Port Morris, The Bronx

In the 1850s, Gouverneur Morris II (son of one of the framers of the constitution) laid out Port Morris as an industrial area on a 100-acre marshy headland on the banks of the East River. Morris, who was a Director of the New York and Harlem Railroad, had the two-mile Port Morris Branch run from the NY&H main line in Melrose down to his new development.

The neighborhood retains its gritty commercial feel, although there are quite a number of folks living there. It might be of value to place a station somewhere after the line crosses onto the mainland, although issues with cost and congestion on the very active line might make it better just have the first station after the Circumferential Line moves from the NYCRR Line to the (currently abandoned) Port Morris Branch.

1907 Map of Port Morris
11/5/2010 09:07 PM
1907 Map of Port Morris
1907 Map of Port Morris
11/5/2010 09:08 PM
1907 Map of Port Morris
Large warehouse on the corner of East 133rd Street and Willow Avenue
7/18/2008 04:53 PM
Large warehouse on the corner of East 133rd Street and Willow Avenue
Old industrial and residential buildings on East 132nd Street
7/18/2008 05:01 PM
Old industrial and residential buildings on East 132nd Street
Forlorn little park near the approach to the Triboro Bridge
7/18/2008 05:04 PM
Forlorn little park near the approach to the Triboro Bridge
Brightly painted rowhouses on East 133rd Street
7/18/2008 05:05 PM
Brightly painted rowhouses on East 133rd Street
Brightly painted rowhouses on East 133rd Street
7/18/2008 05:05 PM
Brightly painted rowhouses on East 133rd Street
Old cobblestones under the pavement near East 133rd Street
7/18/2008 05:05 PM
Old cobblestones under the pavement near East 133rd Street
Western pedestrian ramp onto the Triboro Bridge
7/18/2008 05:02 PM
Western pedestrian ramp onto the Triboro Bridge
Eastern pedestrian ramp onto the Triboro Bridge
7/18/2008 05:05 PM
Eastern pedestrian ramp onto the Triboro Bridge
Acela train headed for Randall's Island
7/18/2008 04:54 PM
Acela train headed for Randall's Island
Where there are laborers, there is payday check cashing
7/18/2008 04:56 PM
Where there are laborers, there is payday check cashing
Tracks running over East 132nd Street
7/18/2008 04:55 PM
Tracks running over East 132nd Street
Tracks running over East 132nd Street
7/18/2008 04:56 PM
Tracks running over East 132nd Street

The railroad bridges through Port Morris carry six tracks on four separate bridge spans. The two upper spans are the approaches to Randall's Island that each carry a pair of tracks to the Hell Gate Bridge. Staggered below them are two "local" lines connecting the Harlem River Yard in the south with the Oak Point Yard to the north, the westernmost line of which appears to be unused.

The four separate bridges crossing East 134th Street viewed from the east
7/18/2008 04:50 PM
The four separate bridges crossing East 134th Street viewed from the east
Local locomotive crossing East 134th Street
7/18/2008 04:50 PM
Local locomotive crossing East 134th Street
Concrete block walls
7/18/2008 04:50 PM
Concrete block walls
Eastern track to Randall's Island
7/18/2008 04:51 PM
Eastern track to Randall's Island
Eastern local track to Harlem River Yard (BIN 7705542)
7/18/2008 04:51 PM
Eastern local track to Harlem River Yard (BIN 7705542)
Western track to Randall's Island
7/18/2008 04:51 PM
Western track to Randall's Island
Western local track to Harlem River Yard (BIN 7705541)
7/18/2008 04:51 PM
Western local track to Harlem River Yard (BIN 7705541)
Four bridges viewed from the west
7/18/2008 04:52 PM
Four bridges viewed from the west
Four bridges viewed from the west
7/18/2008 04:52 PM
Four bridges viewed from the west
Rail bridges over East 136th Street viewed from the west
7/18/2008 04:35 PM
Rail bridges over East 136th Street viewed from the west
Underneath the western local bridge (BIN 7705571)
7/18/2008 04:36 PM
Underneath the western local bridge (BIN 7705571)
Between the western bridge and the southbound track to Randall's Island
7/18/2008 04:36 PM
Between the western bridge and the southbound track to Randall's Island
Underneath the southbound track to Randall's Island
7/18/2008 04:37 PM
Underneath the southbound track to Randall's Island
Underneath the eastern local bridge (BIN 7705572)
7/18/2008 04:37 PM
Underneath the eastern local bridge (BIN 7705572)
Rail bridges over East 136th Street viewed from the east
7/18/2008 04:38 PM
Rail bridges over East 136th Street viewed from the east
Castle Oil Terminal
7/18/2008 04:39 PM
Castle Oil Terminal
Castle Oil Terminal
7/18/2008 04:42 PM
Castle Oil Terminal
Triboro Fibers (recycling) - 891 East 135th Street
7/18/2008 04:41 PM
Triboro Fibers (recycling) - 891 East 135th Street
Old small industrial building on East 135th Street
7/18/2008 04:41 PM
Old small industrial building on East 135th Street

There are a pair of lighterage docks on the waterfront at the end of East 135th Street. Presumably these brought cars in on barges that were destined for nearby businesses or warehouses and ran on tracks down the middle of streets. The street-level tracks are long paved over, although I did see a siding track peeking out of a driveway on Locust Avenue.

Abandoned lighterage dock at the waterfront on East 135th Street
7/18/2008 04:42 PM
Abandoned lighterage dock at the waterfront on East 135th Street
Lighterage dock and office
7/18/2008 04:42 PM
Lighterage dock and office
Lighterage dock and office
7/18/2008 04:43 PM
Lighterage dock and office
South lighterage dock
7/18/2008 04:43 PM
South lighterage dock
North lighterage dock
7/18/2008 04:44 PM
North lighterage dock
Lighterage office
7/18/2008 04:44 PM
Lighterage office
Power plant boilers
7/18/2008 04:45 PM
Power plant boilers
Power plant transformers
7/18/2008 04:48 PM
Power plant transformers
Old track siding in a driveway off Locust Avenue
7/18/2008 04:39 PM
Old track siding in a driveway off Locust Avenue

While Port Morris has a clearly industrial feel, there are quite a number of residential buildings nestled among the commercial buildings.

Old rowhouses on East 136th Street
7/18/2008 04:32 PM
Old rowhouses on East 136th Street
Old rowhouses on East 136th Street
7/18/2008 04:33 PM
Old rowhouses on East 136th Street
Artists lofts for rent - 728 East 136th Street
7/18/2008 04:33 PM
Artists lofts for rent - 728 East 136th Street
Artists lofts for rent - 728 East 136th Street
7/18/2008 04:34 PM
Artists lofts for rent - 728 East 136th Street
Old warehouse on Willow Avenue
7/18/2008 04:34 PM
Old warehouse on Willow Avenue
East 141st Street
7/18/2008 04:23 PM
East 141st Street
East 141st Street
7/18/2008 04:24 PM
East 141st Street
Rugged old building off East 140th Street
7/18/2008 04:26 PM
Rugged old building off East 140th Street
The ugly place where beautiful roses come from - 776 E 139th Street
7/18/2008 04:26 PM
The ugly place where beautiful roses come from - 776 E 139th Street
Large apartment houses on East 137th Street
7/18/2008 04:29 PM
Large apartment houses on East 137th Street
Old rowhouses on East 137th Street
7/18/2008 04:30 PM
Old rowhouses on East 137th Street

Harlem River and Port Chester Line

After the NYC Connecting Railroad reaches the Bronx, the Amtrak Northeast Corridor line continues north to New Rochelle and, ultimately, to Boston and points north on what was originally the Harlem River and Port Chester Line.

The New York and New Haven Railroad connecting New York City with New Haven, CT opened in 1849 (now the Metro-North New Haven Line. In 1873 (just after the NY&NH merger with the Hartford and New Haven Railroad), the Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad opened to connect the Harlem River Yard (just south of Port Morris) to New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad at New Rochelle. Although the HR&PC has been primarily a freight line, there was passenger service in the Bronx, connecting with a fairly large terminal in the Harlem River Yard. With the opening of the Hell Gate bridge in 1917, NYNH&H trains could run through the Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad in Queens and under the East River directly into Grand Central Terminal. Passenger service to the Harlem River Yard ended in 1931, although Amtrak still uses the line to take passengers from Penn Station to New Haven and points north on the Northeast Corridor.

Signal and electric gantry over the Northeast Corridor line with abandoned garage
7/18/2008 04:11 PM
Signal and electric gantry over the Northeast Corridor line with abandoned garage
Gantry
7/18/2008 04:12 PM
Gantry
Gantry
7/18/2008 04:12 PM
Gantry
Electric gantries
7/18/2008 04:13 PM
Electric gantries
Gantry closeup
7/18/2008 04:14 PM
Gantry closeup
Gantry with transformers
7/18/2008 04:14 PM
Gantry with transformers
Old yard observation tower
7/18/2008 04:14 PM
Old yard observation tower
East 149th Street Bridge over the Northeast Corridor line
7/18/2008 04:16 PM
East 149th Street Bridge over the Northeast Corridor line
Gantry with transformers
7/18/2008 04:16 PM
Gantry with transformers
Bruckner Boulevard under Bruckner Expressway
7/18/2008 04:18 PM
Bruckner Boulevard under Bruckner Expressway
Multiple gantries
7/18/2008 04:18 PM
Multiple gantries

The Port Morris Branch does not have a direct connection from the northbound NYCRR Line but instead passes under the NYCRR and travels parallel to it on the East up to the Oak Point railyard. Accordingly, there would need to be some kind of messy junction to connect subway trains coming in from Randall's Island to the Port Morris Branch headed northwest, while making it possible for freight traffic to continue north into the railyard.

Track headed onto the Port Morris Branch from the Northeast Corridor
7/18/2008 04:10 PM
Track headed onto the Port Morris Branch from the Northeast Corridor
Line from the south crosses over the Port Morris Branch
7/18/2008 04:10 PM
Line from the south crosses over the Port Morris Branch
Overgrown southern part of entrance to the branch from the Northeast Corridor
7/18/2008 04:11 PM
Overgrown southern part of entrance to the branch from the Northeast Corridor

East 143rd Street Station

The IRT Pelham Line (#6 train) arrives from the east under 138th Street, turning north at Bruckner Boulevard, crossing under the Port Morris Branch and continuing north under Southern Boulevard into a narrow trench. This would, obviously, be a desirable location for a direct transfer between lines. The Port Morris Line trench passes between buildings west of Southern Avenue. Building platforms and a station would require demolishing portions of these buildings including a very formidable-looking warehouse on the northwest corner of Southern Boulevard. The platforms (and, possibly, a surface level station) would need to extend into the sliver of land between Bruckner and Southern Boulevards. Then a pedestrian tunnel would need to run a north (and/or down) to reach the 143rd Street IRT platforms.

Railroad tracks under Bruckner Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:54 PM
Railroad tracks under Bruckner Boulevard
Trench headed north under Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 04:08 PM
Trench headed north under Southern Boulevard
Dry trench southeast of Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:54 PM
Dry trench southeast of Southern Boulevard
Southeast side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
7/18/2008 03:54 PM
Southeast side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
Flooded trench northwest of Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:53 PM
Flooded trench northwest of Southern Boulevard
Flooded trench northwest of Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:53 PM
Flooded trench northwest of Southern Boulevard
Northwest side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
7/18/2008 03:55 PM
Northwest side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
Northwest side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
7/18/2008 03:53 PM
Northwest side of Southern Boulevard Bridge
East 143rd Street IRT Station
7/18/2008 03:51 PM
East 143rd Street IRT Station
East 143rd Street IRT Station
7/18/2008 03:51 PM
East 143rd Street IRT Station
East 143rd Street IRT Station
7/18/2008 03:51 PM
East 143rd Street IRT Station
Woman's butt = auto alarms: corner of Southern Boulevard and Buckner
7/18/2008 04:08 PM
Woman's butt = auto alarms: corner of Southern Boulevard and Buckner
K and B Wholesale Furniture Warehouse - Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:51 PM
K and B Wholesale Furniture Warehouse - Southern Boulevard
Southern Boulevard south to the Bruckner Expressway
7/18/2008 03:53 PM
Southern Boulevard south to the Bruckner Expressway
American Self Storage
7/18/2008 03:50 PM
American Self Storage
Tuck-it-Away Self Storage
7/18/2008 03:56 PM
Tuck-it-Away Self Storage
Looking north on Southern Boulevard from the rail line
7/18/2008 03:49 PM
Looking north on Southern Boulevard from the rail line

Con Ed has a large building in the triangle between Bruckner Boulevard, Southern Boulevard and 144th Street, just north of the Port Morris Branch. The facade facing Bruckner Boulevard tries to give the illusion of old rowhouses, but it's all a lie covering something electrical and modern.

Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:00 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:00 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:03 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:03 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:03 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:06 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:06 PM
Con Ed
Con Ed
7/18/2008 04:07 PM
Con Ed

The Port Morris Line winds its way diagonally across the street grid to the southeast corner of St. Mary's Park. The trench is flooded and/or overgrown and passes tightly between large warehouses along the entire path.

Northwest side of Southern Boulevard bridge
7/18/2008 03:49 PM
Northwest side of Southern Boulevard bridge
Flooded trench
7/18/2008 03:48 PM
Flooded trench
Post in trench for sign or electrification?
7/18/2008 03:48 PM
Post in trench for sign or electrification?
Flooded trench between Wales Avenue and Southern Boulevard
7/18/2008 03:48 PM
Flooded trench between Wales Avenue and Southern Boulevard
Southeast side of Wales Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 03:47 PM
Southeast side of Wales Avenue Bridge
Wales Avenue crossing the rail line
7/18/2008 03:46 PM
Wales Avenue crossing the rail line
Vegetation and crumbiling concrete
7/18/2008 03:45 PM
Vegetation and crumbiling concrete
Vegetation and crumbling concrete between Wales Avenue and Concord Avenue
7/18/2008 03:45 PM
Vegetation and crumbling concrete between Wales Avenue and Concord Avenue
Flooded trench between Wales Avenue and Concord Avenue
7/18/2008 03:46 PM
Flooded trench between Wales Avenue and Concord Avenue
Northwest side of Wales Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 03:45 PM
Northwest side of Wales Avenue Bridge
Old warehouse - corner of Wales Avenue and East 143rd Street
7/18/2008 03:44 PM
Old warehouse - corner of Wales Avenue and East 143rd Street
Graffiti on trench wall
7/18/2008 03:44 PM
Graffiti on trench wall
Fan duct from building into the trench
7/18/2008 03:43 PM
Fan duct from building into the trench
Trench between Concorde Avenue and Wales Avenue
7/18/2008 03:44 PM
Trench between Concorde Avenue and Wales Avenue
Space for lease
7/18/2008 03:42 PM
Space for lease
East 143rd street crossing Concord Avenue - rail line passes under intersection
7/18/2008 03:42 PM
East 143rd street crossing Concord Avenue - rail line passes under intersection
North side of Concord Avenue bridge
7/18/2008 03:41 PM
North side of Concord Avenue bridge
South side of Concord Avenue bridge
7/18/2008 03:40 PM
South side of Concord Avenue bridge
Trench passing under west side of Concord Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 03:40 PM
Trench passing under west side of Concord Avenue Bridge
Flooded trench, debris and retaining wall
7/18/2008 03:40 PM
Flooded trench, debris and retaining wall
Flooded trench, debris and retaining wall
7/18/2008 03:40 PM
Flooded trench, debris and retaining wall
Trench and retaining wall
7/18/2008 03:39 PM
Trench and retaining wall
Debris in the trench
7/18/2008 03:39 PM
Debris in the trench
Trench running behind an East 143rd street apartment building
7/18/2008 03:38 PM
Trench running behind an East 143rd street apartment building
Industrial area - 144th Street at Concord Avenue
7/18/2008 03:37 PM
Industrial area - 144th Street at Concord Avenue
Trench running south from Jackson Avenue
7/18/2008 03:32 PM
Trench running south from Jackson Avenue
Trench wall and debris - 143rd Street at Jackson Avenue
7/18/2008 03:31 PM
Trench wall and debris - 143rd Street at Jackson Avenue