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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Paul1705
Does anyone know what the ridership was on this line during its final years?

What I remember is that there was some ridership on the southern end of the line, mostly at rush hours, which consisted of people transferring from the IRT subway. The northern part, say above Tremont Avenue, was very lightly used.

  by Jeff Smith
I'd be curious to know how busy the Bronx Zoo stubs were off both the WP Road and 3rd Av lines. It's quite a walk now from the 4. I guess the D gets pretty close?

  by Paul1705
I think both spurs were closed around 1952, about three years before the Manhattan portion of the Third Avenue el closed. The spur from the Third Avenue line actually went to the Botanical Gardens, not the zoo.

The nearest stations to the zoo now are West Farms Square and East 180th Street on the 2 and 5 lines. Those are within walking distance. To get there from the 4 and the D lines requires a bus transfer.

  by Jeff Smith
You're right, the 2 and 5 (non-Dyre, ex 180th). I thought Pelham Parkway was closer? I misspoke, I didn't mean the 4. That would DEFINITELY be a hoof. :-D

It's walking distance, but I don't know how many Manhattanites or tourists would be comfortable doing it. I only did it once, for a NYRRC 5k at the zoo. With ridership growth, I think it would be a great spur these days.

  by Paul1705
There is another entrance to the zoo that is not far from Pelham Parkway. I know there are signs around that area that direct pedestrians to the entrance.

The spur was originally the main line terminal when the IRT was built into the Bronx around 1904-05. Over the years routes were extended to 241st Street and Dyre Avenue. I'm guessing that the TA (actually, the Board of Transportation back then) didn't want to operate trains from three different terminals, so it dropped the spur.

The spur was quite short. The station was over Boston Road between 180th and 181st Street, which is about two blocks from the West Farms Square station. From what I've seen, a fair number of people do walk from the 2 and 5 to the zoo.

  by Jeff Smith
....the Dyre, of course, being the old NYW&B.

That's interesting about the spur being the old terminal. Never would have known that, thanks. The area must be a lot nicer now than in the early 90's. My grandmother lived not far from there, E224th St. Back in the 70's and 80's it was quite nasty. You had to walk past a XXX theatre to get to the zoo.

Although this is slightly off-topic, I wonder if consideration was ever given to extending the 2 into Mt. Vernon, or the 5 for that matter.

  by Paul1705
Maybe you're thinking of the Globe Theater? That was on the south side of Pelham Parkway near White Plains Road. You would pass there if walking from the Pelham Parkway station to the "east gate" of the zoo. Right now it's a furniture store.

The 241st Street station looks like it was meant to allow an extension to Mount Vernon. However, I'm not aware of any proposals to really do that, at least not in the last fifty years.

I was originally wondering if the closure of the Bronx Third Avenue el was a mistake. The ridership on the parallel bus routes (Bx41 and Bx55) has been going up in recent years. However, the line was so dilapidated that it probably would have required a nearly complete rebuilding.

  by Jeff Smith
I see the profanity filter gave me the * - I was describing an adult theatre, and yes, I think it was the Globe. It wasn't just Times Sq in those days with those establishments.

Back in the day, NYC was still expanding. I know Brooklyn was added in what, 1903? Around the time of the IRT. Most of the Bronx used to belong to Westchester. It would not be unreasonable to think that NYC had its eyes on Mt. Vernon, Pelham Manor, or Yonkers.

I think I may have ridden on the Bronx portion of the Third Av at some point, although I can't recall since I was 11 when it came down. I do remember them ripping it down, though, as we often drove past Gun Hill Rd to go down to Manhattan from my Grandmothers. I think it's proximity to the Concourse and the Harlem line doomed it.

  by Paul1705
When the Manhattan portion of the el was closed, I suspect ridership dropped off somewhat. By the 1970s, the population of that part of the Bronx was going down, and lot of stations in the borough were losing riders. (The opposite is happening now.)

The el structure was very old too; I think it was extended into the Bronx in stages between 1888 and about 1900. It wasn't up to the standards of the IRT lines built in the 20th Century.

There was a vague MTA plan in 1968 to build a replacement line along the Harlem Division, but I have no idea how that would have been done.

  by Otto Vondrak
You asked about ridership levels. Here's some info about the MTA in the 1970s, and the closure of the Bronx section of the Third Avenue El:


"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."

Some additional information on the Third Avenue El:


http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SUBWAYS/Thi ... irdav.html

A nifty movie from the 1950s:



  by Paul1705
Thank you for the information.

If my math is correct, that would have been just over 17,000 daily trips at the end. I would have expected even less than that, although of course it was probably dropping every year at that point.

In recent years, ridership on the Bx55 and especially the Bx41 seems to be booming. I would guess that the combined totals of those two routes now far exceeds what the el carried thirty-four years ago.

  by Jeff Smith
Awesome links, Otto. I always forget about the articles on many of the sites.

Odd video, especially considering the era, a bit campy, but I enjoyed it. Question from the video, though: is the swingbridge over the Harlem River to the Bronx still there? Is that the 3rd Av (an obvious question) bridge? I was wondering if the bridge remained, but the EL superstructure only was removed. For instance, the bridge for the 9th Av EL come Shuttle at Sedgewick / Highbridge is long gone. The only subway bridge (to the Bronx) I can think of now is the Broadway bridge. Of course, there are several bridges to Queens / Brooklyn still carrying subways.

  by drewh
There are no lines via bridge from Manhattan to Queens - all tunnels now.

I dont know about the G from Bklyn to Queens is it across or under Newtown Creek?

  by Gerry6309
The Second and Third Av. Els both crossed at the north end of Second Av. I think that bridge is gone now as it was a double level rail bridge. Road bridges at First(Willis) and Third remain but both have been rebuilt.

The G goes under Newtown Creek in a subway, IIRC it was cut and cover using cofferdams.