Archive for the tag 'sea beach line'

Just like this series, the above Boynton Bicycle, at its terminus of Avenue X and Ocean Parkway, has hit the end of the line. (Source: arrts-arrchives.com)

THE COMMUTE: So far we discussed the railroads and elevated lines that preceded and later became part of the subway system, the original three subway divisions – IRT, BMT and IND, the last two being merged with the opening of the Chrystie Street connection in 1967 – the Dual Contracts, the decline of the elevated system as a separate transportation mode, the risedecline and renaissance of the subways, and, finally, a little about subway comfort and subway nomenclature and how florescent lighting brightened the system.

In this final part we ask some crucial questions relating to the future of the subway system, mention subjects we did not discuss, and provide sources for additional information.

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A Budd R-11 car stops at Grand Street on the Chrystie Street connection on November 18, 1967, a week before service was to begin. Source: David Pirmann collection / NYCSubway.org

THE COMMUTE: In Part 4 of my “A Brief History Of The Subway System” series (Part 1Part 2Part 3), we discussed the decline of the subways and its renaissance. Today we discuss the merger of the BMT and IND, the history of subway nomenclature and the dawn of florescent lighting.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, we discussed the rail and elevated lines which preceded the first subway. In Part 2, we started discussing the Dual Contracts. Yesterday, we discussed decline of the elevated system and the rise of the subway system. Today, we continue discussing the subways’ decline and its renaissance.

The Decline of the Subways

What if the automobile had not become so popular and highways were not built to accommodate them? Surely rapid transit would have continued to flourish. Instead, you can count on your fingers the number of new subway stations  constructed and opened since the end of World War II. When you consider all the Els that were demolished and not replaced, there are less rapid transit miles in service today than there were right before World War II.

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Artist John Sloan’s “Sixth Avenue Elevated at Third Street,” circa 1928.

THE COMMUTE: Last week (Part 1, Part 2) we started discussing the Dual Contracts. We continue with the rest of the discussion and also discuss the IND line, the decline of the elevated system (“The El”) and the rise of the subways.

The Dual Contracts, Continued…

After completion of the Fourth Avenue subway in Brooklyn, the former railroad lines that connected to the Fifth Avenue and Third Avenue Els in Brooklyn were reconnected to the Fourth Avenue subway instead. Also, as part of the Dual Contracts, the IRT and BMT were both extended in a six-track tunnel beneath Flatbush Avenue. The IRT was further extended eastward along Eastern Parkway to Utica Avenue (and via el to New Lots Avenue) and to Flatbush Avenue and Nostrand Avenue with plans for further extensions. The BMT continued further south along Flatbush Avenue to Prospect Park. There it connected to the Brighton line where the line had to be expanded to four tracks between Prospect Park and Church Avenue.

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IRT East Side Line at City Hall. (Source: John-Paul Palescandolo via NYCSubway.org)

THE COMMUTE:  On Tuesday, we discussed the railroads and elevated lines that preceded the building of the first subway that still are in use today, and are now part of the subway system. Today we continue with the invention of electricity.

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An eight-car train gets ready for a trial run on the Sea Beach line. Source: NYCSubwayChat

THE COMMUTE: Three weeks ago I mentioned how the bus transfer system confused me as a youngster. I also had difficulty understanding the original porcelain IRT subway signs stating “Subway To All Trains,” which were still in use in the 1970s. As I grew up, I realized that the original meaning of the word “subway” referred to the underground passageway, not to the trains themselves and that “all trains” meant you could travel in both directions since that is not possible at some station entrances.

In October 2004, what we call the subway system celebrated its 100th birthday, but portions that are not underground are actually much older. In Sheepshead Bay we do not even have a subway — only outdoor segments, which connect to the subway within the inner neighborhoods of Brooklyn. There is a wealth of information on the internet regarding the history of the system and plans for expansion that were never realized. The premier subway site is nycsubway.org, which can answer most questions about the subway system. If not, you can always post your question on a transit forum such as subchat.com and a knowledgeable person will probably respond to you within minutes.

What I intend to do in this series is to concentrate on the history of the parts of the system directly affecting our area, give a general overview of the rest of the system, and point you to sites where you can find more detailed information.

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