by Kevin Walsh

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the magnificent stone bridge that takes the NY Connecting Railroad over Queens Boulevard in Woodside. The NYCR, constructed in 1917 when the Hell Gate Bridge was, runs from the Oak Point freight yards in Hunts Point, Bronx, southwest through Port Morris, south through Randalls Island, southeast across the Hell Gate Bridge, and then generally southerly through Steinway, Woodside, Elmhurst, Middle Village and Glendale, to Fresh Pond yards where it meets a junction with the LIRR and New York and Atlantic railroads. Canadian Pacific and CSX freights generally make this run during the week, though there are occasional runs by the Providence and Worcester as well. Some mail trains run late at night. 

This bridge is one of the original magnificent structures to be built after Queens Boulevard was widened after the Queensboro Bridge was opened in 1909. Early on, some of its present traffic lanes were given over to trolley tracks, but these were removed in the 1930s and Queens Boulevard was on its way to being the pedal to the metal Boulevard of Death.

I have chronicled and walked Queens Boulevard often; its western end is dominated by the Flushing Line Viaduct, while there are several innovative structures eat of the elevated, built over a 50 year span from roughly 1915 through 1965. The Connecting Railroad’s stone bridges are mostly invisible to the public, as it runs in an open cut in its southern reaches before going elevated much of the way from Queens Boulevard north.

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Andy October 20, 2021 - 7:31 am

The short stretch of Queens Boulevard between 65th Place and 76th Street, no more than a mile long, boasts four structures that separate the Boulevard from intersecting arteries. Going west to east, you encounter the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (an underpass), and then three railroad overpasses – the six track LIRR Main Line, the NY Connecting Railroad (currently one track but wide enough for two), and the two track LIRR Port Washington Branch after it veers away from the Main Line. The Port Washington Branch has the distinction of crossing Queens Boulevard twice.

Where the LIRR branches converge just south of the Boulevard was once known as Winfield Junction, and boasted an interlocking tower and many switches so trains could move between the Main and Port Washington lines. The tower burned down in the early 1970s.

The two LIRR overpasses were constructed around World War I to eliminate dangerous grade crossings along Queens Boulevard, and also as part of a project that straightened the LIRR right-of-way in the vicinity of today’s Woodside Station. The #7 Line station atop the LIRR at Woodside was also built around the same time.

Edward October 20, 2021 - 8:59 am

I notice the similarity with the Seeley Street overpass over Brooklyn’s Prospect Avenue. This one is more ornate, though.

John October 20, 2021 - 10:57 am

Not to be petty, but Hylan Blvd. is the NYC boulevard of death. No ornate overpasses though

Alan October 21, 2021 - 7:01 am

I remember when the BQE in the vicinity of Queens Blvd was under construction. The rest of the BQE was complete except for that gap.
In addition, Port Washington trains actually cross Queens Blvd three times, if you include the Sunnyside yards.

John Bevan October 21, 2021 - 4:44 pm

I suspect that this bridge is actually a concrete bridge with stone facing, that it is build on a skew is a hint.


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