• Brooklyn trolley tracks emerge from pavement!

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by jaystreetcrr
This afternoon I went by E. 7th St. and Church Ave. near my house and found that some utility work had exposed about 30 feet of old girder rail, ties, cobblestones, etc. They had dug up the center of the street rails of the two tracks (figured this out by looking at the flangeways). I found a cross section slice small enough for me to carry home and there's some 20 foot pieces still out there. I'm going to keep an eye on this spot as it looks like they'll keep digging. I wonder if they'll get to where the Ocean Parkway underpass began?
I always look whenever they're doing street work where I know there were trolley tracks. I think most of they were just blacktopped over and sometimes resurface with normal road wear. There's a lot of rails showing on the 35 Church line on 39th St. and of course the "grand union" at Church and McDonald. Any others that Brooklyn trolley fans can share?
  by Aa3rt
jaystreetcrr-If you're not already familiar with it, Kevin Walsh's great "Forgotten-NY" website has covered this topic.

Here's the main menu regarding trolley topics:

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/TROLLEYS/Tr ... lley2.html

And a couple of articles specifically addressing Brooklyn trolley remnants:

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/TROLLEYS/ri ... idgwd.html

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/TROLLEYS/Sh ... shell.html

My father, now in his 80's, was born and raised in Brooklyn and his interest in trolleys and subways was passed on to me.
  by jaystreetcrr
Thanks...yes I've seen those sites, great stuff. I went back out today and the rails had been taken away. They're putting in a median/pedestrian island and looks like there's no more excavating but maybe they'll put in more around the area. Simialr work around Park Circle last year exposed a lot of rail.
  by Aa3rt
Not exactly Brooklyn, but here's a new page at "Forgotten-NY" with remnants of a line that ran from Brooklyn to Queens:

http://forgotten-ny.com/TROLLEYS/jackso ... nmill.html
  by Jollygreenslugg
Any chance of a pic of the grand union by chance? I looked the area up on Google Streetview but couldn't see anything.

  by jaystreetcrr
Well....there's parts of it visible. None of the crossings, and some of the curved rails, and you can see a lot of the blacktop pushed up by the rails below the surface. All the corner buildings are still there. Just stare at it long enough and it's 1955 again.
  by jaystreetcrr
I just went by Church and McDonald after work and they're milling the road for new blacktop. There's a little more rail visible than usual, including a switch point, but it'll probably vanish under the blacktop.
  by jaystreetcrr
Alas, Church Avenue has been reblacktopped and those rails won't be seen for a long time. There's still a few exposed rails on the 35 Church line along 39th St. leading down to the waterfront, which brings to mind a couple of questions. What's the steepest grade a typical city streetcar could handle? This section seems as steep as any place in Brooklyn...8-10%? about like Prospect Park Southwest on the 68 line. And...why have I never seen pictures of this steep section of 39th St. in all the books and sites with Brooklyn trolley pix? Was it because this was a tough area back in the day? I know that Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn was set around there. Strange...seems like every inch of the 35 line was filmed or photographed in the final days, then there's this long gap of 39th St. which has some San Francisco like views on the big hill down to the water. Maybe I missed them.
  by n2xjk
I've heard that the adhesion limit of dry steel on steel is 11% grade. So, yea, 8-10% is about as steep as you can build trolley track. Lower Broadway in Kingston NY has a 9% grade, and we have a couple pictures of trolleys that landed in the Rondout Creek at the bottom of that hill.

I see that the TMNY collection lists a couple Brooklyn pictures on 39th St, though none of them have been scanned. I don't know if they show the slope or the view very well.