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Changing of an Era
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ENY Tunnel- LIRR Bay Ridge Division
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The Long Island Railroad Bay Ridge Division, is a freight route that cuts across Kings County (Brooklyn) ,and a large swath of Queens County. Connecting with tracks at Fresh Pond Yard and Sunnyside Yard, it ships and receives freight out to eastern Long Island and also New England and, Canada via the Hell Gate Bridge. In Brooklyn this line runs through Bushwick into East New York Tunnel and out across central Brooklyn towards Bay Ridge and the Brooklyn Army Freight Terminal where container ships meet the line. Many industries continue to operate along it's entire route including the Palagonia Bread Co. Bell Bialy, and The Brooklyn Terminal Markets.
Originally this route was built in 1877 as the New York and Manhattan Beach Railway where tracks ran along what is now the present day Brighton Subway line to where it meets the Bay Ridge tracks at Avenue H in Flatbush and switching off to either Bay Ridge where passengers would catch a boat to New York or Long Island City where a ferry would take you to New York. Manhattan Beach was a premier exclusive resort at that time, very different from neighboring Brighton and Coney Island. During this period the line ran at grade, and at East New York it connected with the LIRR Atlantic Branch (Montauk Branch) and the Canarsie-Rockaway Beach Railway. This busy crossing where present day Atlantic/East New York Ave meet was called Manhattan Junction. In 1900 the LIRR was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railway. The company began building a connection to the New Haven line in New England via the Hell Gate Bridge for revenue, making passenger service a distant second priority. Subsequently by 1910 only 4 trains a day ran this route.
On May 9, 1903 The Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Commission was created by the New York State legislature. The goal of this project was to give the rails a private right of way and not hinder with growing street traffic. The work was begun in 1914 and fully completed in May, 1918.The work was paid for jointly between the City of New York, and the LIRR and BRT, as a public/private partnership.
East New York station is a simple concrete island platform with Doric Columns servicing two tracks. The tunnel it-self has four tubes only one of which is used today. Two had their tracks torn up and one is blocked by a wall built in 1969 at East New York station. The tunnel is 3,900 ft long and runs under the Broadway Junction sections of Bushwick/East New York from roughly Granite St/Evergreen Ave to Atlantic/East New York Ave. The tunnel was constructed using the cut and cover method.
Although it only sees a fraction of the commerce it once saw, freight trains still ply this route and the East New York tunnel and station remains, possibly waiting for passenger use one day in the future. In the meantime the tunnels are a hot spot for graffiti artists and the station is eerily fascinating.
In the 1960s Robert Moses wanted to use this route as the base for his never built Cross Brooklyn Expressway. We should be lucky it was never built.
This article has been viewed 18697 times in the last 6 years
Sean Hopkins: 29th Mar 2009 - 22:12 GMT
This is a great post Peter, love that second photo. You really are a wealth of knowledge!
CartLegger: 30th Mar 2009 - 01:00 GMT
Thanks for posting this bundle of info! how hilarious it is that you and Peter both were walking the area at the same time! Wait till you see his photos...
Peter: 30th Mar 2009 - 01:15 GMT
Caesar: 30th Mar 2009 - 05:32 GMT
Ha ha ha, I feel like I just learned something, thanks for taking the time to share this!
jack: 27th Sep 2009 - 02:55 GMT
It's hard to believe the damage PC did to the railroad. As stated that was a very busy, double tracked, electric line
Douglas A. Willinger: 22nd Mar 2010 - 00:03 GMT
Why should we be lucky that the CBE was not buit?
The final design was quite good and a far better effort then what we have now- if only it were combined with a multi model Cross Harbor Tunnel to I-78 in New Jersey.
fron japan: 19th Aug 2010 - 11:23 GMT
It knew in the newspaper of Japan.
Meredith Staton: 30th Apr 2013 - 00:53 GMT
The time has come to join Staten Is to the rest of the city via a 4 track tunnel at Bay rigde.Two for subway and two for freight rail.Then we can go to New Jersey
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