RCC Honors History Project


Posted by mcelynrh on March 15, 2009

The fourth rapid transit line open.
Running trains on the Chatham Square branch and the Second Avenue elevated road.
Scenes along the line and at the transfer station.

The Second Avenue Elevated Railroad was opened to the public yesterday, as was also the branch from Chatham Square to the City Hall. The first trains started promptly at 5:30 a. m. and afterward ran every three minutes during commission hours. Through the day trains were run about every five minutes. Travel over the road was heavy. Many persons living a considerable distance above the upper end walked to Sixty-fifth-st. in order to ride on the new road.

On the west side of Second-avenue, between Sixty-fifth and Sixty-sixth-sts., there is a large wooden structure for coal and a switch track for engines.

A large number of locomotive engines and cars were in readiness on the middle track, which extends from Sixty-fifth-st. to Fifty-ninth-st., in order to make up trains as often as the travel required. The cars were mostly those that have been used on the Third Avenue line, but some of them were like the Sixth Avenue rolling stock. The trains ran smoothly over the road, but the new rails seemed to cause more noise than even the Third or Sixth Avenue Road.

At several different places along the line the track is very high. Between Thirty-fourth-st, and Forty-second-st, the tops of the cars are seen above the roofs of the houses. The track apparently descends after a few blocks to the level of the first- story windows.

The curves were all made slowly and smoothly yesterday. At Twenty-third st. and Second-ave the curve was particularly sharp. The station is between the curves at First and Second-aves. The stations along the line are not yet completed, and only the iron framework is in position. Little wooden structures are now provided for the ticket agents. Many mechanics are engaged finishing the work.

Large placards are posted in each station forbidding the workmen to cross the tracks. The station at Thirty-fourth-st., will not be finished for some time, and the trains will not stop here for the present.

The City Hall Branch, which has been closed since early last Summer, is now part of the Third Avenue route to Harlem. There are thus two separate lines of elevated road, which approach each other at Chatham-square, but do not cross each other. To provide for the transfer of passengers from one road to the other a high bridge connecting the two has been constructed. Passengers coming down-town on Third-ave, are able to reach the Battery by crossing the bridge and taking the down-train on the Second Avenue Line. By the same means passengers going up-town from City Hall who desire to go by the Second Avenue Line are able to make the transfer. A new station has also been built adjoining the old one of the Third Avenue Line from which extra trains are to be dispatched during the busy hours of the day, for the accommodation of those going up-town from Chatham-square.

The transfer of passengers yesterday was attended with considerable confusion. The arrangement of stations of the two lines, which becomes plain enough after being studied out , at first sight appears perplexing on account of the numerous gates, passage-ways and flights of stairs. It appeared to be a puzzle, especially to women many of whom were only able to find their way over the bridge after repeated directions from the gatemen. The wooden stairs leading to the bridge, temporarily constructed until the iron ones should be finished, soon proved too narrow. Passengers meeting on them were compelled to squeeze past each other in single file or wait at the foot until the coast was clear. Workmen were engaged last night remedying this difficulty by making the stairs wider.

The platform of the station is not close enough to the track, and consequently there is a considerable space between it and the cars. A person at night might easily step into the open space and be seriously injured.

With reference to the working of the junction, the chief engineer of the Third Avenue Line said last evening to a TRIBUNE reporter:

“There seemed considerable of a hitch to-day, but I think it was largely attributable to the fact that many of the passengers, instead of passing on stopped to see how the tracks had been arranged and to watch the transfers. A great many transfers are made necessary because a large proportion of the passengers coming down Third-ave desire to go to the Battery, and most of those coming up from the Battery wish to take cars on Third-ave.”

The ticket agent at the City Hall station stated last evening that the traffic over the City Hall Branch was much heavier yesterday than it was on an average day before the branch had been closed. After midnight no trains will be run on the Second Avenue Line or the City Hall Branch. The Third-ave. trains after that hour will run to the South Ferry Station at the Battery until 5 o’clock in the morning. At that time the regular order of running on both roads will be resumed. On Sundays also traffic will be suspended on the Second Avenue Line and the City Hall branch; but the trains on Third-ave. will run to the Battery as heretofore.




  1. […] mcelynrh added an interesting post today on THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE · TUESDAY MARCH 2ND, 1880Here’s a small readingThe first trains started promptly at 5:30 am and afterward ran every three minutes during commission hours. Through the day trains were run about every five minutes. Travel over the road was heavy. Many persons living a considerable … […]

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