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Remember the 3rd Ave El?

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Posted by Tom Curtin on Monday, December 11, 2006 8:39 AM
Apologies, I was not specific enough in my question.  Were any of the Manhattan el lines (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 9th) ever rebuilt from open truss to "City style" (i.e., plate girder) construction? 
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 11, 2006 3:24 PM

They were strengthened but not rebuilt, and in some cases a solid web girder system was used for an additional center track where center tracks didn't exist before (and they did exist over most of the lines, except 6th Avenue itself, which never did get three tracks, continuing with just two.)  Most of the humps at the hump stations used solid girders.  There were many places were open web was seen on the local tracks and solid on the center track.   Also places where all three were open web.

 

It is possible that the entire length of center track on both 2nd and 3rd Avenues may have been solid web.   The Freeman Street Expresses on 2nd Avenue and the Through Expresses on 3rd used a combination of gate-car trains and composites, former subway cars.  They ran packed to the gills in the direction of rush hour traffic on the center tracks but as light non-revenue movements in the reverse direction on a local track.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, December 15, 2006 1:55 PM
 artschlosser wrote:

This has been a most interesting thread!  I am slightly familiar with Chicago's EL and subway system and it doesn't hold a candle to what has been described here.  There was only ONE multilevel El station is Chicago, the result of two companies at odds with each other.

Ah the good old Classic Train days!

Art

With all due respects, in Chicago it's the "L", even when it's underground or in a median strip.  We never refer to it as the "El".

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 15, 2006 4:57 PM

Oh yeah, L - not El.  Guilty as charged yer Honner.  My feeble defense is that I lived just 25 years in Illinois (born there and lived some 3 years in Chi) but later spent 26 years in upper New York State where I learned Newyorkese.  But if I claim that I thought I was talking to New Yorkers and was using Newyorkese so they would unnerstan' me, I'd be in trouble with the NYM.

So I'll take my punishment and go and sin no more.

Art

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 18, 2006 3:30 AM

For me, the complexity and variety of the New York "El" was matched by the Chcagio "L".  I am glad to have had the experience in the summer of 1952, when Stockyards and Kenwood were still running, and the two interurbans still entiering via the "L" .    Most people agree that the North Shore was truly the USA's finest interurban, and that and the "Roaren Elgin" were separate and worthwhile worlds, much missed.

 

In New York, different broad catagories of equipment were allways run together.   I never saw an MUDC car miksed in with gate cars.   But in Chicago, one could see mixed trains in regular service, particularly steel cars mixed with wooden.    In Brooklyn there was some variety of gate car equipment, since surviving gate-car equipment from the steam railroad days from different predicessor companies did have different architecture.

 

OK, Pacific Electric fans, I realilze the CNS&M didn't have a four-track main line, but it did use the 4-track northside "L".

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Posted by Tom Curtin on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 7:17 AM
 daveklepper wrote:

 . . . in some cases a solid web girder system was used for an additional center track

If I could ask for some structural engineering details, your use of the term "solid web girder system" sounds to my ears like an oxymoron --- i.e., I think of the structure as either "solid," i.e., a plate girder construction such the city Els of today have, or a "web," which I see in very old NYC El photos.  You appear to know a lot about the construction of these systems; and while I'm on that matter, coud you recommend a good photo book which is in print and available today which focuses on containing good photos of the manhattan Els in the 20th century.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:44 AM

Sorry, I have been disconnected from structural engineering terms for over ten years.   Open web should be truss construction, the closed web  is really meant to describe plate girder construction, and to make the point, yes the 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue Els where the composites ran did have plate girders under the center track and trusses under the two local tracks in most areas.

 

The William Fullerton Reeves 1936 book is probably permanently available from the New York Historical Society and is an authoritative and accurate history, with a positive outlook because the abandonments were in the future.  Other then that, I suggest you access the Neew York based Electric Railroaders' Association website.  Even though I remain a member, I usually access is via the Light Railway Transport Association website:   www.lrta.org    -  then pull up on Links, Clubs, USA, and then New York  and then ERA.   They have published a lot of stuff.

 

 

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Posted by Tom Curtin on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:06 AM

Thanks for those leads Dave. . . . The New York Historical Society (77th ST & CPW) is mere walking distance from our apt. on the west side, so it will be quite easy for me to check it out.  I'll look at the other links too

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 25, 2007 1:24 PM

Your info is great.  Thank for the trip down memory lane.  I attended Cardinal Spellman.  I believe Tremont Avenue is the correct spelling and we still call it White Plains Road. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:36 PM

But take a look at the STREET SIGNS.   And then get back.   The Third Avenue Transit Ssystem "W" line streetcars (extra wide 1200-series second-hand double-truck Birneys) had the big white brighit red W in the right dash panel with "Webster & White Plains Avs." in white below.

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Monday, December 20, 2021 8:20 PM

FJ and G
Rode it a lot in the 60s. Just wondering if anyone else ever rode it. It went from Mott Haven (?) to White Plains. I lived near Tremont and rode it both ways. Was a great little el. Too bad they tore it down.
 

 

Hello FJ & G

 

Yeah, I know this response is 18 years laters -I just saw the posting the other day for the first time !!

 

I also rode the 3rd Ave EL in both Manhattan and Bronx -- from South Ferry and City Hall Manhattan south terminals to the Bronx end of the line (Gun Hill Rd.)  I lived and grew up along the El in the middle E. 80's (streets) along the El -- and was near the E. 84th St Local Station.  Rode the "EL"  a lot and photographed it also.  And made hand built operating O Scale models of the 3rd Ave EL fleet trains (as well as most other NY Transit IRT & BMT subway, EL  trains and trolley cars)  -- If you are interested, here are a few photos below of my IRT Elevated Train models on my huge NYC EL layout -- many more to see at my Photo Website (FLICKR)   LINK URL:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00/albums/72157626063017356/with/25421826914/

Regards - Joe F

 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 12:15 PM

Terrific models and photography.  

Here is  a Northbound rush-hour Bronx Park Local-Express leaving 42nd Street whle in the distance an empty train of composits is on the southbound local track, heading to City Hall for a rush-hour run to E. 24ast Street as a Through Express.

Rush-hour local-expresses and through expresses had seven cars.

  

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, February 12, 2022 9:28 PM

Some very interesting reading and photos cencerning the Elevated's Bronx Park branch and terminal sent me by Jack May.  The last also concerning the El's open-bench cars.

 http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com/2009/08/botanical-garden.html

http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com/2009/08/botanical-garden-ii.html.

https://www.facebook.com/BronxThirdAveEl/photos/a.411705708979515/1052860361530710/?type=3&theater

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 4:59 AM

1948 view from the upper level of Gun Hill Road Station, looking west:

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 2, 2022 2:23 AM

A truly terrific photo, with no "tweaking" required, sent by Nate  Gerstein, lower level of the Elevated's Harlem River Bridge, looking north toward the NYNH&H small yard and neartby Bronx industries.  I probably rode the Third Avenue Elevated over a thousand times, and I never once saw an open train door at either end of the train with the train in service.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 19, 2022 6:39 AM

One of two photos sent by Nate Gerstein, the other on the other Third Avenue Elevated thread.

Looking north from 106th Street, an evening rush-hour Through Express to 241st Street White Plains Road from City Hall - Park Row with composite cars, the first subway cars that were transfderred to elevated service when sufficient steel subway cars were available.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 11:38 AM

The very first steam locomotive for the conversion of the prinitive cable-operated 

West-Side Elevated (9th Avenue) from Broom St. to W. 29thy St,. was bilt on the Experimental Dr. Charles Harvey's test "truck." and like most immediately-following elevated railroad steam locomotives was completely enclosed.  Present location is unknown.

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Posted by pennytrains on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 7:01 PM

What a fascinating little machine!

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:29 AM

It must have been the first of the boxcabs!

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 4:11 AM

not qite, but similar to a Box-cab or "Steam Dummy" Iat the  junction of tha  Third Avenue El and its short 42nd street Grand Central Depot branch.:

 

And a  view of the virst Second Avenue Bridge, with the "Suburban" platform of the 129th Street Station.  The train may be a NYNH&H East Bronx train headed for New Rochelle via the Willis Avernue connection.  This New Haven service was cut back to the vWillis Avene Station, with a connecting elevated shuttle provided, when the elevateds were electrified.   these  photos were provided by Nate Gerstein, and I "tweeked" them moderately.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 3:13 AM

1st caption on previous post corrected.

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Friday, July 22, 2022 9:38 PM

Hello Dave (K)

Your location of the photo BELOW you posted is incorrect.

I have had a print copy of this image for a few decades.

This view is NORTH (not south) from north end of the downtown 3rd Ave EL's E.23rd Street lower-level Local platform and track of the E.23rd Street "hump" Express Station.  In distance is seen the E. 28th Street Local Station --- and further north at left is seen the tall Chrysler Building between E. 42nd to 43rd Streets.  The train is an early PM Rush Hour NORTHBOUND (not s/b) EXPRESS of IRT Composite Cars which just left upper level of 23rd St Station 

Regards - Joe F

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Friday, July 22, 2022 10:24 PM

Hello Dave (K)

Your location caption for the photo above that you posted,  is incorrect !  It is not anywhere near or at E. 42nd Street nor that Express Station !

The view is looking north from the north end of the 3rd Ave EL. E. 106th Street Express Station's lower level local downtown track platform's north end --- to the intersection of E. 107th Street.  The train based on the morning facing shadows,  is a downtown (NOT n/b) Express of MUDC cars heading to the upper express level of the E. 106th Street Station. 

BELOW is a photo from me of the same location taken in late 1930's but at street level.  The 107th St corner building is the same, but by 1950's its lst & 2nd floors facade was modified.

I don't know where and how you ID's the photo as at E. 42nd Street !  Regards - Joe F

 

 

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Saturday, July 23, 2022 1:08 PM

Hello Dave

Per the photo above that you posted --

The 2 car train is NOT a NHRR train to Willis Avenue and New Rochelle etc.  Those deck roof cars are brand new as built for the Manhattan Railway Company EL service built in 1879-1880 and later had the roof ends rebuilt to sloped clerestory ends to match later MER "EL" cars built with the "railroad" sloped end clerestory roof style. 

That train IS only a Manhattan Railway Co Shuttle train from 129th St to Willis Avenue terminal station.  There they would be met by a NHRR train of older standard railroad passenger wooden open platform cars.

The NHRR somewhat shortly later had factory built it's own exact replicas of the later built (1880 and on) 48' long x 9' wide Manhattan EL Gate Trailer Cars with the sloped clerestory end roofs --- 2 photos BELOW  from my collection of the brand new NHRR "EL" Style commuter rapid transit trailer cars.  The NHRR DID NOT have deck roof rapid transit cars.  The interiors were identical to the Manhattan EL steam engine hauled trailer EL cars also.  These NHRR "EL style" cars were used in both NHRR Shuttle service and on the rapid transit NHRR services to New Rochelle - from the MER EL at its E. 129th Street station.  Regards - Joe F

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 24, 2022 11:44 AM

Thanks Joe,despite truly yeas of study of  Manhattan Elevateds, I did not know that they owned any deck-roof cars.  One wonders why they went to the expence, and the added weight, of adding curved ends to the clerastories.

 My undestanding is that the New Haven's elevated-style cars ended moving to Hartfod -Meriden and Berlin local service after the El was electified, the track to the Willis Avenue station included, with an elevated car or train poviding the shuttle, connecting with regular steam tains, later AC MUs, and NYW&B AC MUs.

I rode the last passenge train to Willis Avenue, an ERA Fairwell-to-the-Comoposits fan-trip. We were not pemitted to get off the train at Willis Avenue, since the New Haven had given permission only for the train's  operation, but denied use of the station.

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Sunday, July 24, 2022 5:15 PM

Hello Dave

Re: the MER EL Cars with deck roofs being changed to sloped end roofs over the end platforms.  The reason I found in an old Manhattan Railway (or Interboro Co.) bulletin was that for some reason,  the canvas covering the slat-wood roofs where the end platform bonnets met the end of the deck clerestory roof end face above the end bulkhead wall of the cars -- would develop rip-tears and cracks and leak eventually in heavy rain or snow storms (when snow melted).  The leaks came down along the interior side end bulkhead walls (and onto end seats) of those cars.  Especially with fast (faster than streetcars!) forward movement of the then-forward-towed (via Forney Locos)  trains of Deck Roof cars --- forced the rain backwards against those upper deck roof end faces -- and forced water down into the rips and cracks.

Remember also that those wooden old EL cars had some body sway and very slight twisting play between the roofs and the car body sides during operation.  This was also related to be a problem on mainline RR cars of the early deck roof design.  Seems it didn't affect streetcars as much having deck roofs, but as you know -- most streetcar companies opted for arch-curved roof cars in re-orders and scrapped their earliest deck roof streetcars.

Making the wooden EL cars have sloped end canvas-covered roofs totally eliminated the issue as the rain (and melting snow) just ran down the sloped end clerestory roof and dripped down between the coupled cars and/or was diverted to sides of cars by drip rails on the end of clerestory roofs at the top of the open platforms. 

The changeover from deck roof to rebuilt slope roofs on the MER EL cars was done in about 1 or so years as new cars were being ordered and delivered as built with the sloping clerestory roofs.

Chicago EL Deck roof original first wooden trailer steam loco hauled EL cars had the same leak-issues and did the same rebuild !

Regards - Joe F

 

 

 

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Sunday, July 24, 2022 5:29 PM

Hello Dave -- that is correct --- but the other reason was that the NHRR-NYW&B tracks in their by then abandoned Willis Ave. station, starting from where the EL trestles tracks ended at the stone embankment wall,  did not have 3rd rail.  The IRT EL style 3rd Rail ended about 1/2 car length west - on the trestle - of where the IRT low steel trestles ended at the high stone embankment wall at the west end of the NYW&B-NHRR Willis Avenue station and low-level 2 abandoned platforms. 

Also they likely did not want to have railfans walking around on the New Haven property and freight yards.  Here is one of many photos I have of that trip !  You are likely somewhere in that scene or around it !  regards - Joe F

 

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, July 24, 2022 7:29 PM

The only Chicago L with deck roof (really monitor roof) cars was the Metropolitan.  Despite the leak issues the MET's shops kept up the monitor roofs until the CTA takeover with some surviving to the end of CTA wood car use.  Some railroad roof cars involved in accidents even became "hermaphrodites" with one railroad roof end and one monitor end.

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Sunday, July 24, 2022 10:42 PM

Hello rcdrye

The deck roof CRT-CTA cars were also wood body --- but on some deck class of the fleets, wasn't the end of the deck roof in the middle area of the enclosed end vestibule roof -- instead of over the interior end bulkhead -- leaving the whole end vestibule (or gate car open platform) with a flat roof like BRT and IRT gate cars with deck roofs.?  Other CTA deck roof wood cars did infact have the deck end squarely over the interior bulkhead like the earliest NY deck roof EL cars.

Regards - Joe F

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, July 25, 2022 6:19 AM

On the MET/CRT/CTA cars the monitor roof did extend over the platforms, so the roof leaks that plagued BRT and IRT cars don't seem to have been a problem.  There was one steel monitor roof car - 2717 (II) was built by ACF for to replace the original 2717 which was destryed by fire.  The steel 2717 was the heaviest car in the CRT fleet by quite a bit.  In service until around 1952, it was converted to a work service car by CTA, and then scrapped.

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