Joint LIRR / BRT Elevated/Rapid Transit Service

In the late 1800's and into the early 1900's there were several instances when LIRR trains were connected with and ran over existing Elevated and rapid transit lines that would eventually become part of the New York City Subway System. Similarly, the rapid transit trains would run over LIRR tracks.

Connection with the Brighton Line (Franklin Ave. Shuttle)

In 1878 the LIRR and the new Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island RR (today’s Brighton line – Q trains) made an agreement whereby a connection would be made at Atlantic Ave. and Franklin Ave. and trains, both freight and passenger, of each of the two railroads would be able to travel along the other’s ROW. In particular, the Brighton line would be able to use the LIRR’s Flatbush Ave. terminal and the LIRR would be able to use the Brighton line for travel between Long Island City and even points east on Long Island to Coney Island. In 1880, Austin Corbin, who also owned the Manhattan Beach line – a serious rival to the Brighton, bought the LIRR, and the LIRR stopped running its trains along the Brighton line since it was a direct competitor to Corbin's Manhattan Beach line. The Brighton continued to use Flatbush terminal until the expiration of the agreement in 1884. Another reason for the termination of the agreement was that the LIRR wanted people to use its then new line to Long Beach, rather than go to Coney Island. (copy of stock certificate contributed by Peter F.)

Connection with the Culver Line

In 1885, the LIRR had made an agreement with the Prospect Park and Coney Island Railroad - the "Culver" line (now much of the route of the NYC Subway's F train in Brooklyn, except back then it ran at street level) to operate trains jointly over each other's tracks. The connection was between the Bay Ridge line at Parkville and the Culver line, and trains could switch onto the Culver line either from the east or west. From 1893 to 1899, the LIRR actually owned and ran the Culver line as a part of the NY & Manhattan Beach division. In 1895, a connection was made between the Fifth Ave. Elevated line and the Culver line, enabling trains to now travel directly from Brooklyn Bridge to both Manhattan Beach (via the LIRR) and Coney Island (via the Culver line). To the left is a scan of a ticket used for this joint service. (thanks to Alan D. Glick for this scan).


Connection with the 5th Ave. El

In 1895, the LIRR and the Brooklyn Elevated made an agreement whereby the Elevated would run its rapid transit trains from Brooklyn Bridge (I'm not sure if this is from Park Row on the Manhattan side of the bridge or Sands St. on the Brooklyn side - probably the latter) through to Manhattan Beach (by that time the NY and Manhattan Beach Railway had been assimilated by the LIRR). The connection went from the Elevated's 5th Ave. line as it crossed over Atlantic Ave. Remnants of this connection sill existed at least into the 1970's, possibly 1980's. There was a short bit of elevated structure still standing on the southern side of Atlantic Ave. near Flatbush Ave. If anyone has a picture of this, please let me know. New 2/20/2002 - The third picture below shows the remnants of the base of this connection today. The first picture, from the collection of Ron Ziel, shows the elevated connection from the 5th Ave. El as it was being built in 1899. The second picture, from the collection of Vincent Seyfried, shows the completed connection with the El in 1903.


Connection with the Broadway/Fulton/Jamaica El

Another connection, and the longest lasting (about 20 years), from about 1896 to 1916, was that between the BRT's Broadway/Fulton/Jamaica elevated to the LIRR's Atlantic Ave. line. This connection allowed the elevated rapid transit trains to go to the Rockaways. (Thanks to Sandford Gardner for the correct locations of the next two pictures) Following is a picture (from the collection of Ron Ziel) from 1906, looking east along Atlantic Ave. from about Logan St., showing the connection from the El coming in from the left.

Here's a picture from the opposite direction, looking west at the incline from the "CN" signal tower located just east of Hemlock St. (picture from V. Seyfried collection)

Thanks to The East New York Project website, we have the following picture that shows the connection from the Jamaica El side.

This 1924 Aerial shot shows what remained at that time. It was completely taken down for scrap metal for the War effort in the 1940's

Remnants of this connection still exist on the Jamaica El (which runs over Fulton St. at this point). Note the diagonal steel beams, over which trains going to or from the LIRR Atlantic Ave. line were supported. Notice that it matches exactly the picture above. The picture is looking east between the Norwood Ave. and Crescent St. stations on the El.

Thanks to "Big John, fan of the Sunrise Trail", we have the following timetable showing the service on this joint operation.

Agreement with the Canarsie Line

In 1906, the grade crossing elimination project of the Bay Ridge line (then part of the NY & Manhattan Beach Ry which was leased by the LIRR) was started. This project included placing the Bay Ridge line in a tunnel through East New York. However, the ROW in this area was shared with the Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach RR (Canarsie Line) and was not quite wide enough for a four-track tunnel to be built. (thanks to "Big John - fan of the Sunrise Trail" for the scan of this ticket) Therefore the LIRR, NY&Manhattan Beach Ry and Canarsie RR (which had just taken over the B&RBRR) entered an agreement whereby, in return for having the LIRR pay for a portion of the building of an elevated line for the Canarsie line in the area, the Canarsie RR would allow the LIRR to build its tunnel using three and a half feet of the Canarsie line's ROW, and the LIRR would allow the new elevated Canarsie line to "hang over" its ROW. Following are the six pages of this agreement.



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