


Looking west - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Now the tracks in the photo above run under that beige corrugated structure and would have led into the parking lot of that multistory warehouse. No trackage can be seen in the parking lot but upon walking through the parking lot to the center alley, revealed tracks still embedded in the pavement:

   Judging from the location of the track, (about 8 feet away from the wall and where the left row of cars are parked), leaves us to wonder if there was a loading dock running the length of the wall.


Looking west - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Here is a closer look at the loading door and wall:


Looking west - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Turning around and facing east is this view:


Looking east at parking lot of multistory warehouse with trackage curving towards 37th Street.
Visible trackage ends under the dumpster - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Another block west, we were at the intersection of Fourteenth Avenue, Old New Utrecht Road and 37th Street. Again, rails could be seen peeking out of the pavement:


Looking east - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking west from centerline of Fourteenth Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking north at west curb line of Old New Utrecht Road - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   We could find no remnants from Old New Utrecht Road to Tenth Avenue, which begins the 36th Street Yard of the New York City Transit Authority. At this point a fine chain link fence (2" squares instead of the standard 4") is in place and really prevents photography. So, we made our way to Fourth Avenue. This begins the infrequently used but serviceable portion of the South Brooklyn Railway.

   I had to walk up the 38th Street exit ramp of the Gowanus Expressway to get past the chain link fence seen on the left edge of the photo. Doing so put me at a higher perspective and yielded unobstructed views of the 38th Street Yard between Fourth and Third Avenues.


Looking east toward Fourth Avenue and subway interchange with subway car unloading ramp - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking west at Third Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking west from Third Avenue entrance gate - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   From this point down, the trackage was reconstructed. So, while not original trackage, it is the continuation of the original route as close as we can get in the present day.

   These first images are of the crossing at Third Avenue:


Looking east from the center island (parking lot) of Third Avenue (northbound lanes) - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking west from the center island (parking lot) of Third Avenue (southbound lanes) - January 26, 2010
Costco parking lot on right behind fence.
authors photo

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   We then proceeding to Second Avenue and parked between 39th and 37th Streets. This portion of the trackage was rebuilt to a new alignment in 1994.


Looking east from Second Avenue - January 26, 2010
Costco parking lot on left behind fence.
authors photo

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Looking southeast from west curb of Second Avenue (and from the entrance of the SBK 39th Street Yard) - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   This is the original location of the Yard, but the track configuration has changed dramatically over the last two decades. This is the view after turning 180 degrees and after taking the image above:


Looking west at 39th Street Yard - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   At this point we made a U-turn and drove to 39th Street and Second Avenue and made a right and headed past First Avenue. To our good fortune, the gate to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal was open.

   This is the view of the 39th Street Yard from the Terminal looking east:


Looking east at South Brooklyn Railway 39th Street Yard from Marine Terminal - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Now, this location was serviced by New York Cross Harbor Railroad when American Stevedoring occupied the premises. Currently, there is is a lot of reconstruction under way. Notice the tracks in the image above are cut short. These two tracks come together and the track ran parallel to the Pier Shed servicing loading docks seen in the image below. Also note the pavement has been torn up and temporary fill is in place. Obviously, this portion of the right of way is currently being reconstructed and appears it will be placed back in service for a new tenant.


Looking west at loading docks of South Brooklyn Marine Terminal - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Of particular interest is the fact that the track is being rebuilt using lengths of welded rail (not standard 39 footers) and concrete ties:


looking west - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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RETURN TO INDEX


Escort Vehicles

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   Another interesting facet of South Brooklyn Railway operations was that prior to the abandonment of those street running parts of the route, train movements would employ the use of a escort vehicle while operating on public thoroughfares. According to Brooklyn Transit historian Ben Schaeffer, the escort vehicles were mostly used when moving subways cars and not during general freight operations.

   There are two known escort vehicles that served the South Brooklyn Railway. The first vehicle is what appears to be a 1971 Ford "Country Squire"; license plate: NY 7897BV. It is definitely in police livery, but it is unknown at this time whether it is New York City Police Department or New York City Transit Police.

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   The second vehicle known to have escorted trains, was a bright red 1973 Plymouth Valiant, license plate: NY 14522-K


Dual Couplers, Compromise Couplers & Transition Cars

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   Unique to South Brooklyn Railway operations over and above all the other industrial and offline terminal railroad operations covered by this website, is the fact that the South Brooklyn Railway must transport subway cars in addition to standard freight cars. Not just those new subway cars arriving and obsolete models being shipped out, but also hauling the varied equipment comprising the museum collection throughout all eras of NYC Transit history.

   As technology progressed, these couplers changed in function and style; from early and simple Van Dorn couplers (which were similar to link and pin), to the current automatic type couplers self-containing of air and electrical connector lines and being able to be uncoupled by the push of a button in the cab of the subway car. A list of couplers used by subway car models as follows:

subway car model coupler model (for #1 end)
Van Dorn a
R1 - R9 WABCo H2A
R10 - R22 WABCo H2C
R26 - R28 (pre-GOH) WABCo H2C on #1 end, H2CAR (semi-permanent for married pair operation) on #2 end
R26 (GOH) and R28 (GOH) WABCo H2C on #1 end only b
R29 and R29 (GOH) WABCo H2C on #1 end only b
R30 - R30A WABCo H2C on #1 end, H2CAR (semi-permanent for married pair operation) on #2 end
R32 WABCo H2C b
R33, R36 (all versions) WABCo H2C b
R38 WABCo H2C b
R40S, R40M, R42, and all GOH versions... WABCo H2C b
R44 (pre-GOH) Ohio Brass Form 70 b
R46 (pre-GOH) Dresser w/ centering device (Ohio Brass Form 70?) b?
R46 (GOH) Hadady Coupler #RTD-107 w/ centering device b
R62 - R68A WABCo H2C b
R110A WABCo N2C b
R110B NYABCo H2C(m) #RTC-201P? b
R142, R142A WABCo model # unknown b (Tomlinson style-flat faced, hook type with electrical portions)
R143 WABCo model # unknown b
R160A, R160B WABCo model # unknown b
R179 model # unknown b
R188 model # unknown b
R211 model # unknown b
WABCo = Westinghouse Air Brake Company
NYABCo = New York Air Brake Company
GOH = after General Overhaul

a
= Most, but possibly not all, early subway & el cars equipped with Van Dorn couplers were converted to H2A's
b
= Couplers are listed for #1 (operating cab) end. Post-GOH & modern subway car #2 ends are permanently coupled with linkbars
NOTE: Despite certain models of subway cars have the same model coupler, does not mean that those different subway car models are compatible
of being coupled & operated together. Compatibility is based upon brake equipment, and other systems.

   Before progressing any further, it must be kept in mind that when freight locomotives such as those operated by the South Brooklyn Railway, it is not necessary to have any electrical connections to the subway car(s) being towed, and it is only necessary to have a physical coupler match to that particular subway car, not an electrically operative one.

   As such, those compromise couplers sharing physical profiles with one another could be used with various models of subway cars. However, which of those model subway car couplers on the above list that share physical profiles with another is not known at this time. It is presumed but unconfirmed that a compromise coupler suitable for mating to and H2A would be compatible with an H2C. I am trying to ascertain this information for inclusion here.

   In any event, even this assortment of coupler models would pose a physical match incompatibility when trying to mate with the standard MCB (Master Car Builders) or AAR (American Association of Railroad) couplers found on typical freight cars and locomotives, hence the need for compromise couplers.

   Locomotives #1, #2 and #3 show (by viewing the images in the locomotive photo chapter below) that they were equipped with Van Dorn type couplers. It is not known if these locomotives were ever converted to MCB couplers, and it is not believed so, as images of #1 in storage show it to still be equipped with Van Dorn couplers.

   But it is known that there is a Van Dorn / MCB compromise coupler, and was used on 17 November 1998 when Car "G" (which was built in 1878 as New York Elevated RR #41 and  subsequently converted to a money collection car by Manhattan Railway in 1898. In 1998, Car "G" was loaned from the Shore Line Trolley Museum  located in East Haven, Connecticut; to the New York City Transit Museum collection displayed in former Court Street Station. It had to be trucked from Connecticut to the NYCTA's 207th Street Facility where it was unloaded. It was at this location that Car "G" was coupled to South Brooklyn Railway locomotive N2, utilizing a Van Dorn to MCB compromise coupler, and brought to Court Street Museum.

Car "G" on left with Van Dorn to MCB Compromise Coupler with SBK N2 on right.
N. Gerstein photo - 17 November 1998

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   This image allows us to conclude that despite the advanced age of museum rolling stock and likewise its coupler profile of the series, the South Brooklyn Railway has an assortment of compromise couplers for movement of the museum pieces as well as re-purposed equipment pressed into maintenance of way service. 

   Locomotives #1, 2 & 3 are seen throughout their history in images equipped with Van Dorn couplers. It does not appear that either of these locomotives were converted to MCB/AAR coupler. 

   Locomotive #4 shows only an MCB/AAR style coupler, as does locomotive #5.

   However, locomotives #6 and #7 were equipped with dual couplers, meaning they had both an MCB and a H2 subway car coupler mounted side by side on a common coupler shank, on both the front and rear of the locomotive. All a brakeman had to do, was move the desired coupler into position:


dual couplers on SBK 7 - April 2008 - Coney Island Yard, Brooklyn, NY
coupler on left: MCB (freight cars)- coupler on right: H2 (subway cars)
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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   After the electric locomotives with dual couplers were retired, the South Brooklyn Railway diesel locomotives (which were equipped with standard MCB/AAR couplers) would need a compromise coupler or a transition car to pull subway cars.

   Paul Strubeck had the foresight to photograph some of these unique, essential and all-to-often overlooked pieces of equipment necessary to South Brooklyn Railway operations. Here are just two examples of the many types used:


April 2008
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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October 2008
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

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   Also encountered and similar in usage is the "transition car". This piece of rolling stock is equipped with MCB or AAR type of coupler on one end and subway style coupler on the other.

   Within this page, you can find photos showing many different types of transition cars. There are gondolas, old subway cars, and even an unmarked flatcar used for pulling new and rebuilt subway cars off of flatcars at the unloading ramp at the 38th Street & 4th Avenue Yard.

   As the different subway car builder were located in various parts of the United States, these subway car builders would have had to contract with the trunk line railroad near their construction shops to move the NYCTA subway cars east.
..

    While not for certain, it would be logical that each trunk line railroad that might have hauled these subway cars to the New York area, would have had their own transition car. Since most of the Midwestern railroads did not have terminals on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River would have had to consign the shipment to a eastern railroad that did, and then that railroad would need to use a transition car as well. Lehigh Valley, Delaware Lackawanna & Western, New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads (among others) all had terminal facilities in New Jersey equipped for carfloating the subway cars to Brooklyn.  

   And we know by the photos below, that New York Central did indeed have a transition car, as did the Lehigh Valley and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroads. How many others remains a mystery. For the record, changing a coupler on a freight car is not a terrible task, and can usually be completed by two men in under an hour. 

   While duplicitous, I show these photos again here for clarity:


#13 - Shell Road and Avenue Y - May 31, 1961
Bringing brand new R30's into Coney Island Yard with New York Central gondola transition car.
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - March 21, 1965
Note the air reservoir in the gondola. According to Paul Strubeck, that Lehigh Valley gondola was modified
for use in hauling subway cars on Lehigh Valley trackage on mainland U.S. and is apparently capable of transition use between
standard AAR couplers (on Class 1 and SBK diesels) and the subway car H2A type couplers.
D. Grotjahn photo
D. Pirmann collection

added 19 Dec 2009

   .


#13 - unknown date - Ninth Avenue
R32's enroute to Coney Island. Note the DL&W gondola being used as transition car.
The train is clmbing the ramp from subgrade to street level.
J. Shanus photo

J. Testagrose collection
added 06 September 2009

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Parkville Interchange - Brooklyn, NY - February 18, 1972
New R44's being delivered with R1 transition car. Note transition car is marked "MCB" for MCB coupler on that end.
Other end of transition car will have Form 70 electric coupler to mate with R44's.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 19 Dec 2009

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N1 - August 1988 -
38th Street between Fourth and Third Avenues
Looking south west. Unloading rebuilt R42's with transition car, which appears to have made from the chassis of a subway car.
D. Pirmann photo

added 22 Dec 2009

RETURN TO INDEX

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Locomotive & Equipment Overview

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   Upon the formation of the South Brooklyn Railway, it used small second hand steam locomotives (typically 0-4-4T type) surplussed from elevated lines. Unfortunately, these locomotives were not suited for freight work. 

   Three electric locomotives (#1, 2 & 3) were built in 1904 for freight service by the Brooklyn Heights Railroad, which at this time, the South Brooklyn Railways was merely a subsidiary of. As their freight traffic blossomed, the South Brooklyn Railway was found wanting for even more powerful locomotives. 

   In 1907, a new powerful electric locomotive: #4; was constructed by the Brooklyn Heights Railroad in its own shops. It was built with four 150 hp electric motors, housed in a simple easy to access boxcab design. When it was constructed, it was one of the most powerful locomotives owned by the Brooklyn Heights Railroad at that time. It cost over $6,000. (Adjusted for inflation, this translates to $154,000 in 2018 dollars.) Unfortunately, a cost comparison to a modern locomotive would not translate as any nerw locomotive for the South Brooklyn Railway would need to be diesel-electric thereby greatly increasing the unit cost, over a simpler straight electric locomotive. #4 was constructed specifically in mind for South Brooklyn Railway and would be the first locomotive to carry South Brooklyn Railway lettering.

   In 1910, another new electric locomotive was purchased. This one from General Electric; and became South Brooklyn Railway #5. This "modern" locomotive was state of the art, and capable of high speeds and the ability to climb grades because of new electrical equipment. It was also a steeplecab design like 1, 2, and 3 before it. It would not be until 1921 and 1925 when steeplecab numbers 6 and 7 joined the roster. 

   The following image, is a scan of the Official Railway Equipment Register dated June 1917. It contains a very detailed description of the equipment owned and operated by the South Brooklyn Railway and I show it here:

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   Note that all connections with the trunk line railroads are made through Bush Docks a/k/a Bush Terminal (by way of carfloating), with the exception of the Long Island Rail Road which was interchanged with at the Parkville Interchange.

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#1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #7 Steeplecabs & #4 Boxcab


#5
Revenue & Non-Revenue Car Drawing Manual - MTA New York City Transit, January 1998 edition
authors collection

added 18 May 2009

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#6 & #7
Revenue & Non-Revenue Car Drawing Manual - MTA New York City Transit, January 1998 edition

authors collection
added 18 May 2009

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   The electric locomotives used by the South Brooklyn Railway from it's inception until 1961 utilized overhead trolley wire and third rail (overriding type) shoes.

   Prior to the arrival of diesel locomotives #8 & 9, the South Brooklyn Railway would operate a total of seven electric locomotives, of both Steeplecab and Boxcab configuration. Unusually, the first four of these locomotives were built by the Brooklyn Heights Railroad, and not one of the major locomotive builders of the era. 

   Locomotive numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 were of Steeplecab design and locomotive #4 was of Boxcab design.

   #1, 2, and 3 were unfortunately scrapped in the 1950's.

   #4 has been saved and is located the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, CT awaiting eventual restoration.

   #5, 6, 7 would be constructed by General Electric. Please see the technical drawings and roster below for build dates and specifications.

   #5, 6, and 7 however, have been restored and are preserved by the NYCTA. #5 is on static display (but I believe it is operational) and can be seen at the Transit Museum located in the Court Street Station in Downtown Brooklyn.

  #6 and #7 are stored serviceable and reside in the Coney Island Shops of the NYCTA in Brooklyn.

   Several times a year, the NYCTA and the NYC Transit Museum organize railfan days where they operate one of the three surviving steeplecab units for a fan trip throughout the Transit System. Usually, this is #7.

   According to information within Jay Bendersky's book "Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways", South Brooklyn Railway movements are conducted in a "push - pull" arrangement; meaning there is a locomotive at both the front and rear of the train. The reason for this is stated to prevent runaway cars on the steep grades encountered along the South Brooklyn Railway right of way. I have however personally witnessed one locomotive operations in a pulling capacity, and several of the photos below show one locomotive operations. Even a photo on page 20 in Bendersky's book shows one unit (#13) pulling a string of R32's ascending the steep ramp at Ninth Avenue, with no pusher locomotive.

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#8, #9 (first) & #9 (second) - Whitcomb 65 Ton


#8 & #9
Revenue & Non-Revenue Car Drawing Manual - MTA New York City Transit, January 1998 edition

authors collection
added 07 September 2009

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   Arriving in 1946 would be the first of South Brooklyn Railway's diesel locomotives, in the form of a pair of ex-US Army Whitcomb 65DE19A center-cab units. These would be numbered 8 & 9 respectively.

   On 03 July 2010, I received an email from John Baggaley of the UK referencing a photo of #9 (first) (and still in US Army markings), which can be seen in the photos below. John states:

"I believe that this loco may well have been used by the US Army in Europe late in WWII as the two dark patches on the pilot beam would be the where the European buffers would have been bolted on and further the top of a slot in the pilot beam above the rather new looking coupler is where the hook and screw or chain link coupling would have been.

The tapered cab would also have been necessary for European or maybe even UK operations as the loading gauge over here is considerably smaller than in the US."

I suppose that there are two options concerning First #9:

1) That it was prepared for European use and never shipped, but held in store. Unused, as it obviously wouldn't couple to US rolling stock! That is I feel the most likely. It could have been converted sometime after build, but being a military loco, they probably bought quite a lot and only used some!!

2) It was shipped (overseas) but came back very soon after hostilities ceased. That is of course possible, but it does seem a bit of an early return, given the battered state of European railways at that time.

   Regardless, I commend John for his excellent eyes! Something us railfans on this "side of the pond" never noticed!

   #8 is reported (ERA Souvenir Brochure for the South Brooklyn Railway Fan Trip dated September 20, 1975) to now be working at a mining firm in Brighton, Michigan.

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   All three Whitcombs were low profile hood units powered by twin Buda LaNova engines. In 1955, #9 (first) was sold off to American Aggregate, but in 1961 an identical unit would replace #9 and this new unit would be numbered 9 as well, becoming #9 (second).

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Cab Roof Modifications

   Each of the Whitcomb locomotives differed by the shape, height and contour of the cab roofs from one another throughout the years:

#8

   #8 as built, had a "high" cab roof (extending a few inches above the top of the hoods). In late 1958 or early 1959, the NYCTA modified the cab roof by lowering it to match the height of the hoods.

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#9 (first)

   #9 (first) can be distinguished from #9 (second) by this modification as the cab roof of #9 (first) projected above the hood line and was never lowered.

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#9 second

   #9 (second) was modified (as #8 had been) with the cab roof flush with top of the hoods.

    Also, the original "high" cab roofs on #8 and  #9 (first) had a more of a curved shape, while #8 and #9 (second) was angular after the modification took place.

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Cab Side Modifications

   As with the roofs, the Whitcomb locomotives cab sides differed in details from one another:

#8

   The cab on #8 (as far as can be told by photographs seen to date) was narrowed by the NYCTA, and cab sides was not sloped inward at the roof line.

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9 (first)

   A newly acquired photo (08 March 2010) of 9 (first) shows the locomotive still marked for US Army #7966 with the cab sides sloped inwards towards the roof, and the cab bottom did not overhang the frame. But, in the the next photo in this authors collection, shows that the NYCTA rebuilt the cab sides to be vertically straight and overhanging the frame!

   This makes no sense as this modification would make it difficult if not totally preclude the locomotive from being used in the subway tunnels.

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9 (second)

   The cab sides on #9 (second) however are seen gently sloped inwards (as it progressed up from the walkway to the roofline and matching the slope of the hood sides). This modification was believed (but not confirmed) to have been performed by the NYCTA to increase subway tunnel clearances. But now with  the photo of #9 (first) arriving from US Army already with sloped cab sides, it is left to wonder if 9 (second) arrived like this as well and NYCTA did not modify the cab sides.

   Furthermore, the cab  on 9 (second) never appears to have overhung the frame at any time.

   After serving on the South Brooklyn Railway, #9 (the second) would continue to see life on the Staten Island Rapid Transit, before being preserved at the Trolley Museum of New York located in Kingston, NY; where it remains to this day in operable condition. Because there is no overhead trolley wire (yet) or third rail power at the Trolley Museum of New York, #9 is used to shunt the trolleys and streetcars around when rearranging exhibits. 

   It is believed #8 was scrapped by the New York City Transit Authority, but this has not been confirmed.

   Paint schemes for #8 & #9 varied:

   #8 in the early days would receive an interesting purple cab with silver carbody and black frame. Eventually, #8 would receive the ubiquitous yellow carbody with black frame and pilot safety stripes.

   #9 throughout it tenure at South Brooklyn Railway, would be seen in: all silver, all yellow, yellow with black roof and hood tops, and when assigned to the Staten Island Rapid Transit, it would be repainted with a blue carbody and black roof and hood tops. There is even an image of #9 in olive drab with black roof and hood top while in Staten Island, but I believe this to be a cosmetic restoration.

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#12 & #13 - GE 70 Ton


#12 & #13
Revenue & Non-Revenue Car Drawing Manual - MTA New York City Transit, January 1998 edition

authors collection
added 07 September 2009

.

   Both #12 & 13 would be purchased second hand and both were General Electric 70 Ton end-cab locomotives.

   #12 was purchased in November 1961 from the Claremont & Concord Railroad in New Hampshire. Upon arrival this locomotive was numbered 20008. Upon transfer to South Brooklyn Railway Roster in 1966, it would be renumbered #12.

   Also soon after arriving, #12 would have it's cab roof modified, so it could access all of the NYCTA tunnel trackage:

.

   Originally, the disposition for #12 was unknown, and believed to have been scrapped by the NYCTA. In November 2009 however, Tim Darnell sent a photo of a #12 in green and yellow livery and marked for Naparano Scrap (NIMX) in Jersey City, NJ.

   Without a doubt, this locomotive is the former South Brooklyn Railway #12. How can anyone have any doubt, just look at the roof and weird sandbox on front!


#12 - unknown date - Jersey City, NJ
at Naparano Scrap
T. Darnell photo

added 13 Dec 2009

 .

.

   #13 was purchased from the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington RR located in Massachusetts. Upon arrival this locomotive was numbered 20009 and upon transfer to South Brooklyn Railway Roster in 1966, it would be renumbered #13. This locomotive did not receive the roof modification, thus it would be restricted to which trackage it would access and where it could go.

   Note the above technical drawing where it states "Locomotives were renumbered 20006 (#12) & 20007 (#13) (6/1966)". This is clearly erroneous as a photo below show #12 wearing both the number "12" and "20008" on the cab!

   Both of these engines would be painted in a yellow paint with black roof and chassis.

.

N1 & N2 - GE 47 Ton


#N1 & #N2
Revenue & Non-Revenue Car Drawing Manual - MTA New York City Transit, January 1998 edition
authors collection

added 07 September 2009

.

    In 1975, the South Brooklyn Railway took delivery of a pair of brand new General Electric 47 Ton end-cab switchers. These two locomotives would be part of a "block" or group of ten 47 ton locomotives ordered by the New York City Transit Authority, which became an affiliate of the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1968.

   These two locomotives would be the first new motive power received by the South Brooklyn Railway in over 50 years! Ironically and coincidentally, our very own co-author Joe Roborecky, who was employed with Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal at the time, was assigned to Greenville Yard, NJ; when the locomotives were delivered. He and another BEDT engineer, Sean McLoughlin; as inquisitive railroad employees they are, took a few moments to look over the brand new NYCTA locomotives.

   Why Greenville, New Jersey you might ask? As it turns out, the NYCTA locomotives would have to be carfloated from Greenville, NJ to Bush Terminal for interchange with the South Brooklyn Railway at 39th Street & Second Avenue, and then on to either the 36th Street Yard or Coney Island Yard, for further disbursement depending on the final destinations of the rest of the locomotives (Linden Shops in East New York, 207th Street Yard in the Bronx, or any of the other twenty storage yards of the NYCTA)

  According to the January 1998 issue of the "MTA New York City Transit Car Equipment Engineering & Technical Support, Revenue & Non - Revenue Car Drawing Manual", the last two locomotives in this order were ordered for the South Brooklyn Railway and are listed as N1 and N2 in this manual.

   These locomotives, being numbered N1 & N2 and not part of the NYCTA's numbering method of its other work locomotives, would denote the dedicated motive power of the South Brooklyn Railway. The remaining locomotives in that order would be assigned to various yards (and likewise, work trains) throughout the NYCTA system.

   As delivered, all the locomotives were painted in the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York) grey and blue livery, yellow frame with wide black & yellow safety stripes of the nose and back of cab, and with the MTA two tone 'M' herald on the cab. This standard herald affixed to the Transit Authority's equipment, had the word "TRANSIT" under the "M".

   However, the South Brooklyn Railway locomotives wore a unique version of the "M" herald, with "SBK" under the "M":

.

   This livery would last until 1983 when N1 was repainted into a paint scheme of safety yellow with black nose, frame and roof. It appears the rest of the NYCTA's work locomotives would receive variations of this all yellow scheme. But for the South Brooklyn locomotive, this livery was short lived.

   Only one year later, both South Brooklyn locomotives were repainted into a dark red livery with black roofs and chassis. This livery was modified shortly after with red and white safety stripes and large "SBK" on the sides of the hood. Also with this scheme, came a new herald replacing the original Metropolitan Transit Authority's two-tone"M". This new herald was designed by noted New York area railfan & historian Benjamin Schaeffer, and to this day is still used on the locomotives:

.

.

   Throughout the years the actual structure of these units changed very little, with most modifications being minor due to revisions in FRA rules or NYCTA modifications; such as the removal of the footboards per FRA regulations enacted in 1979 with the snowplows presumably being installed this year in place of the footboards.

   In the late 1990's the original dark red livery was simplified with the removal of the hood lettering and white diagonal stripe, and the snowplows were painted safety yellow.

   N1 and N2 are currently in service and are used today for moving new and scrap subway cars, ballast trains, as well as general NYCTA right-of-way work being that they no longer have any non-NYCTA freight customers. They are also frequently used for fan trips.

   At the most recent Coney Island Rodeo in 2007, Paul Strubeck not only had the opportunity to view the N1 and N2 locomotives inside and out, but to also receive a cab ride and a chance to operate them for a brief distance.

Superdetails

   For those of you who are interested, here is a list of differences in paint schemes.and details by locomotive and date.

Basic Paint Scheme

1975: "MTA" Blue/ Gray
1983: "Safety" Yellow / Black
1984: "SBK" phase 1: Maroon / White (plain)
1985: "SBK" phase 2: Maroon / White (with white sashes & safety stripes)
post 1995: "SBK" phase 3:  Fire Engine Red / White (no hood sash)

Sill Stripes

N1: 1992 - diagonal sill stripes removed

Steps

N1 & N2: ca 1979 - ladder style steps replaced with switching style step (presumably at same as footboards were removed to comply with FRA regs)

Step Treads

N1: 1988 - painted red
N1: 1992 - painted white
N1: 2001 - painted yellow

N2: 1988 - painted red
N2: 1992 - stayed red
N2: 2001 - painted yellow

Handrails

N1:  unknown
N2: 2007 only: Vertical handrail by steps painted yellow. Rest of railing painted black. All other years entire handrail painted black

Safety Stripes, (back of cab)

N1: 1992 - wraparound to sides of cab
N2: did not

Headlights

N1 & N2: front & rear headlights changed from single sealed beam to dual sealed beam between 1995 and 2001.
.

Safety Beacons

N1: 1984 - 1 revolving on cab roof, none on nose
       1986 - 1 revolving on cab roof, 1 revolving on nose
       1992 to current - 2 revolving on cab roof (mounted on lightbar), none on nose
       

N2: 1984 - 1 revolving on cab roof, none on nose
       1987 - 1 revolving cab roof, 1 revolving on nose
       1995 - 1 strobe on cab roof, none on nose
       2007 - 2 strobes on cab roof, none on nose

Front Radiator Grill:

N1: 2003 (possibly 2001) front radiator grill covered with welded steel plate.
.

Horns:

N1 & N2: single WABCO AA2, changed to pair of WABCO AA2  

.

   Naturally, any South Brooklyn Railway or Transit Authority employees (active or retired) are invited to contact me
to add or correct any information on this page. If you so desire, your name can be kept confidential.

   Please contact me at: bedt14@aol.com

.

RETURN TO INDEX

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.



Locomotive & Equipment Photo Index

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series

.


.
1

#1 - Third Avenue Yard - April 1940
J. Winslow collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009
.


.


#1 - unknown date
"Daves Electric Railroads" archives

.


.


#1 - unknown date - Coney Island Yards
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.


.


#1 - April 19, 1943 - Coney Island Yard / South Brooklyn Railway Interchange
The trolley on right edge of photo is on South Brooklyn trackage to Shell Road (McDonald Avenue)
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.


.


#1 - unknown date - Coney Island Yard
unknown photographer
J. Shanus archives
authors collection

added 04 Aug 2009

.


.


#1 - unknown date - Coney Island Yard
Close up of above. Note Van Dorn type coupler.
unknown photographer
J. Shanus archives
authors collection

added 04 Aug 2009

.


.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series

.


.
3


#3 - unknown date - Coney Island Yards?
unknown photographer

added 23 May 2009

.


.


#3 - unknown date - Coney Island Yard
P. H. Bonnet
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue
added 22 Dec 2009

.


.


#3 - unknown date - Coney Island Yard
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

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.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series

.


.
4


#4 - unknown date - 36th Street Yard

unknown photographer (H. Fagerberg?)
(from Railroads of New York, by G. W. O'Connor
Simmons - Boardman Publishing)

added 23 May 2009

.


.


#4 - unknown date - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note #9980 car behind.
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

.


.


#4 & #5 - unknown date - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

.


.


#4 - June 5, 1943 - 36th Street
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.


.


#4 - 1957 - BMT Coney Island / Stillwell Avenue Station
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.


.


#4 & #9980 - April 19, 1958 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
unknown photographer
Bob's Photo archives
authors collection

.


.


#4 - June 20, 1958 - McDonald Avenue & Cortelyou Road (Kensington Junction)
Under the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line (now demolished)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.


.


#4 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue M - August 1958
Under 
the "Culver El" line with string of El cars enroute to scrapper.
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.


.


#4 - April 3, 1959 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
looking northwest
unknown photographer
Bob's Photo archives
authors collection

.


.


#4 - April 3, 1959 -
39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Similar to above photo
between 38th and 39th Streets and Second & Third Avenues - looking northwest
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 27 Sept 2009

.


.


#4 & #13 - May 30, 1961 - McDonald Avenue between Avenue S and Avenue T.
Appears to be heading north on the northbound track under the Culver El.
unknown photographer
authors collection
added 11 Dec 2009

.


.


#4 - August 27, 1964 - Coney Island Yard
Note trolley poles removed.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 27 Sept 2009

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

.


.


#4 - October 30, 2016 - Shore Line Trolley Museum; East Haven, CT
John McCluskey photo

added 30 October 2016

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Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series



#5


#5 - ca. 1935 - 38th Street
Note lanterns on running board.
H. B. Olsen photo
D. Keller archives

.

.


#5 - June 12, 1938 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note poling bar on running board.
E. Hermanns photo
D. Keller archive

.

.


#5 - April 1940 - Third Avenue Yard & 38th Street (what would become the "unloading" Yard)

With the Bay Ridge - Fifth Avenue Shuttle elevated.

A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


#5 - unknown date - Coney Island Yards & Shops
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#5 - November 15, 1941 - 38th Street & Second Avenue
Note Gowanus expressway behind cab of #9980.
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#5 & #4 - April 10, 1943 - 36th Street
Ramp in background is transition to Culver Line elevated structure.
(Thanks to Bob Delmonico for correction.)
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Coney Island Yard
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Y
(looking southwest - Coney Island Yard behind loco)
Under the Culver El.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Y
(at the turnout leading into the Coney Island Yard)
Under the Culver El.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Y
(looking west - Coney Island Shops behind loco)
Under the Culver El
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) & Avenue Y
(looking west - Coney Island Shops behind loco)
Under the Culver El.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) between Avenue Y and Avenue X
Looking north under the Culver El.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1955 - unknown location
unknown photographer - NYCTA publicity release
authors collection

.

.


#5 - June 20, 1958 - Coney Island Yard
(Avenue Y & Shell Road)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#5 - September 28, 1959 - Coney Island Yard
D Type car (#6018) behind, El car to right.
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


#5 - October 12, 1959 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
looking northwest
unknown photographer
Bob's Photo archives
authors collection

.

.


#5 - January 1, 1961 - southbound on Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) & approaching Avenue Y
Under the Culver El bringing brand new R27's to Coney Island Yard.
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 09

.

.


#5 - unknown date - Tenth Avenue and 37th Street.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 15 May 2012

.

.


#5 (as 20002) - May 1966 - Coney Island Yard
Note trolley poles removed, now numbered NYCTA #20002, and SBK #9 on right edge. Lo V car #20359 now used in work service.
G. Landau photo
J. Testagrose photo

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.


#5 - unknown date - NYCTA Transit Museum in the Court Street Stati
on,
Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 07 Sept 2009

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.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


6


#6 - June 21, 1942 - unknown location
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#6 - McDonald Avenue & 18th Avenue - October 29, 1956
"C Types" enroute for scrapping under the Culver El

A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


#6 - July 22, 1961 - 36th Street Yard
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#6 (as 20003) - May 28, 1962 - Marcy Avenue Station
F. G. Zahn photo
P. F. Strubeck collection

added 16 Dec 2009

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.


either #6 or #7 (Note flat roof and square window) - unknown date - unknown location
This image appears to be taken on the West End Line looking east around Eleventh / Twelfth Avenue. 
NYNH&H / LIRR "NU" (New Utrecht) Yard / Bay Ridge Branch on left.
D Type subway cars on right.
unknown photographer
J. Shanus archives
authors collection

added 04 Aug 2009

.

.


#6 - unknown date - BMT West End Line elevated @ 55th Street
Note dual couplers.
H. Pinsker photo
J. Testagrose collection

.

.


#6 - unknown date - West Brighton Avenue & West 3rd Street
On the Brighton Eleveated. Note dual couplers.
J. Shanus photo

added 27 Sept 2009

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Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


7


#7 - unknown date
(possible builders photo?)
Bill Volkmer collection
"Daves Electric Railroads" archives

.

.


#7 - unknown date - 39th Street & Second Avenue
Believed to be a railfan trip with BMT Gate El cars. Note dual couplers.
(Thanks to Bob Delmonico for identification of the last car)
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

.

.


#7 - unknown date - Coney Island Shops
Note dual couplers, BMT Standards. Culver El to right.
H. Pinsker photo
J. Testagrose collection

.

.


#7 - unknown date
Note dual couplers.
#2584 is a BMT Standard.
Bill Volkmer collection
"Daves Electric Railroads" archives

.

.


#7 - December 16, 1942 - unknown location
unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#7 - unknown date - McDonald Avenue and Avenue I
Under the Culver El
On back of photo it is written: "Transfer of IRT cars from Flushing."
Back is also marked AJL and Hirsch. I'm figuring this to be a A. J. Lonto photo.
authors collection.

added 31 October 2016

.

.


#7 - March 30, 1971 - Coney Island Shops & Yard
Note trolley poles removed from roof and dual couplers.
#6472 is a R16.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose archives

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.


#7 - May 25, 1971 - Coney Island Yards
Note trolley poles removed from roof, and dual couplers.
R248 is a converted R6 (ex #925).
M503 is now a transition car converted from an R4.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose archives

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.


#7 - June 1971 - Coney Island Yards
Note trolley poles removed from roof.
#6019 C is a BMT D Type Triplex  
553 is a converted R4?
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose archives

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.


#7 - June 1971 - Coney Island Yards
Note repainted, but trolley poles still not on roof, and dual couplers.
#377 is an R44
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose archives

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.


#7 - April 2007 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard
Note trolley poles reinstalled and dual couplers.
BMT Standard behind.
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 07 Sept 2009

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.


#7 - April 2007 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard
Note dual couplers.
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 07 Sept 2009

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.


Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series



Diesel Locomotives

8


#8 - ca. 1955 - crossing Second Avenue at the 39th Street Yard "Bush Interchange"
Wide (overhanging frame) straight sides cab, high roof: prior to modification)
Also note sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank.
unknown photographer
authors collection
added 06 March 2012

.

.


#8 - 1958 -
39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
with #5 - looking northwest
Wide (overhanging frame) straight sides cab, high roof: prior to modification)
Also note sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank.
G. Abere photo
A. Huneke archives

added 07 Sept 2009

.

.


#8 - unknown date - unknown location
Wide (overhanging frame) straight sides cab, high roof: prior to modification)
.
Also note sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank.
unknown photgrapher
D. Pirmann collection
added 25 Dec 2009

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.


#8 (as #20005) - October 1959 - 36th - 38th Street BMT Yard
Narrowed straight sidecab. Note Compromise coupler.
Sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank remained in place.
G. Landau photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 02 January 2010

.

.


#8 & #13 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue I - 1961
Under the Culver El.
Narrowed straight side cab.
Sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank remained in place.
(ERA Headlights issue May June 1993 caption state locomotive #9, but this is incorrect. Also: #8 had safety stripes on pilot.)
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


#8 - September 1967 - Coney Island Yard
Narrowed straight side cab. Note Compromise coupler.
Sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank remained in place.
Note compromise coupler!
S. Hoskins photo
D. Pirmann archives

added 02 January 2010

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.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


9 (first)


#9 (first) - ca. November 1946 - Coney Island Yards & Shops
Note tapered cab sides but not wider than frame.
Sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank in place.
Also note handrails do not extend along sides of locomotive to cab and the MU connector in center stanchion of the front handrail.

This photo also raises some questions regarding cab modifications.
This photo shows the frame marked for "U.S. Army" and the number board is marked 7966, obviously making this SBK #9 (first).
(and as #9 "second" did not directly come from US Army). But, this photo clearly shows the cab tapered inwards towards the roof.
The next photo below however shows the cab sides were made vertically straight, with the entire cab widened to overhang the frame!
Why the NYCTA widened the cab remains a mystery as this would preclude usage in subway tunnels.

On 03 July 2010, I received an email from John Baggaley of the UK who states:
"I believe that this loco may well have been used by the US Army in Europe late in WWII as the two dark patches on the pilot beam would be the where the European buffers would have been bolted on and further the top of a slot in the pilot beam above the rather new looking coupler is where the hook and screw or chain link coupling would have been.
The tapered cab would also have been necessary for European or maybe even UK operations as the loading gauge over here is considerably smaller than in the US.
"
Excellent eyes John! Something us railfans on this "side of the pond" never noticed!

unknown photographer
G. Collora archives
authors collection

added 08 March 2010

.

.


#9 (first) - unknown date - Parkville Interchange - McDonald Avenue & Avenue I
Straight cab sides and rebuilt cab overhanging frame.
Sheet metal "skirt" under frame and cab covering air reservoirs and fuel tank in place.
Also note handrails now extend along sides of locomotive to cab.
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#9 (first) - 1947 - Second Avenue & 38th Street "Bush Interchange"
Straight cab sides and rebuilt cab overhanging frame.
M. D. Meyer archives
authors collection

added 23 Oct 2009

.

.


#9 (first) - unknown date (but pre-October 31, 1956 - before last day of streetcar service on McDonald Avenue)
Note poling bar under cab! Under the Culver El.
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#9 (first) - ca. 1948 or 1949 - Entering Coney Island Yard (Looking north-northeast.)
R12's or R14's arriving, with BMT Standards on the IND Culver Elevated IND "Culver / Sixth Avenue" in background.
unknown photographer
M. DeLuca collection
authors collection

added 29 June 2018
.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


9 (second)
.

.


#9 (second) - May 19, 1968 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard
Angled cab sides, and cab not overhanging frame. No fuel tank skirts and sand fills at corners of hood.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#9 (second) - May 1975 - Staten Island, NY
While no longer on the South Brooklyn Railway roster, I have included this image because of its history, not to mention it is still technically under MTA parentage.
unknown photographer
Lee Rogers collection
( I cannot remember who submitterd this image to me. If it is yours please contact me for credit or removal.)

added 29 July 2018
.

.


#9 (second) - August 10, 1986 - Travis Yard, Staten Island
Con Ed Generating Station
SIRT cars.
E. Oszustowicz photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


12


#12 - May 30, 1961 - on Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) by Avenue Y entering Coney Island Yard.
Under the Culver El.
Very rare shot of #12 before cab was modified for subway tunnel clearances!
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


June 27, 1962 -
39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
After cab modification.

F. G. Zahn photo
authors collection

added 06 Sept 2009

.

.


#12 - unknown date - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking northwest.
Note the unusual box mounted on front grill. Paul Strubeck states this is the sand box.
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - July 18, 1971 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard
SBK Steeplecab #5 behind.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - February 28, 1972 - on LIRR Bay Ridge Branch at Parkville Interchange
Looking east. Track to right is to interchange & McDonald Avenue.
Transition car in an R1/9 with R44's.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection
added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - February 28, 1972 - Parkville Interchange
Looking east. Train now on interchange track and subways cars are curving towards McDonald Avenue.
That appears to be transition car M503. If so, it was converted from an R4.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - March 5, 1972 - Parkville Interchange
Looking north. The "alley" between Bay Ridge Division and McDonald Avenue.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - 1972 - Parkville Interchange
Looking north. Under the Culver El, #12 is on McDonald Avenue, subway cars curve off into "alley" to LIRR Bay Ridge Branch
R44's enroute to Coney Island.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - May 1972 - McDonald Avenue  (unknown intersection)
Note the Ford NYPD or NYTPD Station Wagon escort vehicle.
McDonald Avenue
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

.

.


#12 - August 1972 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Davidson Pipe Yard
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

.

.


#12 - August 1972 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

.

.


#12 - August 1972 - Coney Island Yard?
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

.

.


#12 - April 18, 1974 - southbound on
McDonald Avenue at Bay Parkway under the Culver El.
SBK12 pulling the Department of Transportation's "Urban Rapid Rail Vehicle" "SOAC" trainset.
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

added 07 November 2016

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.


#12 - unknown date (post 3/4/1975) -
39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking northwest.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#12 - unknown date  (post 3/4/1975) - Coney Island Yard?
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 01 December 2012

.

.


#12 - unknown date - Parkville Interchange
(ca . 1971-73 - receiving new R44's)
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date - 37th Street and unknown intersection
U
nder the BMT "Culver Shuttle" elevated (now demolished)
(ca . 1971-73 - receiving new R44's)
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date - 39th Street between Second & Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date  - Parkville Interchange
 "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line / McDonald Avenue in background.
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date - northbound on McDonald Avenue and Avenue P on the northbound track!
Under the "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date - southbound into Coney Island Yard, South Brooklyn Railway sub-yard (south of main facilities).
(ca . 1971-73 - Receiving R44's)  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line to left. Looking south.
Also, take note of the cut vertical gussets on the gondola with what appears to be stenciled  "Platform Side" on the sides of the gondola. These appear to be modified from standard freight gondolass
for captured service on the NYCTA System. This modification would allow the gondola to fit past subway station platforms.

M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - unknown date - southbound on Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) between Avenue Y and Avenue Z (behind photographer) and
approaching the SBK switch into Coney Island Yard (bottom left corner of image) with R40M's. Looking north.
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - 1976 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note headlight and cab window glass covered for shipment.
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 29 June 2018
.

.


#12 - 1976 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note headlight and cab window glass covered for shipment.
And, I have a sneaking suspicion, that all those pock marks on the front of the sandbox are hammer marks from beating on the box in the winter to break up frozen sand.

M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#12 - September 12, 1976 - Naparano Scrap, Newark, NJ
W. Matuch photo
P. Strubeck collection

added 31 January 2010

.

.


#12 - unknown date -
- Naparano Scrap, Newark, NJ
T. Darnell photo

added 13 Dec 2009

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


13


#13 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) and Avenue Y - May 31, 1961
Looking north. Bringing brand new R30's into Coney Island Yard.
Note the New York Central gondola being used as a transition car.
A. J. Lonto collection
ERA Headlights May - June 1993 Issue

added 22 Dec 2009

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.


#13 - ca. 1963 - NYCTA Coney Island Shops
S. Meyers photo
D. Keller archives
authors collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#13 - March 11, 1965 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
C. G. Parsons photo
authors collection

added 06 March 2012

.

.


#13 - March 11, 1965 - Parkville Interchange entering McDonald Avenue at Avenue I
A. G. Raabe photo
authors collection

added 06 March 2012

.

.


#13 - unknown date - Ninth Avenue
R32's enroute to Coney Island. Note the DL&W gondola being used as transition car.
J. Shanus photo

J. Testagrose collection
added 06 September 2009

.

.


#13 - 1971 - NYCTA Coney Island Shops
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#13 - March 1972 - 37th Street under the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line (now demolished)
With a truck blocking the right of way.
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

.

.


#13 - March 1972 - 37th Street under the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line (now demolished)
And they got the truck to move. But does anyone wanna buy a VW bug?
W. Schneider photo
J. McCluskey collection

.

.


#13 - June 21, 1973 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) between Avenue Y and Avenue X
Looking south. NYCTA Coney Island Shops on right.
Note the red Plymouth Valiant SBK "escort" car following behind.
According to Evan Jennings of the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston, NY:
"The car in the picture might be #411, an ex-Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car.
TMNY sold #411 to an individual in the early 1970's and then it bounced around a while.
It is now at the Escanaba & Lake Superior RR."

Author's note: If in fact that is #411, it was built by the Cincinnati Car Co in 1923 or 1924
as a dining car for the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR, and converted to a coach in 1942
.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#13 - June 21, 1973 - Parkville Junction
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018

.

.


#13 - June 21, 1973 - 39th Street between Second & Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe)
M. DeLuca photo
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - March 20, 1974 - NYCTA Coney Island Shops
#1376 is a R6. Car on right edge is R40M or R42.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#13 - October 1974 - 39th Street Yard and Third Avenue (Davidson Pipe Yard)
R. F. Makse photo
authors collection

added 13 October 2012

.

.


#13 - November 11, 1975 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note #12 behind. Note the disparity in cab shape and height. 
M. J. Herson photo
authors collection

added 13 October 2012

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.


#13 - unknown date - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
F. G. Zahn photo
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 03 January 2010

.

.


#13 - unknown date - Parkville Junction
Note what appears to be a tunnel inspection car behind locomotive.
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - unknown date - Parkville Junction
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - unknown date - Coney Island Yard
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - unknown date - Parkville Interchange
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - 1976 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note headlight and cab window glass covered for shipment to Naparano.
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


#13 - 1976 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Note headlight and cab window glass covered for shipment.
M. DeLuca photographer
authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


N1


N1 - builders plate
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - September 20, 1975 - First Avenue & 40th Street (Bush Terminal trackage)
Locomotive is leading. Looking southeast. 
NYCTA Sponsored Fan Trip.
#6019 C is a BMT D Type Triplex.
See N2 photo section for additional photos take during this Fan Trip.
D. Pirmann photo
added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - September 20, 1975 - 38th Street Yard (between Third & Fourth Avenues)
Looking east-northeast, Third Avenue crossing to left. NYCTA Sponsored Fan Trip.
Locomotive is trailing, N2 is on other end leading. Note graffiti on hood.
See N2 photo section for additional photos take during this Fan Trip.
#6019 C is a BMT D Type Triplex.
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N1 - February 1977 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
T. Darnell photo
T. Darnell collection

added 08 Nov 2009

.

.


N1 - June 27, 1977 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Taken from the Gowanus Expressway over 3rd Avenue, looking west.
The bright red Plymouth Valiant, is the South Brooklyn Railway "escort car" used when locomotives are street running.
R46's.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


N1 - August 10, 1979 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
G. Povall photo
authors collection

added 09 September 2010

.

.


N1 & N2 - March 1982 - 39th Street Yard bewteen First & Second Avenues
S. Milstein photo
authors collection

added 19 March 2010

.

.


N1 - September 1984 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking east.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - May 1985 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking east.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - November 1986 - 39th Street between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Bringing R62A's through Davidson Pipe from Bush Interchange on Second Avenue. Looking west.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - November 1986 - 39th Street between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Bringing R62A's through Davidson Pipe from Bush Interchange on Second Avenue. Looking west from Third Avenue. Looking west.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - November 1986 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues 
Looking east.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - November 1986 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues.
Facing east.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - November 1986 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues.
Looking northwest.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - March 12, 1988 - BMT West End Line El (then the line, now line) approaching 55th Street Station.
Looking north over New Utrecht Avenue & 54th Street.
Southbound towards Coney Island Yard.
Rebuilt R42's.
D. Pirmann photo

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - August 1988 -
38th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues
Looking southwest. Unloading rebuilt R4
2's off flatcars from Morrison Knudson (Hornell, NY)

D. Pirmann photo

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - October 1988 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking west.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - October 1988 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking west.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - October 1988 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
Looking west.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 & N2 - November 22, 1991 - 39th Street Yard between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
F. G. Zahn photo
P. F. Strubeck collection

added 03 January 2010

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.


N1 - May 30, 1992 - 39th Street Yard between First & Second Avenues
Looking southwest.
T. Mader photo
authors collection

added 27 September 2009

.

.


N1 - June 1, 1992 - 36th / 38th Street BMT Yard
R44's behind.
M. DeLuca photo

P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 - August 26, 2001 - 36th Street Yard
Looking southeast. Fan trip.
BMT D Type Triplexs.
D. Pirmann photo

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - September 27, 2003 - Seneca Ave Station of BMT Myrtle Avenue El
BMT D Type Triplexs on fan trip with SBK Steeplecab on rear of train.
J. Testagrose photo

added 06 September 2009

.

.


N1 - September 28, 2003 - Seneca Ave Station of BMT Sea Beach Line - Eight Avenue Station
BMT D Type Triplexs on fan trip with SBK Steeplecab on rear of train
J. Testagrose photo

added 06 September 2009

.

.


N1 - April 2008 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard, Brooklyn, NY

Note front grill has been covered.
"TA Roadeo"
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 24 Dec 2009

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


N2


N2 - builders plate
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - unknown date (ca. 1975) - Parkville Junction, Brooklyn, NY
Looking pretty spiffy because it's pretty much brand new!
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 16 October 2012

.

.


 N2 & N1 - April 23, 1975 - Shell Road between Avenue X and Avenue Y
Looking south.
R46's on street, with R38's on el.
S. Zabel photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.

The following sequence of images, were taken by three different photographers: Michael DeLuca, William Madden and Doug Grotjahn, all of whom are (or were) Brooklyn rail & transit afficionados.
The images were taken on September 20, 1975 during a New York City Transit System sponsored fan trip over the South Brooklyn Railway.
The trip originated at Brooklyn Army Terminal at First Avenue and 58th Street and concluding at Coney Island Yard. The images were acquired on separate dates by the author.
They are now presented here in order of location.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - First Avenue and 58th Street
Brooklyn Army Terminal behind photographer.
Spur on right edge of photo (out of service) led into Brooklyn Army Terminal Warehouse B and Yard along Second Avenue.
SBK N1 is other end of train and will lead train north to NYD "Bush Interchange" and into the SBK's 2nd Avenue & 39th Street Yard and pull in.
The train will then reverse direction with N2 leading east up to 36th Street Yard along 37th Street to Kensington Junction, and then south along McDonald Avenue
and finally to Coney Island Yard. (There is a photo of N1 in that photo section

W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - First Avenue and 43rd Street.
Approaching Bush Terminal Yard.
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - NYCTA 38th Street Yard between Third & Fourth Avenues (Looking west.)
(This image taken same time as image of N1 in that photo section above)
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - 37th Street approaching Ft. Hamilton Parkway

Under the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line (now demolished).
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - McDonald Avenue crossing Kings Highway (looking south).
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - McDonald Avenue between Avenue S (behind photographer) and Kings Highway (behind train)(Looking north.)
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - McDonald Avenue between Avenue S (behind photographer) and Kings Highway (behind train)(Looking north).
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - McDonald Avenue crossing intersection of Avenue T (Looking north).
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
Note older style two aspect vehicular traffic signal (caution was indicated by illumination of both red and green lenses).
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) just past Avenue Y (where SBK's two track main combine into single track) and approaching SBK's Coney Island Yard entrance
about two hundred feet behind photographer. (Looking north)
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
NYCTA Coney Island Shops and Yard are to left. Note the Culver Line's Coney Island Yard approach ramp upper right corner of image.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - Shell Road (McDonald Avenue) approaching the SBK Coney Island Yard entrance between Avenues Y and Z.
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N2 - January 1976 - exiting Parkville Interchange southbound and about to cross Avenue I.
This particular move will enter upon McDonald Avenue, throw turnout and proceed north to 36th / 38th Street Yard with load of tieplates.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - January 1976 - exiting Parkville Interchange southbound and about to cross Avenue I.
This particular move will enter upon McDonald Avenue, throw turnout and proceed north to 36th / 38th Street Yard with load of tieplates.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.

.

.


N2 - January 1976 - exiting Parkville Interchange southbound, crossing Avenue I and 20th Avenue.
This particular move will enter upon McDonald Avenue, stop, throw turnout and proceed north to 36th / 38th Street Yard with load of tieplates.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - January 1976 - stopped on McDonald Avenue between Avenue I and Avenue J;
With the turnout thrown for the McDonald Avenue alignment, the train can now continue north to the 36-38th Street Yard.
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - April 6, 1976 - Northbound on McDonald Avenue between Avenue M and Bay Parkway (looking south).
Under the  "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line. Washington Cemetery to right, Friends Field on left.
NYCTA Coney Island Shops and Yard are to left. Note the Culver Line's Coney Island Yard approach ramp upper right corner of image.
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - February 1977 - 39th Street between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
T. Darnell photo
T. Darnell collection

added 08 Nov 2009

.

.


N2 - Feb 12, 1978 - 39th Street Yard (39th Street between First & Second Avenues)
Looking west.
J. Testagrose photo

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - July 1984? - 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard
with NYCTA L893 (GE SL50 - 50 ton)
T. Darnell photo
T. Darnell collection

added 08 Nov 2009

.

.


N2 and N1 - September 1984 - 39th Street between First and Second Avenues "39th Street Yard" (looking west).
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018


N2 - May 5, 1986 - "39th Street Yard" (39th Street between First & Second Avenues)
Looking north.
unknown photographer
P. F. Strubeck collection

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


 N2 - October 1988 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues
Loading R32's for shipment to rebuilder Morrison Knudsen

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 & N2 - October 1988 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues
Loading R32's for shipment to rebuilder Morrison Knudsen

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 & N2 - October 1988 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues
Loading R32's for shipment to rebuilder Morrison Knudsen

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N1 & N2 - October 1988 - 38th Street "unloading" Yard between Third and Fourth Avenues
Loading R32's for shipment to rebuilder Morrison Knudsen

M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - April 23, 1988 - Second Ave & 39th Street
Looking southwest. N2 and R30 subway cars are on Second Avenue trackage at
the Bush Terminal / South Brooklyn Railway interchange between 39th and 38th Streets.
J. Testagrose photo
added 06 September 2009

.

.


N2 - unknown date circa 1988 - 38th Street Yard between Fourth and Third Avenues
Looking west. Unloading rebuilt R42's off flatcars from Morrison Knudson (Hornell, NY) via the ramp.
D. Pirmann photo

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - March 1989 - 38th Street Yard between Fourth and Third Avenues
Looking west. After unloading rebuilt R32's off flatcars from Morrison Knudson (Hornell, NY) via the ramp.
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 22 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - March 29, 1995 - 36th-38th Street "BMT" Yard
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - unknown date - 38th Street "Unloading" Yard between Third Avenues and Fourth Avenues 
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - March 29, 1995 - 39th Street between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


N2 - March 29, 1995 - 39th Street between Second and Third Avenues (Davidson Pipe Yard)
M. DeLuca photo
P. M. Goldstein / P. F. Strubeck collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.


SBK N2 & NYCH #22 - July 5, 1995 - Bush Terminal Railroad Yard - First Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
(NYCH #22 is ex-BEDT #22 ALCo S1)
This photo shows the size comparison between GE 47 Ton, standard freight cars and an ALCo S1.
C. G. Perelman photo
P. F. Strubeck archives

added 24 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - April 17, 2007 - Coney Island Shops
Note front grill has been covered.
"TA Roadeo"
P. F. Strubeck photo

.

.


N2 - September 4, 2007 - Coney Island Shops
S. Milstein photo
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.

...
N1 control stand - April 2008  (left)  - N2 control stand - April 2007 (right)
both photos P. F. Strubeck
added 16 Dec 2009

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N2 - April 2008 - looking out firemans side cab window
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

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N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
"TA Roadeo"
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

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N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
"TA Roadeo"
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

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N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
"TA Roadeo"
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
"TA Roadeo"
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

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N2 - Ocotber 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

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N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

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N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

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N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

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N2 - unknown date - 207th Street Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9 (first)

9 (second)

12

13

N1N2


3000 and 9000 series


Miscellaneous Electric Work & Freight Equipment


#3100 / 3101 / #3102 - 39th Street between First & Second Avenue Yard - September 1968
S. Goldstein photo
authors collection

.

.


#9006 - October 1, 1934 - 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard
G. Votava photo
D. Keller archives 

.

.


#9006 & 9007 - April 3, 1959 - 39th Street Yard (pre-Davidson Pipe Yard) 
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#9007  / 20162 - 1968 - 39th Street Yard (Davidson Pipe Yard) 
Note under 20162 the stencil: TYPE 9007.
S. Goldstein photo
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#9136
- unknown date
- 36th Street Yard
unknown photographer

.

.


#9137 - April 4, 1959 - 36th Street Yard
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#9161 - October 1, 1934 - 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard
G. Votava photo
D. Keller archives

.

.


#9421 - unknown date - Canarsie Carbarn
unknown photographer
Joseph Testagrose collection

.

.


#9422 - April 3, 1959 - 39th Street  & Third Avenue Yard (Davidson Pipe)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#9423 - April 3, 1959 - 39th Street & Third Avenue Yard (Davidson Pipe Yard) 
unknown photographer
authors collection
18 March 2011

.

.


#9425 - April 3, 1959 - 39th Street & Third Avenue Yard (Davidson Pipe Yard)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011 

.

.


#9431 - October 1, 1934 - 39th Street & Third Avenue Yard (Davidson Pipe Yard)
G. Votava photo
D. Keller archives 

.

.


#9433 - October 1, 1934 - 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard
G. Votava photo
D. Keller archives 

.

.


#9444 - 1928 - unknown location
(note the "people catcher" on the front of the unit!)
Bill Volkmer collection
"Daves Electric Railroads" archives

.

.


#9980 - October 1, 1934 - 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard
G. Votava photo
D. Keller archives 

.

.


unknown number - unknown date - unknown location
Bill Volkmer collection
"Daves Electric Railroads" archives

.

.

.

 The following photo taken by my father; in the South Brooklyn Railway's 39th Street Yard, which was located between Second and First Avenues, 38th and 39th Streets. If only these wooden boxcars could talk! At the least, they appear to have been painted.


September 1968 - South Brooklyn Railway Yard - 39th Street between First & Second Avenues
Looking west. The shallow peaked roof in the background is the piershed that replaced the ferry terminal)
S. Goldstein photo
authors collection

.

.

RETURN TO INDEX

. .

..

South Brooklyn Railway Locomotive & Equipment Roster

number / name
builder

c/n
build
date

gauge
wheel
arrangement
model wheel 
dia

cylinders

acquired

disposition

notes
ref
#1 BHRR   1904 std. B-B       new scrapped 1955 steeple cab - sold to NY Municipal Rwy $5,199.58? [55]
#2 BHRR   1904 std. B-B       new scrapped 1944 steeple cab [55]
#3 BHRR   1904 std. B-B       new scrapped 1954 steeple cab - sold 1921 $6065.85 to ? [55]
#4 BHRR   1907 std. B-B        new out of service 1965, to Shore Line Trolley Museum
under restoration / stabilization 2016
first locomotive actually lettered for South Brooklyn Railway
box cab [c] [55]
#5 /
20002
ALCo / GE 48559
/ 3266
9/2/1910 std. B-B E517 34"    new to NYCTA 1961,
currently on display in NY Transit Museum; Brooklyn, NY
steeple cab [i]
ALCo order #S-726
temp NYCTA #20002
(3/1962)
[55]
[1]

[25]
#6 /
20003
GE 7280 4/2/1921 std. B-B RM95A - 248B 34¼"   new to NYCTA 1961,
NYCTA Coney Island Shops, Museum Collection
steeple cab [a][j]
temp NYCTA #20003 (3/1962)
[55]
[25]
#7 /
20004
GE / Westinghouse 9946 12/7/1925 std. B-B RM95A - 248B 34¼"   new to NYCTA 1961,
NYCTA Coney Island Shops, Museum Collection
steeple cab [a][k]
temp NYCTA #20004
(5/1962)
[55]
[25]
#8 /
20005
Whitcomb 60353 12/1943 std B-B 65DE19A 42"   used
11/1946
Transferred to NYCTA general usage,
(believed to have since been scrapped)
ex-US Army #7983;
purchased directly from US Army 11/1946
renumbered NYCTA #20005 - 11/1961
renumbered South Brooklyn Railway #8 - 6/1966
cab widened by NYCTA
to NYCTA general roster 1957
[d]
[13]
$
#9 (1)
Whitcomb 60336 10/1943 std. B-B 65DE19A 42"   used
11/1946
sold 9/1955 to Acme Equipment Co, Detroit, MI (dealer)
resold to American Aggregates #5082
; Brighton, Michigan
ex-US Army #7966;
purchased directly from US Army 11/1946
[d]
[13]
$
#9 (2) /
20000
Whitcomb 60350 11/1943 std. B-B 65DE19A 42"   used 1961 from Marshall Equipment Co, Ashley, PA (dealer)
Trolley Museum of NY; Kingston, NY

operational
ex-US Army #7980; contract W-2789-TC-976
to
Johnstown & Stony Creek RR #3, PA 11/1946;
purchased from  Johnstown & Stony Creek RR #3, PA 1961
numbered NYCTA #20000 - 11/1961;
renumbered #9 and assigned to South Brooklyn Railway - 6/1966
cab narrowed by NYCTA
[d]
[e]
[13]
$

Locomotives #10 & 11 were not assigned to or used on South Brooklyn Railway, but did exist on the NYCTA roster.

#12 /
/ 20008
GE 30021 8/1948 std. B-B 70 Ton 36"   used 1960 sold to Naparano Scrap, Jersey City, NJ; then
believed to have been scrapped
renumbered NYCTA 20008  (11/1961)
built as Grafton & Upton #12
[f]
[g]
#13 /
20009
GE 28239 10/1946 std. B-B 70 Ton 36"   used 11/1960 sold 11/1981 Geo. Silcott (dealer)
12/1981: Thurso & Nation Valley
(Thurso Pulp & Paper) #13; Thurso, Quebec, Canada
1983: re-engined w/ Cummins 600hp (turbo)
1990: sold to Port Stanley Terminal Rail; Ontario, Canada
1994: leased to Ontario Southland Railway
currently in service leased to Babcock & Wilcox #L4; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
built as Saratoga & Schuylerville #11 - (second recorded built GE 70 Ton)
exxx-Claremont & Concord #11  (unknown date)
exx-Montpelier & Barre #23  (1957)
ex-Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington #23  (1959)
renumbered NYCTA 20009  (11/1961)
[f]
[l]
#N1 GE 38946 10/1974 std. B-B 47 Ton 34"   new in general service NYCTA System overhauled 1985? [h]
#N2 GE 38947 10/1974 std. B-B 47 Ton 34"   new in general service NYCTA System overhauled 1985? [h]
#3000 series                     unpowered boxcars  
#9006 Brown Hoisting
Machinery
                unknown
on property in 1959
rail crane

[30]

#9007 Brown Hoisting
Machinery?
                unknown
on property in 1959
 
rail crane  
#9137 Middletown   1903             Shore Line Trolley Museum flat car motor [31]
#9161 Baltimore Steel   1904             Shore Line Trolley Museum flat car motor [31]
#9421 Middletown    1903             Shore Line Trolley Museum freight box motor [31]
#9422                   unknown
on property in 1959
freight box motor  
#9423                   unknown
on property in 1959
freight box motor  
#9425 Middletown   1903             Shore Line Trolley Museum freight box motor [31]
#9431                   on property in 1934 freight box motor [30]
#9433                   on property in 1934 freight box motor [30]
#9444                   in use 1928 freight box motor  
#9980 Treadwell   1905 std. B-B       used scrapped 1958 acquired in 1910 from American 
Railway Traffic as ash dump car.
[b]
converted by South Brooklyn Railway in 1927.
[55]

There were additional cars assigned to South Brooklyn Railway. Please refer to the Official Railway Equipment Register page for a detailed roster:


BHRR = Brooklyn Heights Railroad

Locomotive Footnotes:

[a]

Locomotive #5 only had MCB/AAR coupler.
Locomotives # 6 & 7 are equipped with dual couplers (F-H2-MCB):

Locomotive #7 is the only remaining locomotive to be equipped with trolley pole.

#5 had arched top cab windows.
#6 & #7 have square cab windows
.

#5 had straight handrails
#6 & 7 have retained ornate (curved) handrails,
#7 has no front hand rail in builders photo above, unknown if #5 & 6 were built this way as well

#5 has vaulted roof
#6 & 7 have flat roofs

#5 has GE 212B traction motors (4)
#6 & #7 have GE 248B traction motors (4 per locomotive)

#1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  and 7 were equipped with both trolley pole and third rail pick up shoes (overriding type)

[b]

American Railway Traffic Co was a subsidiary of the Brooklyn Heights RR.

[c] #4 specs:

Owner/City:
Builder:
Date Built:
Number of Trucks:
Truck Type:
Number of Motors:
Motors:
Controls:
Brakes:
Compressor:
Length:
Weight:
Height:
Seats:
Ends:
Open closed:
Roof:
Structural:
Type:

South Brooklyn Ry. NYC
Brooklyn Heights Ry.
1907
2
Alco Z-380
4
Westinghouse 300
Westinghouse 251A

D3F
31'
114,000 lbs.

0
2
Closed
arch
steel
work locomotive, boxcab

[d] # 8 & 9 specs:
Engine:
Cylinders:
Horsepower:
Bore:
Stroke:
Number of  Motors:
Motor Type:
Controls:
Brakes:
Weight:
Length:
Height:

Lubricant cap'y
Fuel cap'y
Buda LaNova 6DCS-1879 w/ supercharger
6
251
6 3/4"
8 3/4
4
Westinghouse 970A, 100hp
Westinghouse
14EL
138,200 lbs
43' 2" (coupler to coupler)
12' 1/4"

23 gal
750 gal
[e] #9 cab roof modified for tunnel clearances
[f] # 12 & 13 specs:
Engine:
Cylinders:
Horsepower:
Bore:
Stroke:
Number of  Motors:
Motor Type:
Controls:
Brakes:
Weight:
Length:
Height:

Width:
Lubricant cap'y
Fuel cap'y
Cooper Bessemer FWL 6T
6




GE 5GE748C17


137,600 lbs
37' (coupler to coupler)
13' 5 3/8"

10'
[g] #12 cab roof modified for tunnel clearances
[h] N1 & N2 specs:
Engine:
Cylinders:
Turbocharger:
Horsepower:
Bore:
Stroke:
Number of  Motors:
Motor Type:
Master Control:
Brakes:
Weight:
Length:
Height:
Width:
Lubricant cap'y
Fuel cap'y
Coolant cap'y
Sand cap'y
Exhaust Cleaner:
Cummins NT350
6
T590
335 hp


4
5GE763A2
17KC101A2
14EL / SA9
94,000 lbs.
37' 7" (pulling face to pulling face)
10' 6"
8'
11.5 gal
400 gal.
16 gal.
13.2 cu. ft.
National Mine Scrubber
[i]
motors: 212B
gear ratio: 64:19
[j]
[k]
motors: 248B
gear ratio: 66:17
[l] #13 disposition courtesy of Old Time Trains and Colin Churcher websites
as well as info furnished by Tom Brill in  "NY Railroads, Subways & Trolleys" facebook group
$ = Hugh A. Dunne's roster that appeared in the March 1961 issue of Electric Railroaders' Association "Headlights" has the US Army road numbers transposed between SBK #8 and SBK #9 (first).  This Dunne roster was subsequently reprinted in the Souvenir Brochure for the September 20, 1975 ERA Fan Trip of the South Brooklyn Railway, which restated this error in numbering, which has subsequently caused a lot of confusion in the following years. This roster above is confirmed to be correct.

.

RETURN TO INDEX

.


Memorabilia


#6 Envelope - postmarked October 1908
authors collection
added 02 July 2018

.

.


#11 Envelope - postmarked February 1934
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


Maximum Car Measurements - July 1955

a gift to the author from Benjamin W. Schaeffer 
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


#6 En
velope - ca. 1960
a gift to the author from Benjamin W. Schaeffer 
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


#11 Envelope - December 1963 (postmarked May 1965)
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


Car Demurrage Record - July 1974
(note it still lists "steam car" even though printed in 1974!)
a gift to the author from Benjamin W. Schaeffer 
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


System Advertisment? - undated

a gift to the author from Benjamin W. Schaeffer 
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


MTA News - July 1975
a gift to the author from Benjamin W. Schaeffer 
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


(may or may not be South Brooklyn Railway)
authors collection
added 02 July 2018
.

.


South Brooklyn Railway  #13 Automatic Brake Handle
South Brooklyn Railway #12 Independent Brake Handle
brass Yale lock -  NYCTS / IND
brass Wilson Bohannon lock - NYCTA
Both brake handles were gifted to the author by M. DeLuca, of who's images grace this page.

authors collection

added 02 July 2018
.

.

.

RETURN TO INDEX

.


South Brooklyn Railway Memoirs

   Being a Brooklyn resident of the Gravesend neighborhood, and living within walking distance to South Brooklyn Railway's McDonald Avenue trackage, I remember when the first portion of the McDonald Avenue trackage was removed from service, and then the second.

   At least on one occasion many years before, I remember vividly as a child, sitting in the family car waiting for a traffic light to change when a big bellowing diesel locomotive sauntered by, running the street trackage on McDonald Avenue.

   Sometime in 1991 or 1992, my friends Dave, John, my sister Randi and I decided to go "exploring" the Bay Ridge Division tracks. We took the subway (F Train) from Kings Highway to Avenue I, where we knew we could get onto the Bay Ridge Division right of way through the South Brooklyn Railway / LIRR Parkville Interchange at Avenue I and McDonald Avenue.

   About 1/4 of a mile west of Parkville Interchange / McDonald Avenue and Avenue I, we found a Nolan TS-1 tool cart from the Transit Authority laying off to the side of the tracks. Well, riding is always better than walking, and we set the cart on the rails, loaded our gear on the cart and set off towards Owls Head. After a few hundred feet, we discovered our stuff kept wanting to slide off the deck, so we looked through the debris and rubbish thrown into the right of way, and we found some wire that we used to tie our stuff down with. We took turns sitting on the back of the tool cart pushing with our feet. When we would come to an incline, two of us would push. We found a 2" x 3" piece of wood, and we would jam it between a wheel flange and the frame to slow the cart down when going down a hill. Don't kid yourself; Brooklyn isn't as flat as you think and that cart would pick up some pretty decent speed heading downhill and that "jam" brake was necessary.

   About 30 minutes later, the right of way really opened up, and we arrived at Fort Hamilton Parkway. Here, we took a well needed rest break and took the time to inspect an old position signal left over from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad's days of ownership of the Bay Ridge Division. After watching some subway trains on the adjacent West End Line, we started off again.

   We arrived at the Fourth Avenue underpass about another 30 minutes later. The underpass actually stretches for a couple of city blocks, so it's more of a wide multi-track tunnel than a simple overpass, and it gets dark under there. We were about half way through, when I caught movement in front of us and to our right, and behind the concrete support pillars. I said something to my friends about it, (and of whom couldn't care less), so they tell me keep pushing. (Seems like I was the one always pushing...) Lo and behold 2 seconds later, here comes a headlight out from behind the pillars and onto our track!

   Well, we all panicked with visions of a Casey Jones type wreck, so in an adrenaline fueled fright, we picked the tool cart up and literally threw the cart a good 15 feet off the tracks. Mind you with all our stuff still tied down on it: backpacks with clothes, my camera, and a large ice chest full of sandwiches and soda, and including the weight of the cart, we're talking several hundred pounds! My sister and friends ran behind the pillars and like the railfan I am, I stood off the tracks and watched the loco approach us. It wasn't going very fast (we didn't know that when we first saw it) and about a minute later the locomotive stops with the cab right next to me. It was South Brooklyn Railway N1 hauling some subway cars eastbound out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal trackage and Bush Terminal.

   By this time my friends and sister came out from hiding and the engineer had stuck head out the cab window and asked what we were doing. I told him we were heading to the Owl's Head Yard for a picnic, and to take pictures. He smiled, said "no problem" but to be careful. He told us he would be returning westbound around 2 p.m., so if were to be on the track outside the yard, we were to keep an eye out for him heading towards us. He also told us vandals had broken into the firehose lockers in the Bay Ridge Yard and hose was stretched across the tracks, so that if we really wanted to get all the way to the water with the cart, we'd have to clean up some hoses.

   He told us his name, but my memory fails to recall it (somehow Angelo seems familiar) and he headed east. We rerailed our tool cart and headed west. We then came to a turnout where the tracks diverge for the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Bay Ridge Yard, and the switch was thrown for the BAT, so we threw the switch, ran the cart through, and returned the switch to its original position. Then we came across a derail that was locked and we had to "hump" the cart over the derail (it's funny how the cart felt heavier now than in the moment of panic when we threw it off the tracks!)

   Once in the yard, we picked up and rolled quite a few rolls of firehose that morning to clear "our track" and finally made it to the water. I remember seeing a tug with the BEDT herald on its stack tied up along the wharf, and I went to get my camera. But, like a schmoe, I forgot to bring film! All that way, all that railroad history and memories, and I forget the film!

   After a few hours, and after some lunch and some exploring, we decided to head back to McDonald Avenue. We decided to take a roll of fire hose with us and one of the hose nozzles and we set off. We had to hump the tool cart over the derail (now it felt even heavier) and play with the switch again. We didn't encounter N1 all the way to McDonald Avenue, and when we went to unload, we realized we lost the hose nozzle somewhere along the way. We split the cart into two parts and buried the tool cart under some old tires and debris under an overpass for a future trip. A few months later when we returned (with film this time) to get the tool cart, the tool cart was gone.

   For what its worth, looking back upon it, that was one of my best days of "railfanning"!.

   I also recall a moderately sized coal retailer (long since out of business during my years) with four 3 story concrete coal silos of Flatbush Coal located between Colin Place & Billings Place and McDonald Avenue (between Avenue S and Kings Highway). In the street was a turnout, and branching off the mainline, tracks entered under the silos. This sight frequently greeted me as I disembarked from the "F" Train on my way home from work, and I was saddened to see that these coal silos were torn down several years ago during a visit to my old neighborhood..

.

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.


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American Dock & Trust

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North 4th St Freight Sta  (PRR)

207th St Yard  (IND / NYCTA)

Astoria Light, Heat & Power

Degnon Contracting / Degnon Terminal...

Phelps - Dodge

Wallabout Terminal  (DLW)

Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific

G & R Packing

Pouch Terminal

Wallabout Station  (Erie)
Atlas Terminal Harlem Station  (Erie / EL) Procter & Gamble Wallabout Union  (PRR, NYC, LV, B&O)
Bronx Terminal  (CRRNJ) Harlem Transfer  (DL&W) Queens Subway Apartment & Loft Building West 15th St Freight Yard  (CRRNJ)
Bronx Terminal  (LV) Jay Street Terminal / Connecting Rikers Island West 23rd St Freight Sta  (NYLE&W / Erie)...

Brooklyn Ash Removal

New York Cross Harbor

Seatrain Shipbuilding

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Brooklyn Dock & Terminal

New York Dock

South Brooklyn

West 27th St Freight Yard  (LV)

Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal...

New York New Jersey Rail / Port Jersey

South Brooklyn Terminal / Brooklyn Marginal.

West 28th St Freight Sta  (Erie / EL)
Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse North 1st Street Freight Sta  (NYNHH) 25th St / South Brooklyn Terminal  (DLW) West 37th St Freight Sta  (PRR)

Development of Car Float Transfer Bridges in New York Harbor

Comprehensive List of Float Bridges located in New York Harbor

Railroad Operated Pier Stations of Manhattan

Miscellaneous Freight Railroad Images of New York City

Double Ended Wreckers of the New York Area

.

Glossary of Definitions Indicative to Rail / Marine Terminal Operations in New York Harbor

Guestbook


.
As this particular webpage deals with an active railroad, viewers should be aware that:

this webpage or the author is not affiliated with:
.

South Brooklyn Railway,
New York City Transit Authority,
Metropolitan Transit Authority,
City of New York,
South Brooklyn Marine Terminal,
New York City Economic Development Corporation,
New York New Jersey Rail,
Davidson Pipe Supply Company, or
Costco Wholesale Corporation;

.

or any of their subsidieries, holding companies or parent organizations, employees or otherwise;
and no affliation or connection with those companies or municipalities is suggested or implied.

This website and the information contained within has been compiled for the use of reference only, and any inaccuracies are purely accidental.
This webpage sees revision for the purpose of the addition of information, or correction of inaccurate data.

Suggestions or corrections should be sent directly to:
bedt14@aol.com
.


.