East New York Tunnel, Brooklyn

The East New York Tunnel was dug in 1914 during the massive grade-crossing elimination project that elevated or submerged most of the Bay Ridge Line. The tunnel begins just south of Liberty Avenue and passes under the mess at Broadway Junction, including Atlantic Avenue, Fulton Street, Broadway, and Bushwich Avenue before running under the western edge of Evergreen Cemetery and emerging as an elevated line near the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Piling Street.

East New York Station

When the tunnel was created, a platform was built at the south portal between the two easternmost tracks for the East New York Station. The platform was accessed from a stairway leading down from Liberty Avenue over the face of the tunnel entrance. The platform still exists, although it is obscured by vegetation in the photo below.

A photo of the tunnel and platform from 1924 is available HERE.

If the BMT Canarsie Line were dropped into the right-of-way to share tracks with the Circumferential Line south of here, a design decision would need to be made whether to continue the line northward through the East New York tunnel or have it ascend again to the top platform at Broadway Junction. The easier (and cheaper) course of action would probably be to take the subway line up and leave the freight line in the tunnel. But the quieter option would be to use the tunnel and bore a transfer connection at Broadway Junction.

East New York Tunnel - south portal
7/16/2008 05:34 PM
East New York Tunnel - south portal
East New York Tunnel - south portal
7/16/2008 05:33 PM
East New York Tunnel - south portal
Looking south from over the East NY tunnel portal. Note the abandoned platform on the left
7/16/2008 05:39 PM
Looking south from over the East NY tunnel portal. Note the abandoned platform on the left
Access road gate down to the tracks
7/16/2008 05:36 PM
Access road gate down to the tracks

Just to the northeast of the portal to the East New York tunnel is a large abandoned red brick building. LIRR Substation 2 in East New York was one of the five substations built as part of the LIRR's first electrification project around 1905. The substation contained two or three rotary converters for converting 12,000-volt AC that came through from the power house to the 600 volt DC needed for the third rail. It also contained associated transformers, cooling blowers and busses. This was the first application of electricity for surface railroads in the eastern United States. The Hammel substation even contained a massive battery composed of of 300 large chemical tanks that had a 3,200 amp-hour rating and could run the Rockaway Beach Division from Howard for several hours in an emergency. The NY times has a reprint of a nice article on the electrification from 1905 HERE

I haven't been able to find any information online as to when the station was decommissioned or if there are any plans circulating for its demolition or renovation. It obviously has been vacant for some time, likely outmoded by the development of solid state rectifiers that don't need such a massive support facility.

LIRR Substation Two - west side
7/16/2008 05:37 PM
LIRR Substation Two - west side
LIRR Substation Two - west side
7/16/2008 05:37 PM
LIRR Substation Two - west side
LIRR Substation Two viewed from Liberty Avenue
7/16/2008 05:40 PM
LIRR Substation Two viewed from Liberty Avenue
LIRR Substation Two viewed from the northwest
7/16/2008 05:40 PM
LIRR Substation Two viewed from the northwest
LIRR Substation Two - east side
7/16/2008 05:41 PM
LIRR Substation Two - east side
LIRR Substation Two
7/16/2008 05:41 PM
LIRR Substation Two
LIRR Substation Two
7/16/2008 05:42 PM
LIRR Substation Two
LIRR Substation Two
7/16/2008 05:42 PM
LIRR Substation Two
LIRR Substation Two
7/16/2008 05:42 PM
LIRR Substation Two

The LIRR has a line on Atlantic Avenue that was originally built in 1836 by the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad Company and leased to the LIRR. The line ran between Jamaica and a terminal on the East River, although it was cut back to its present terminus at Flatbush Avenue in the 1870s after resolution of issues regarding the use of steam locomotives within the city of Brooklyn.

The East New York LIRR station is right above the East New York tunnel and if the tunnel platform were reactivated, transfer between the lines would be a fairly simple walk up/down a flight of stairs and across a street.

LIRR train on Atlantic Avenue coming from Flatbush Avenue
7/16/2008 05:38 PM
LIRR train on Atlantic Avenue coming from Flatbush Avenue
The BMT Canarsie Line, passing over the LIRR, passing over New York Avenue, passing over the East New York tunnel
7/16/2008 05:38 PM
The BMT Canarsie Line, passing over the LIRR, passing over New York Avenue, passing over the East New York tunnel
Stairway up to the BMT (L Train) station
7/16/2008 05:40 PM
Stairway up to the BMT (L Train) station
LIRR tracks under Atlantic Avenue
7/16/2008 05:45 PM
LIRR tracks under Atlantic Avenue
LIRR station tile sign
7/16/2008 05:46 PM
LIRR station tile sign
Unused ticket booth under tracks
7/16/2008 05:46 PM
Unused ticket booth under tracks
LIRR train under Atlantic Avenue - viewed from the north
7/16/2008 05:47 PM
LIRR train under Atlantic Avenue - viewed from the north

Broadway Junction

This chaotic melange of tracks was originally the point where the Brodway and Fulton Elevated lines met in 1884 (remnants are the J/Z trains). The BMT Canarsie line (L Train) joined the fray in 1928 and the subterranean IND Fulton Street Line (A/C trains) in 1946. Adding to the mess is a the East New York Subway Yard just to the east, although the trolly lines that ran on the streets below are now replaced by buses. The complex has had numerous modifications and renovations over the years, sprinkling in some abandoned sections and vestigial ornamentation.

Underneath all this somewhere is the Bay Ridge Line East New York Tunnel. There was not a station here during the line's passenger days and I'm not sure if there is any kind of connection (or room for platforms) between the IND tunnel and the Bay Ridge Line tunnel. The Circumferential Line and the Canarsie BMT would probably be sharing tracks here. If the line would keep the high BMT platform, limited modifications would be needed. If they were both placed in the Bay Ridge Line tunnel, providing platforms and a transfer corridor would likely be a major task.

Broadway Junction
7/16/2008 05:48 PM
Broadway Junction
20-20 Car Service
7/16/2008 05:50 PM
20-20 Car Service
Broadway Junction
7/16/2008 05:50 PM
Broadway Junction
Broadway Junction
7/16/2008 05:53 PM
Broadway Junction
Broadway Junction station house
7/16/2008 05:54 PM
Broadway Junction station house
Broadway Junction support beam
7/16/2008 05:57 PM
Broadway Junction support beam
Broadway Junction
7/16/2008 05:57 PM
Broadway Junction
BMT Canarsie Line descending into tunnel under Bushwick Avenue
7/16/2008 06:00 PM
BMT Canarsie Line descending into tunnel under Bushwick Avenue
Pedestrian tunnel under the BMT Canarsie Line
7/16/2008 06:01 PM
Pedestrian tunnel under the BMT Canarsie Line
Guard dog
7/16/2008 06:01 PM
Guard dog
Rush hour on Bushwick Avenue at DeSales Place
7/16/2008 06:04 PM
Rush hour on Bushwick Avenue at DeSales Place
Old rowhouses on Bushwick Avenue
7/16/2008 06:04 PM
Old rowhouses on Bushwick Avenue
Old rowhouses on Aberdeen St. south of Bushwick Ave.
7/16/2008 06:07 PM
Old rowhouses on Aberdeen St. south of Bushwick Ave.
Rowhouses off Granite Street
7/16/2008 06:22 PM
Rowhouses off Granite Street
New development at 1471 Bushwick
7/16/2008 06:24 PM
New development at 1471 Bushwick
New development at 1471 Bushwick
7/16/2008 06:23 PM
New development at 1471 Bushwick

Bushwich Avenue Station

The Bay Ridge Line had a station somewhere around here on Bushwich Avenue that was closed in 1915 when the East New York Tunnel put the line under Bushwick Avenue. The Bushwich Avenue station had replaced a station at Central Avenue that was only open for a year in 1883.

After using the high platform at Broadway Junction, the BMT Canarsie Line (L train) makes a steep descent into a tunnel under Bushwick Avenue, with a subterranean station just north of Bushwick Avenue on Aberdeen Street, only a few hundred feet before both the Canarsie Line and the Bay Ridge Line emerge from their tunnel. The lines run parallel and fairly close to each other under the Rudd Playground at this point and the land directly over the tunnels is an undeveloped wooded area until the tracks emerge from the tunnel to the northwest.

If the Circumferential Line and the Canarsie Line are sharing tracks from the south and choose to use the existing high platform at Broadway Junction, there would be no need for any significant changes here. However, if they use the East New York tunnel, new platforms and, likely, excavation would be needed unless there's a way to crossover between the Bay Ridge Line tunnel and Canarsie Line tunnel prior to the Bushwick Avenue station.

Rudd Playground
7/16/2008 06:11 PM
Rudd Playground
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
7/16/2008 06:19 PM
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
7/16/2008 06:19 PM
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
7/16/2008 06:13 PM
Tunnel ventilation grate at the rear of the park
Wooded area over the tunnel
7/16/2008 06:14 PM
Wooded area over the tunnel
Old commercial building just south of the Bushwick Avenue Station
7/16/2008 06:07 PM
Old commercial building just south of the Bushwick Avenue Station
The wooded area directly over the tunnal is in the distance
7/16/2008 06:08 PM
The wooded area directly over the tunnal is in the distance
$2,500 reward for defacing
7/16/2008 06:09 PM
$2,500 reward for defacing