It’s 1936 and the Staten Island Rapid Transit, which was then still run by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, has just been elevated over sleepy St. John’s Avenue in this view looking north. The railroad had been running here since the 1880s, but since the B&O foresaw the relative urbanization of the region, it embarked on an aggressive grade-cross elimination project on the North Shore branch, which ran to South Beach. At the same time, grade cross elimination was also executed on the North Shore branch to Arlington and the main line to Tottenville, though all stations on the main line weren’t finished until the mid-1960s.
On the South Beach and North Shore, these improvements lasted a mere 17 years — the B&O shut down operations in 1953, leaving just the main line. There has been periodic talk of reactivating the North Shore branch, but in New York, once a transit line has been closed, it’s closed forever.
Since the 1953 shutdown, traces and vestiges of the old railroad have disppeared gradually as new housing was constructed on its old right of way. One exception is here on St. Johns Avenue, where the old wall on the east side of the road is still there, complete with a 1936 “time stamp.”