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.”



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5 Responses to TRACKS FOREVER GONE, Rosebank

  1. Bob says:

    Fear not, Kevin, for this time a line will be resurrected in New York. The planning for the reactivation of the North Shore Line is in its final stage; a structural check has been made on the elevated viaduct through Port Richmond. Point-of-repair markings have already been made on the pillars. Remember that although passenger service ceased in 1953, freight service from St. George continued on the North Shore Branch until the mid-1970’s, when it was pushed back to Port Ivory. Two obstacles stand in the way: the City and the MTA’s purchase of two short sections of the line once tied to factories and therefore on private property. Second, deciding the type of line it will be: a heavy rail Class-B waivered commuter line linked to the current South Shore Branch or a light rail line. Residents and community boards would like a combination of both; the heavy rail line to Arlington with a transfer to a West Side light rail line that would also serve Bayonne. All parties are in agreement on one thing: the line will be rebuilt and will be run by 2018.

    • Earthdog says:

      The big overpass on the South Beach line at Doty Avenue is still extant as of 2013.

      • Gary Owen says:


        I believe you are confusing the “big overpass at Doty Avenue” with the SIRT trestle which stands defiant over Robin Road.

        • Gary Owen says:

          Actually, you are correct as well as I. The trestle does border Doty. Until I recently drove past and looked, I never noticed.

  2. Dom Rosso says:

    Bob I think you’re jumping the gun on that 2018 opening date. There is no concrete plan or funding on the books for any of this yet.

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