TERMINAL RAILROADS &
OF BROOKLYN, QUEENS, STATEN ISLAND, BRONX & MANHATTAN:
SOUTH BROOKLYN TERMINAL RAILROAD /
BROOKLYN MARGINAL RAILWAY
Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Fulton Ferry, Brooklyn
PROPOSED - NOT BUILT
Included in this proposal, as well as connecting the above existing
terminals; would be the construction of one, possibly several, new terminal
stations along the route.
Recently acquired (May 2021) by the author is this map of a proposed Railroad & Warehouse Terminal Development - Gowanus Section dated from 1911; which is about the date the South Brooklyn Terminal Railway / Brooklyn Marginal Railway was proposed. It is believed this map was associated with that proposal.
Note the property of this terminal extends from 28th Street to 36th Street, (which would come to be the home of the US Navy Fleet Supply Base). Also note the property is book-ended at both the north and south ends by float bridges.
Map of Proposed Railroad & Warehouse & Terminal Development - Gowanus Section - 1911
City of New York - Department of Docks and Ferries
9" x 12½"
added 18 May 2021
In 1913, the Committee on Water Front Improvement posted a letter to his honor, the Mayor William Gaynor extolling the virtues of the Brooklyn Marginal Railway:
Board of Trade Journal - June - October 1913
added 14 May 2012
Joe Roborecky, upon searching Google Books; came across the following multipage article in the Bulletin of the Merchants Association of New York "Greater New York" dated April 6, 1914, where it states the various terminals located in Brooklyn on that date, and at the conclusion of that article; mentions the proposed "Brooklyn Marginal Railway", (which in later documents is then referred to the South Brooklyn Terminal Railroad):
Greater New York - Bulletin of the Merchants Association of New York - April 6, 1914
According to the "Municipal Year Book of the City of New York of 1916" and the "Joint Report with Comprehensive Plan, 1920"; there is also mentioned this proposal to construct a marginal railroad from 65th Street in Bay Ridge along the shores of Upper New York Bay (east bank), crossing the Gowanus Canal, and along the east bank of the East River and to Brooklyn Bridge.
Per the suggestion of its "Committee on Terminal Improvements and the Commissioner of Docks" dated June 6, 1913, the Board of Estimate and the Apportionment of the City of New York adopted a plan known as the "South Brooklyn Terminal Railroad" on July 30, 1914.
It was intended that by building such
a railroad, it would have connected the
Long Island & New York New Haven & Hartford Railroads at 65th Street,
Brooklyn Army Terminal
8th Ward Market
Delaware Lackawanna & Western 25th Street Terminal
State Barge Canal
Municipal Piers at 29th, 30th and 35th Streets, and:
New York Dock - Atlantic, Baltic and Fulton Terminals
As a matter of record, $9,000,000 was appropriated for its construction, with most of the money being expended for right of way, but no construction followed. This marginal railroad was to be 5 1/2 miles long and to have both float bridge and rail connections.
It was primarily to be routed through Furman, Columbia, Van Brunt, Van Dyke and Halleck Streets, Second Avenue to 36th Street then First or Second Avenue to 65th Street by either street railway or elevated, similar to the New York Central "Highline" on Manhattan's West Side.
In response to a request of the committee, another committee representing all the trunk line railroads entering the Port of New York had submitted a plan for the joint corporation which would operate this "municipal" railroad on a rental basis.
At this time however, due to a law prohibiting railroad companies from owning securities of terminal companies, it was necessary for Legislature to pass an enabling act to permit and exception in this case. Bills were passed in 1913 and 1914, but it was not until 1915 did it receive the approval of Governor Charles Whitman. Changing financial conditions resulted in the Trunk Line Railroad Committee to withdraw their offer.
It was hoped that the lure of greater efficiency and wider choices of freight terminals along the proposed route would attract interest, and the Board of Estimate reserved a portion of the New York City borrowing margin for this proposal, in the hopes it could be constructed by 1929. As we all know, that is when the Great Depression struck. Other than these two published reports, I have be unable to locate any documentation on why the proposal was withdrawn and when.
Had this proposal been seen through to completion, and having being operated by the trunk line railroads, it does not take a great deal of thought on what would have happened to Bush Terminal and New York Dock, as they most likely would have been bought out or absorbed by a Class 1 railroad. ..
Further documents on the Brooklyn Marginal Railroad / South Brooklyn Terminal Railroad as credited:
Municipal Year Book of the City of New York - 1916
Paul Strubeck submitted the following. It is a full page spread in the New York Times, July 19, 1914 issue. I have left it in .pdf format (you'll need Adode Acrobat Reader to view), so you will be able to zoom in on the text and read clearly. Use your back arrow on your browser to return you here:
South Brooklyn Terminal Railway Press Release - New York Times - July 19, 1914
Click here to sign the:
|Bush Terminal||Phelps - Dodge||Wallabout Terminal (DLW)|
|Degnon Contracting / Degnon Terminal...||Pouch Terminal||Wallabout Station (Erie)|
|G & R Packing||Procter & Gamble||Wallabout Union (PRR, NYC, LV, B&O)|
|Atlas Terminal||Harlem Station (Erie / EL)||Queens Subway Apartment & Loft Building||Waste Management|
|Bronx Terminal (CRRNJ)||Harlem Transfer (DL&W)||Rikers Island||West 15th St Freight Yard (CRRNJ)|
|Bronx Terminal (LV)||Jay Street Terminal / Connecting||Seatrain Shipbuilding||West 23rd St Freight Station (Erie)|
|New York Cross Harbor||West 26th St Freight Station (B&O)|
|New York Dock||South Brooklyn Terminal / Brooklyn Marginal||West 27th St Freight Yard (LV)|
|New York New Jersey Rail / Port Jersey||West 28th St Freight Station (Erie / EL)|
|Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse||North 1st Street Freight Sta (NYNHH)||207th St Yard (IND / NYCTA)||West 37th St Freight Station (PRR)|
|North 4th St Freight Sta (PRR)|
|Miltary Railroads of the New York Metropolitan Area|