Deep in the heart of Ridgewood, a beautiful neighborhood filled with brick and brownstone buildings that straddles the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, there lurks a relic of the trolley days of yesterday. The fact that the tracks aren’t on a city street proper have probably saved them from oblivion…so far.

These two views of Woodbine Street between Onderdonk and Woodward Avenue show 84-year-old trolley tracks under the right of way of what is now the BMT “M” elevated train.

The el at this point has its own right of way and so does not travel over a street. For most of its run, it shadows Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street, but then detours between streets until descending to grade and ending at Metropolitan Avenue.

The trolley tracks were originally part of the Myrtle Avenue line of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT). In 1913 it was decided to elevate the train, leaving the tracks available for trolley use. Trolley cars operated on the ROW, which followed the same route that is today assumed by the M train, from 1916 into the 1940s.

Another view of the tracks at 60th Place, south of Putnam Avenue, both sides. After service ended, the tracks were never paved over in areas where the ROW did not follow a street.

A similar state of affairs exists in Jackson Heights, where tracks survive in spots on a demapped section of Jackson Mill Road.

This view from the 1930s shows a Peter Witt car using the tracks on Madison Street and Woodward Avenue.


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  1. Nancy Reising says:

    As a kid (really little) I lived on Palmetto St. under the El. The trolley was still running past our front door and my Father took it to FreshPond Rd. to go to work. The conductor knew us well and sometimes used to let me ride with my Dad and on the way back would drop me off in front of my “Stoop”. What Great memories I have. That was in the late forties.

  2. Walter Denzler says:

    I grew up on Onderdonk Ave between Gates and Palmetto. It’s at Onderdonk where the trolley line left Palmetto St and continued on the ROW up to the trolley barn at Fresh Pond Rd. As a child I remember that trolley as well as the one that ran along Seneca Ave.

  3. Michael Doran says:

    Can anyone tell me if the original Ridgewood Trolley Depot and what became the Fresh Pond Bus Depot were one in the same?

  4. Peter Iacontino says:

    Does anyone remember the ” car barns” on Dekalb & Seneca Ave. Ridgewood ? It’s where they use to repair & store the trolley cars back in the 1950’s ?

    • Susan says:

      Yes, I remember. But for some reason in the 70’s people would call it “The Carbines”…..lol…I have no idea why.

    • tommy b says:

      Yes. My uncle worked their from around 1925 to 1955, as a welder repairing old trolley cars and broken street plows used during winter snow storms. I visited their several times as a youngster circa 1946-1948. The repair men would hold Christmas parties in one of the disabled trolleys, some were professional musicians and would hold “Jam Sessions” , sing, eat food, make jolly and have a grand time. I still can see images of those days in my minds eye.

  5. sabong.pw says:

    Worm farming is great for the environment.

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