Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by jersey_guy
drewh wrote:There are no lines via bridge from Manhattan to Queens - all tunnels now.
Not directly, but the Williamsburg Bridge does carry the J/M/Z lines, which all DO end up in Queens eventually. Maybe that's what Sarge meant.

  by Jeff Smith
Thanks. Actually, I thought there was a train from Manhattan to Queens, but I was mistaken. Not sure what I was thinking of.

I was curious about the 2nd/3rd Av El bridges into the Bronx as in reading the nycsubway.org article Otto posted that the original 2nd Ave proposal included variants of service into the Bronx. I know nothing's on the books for such service now, but wonder if it wouldn't make sense once they get the Manhattan portion completed.

The article also mentioned suggestions to replace the 3rd Av el in the Bronx with service along "the New Haven ROW". I'm pretty sure they meant NYC(entral), but I can't imagine where they thought it would fit within that right of way? Unless they were confusing this with the proposal for 2nd Av service along the Hell Gate line to Co-op City.

Not to be confused with plans in the 70's to exend the Dyre Av line to Co-Op (a 90+ degree turn onto 233rd and Connor?).

  by drewh
The 59th St Bridge used to carry a spur of the 2nd Ave El as well as trolley tracks.

  by AndyB
I believe the first bridge in the back ground of this photo is the Third Ave El Bridge
El Bridge

Yea, the foreground is pretty interesting too.

  by Gerry6309
Correct. Something looks odd about the picture though, since the signs say the orientation is correct but the lift bridge in the background doesn't seem angled enough to be the 125th St. span of the Triboro. In anyevent you can see there is no roadway on the el bridge, which is much lighter construction than the Willis Av. bridge behind it. The approach to the Third Av. Bridge is in the foreground.

  by Jeff Smith
What a great shot! The freight house is awesome, CNJ in da Bronix! Hunts Point must have been humming with more than skanky hookers back in that day! And the Ruppert's beer sign, the old brewery adjacent to the Third Ave el around 92nd St.

So on the topic of the bridge, I'm wondering now, with Willis and Tri-Borough behind it, that must be the site of the present Third Ave bridge. I'd imagine it was extensively gutted if not replaced so that the present one-way configuration of each bridge would take its place.

I wonder if either would or could be modified to support a 2nd Ave subway extension?

  by Gerry6309
There is no bridge in that location today. The Third Av. Bridge approach is at the very bottom of the picture. It's hard to see but 129th St, Station ran east-west between Second and Third. The el bridge is at the north end of Second Av. and led to a PRW in the Bronx. Several blocks to the north the els split back up, with two tracks leading to 149th St - 3rd Av. station, and the others following the Bergen Av. cutoff to the abandoned ramps where the 2/5 emerges onto its structure. Third Av. never had an el between 129th and a bit south of 149th.

  by Jeff Smith
I see that now. Not sure how I missed it. Thanks.

  by UpperHarlemLine4ever
Paul asks the question about ridership in the final years of the 3rd Avenue El. I went to Fordham University in those final years of the El operation and I can tell you that the Fordham Road station was alway packed with people up until the end. For the remaining 3 stops north of there, 200th St, 204th Street and Williams Bridge, I can't begin to tell you. I do know that there were some very raunchy nicknames for the El and how people felt about the sanitary conditions of the cars in those last years. I can tell you from my own personal experiences that you had to have a very strong stomach and had to look out for bugs on your clothing after you rode the train.

  by bellstbarn
In The Bronx, the Third Avenue El is still missed, because the bus routes that mimic it encounter so many traffic signals. In some places, as at Fordham Road or 167 Street, it is quite a hike to the nearest subway, east or west. One memory stands out: sometime between 1963 and 1967, a Fordham University youngster I knew was badly cut up when a heavy object was hurled at a window. The flying glass did a job on his face. I think this happened when low-v subway cars provided the equipment, before the 1939 World's Fair cars were transferred from Corona.
  by Jeff Smith
The "stimulus" topic kind of dredged this topic up for me, so I searched and thought I'd refresh with some additional info I've found (some of which may have been posted upthread). What I really found funny were my earlier, noob railroad.net posts lol.


The system was closed in sections from 1950 to 1973. First, the South Ferry spur, which connected South Ferry to Chatham Square, was closed on December 22, 1950. This permanently closed the South Ferry elevated station, which had previously served all four IRT elevated lines that originally ran in Manhattan.[16] The Bronx Park terminal station was closed on November 14, 1951, with morning peak and midday locals thenceforth running to Gun Hill Road, and afternoon peak locals running to Fordham Road. Morning peak local-express trains started at Fordham Road, while PM peak local-express trains were extended to Gun Hill Road.[19] Next to close was the City Hall spur in 1953, which started at Park Row in Manhattan and then connected with the South Ferry spur at Chatham Square.[17] On May 12, 1955, the main portion of the line closed from Chatham Square to East 149th Street in the Bronx, ending the operation of elevated service in Manhattan.[4][5][6] The removal was a catalyst in a wave of new construction[20] adding property values on the East Side, while bringing increased isolation and hastened decline throughout much of the Bronx. The head of the Real Estate Board of New York suggested that Third Avenue be renamed "the Bouwerie" to symbolize the transformation.[21]

In 1967, the remaining service in the Bronx was formally given the 8 route designation.[22][23] However, the 8 bullet was only marked on maps and station signs; cars always displayed SHUTTLE and the terminal destination.

Under the MTA's 1968 Program for Action, plans were made for demolition of the remaining line as part of the city's effort to remove "obsolete elevated railway structures", which also saw the razing of portions of the BMT Jamaica elevated in Queens.[24] It was to be replaced with a parallel line along the Metro-North Harlem Line's right-of-way, part of the Second Avenue Subway plan.[25] Local residents and business owners also sought similar revival seen following the closure of the line's sections in Manhattan.[26] The remaining portion in the Bronx from East 149th Street to Gun Hill Road finally closed on April 29, 1973[7] and demolition started on March 9, 1977.[27] Demolition was completed by the end of 1977, along with the condemned portion of the Jamaica Line.[26][28]

Work on the planned Second Avenue Subway was suspended, due to the 1970s fiscal crisis.[29] In the Bronx, the Third Avenue el was replaced by the Bx55 bus making only the stops the train made. This bus route was one of the first to have free transfers to and from the subway, with the two transfer points at the Third Avenue–149th Street and Gun Hill Road White Plains Road IRT stations, and was one of three. The other two bus-subway transfers were from the B35 and B42 in Brooklyn, which replaced the BMT Culver Line and BMT Canarsie Line, respectively. With the introduction of free bus to subway transfers systemwide in the 1990s, the three routes lost their special status, although the B42 terminates in a loop inside fare control at Rockaway Parkway.[22][30] In 2013, the Bx55 was eliminated with the introduction of the Bx41 Select Bus Service. It was partially replaced by the Bx41 SBS and the Bx15 Limited, which runs to West Harlem via 125th Street, but does not extend past Fordham Plaza to Gun Hill Road.[22]
https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/The_New_ ... _the_1970s
Replacing the 3rd Ave. El in the Bronx with a new subway line running adjacent to the New Haven Line ROW along Park Avenue. (The MTA saved a heck of a lot of money when it replaced the 3rd Ave. El with "extended BX-55" service in 1973.)
In August of 1972, MTA Chairman William Ronan announced plans to discontinue service on the Third Avenue El in the Bronx during the summer of 1973. And so it was to be, but sooner than expected. The last elevated line that could trace its history back to the Manhattan Els, the Third Avenue El in the Bronx, was closed for good on April 29th, 1973. It carried over 158 million passengers in 1917; when it closed, it carried just under 6 million yearly passengers. It was replaced by Bx-55 bus service. The last revenue train to leave Gun Hill Road departed at 11:42pm, and the last revenue train to leave 149th Street / 3rd Avenue departed at 12:06am April 29th. The ERA conducted a fantrip over the line on April 29th, so the last train to carry passengers of any kind departed 149th Street at 4:50pm arriving at Gun Hill Road at 5:46pm. Work trains would continue to use the line into the summer performing salvage operations. Demolition of the structure began on January 2nd, 1974. The section between 149th and 161st Street remained until a new substation could be built for the White Plains Road line that passed underground in that area. This substation was completed on October 17th, 1975 and demolition of this final section of the 3rd Ave El began on March 9th, 1977. The lower level of Gun Hill Road would be retained for several years for reverse moves and layups. Some of the original station signs and wooden platforms existed on the lower level until approximately 1998.
and... https://forgotten-ny.com/1999/01/remain ... nce-there/
  by bellstbarn
Yes, to benefit the real estate developers along Manhattan's Third Avenue, passengers on seven tracks (Lex + 3rd) were crammed into the four on the Lex. sixty years ago. Bad choice, to eliminate a path when the new one has not been placed in service. Later, in 1973, the cessation of the el in The Bronx created a transportation desert in the gut of The Bronx. On East Tremont Avenue, it is 1.5 miles from the Concourse D train to the 2 & 5 at West Farms. A person living half-way across not only has the 0.75 inconvenience to the nearest rapid transit but also whatever walking is required to reach that axis.
The day Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president, I was on my way from Staten Island to Fordham University. The Woodlawn Express to Fordham Road provided faster service than the el. The newsstand at Jerome Avenue already had the headlines of JFK's death. But from that point to the student center at the university was quite a hike, and it still is.
The evolution of reverse-peak fares has ameliorated the Metro North option without any construction costs, but, on the other hand, the proliferation of long traffic signal cycles has slowed B15 transit times, 30 minutes carded from Fordham Plaza to the Hub.
  by Paul1705
The 1968 Program for Action did call for a replacement line along the Metro-North (then Penn Central) right-of-way, but it never specified how the line would be built. The railroad cut was too narrow for additional tracks. Also, the maps I saw never showed a direct connection to the Second Avenue subway, but rather there was supposed to be a terminal at 149th Street (a possible connection to the 2 and 5 trains?).

I sometimes doubt that it was a serious proposal, but instead a red herring to distract The Bronx from the loss of rail service in the area.
  by Kilo Echo
In the Bronx, the Third Avenue El also served as an important link to the Bronx Borough Courthouse and the Municipal Court behind it (161 Street), and Borough Hall (Tremont Avenue-177 Street).