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South Brooklyn Railway

INDUSTRIAL & OFFLINE TERMINAL RAILROADS
OF BROOKLYN, QUEENS, STATEN ISLAND, BRONX & MANHATTAN:


SOUTH BROOKLYN RAILWAY
Sunset Park, Greenwood, Kensington, Parkville, Gravesend, Coney Island, Bedford, Brooklyn

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updated:
SATURDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2012 - 20:05


update summary:

date:
photo of #12 added 01 December 2012 12

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Special Thanks to
Dave Pirmann of www.nycsubway.org, and
Joseph Testagrose for extensive use of their images;
Electric Railroaders Association for publishing the May - June 1993 Issue of "Headlights"
containing the South Brooklyn Railway history and images; as well as
Benjamin W. Schaeffer for sharing his wealth of knowledge on this railroad and his gifts;
and most of all to
Paul F. Strubeck for allowing me to take over his South Brooklyn Railway page.
(which was difficult to read, had hardly any images and went untouched or without an update for years).

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Visitors please take note !

The collection of images on this website, which continues to grow; is due to the unprecedented and selfless contributions of the current owners of photo archives.

These people made their generous contributions to this website in good will, and allowed me to post their images online for the entire railroading community to view and appreciate, in admiration if these Fallen Flag Railroads.

In return, I strongly request that you please respect the ownership copyrights on those said images.

Other than that, please enjoy the history, thanks for taking the time to visit, and don't forget to sign the guestbook on the main page! 

~ Phil

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As this particular webpage deals with an active railroad, viewers should be aware that:

this webpage or the author is not affiliated with:
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South Brooklyn Railway, New York City Transit Authority, Metropolitan Transit Authority, City of New York,
South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, New York New Jersey Rail, Davidson Pipe Supply Company, or Costco Wholesale Corporation;

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or any of their subsidiaries, holding companies or parent organizations, 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

INDEX

History

Trackage, Right Of Way & Facilities

Rerouting Through the Years

Current & Future Operations

Original Right Of Way Remnants

LIRR Caboose C-60 Move
April 4, 2009
NYCTA R156 move
May 1, 2012

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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History

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.

   In these earliest days, the railroad was known as the South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company. 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.

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   According to the New York Times article dated July 16th, 1892 (seen at right); the South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company was organized in 1889, (although many other references cite 1887 as the year of organization.) 

   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 Racetrack located at Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway.

   In December 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. The freight operations of the South Brooklyn Railway however, was now leased to the Brooklyn Heights Railroad (yet another subsidiary of Brooklyn Rapid Transit). Three electric locomotives (#1, 2 & 3) were built in 1904 for freight service by the Brooklyn Heights RR.

   The South Brooklyn Railway would carry mail under contract from the US Postal Service, as well as more mundane items such as: lumber, cement, sand and other stone products, ashes, pipe, marble for headstones and granite for curbstones, among less than carload lots.

   A newer and more powerful electric locomotive: #4; was constructed in 1907. It was built with four 150 hp electric motors, which was one of the most powerful locomotives owned by the Brooklyn Heights RR at that time and cost over $6,000. (This translates to $147,711 in 2008 dollars.)

   Also in 1907, legislation enacted by the Interstate Commerce Commission resulted in the South Brooklyn Railway being "split off" from the Brooklyn Heights Railroad, (but both still owned by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit), which would now operate the South Brooklyn Railway as a completely separate subsidiary company that hauled passengers AND freight. This required a slew of trackage rights and terminal agreements and other fiscal document filings. Had this not been done, the entire BRT system (almost entirely a passenger hauling company) would be subject to ICC regulations.

   (Much like today where the SBK is owned by the NYCTA, a passenger hauling company; but only the SBK falls under ICC/FRA jurisdiction.)

   According to Brian Cudahy's book "How We Got to Coney Island" page 193; this arrangement allowed Brooklyn Rapid Transit to operate the South Brooklyn Railway as a freight carrier, without subjecting the Brooklyn Rapid Transit passenger operations to federal (Interstate Commerce Commission?) statutes and regulations.

   In 1909, the South Brooklyn Railway petitioned the Public Services Commission to discontinue the use of its freight yard and station located on the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railway property, adjoining the Culver Station.

   This request was made based on the fact that the freight house that was in use, which was leased from the Long Island Rail Road; was in a dilapidated condition. Furthermore, the South Brooklyn Railway did not want to build a new freight house on the property of the Long Island Rail Road, and as congestion in the Culver Yards induced many delays upon South Brooklyn Railway's operations and train movements.

   The South Brooklyn Railway acknowledged that if permitted, it would build a new freight house on the property of the Sea Beach Railroad Co., as well as use Sea Beach trackage to access the new terminal. This application was granted.   

   Also, in 1910 another electric locomotive was purchased, this one from General Electric; and became #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 should be recognized that in the early days of operation, the South Brooklyn Railway, being a subsidary 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 Bklyn Rwy 0.094
South Brooklyn Railway Co. (Private Right of Way) connection of South Brooklyn Rwy Second Ave & 39th Street 0.264
Brooklyn City RR 39th St Ferry - Coney Island Second Ave & 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 RR Culver Ninth Ave 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 Ave 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.

New York City Ownership

   In May 1940, the South Brooklyn Railway became part of the New York City Board of Transportation, which consolidated all the transit companies in the New York City proper under one municipal government organization. The Board of Transportation 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 direc to customers doors.

  In 1946, the war was over and the South Brooklyn Railway would purchase two Whitcomb ex-U.S. Army 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 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..

   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 McDonald Avenue trackage was abandoned, and 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.

   But, it appears as of May 2012, this South Brooklyn Railway will again see haulage of new equipment: the delivery of R156 diesel-electric work locomotives and R179 and R188 subway car contracts. Delivery will supposedly take 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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      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 the following locations for deliveries of freight on the South Brooklyn Railway.:

   

   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:


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

added 07 Sept 2009

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   Unfortunately, as stated in the Transit article above, and like the other contract terminals in the New York City, the South Brooklyn's freight customers were vanishing. With the closing of Davidson Pipe (in 1994) on Third Avenue and 38th Street (and where the South Brooklyn Railway would store it's locomotives) the New York City Transit Authority now provides the only "business" for the South Brooklyn Railway. This means more often than not, the freight consists of nothing more than hauling subway cars.

   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

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RETURN TO INDEX

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Trackage, Right of Way & Facilities


(click on map above for large scale image)

(numbers correspond to map locations above)

1)  39th St & 1st / 2nd Ave Yard 2)  2nd Ave Bush Terminal Interchange 3)  Davidson Pipe - SBK Offices
4)  38th St & 3rd / 4th Ave Yard 5)  36th Street BMT Yard 6)  36th Street SBK Yard
7)  37th St & 9th Ave Station 8)  Greenwood Industrial Sidings 9)  Kensington Junction
10)  20th St & 9th Ave Depot

11)  Parkville Interchange

12)  Ave S & McDonald Ave
13)  Ave U & McDonald Ave

14)  Culver / Coney Island Yard

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


   On a visit to the area on 28 January 2010, both myself and fellow Brooklyn freight railroad enthusiast (and longtime childhood friend) Dave Gellerstein took extensive time to visit the and explore the increasingly disappearing remnants of the South Brooklyn Railway Right of Way. Photos are shown in the Remnants Chapter below.

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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 it's property to the US Navy, which built it's 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. 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 it's property to the US Navy for the construction of it's supply base there. 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 compiled a webpage on it's history which may be seen 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 it's 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 - SBK Offices

   Travelling east from Second Avenue, the tracks run on through 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 undeterminable. 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

..

   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:
.

   Mr. Davidson might have some images of the Davison Pipe Yard operation, but needs some time to locate them, so stay tuned for further updates.   

   In 1994, Davidson Pipe closed this yard. 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

   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

.


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 alledgedly 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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.

   Our "man on the scene" John McCluskey brings us fresh news: the new subway car unloading ramp is now installed at the 38th Street Yard as of close of business Friday, 11 May 2012:

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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.
J. McCluskey photo

added 12 May 2012

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5 - 36th Street (BMT) Yard

   Exiting eastbound from the tunnel from 4th Avenue, the tracks open up into the "36th Street Yard" of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA - 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, panel track, etc for the NYCTA. 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 it's passenger streetcars; but it's 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

   From 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.

   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.

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7 - 37th Street & Ninth Avenue Delivery Station

   The east end of the 36th Street Yard facility falls at 9th Avenue; this location is significant for two reasons in two different eras:

   This is where the original South Brooklyn Railway trackage returned to street level and overhead trolley wire. From here it would continue a street level along 37th Street.

   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. It is unclear if a team track, a platform or a full freight station was located here.

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

   In later years, after the elevateds were built; the South Brooklyn Railway would retain its right of way at street level, and the BMT "Culver Shuttle" would have its western terminus at this location. The BMT "Culver Shuttle" line followed the same route as the South Brooklyn Railway, albeit on an elevated structure.

   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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8 - Greenwood Industrial Sidings - 37th Street & Thirteenth Ave Delivery Station?

   The 1961 track map shows several sidings in this general area to the south of the right of way and a few to to the north of the right of way.

   Unfortunately, I have not yet ascertained the customers located at these sidings. Again, 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.

   It can be inferred that the siding shown at this location was to this Delivery Station.

   At the corner of 37th Street and Fourteenth Avenue, (north of the right of way) is a large industrial building which has a covered loading dock on 37th Street. A spur of the 37th Street right of way utilized the center alley of this structure to provide rail service to it. There were a few other spurs in this immediate area, but this is the only structure remaining that reflects early rail service. Currently this structure houses food packaging and other tenants.

  


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   This segment of the route from Fort Hamilton Avenue to Thirteenth Avenue that parallels 37th Street has been obliterated, with residential townhouses having been built on what was once the right of way. East of Thirteenth Avenue, portions of the right of way still exists, albeit paved over for use as parking lots.

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9 - Kensington Junction

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   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".


South Brooklyn Railway Kensington Junction Tower
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) 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).


Gravesend Avenue - December 16, 1924
Looking south from Ditmas Avenue. Kensington Junction is half a block behind photographer.

E. E. Rutter photo
B. Merliss archives

added 29 December 2009

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Kensington Junction - 1953
Looking north along McDonald Avenue (Gravesend Avenue)
with South Brooklyn Railway tracks branching to left, former Prospect Park & Coney Island RR to right
unknown photographer
A. Huneke archives

added 29 December 2009

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   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.

   Returning to the right of way of the South Brooklyn Railway, there is currently a brickyard and a small concrete mixing plant on the right of way at this location. This is formerly the location of the Kensington Junction.

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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), 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. These passenger carrying streetcars shared the trackage with the South Brooklyn Railway until 1958 when trolley service was discontinued.  

   I have not yet ascertained what, if any; industries or freight customers the South Brooklyn Railway may have serviced along this portion and it is not believed that there were any freight customers on this branch.

   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 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

   The LIRR excavated the Bay Ridge Branch for grade crossing elimination 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.)

   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). Freight service would gradually diminish along this branch, as carfloating operations ceased at the Bay Ridge Yard, resulting in it's 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 it's 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 (and IND 'F' Train / Sixth Avenue local elevated) 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 eventually 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, as the walls actually curved to accommodate the unique "criss cross" arrangement of the siding tracks. The original construction of this building still exists to this day but the building is uninhabited and the roof has fallen in. 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 Schaffer for recording the name of the industry, as for many years now it has bothered me that I could not remember or located it 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.

   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 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.

   Also at this location, if my memory serves me correctly, was a crossover from the northbound (east) track to the southbound (west) track. This location is the only turnout I recall between Parkville Interchange crossover and Coney Island Yards.

   Strangely, this crossover is not shown in the 1961 Raudenbush Map nor does any map show these points. I freely admit that I could be confusing this with the turnout for Flatbush Coal.

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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 again, the 1961 Raudenbush Map does not reflect any presence here.

   Information is needed on this location.

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14 - Culver Yard a/k/a Coney Island Yard & Shops

   At the intersection of McDonald Avenue and Avenue X, the name of McDonald Avenue changes to Shell Road. The southwest corner of this intersection begins the Coney Island Shops of the New York City Transit Authority.

    The South Brooklyn Railway right of way would continue to follow Shell Road for another two blocks or so south, bypassing the Shop Structures and to a facing point turnout in the vicinity of the intersection of Avenue Y and Shell Road (#1 and #2 in the left diagram below).

   Taking the right track (heading south) from either of this turnouts would lead into the South Brooklyn Railway Yard. Freight service did not extend past these turnouts and continuing straight would lead to a trolley loop located on West 6th Street.

   Once the South Brooklyn Railway train has entered the 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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   So far, there is no reference to this location anywhere else as far as I have searched. I can 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.

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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."

   So apparently, the South Brooklyn Railway also had a motor truck fleet that it used to transport and deliver freight which arrived in Brooklyn to it's consignees.

   To date, these are the only two references to this truck delivery service that I have come across.

   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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   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 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 Junction to Coney Island Yard) was Sperry Car #402 being brought from Coney Island Yard to Parkville Junction on Thursday, January 31, 1978.

   The next day; on Friday, February 1, 1978; South Brooklyn Railway removed a few cars from the Robert's Foods siding located at 37th Street to the 37th Street Yard. After this last movement, the street trackage between the 36th Street Yard and Coney Island Yard was abandoned in permanence, despite the fact it was still visible in the pavement for many more years. 

   Sometime in the early 1980's, the McDonald Avenue overpass over the Bay Ridge Branch was scheduled for reconstruction. When it was rebuilt, street trackage was not part of the design, and I distinctly remember tracks embedded in McDonald Avenue 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 recall saying to myself "what idiot designed this? How will the South Brooklyn Railway use the McDonald Ave trackage!?!?"

   No matter, as no train had or would ever transverse the trackage, since 1978. Most of the trackage on McDonald Avenue remained embedded in the street for many years to come. By this time however, the northern portion of the trackage around Dahill Road and 37th Street was now used by some of the local Italian elders where they constructed boccie courts within the rails.

 

Bush Terminal / Brooklyn Army Terminal / Bay Ridge Branch Routing
Alternate 1 (green)

   Upon the street trackage being abandoned between the 36th Street Yard and Coney Island Yard, the South Brooklyn Railway would have to reroute its course of travel. This "new" routing would utilize New York Cross Harbor Railroad and Long Island RR trackage.

   Leaving the 39th Street and Second Avenue yard, trains would enter NYCHRR trackage at "Bush Junction", follow New York Cross Harbor Railroad trackage along Second Avenue, curve west on 41st Street (and under the corner of the warehouse of which so many photos are taken) for one block. The trackage then curves south again at First Avenue, where Bush Terminal Yard is located.

   As trackage also continues down the middle of First Avenue, South Brooklyn Railway movements would follow this route, enter and proceed through the Brooklyn Army Terminal to the Long Island Rail Road 65th Street Yard. Here, South Brooklyn Railway trains could enter the Bay Ridge Branch.

   The South Brooklyn Railway would follow this route east to the Parkville Interchange at McDonald Avenue & Avenue I. At this point it would switch off the Bay Ridge Branch and turn south again and pick up it's original trackage along McDonald Avenue to the Coney Island Yard.

   In 1988, the emergency rehabilitation of the Williamsburg Bridge isolated portions of the Transit System. According to Bendersky, the South Brooklyn Railway (NYCTA) would enter into an agreement with the Long Island Rail Road to operate on the Bay Ridge Branch between the hours of 7:00 pm and 3:00 am from the Bay Ridge Yard to the NYCTA Linden Shops in East New York. However several daytime photos exist of South Brooklyn Railway operations on the Bay Ridge Branch, so it is clear the South Brooklyn Railway operated on the Bay Ridge Branch at other times as well.

   Even after the Williamsburg Bridge was reconstructed, the South Brooklyn Railway would still see use of the Bay Ridge Branch (see Memoirs), and due to it's current routing, would utilize it today if need be.

   It was due to the lobbying of Dov Hikind, a local Brooklyn assemblyman; the trackage along McDonald Avenue was abandoned. The Parkville Interchange was in his district, and I believe it was stated in his proposal, that the:

   So, at some point around the 1990's, McDonald Avenue was completely resurfaced without street trackage.

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NYCTA BMT West End Line Routing:
Alternate 2 (red)

  A second route was also available: Cars destined for Coney Island Yard could be routed along existing subway / elevated trackage. All South Brooklyn Railway train movements to and from Coney Island Yard would now have to be routed along the BMT "West End Line" elevated (currently the NYCTA and trains) along New Utrecht & Stillwell Avenues.

   The South Brooklyn Railway would enter this elevated trackage at the east end of the BMT 36th Street Yard (a couple of tracks north of where they used to enter street running on the former route). 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 yard for it's 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. Now this elevated would see freight movements of the South Brooklyn Railway, as well as the ubiquitous subway trains.

   This route is shown in red in the map above.

   It must also be understood that with this routing, South Brooklyn Railway train movements would now have to be dovetailed into the off-peak schedules of those regular subway trains.

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NYNJ Rail / LIRR Interchange Routing:
Current (orange)

   In 2006, the New York Cross Harbor Railroad became New York New Jersey Rail. As the New York New Jersey Rail turnout located at First Avenue and 41st Street being welded into the First Avenue alignment around 2006, this weld prevents New York New Jersey Rail traffic from using 41st Street to Second Avenue and then to Bush Interchange with South Brooklyn Railway at Second Avenue & 39th Street.

   Therefore the transfer of any freight traffic from New York New Jersey Rail to South Brooklyn Railway must now go through the Brooklyn Army Terminal and to the Long Island Rail Road / New York & Atlantic Railway Bay Ridge Yard.

   It is from this yard that any freight destined for the NYCTA would be brought up the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch to the NYCTA Linden Shops in East New York. From this location, material can be dispersed throughout the NYCTA system.

   It is this routing that the first of twenty eight new R156 diesel-electric work locomotives  took on May 1, 2012.

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A return to Alternate 2 routing?

   It should be kept in mind however, with the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and trackage currently being rebuilt as part of the New York City Economic Development Corporations' Sunset Park Improvment Plan, a new interchange between New York New Jersey Rail and South Brooklyn Railway will be installed at First Avenue and 39th Street (one block west of the original "Bush Interchange" between NYNJ Rail and SBK).

   When installed and placed into service, this new interchange will allow freight destined for South Brooklyn Railway to once again use the BMT Fourth Avenue subway / West End Line elevated trackage, and therefore very possibly result in the South Brooklyn Railway returning to the routing shown in the map under Alternate 2 (red).

   As it is also understood, currently all new subway cars are either trucked via heavy hauler tractor trailers (I saw several new subway cars on depressed center "low boy" trailers staging outside the George Washington Bridge Toll Booths in June 2008) or could come in through Class 1 railroad routing via the Hell Gate Bridge, but this routing appears doubtful.

RETURN TO INDEX

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Current & Future Operations

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   What does the future hold for the South Brooklyn Railway? This is a good question. As we have seen throughout history after the cessation of carload and less than carload delivery by South Brooklyn Railway, the South Borooklyn serves it's parent organization the New York City Transit Authority. For the past 20 years since the last delivery of new equipment arrived for the NYCTA, this has meant simply that the South Brooklyn Railway locomotives hauled work trains.

   As of  May 2012, this has changed, and South Brooklyn Railway is back in the business of hauling newly arrived equipment! This traffic culminated as a result of the revitalization underway at Sunset Park.

   Prior to this, several proposals had been put forth for the redevelopment of Sunset Park and the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. One plan that I have seen, in the November 28, 2007 presentation by New York City Economic Development Corp (NYCEDC), to ASICMA on "Infrastructure in New York City"

   This graphic has the yard trackage reoriented for north / south (and of which the SBK 39th Street Yard is currently oriented east / west), with that new track entrance being located at 39th Street and First Avenue providing access into the yard for New York New Jersey Rail.

   As for the South Brooklyn Railway, there does not appear to be presence or access to this yard and the site of their 39th 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"

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   This next graphic, was originally from the "Sunset Park Vision Plan" of 2009 and modified by the author to reflect operational changes as of 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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May 2012: 

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   While the South Brooklyn Railway is still 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 & from either the float bridges at Bush Terminal (or the NYCTA East New York Shops via the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch) since .

   It appears with the new orders of R156 work locomotives and possibly the R179 and R188 subway car orders, traffic will resume along the Third Avenue and 38th Street to 36st Street Yard segment.

   There is one minor codacil however: whereas South Brooklyn Railway formerly interchanged with New York Cross Harbor Railroad at the 39th Street & Second Avenue Yard (represented by the numeral 1 in the diagram above).

    As it is understood, as part of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal reconstruction, the South Brooklyn Railway's 39th Street Yard between Second and First Avenues was ceded to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal property. It now appears that South Brooklyn Railway will now interchange with New York New Jersey Rail (the successor to New York Cross Harbor) at South Brooklyn Railway's 38th Street Yard between Third & Fourth Avenue (two blocks east of the original interchange point). This new interchange is reflected by the number 2 in the diagram above. This is only one hypothesis, but appears the most likely.

     As such, New York New Jersey Rail will have operational rights from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal trackage, proceeding across Second Avenue, utilize the trackage adjacent to Costco, cross Third Avenue and interchange with South Brooklyn Railway at the South Brooklyn Railway's 38th Street Yard.

   The second hypothesis is that the possibility also exists that with the anticipated activation of the 65th Street Yard float bridges, any traffic to or from the New York City Transit Authority would utilize the Long Island Rail Road's Bay Ridge Branch. If this is the route chosen, then it remains to be seen if South Brooklyn Railway will transport the traffic, or will New York & Atlantic (the freight subsidiary of LIRR) and of whom operates on the Bay Ridge Branch.

   It is expected this rail traffic will commence late May / early June 2012, with the completion of the reconstruction of street trackage along First Avenue to and through the new South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at 39th Street. Also as of May 2012, the 38th Street Yard was cleaned up of debris and the subway car unloading ramp replaced.

   This now leads us to believe more than ever, this 38th Street Yard will soon see action in the way of receiving inbound R156 work diesels and subway cars.

   Again, nether of these hypothesis are confirmed, and again time will tell the final operating arrangements.

RETURN TO INDEX


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:

.

   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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SBK N2 / N1 & NYCTA RD 411 / OL 912 - MotivePower Incorporated R156 move - May 1, 2012
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   On May 1, 2012, the first locomotive in 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.

  The locomotive was transported on her own trucks, but loaded upon an TTX Corp 89' specialty flat car HTTX #91796, and transported from MotivePower Inc.; in Boise, Idaho. Alledgedly the final Northeast leg of the locomotive's journey was via CSXT to Fresh Pond Yard, Queens; where New York & Atlantic Railway took the flatcar / locomotive load to Linden Yard, where it was then unloaded onto it's own wheels. But this is now confirmed to incorrect!

  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.

   So apparently, NYNJ Rail brought the locomotive into Brooklyn, and hauled it to 65th Street / Bay Ridge Yard. New York & Atlantic picked it up in 65th Street brought it to Linden Shops,

   From there, South Brooklyn Railway locomotives N2, N1 and NYCTA rider car RD411 brought NYCTA locomotive OL912 through the BMT system to Coney Island Shops for final calibration and testing. Click on screenshot below to watch video:


SBK #N2, NYCTA #OL912, 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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RETURN TO INDEX

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Original Right Of Way Remnants

   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 Coal Dealer at Avenue S and McDonald Avenue - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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   Our next stop travelling 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 recoustructed. 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 - January 26, 2010
authors photo

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Looking west from the center island (parking lot) of Third Avenue - 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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   Thus ends our journey of the past.

RETURN TO INDEX


Dual Couplers, Compromise Couplers & Transition Cars

   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.

   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 incompatiblity hen 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 advance age of museum rolling stock and likewise its coupler profile of the series, the South Brooklyn Railway has an assortment of compromise couples for movement of museum pieces.

   Locomotives #1, 2 & 3 are seen throughout ther 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.

   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.
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.
J. Shanus photo

J. Testagrose collection
added 06 September 2009

.


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

.


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

.


Locomotive & Equipment Overview

.

   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:

.

   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.

.

#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

.


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

authors collection
added 18 May 2009

.

   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. However, #4 has been saved (unrestored) and is located the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, CT.

   #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.

.

#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

.

   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!

.

   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).

.

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.

.

#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.

.

#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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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 repanted 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.

.

#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

.

.


Locomotive & Equipment Photo Index

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment

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 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

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


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

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


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 - 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)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 18 March 2011

.

.


#4 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue M - August 1958
Northbound 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.
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

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


#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

With 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 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue Y
(looking southwest - Coney Island Yard behind loco)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


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

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue Y
(looking west - Coney Island Shops behind loco)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - McDonald Avenue & Avenue Y
(looking west - Coney Island Shops behind loco)
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 09 March 2011

.

.


#5 - ca. 1951 - McDonald Avenue between Avenue Y and Avenue X
(looking north)
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 at Avenue Y & McDonald Avenue
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 - McDonald Avenue & approaching Avenue X
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

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


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.

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

.

.


either #6 or #7 (Note flat roof and square window) - unknown date - unknown location
(Appears to be looking east around Eleventh / Twelfth Avenue. NYNH&H / LIRR 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
Note dual couplers.
J. Shanus photo

added 27 Sept 2009

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


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 identiifcation of the last car)
unknown photographer
J. Testagrose collection

.

.


#7 - unknown date - Coney Island Shops
Note dual couplers.
BMT Standards.
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 - March 30, 1971 - Coney Island 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

.

.


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

added 07 Sept 2009

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


8


#8 - ca. 1955 - crossing Second Avenue at the 39th Street Yard
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

.

.


#8 (as #20005) - October 1959 - 36th Street 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
Narrowed straight sidecab.
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 sidecab. 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

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


9


#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 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
Straight cab sides and cab overhanging frame.
M. D. Meyer archives
authors collection

added 23 Oct 2009

.

.


#9 (second) - May 19, 1968 - NYCTA Coney Island Yard
Angled cab sides, and cab not overhanging frame.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


#9 - 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

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


12


#12 - May 30, 1961 - on McDonald Avenue by Avenue Y entering Coney Island Yard.
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)
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 - Parkville Interchange
Looking east. Train on LIRR Bay Ridge Division, 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. #12 is on McDonald Avenue, subway cars curve off into "alley" to LIRR Bay Ridge Division
R44's enroute to Coney Island.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009


#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 - 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

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


13


#13 - Shell Road 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

.

.


#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
C. G. Parsons photo
authors collection

added 06 March 2012

.

.


#13 - March 11, 1965 - Parkville Interchange / McDonald Avenue
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 - 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 - 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

.

.


#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

.

.

Electric Locomotives

1

2

3

4

5

6

7



Diesel Locomotives

8

9

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


N1


N1 - builders plate
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


N1 - September 20, 1975 - First Avenue & 40th Street (Bush Terminal trackage)
Looking southeast. Fan Trip
#6019 C is a BMT D Type Triplex.
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. Fan Trip.
Note graffiti on hood.
#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 - 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 & 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

.

.


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

added 27 September 2009

.

.


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 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 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

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


N2


N2 - builders plate
P. F. Strubeck photo

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - unknown date (ca. 1975) - Parkville Junction, Brooklyn, NY
Looking pretty spiffy!
unknown photographer
authors collection

added 16 October 2012

.

.


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

Under the BMT "Culver Shuttle" line.
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - McDonald Avenue approaching Avenue Y.
Under the BMT "Culver / Sixth Avenue" line.
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 - 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.
W. J. Madden photo
authors collection

added 03 March 2010

.

.


 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

.

.


N2 - September 20, 1975 - 38th Street Yard between Third & Fourth Avenues
Looking west. BMT D Type Triplexs on fan trip.
D. Grotjahn photo
J. Testagrose collection

added 06 September 2009

.

.


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 - 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 - 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

.

.


SBK N2 & NYCH #22 - July 5, 1995 - Bush Terminal Railroad Yard - First Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
(NYCH #22 is ex-BEDT #22 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.
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

.

.


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

added 16 Dec 2009

.

.


N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - April 2008 - Coney Island Shops
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - Ocotber 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


N2 - October 2008 - Canarsie Yard
B. Demas photo

added 03 July 2010

.

.


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

12

13

N1

N2



3000 and 9000 series
Electric Work / Freight Equipment


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

.

.

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 [55]
#2 BHRR   1904 std. B-B       new scrapped 1944 steeple cab [55]
#3 BHRR   1904 std. B-B       new scrapped 1954 steeple cab [55]
#4 BHRR   1907 std. B-B        new out of service 1965, to Shore Line Trolley Museum box cab [c] [55]
#5 ALCo / GE 48559
/ 3266
9/2/1910 std. B-B E517 34"    new to NYCTA 1961,
currently in NY Transit Museum
steeple cab [i]
ALCo order #S-726
temp NYCTA #20002
(3/1962)
[55]
[1]

[25]
#6 GE 7280 4/2/1921 std. B-B RM95A - 248B 34¼"   new to NYCTA 1961,
NYCTA Coney Island Shops 
steeple cab [a][j]
temp NYCTA #20003 (3/1962)
[55]
[25]
#7 GE / Westinghouse 9946 12/7/1925 std. B-B RM95A - 248B 34¼"   new to NYCTA 1961,
NYCTA Coney Island Shops 
steeple cab [a][k]
temp NYCTA #20004
(5/1962)
[55]
[25]
#8 Whitcomb 60353 12/1943 std B-B 65DE19A 42"   used 11/1961? unknown
might have been sold to a mining railroad in Michigan
(believed to have since been scrapped)
ex-US Army #7983;
sold 11/1946 to Johnstown & Stony Creek RR, PA;

numbered NYCTA #20005:
renumbered South Brooklyn Railway #8 (11/1961)
[d]
[13]
#9 (1) Whitcomb 60336 10/1943 std. B-B 65DE19A 42"   used
11/1946
sold 9/1955 to American Aggregates #5082 ex-US Army #7966; [d]
[13]
#9 (2) Whitcomb 60350 11/1943 std. B-B 65DE19A 42"   used 1961 Trolley Museum of NY
Kingston, NY
ex-US Army #7980;
numbered NYCTA #20000; renumbered #12 and assigned to South Brooklyn Railway (11/1961)
[d]
[e]
[13]

Locomotives #10 & 11 were not assigned to or used on South Brooklyn Railway, but did exist on the NYCTA roster.

#12 GE   1948 std. B-B 70 Ton 36"   used 1960 sold to Naparano Scrap, Jersey City, NJ; then
believed to have been scrapped
ex-Claremont & Concord, NH;
renumbered NYCTA 20008 (11/1961)
[f]
[g]
#13 GE   1948 std. B-B 70 Ton 36"   used 11/1960 unknown
(believed to have been scrapped)
ex-Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington, MA;
renumbered NYCTA 20009 (11/1961)
[f]
#N1 GE 38946 10/1974 std. B-B 47 Ton 34"   new in service overhauled 1985? [h]
#N2 GE 38947 10/1974 std. B-B 47 Ton 34"   new in service 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

.

RETURN TO INDEX

.


Memorabilia


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
authors collection

added 10 March 2011

.

.


Car Demurrage Record - July 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

.

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 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 it's 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 and 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 it's 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 it's 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 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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Development of Car Float Transfer Bridges in New York Harbor

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Double Ended Wreckers of the New York Area

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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 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:
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