SIRT - Staten Island Rapid Transit 

 

sirt620.jpg (52068 bytes)
SIRT MTA #620 

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI ANNOUNCE      REACTIVATION OF STATEN ISLAND RAILROAD     
December 17, 2004

Staten Island Rapid Transit  History

The Baltimore and Ohio trackage in New Jersey consisted of a 5.5 mile segment, which ran from Cranford Jct. on the Central Railroad of New Jersey to Arthur Kill and on to Staten Island, NY. B&O trains reached this isolated property by trackage rights over the Reading Co. from Philadelphia, PA, to Bound Brook, NJ, then CNJ to Cranford Jct. The Lehigh Valley RR also maintained an interchange with SIRT at Cranford. Though strictly a freight operation in New Jersey, SIRT ran an urban style passenger rapid transit system on Staten Island which exists today under New York City's MTA.

With capital provided by the B&O the SIRT RR opened its first connection to the mainland rail network on June 13, 1889 over the first bridge over the Arthur Kill waterway. The SIRT RR connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Linden, New Jersey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Staten Island Junction in Cranford, New Jersey and the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Cranford Junction, also in Cranford.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, primary interstate freight traffic terminated at the Baltimore & Ohio float bridges in St. George, and many railroads, including the Chesapeake and Ohio had interstate trackage rights. Direct track connections were possible with the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey and Reading Railroad, plus the carfloat operation which connected with offline terminals in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan and New Jersey.

The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge replaced the original bridge in 1959 and carried freight until 1991 when traffic had essentially disappeared. From 2004 to 2006 the bridge was refurbished and freight service over the bridge, along the western portions of the North Shore Branch, resumed in 2007.

The freight line connection from New Jersey to the Staten Island Railway was restored in late 2006, and is operated in part by the Morristown and Erie Railway under contract with the State of New Jersey and other companies. The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge which transports trains from Staten Island to New Jersey over the Arthur Kill waterway was renovated from 2004 to 2006 and began regular service on April 2, 2007, 16 years after the bridge closed. A portion of the North Shore of the Staten Island Railway was rehabilitated, the Arlington Yard was expanded, and 6,500 feet (1,981 m) of new track was laid along the Travis Branch to Fresh Kills.[18] Soon after service restarted on the line Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg officially commemorated the reactivation on April 17, 2007.[19] On behalf of the City of New York, the New York City Economic Development Corporation formed an agreement with CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Conrail to provide service over the reactivated line to haul waste from the Staten Island Transfer Station and ship container freight from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal and other industrial businesses.

 Mileposts   SIRT-StationList-Mileage-01-11-37.jpg (362431 bytes) 
SIRT Station List/Mileage 01/11/37                                     
0.0 St. George, NY (see below)
2.5 West Brighton
5.1 Arlington
-----------
Travis Industrial Track
   Arlington Yard
   Con Edison
   Howland Hook Marine Terminal Map
-----------
6.8 Arthur Kill Drawbridge 
7.9 Bayway, NJ
9.2 Linden
10.9 Bantas
11.7 Staten Island Jct (with CR Lehigh Line)
12.2 Cranford Jct. (RVRR Interchange) 
Staten Island Rapid Transit Track Profile
(circa 1960)
Cranford Junction, NJ to Arthur Kill, NY


Staten Island Rapid Transit Track Profile (circa 1960) 
Cranford Jct. to Arthur Kill 

SIRT COLLECTION
SIRTphotoCaptions-StephenBogart.jpg (267544 bytes)
Stephen Bogart's photo research captions
1-SIRT-CNJ 0-8-0 311-Switching Cars on SIRT Tracks at SIRT-CNJ Interchange-Cranford Jct. - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-CNJ 0-8-0 311-Switching Cars on SIRT Tracks at SIRT-CNJ Interchange-Cranford Jct. - c. 1946

 

2-SIRT-Station-SIRT Tracks CNJ Camelback and Train-SIRT-CNJ Interchange-Cranford Jct. - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-Station-SIRT Tracks CNJ Camelback and Train-SIRT-CNJ Interchange-Cranford Jct. - c. 1946
3-SIRT-Staten Island Jct , NJ - LV Tracks Over Bridge - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-Staten Island Jct , NJ - LV Tracks Over Bridge - c. 1946
4-SIRT-S Curve at Station-Oakwood Heights - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-S Curve at Station-Oakwood Heights - c. 1946
5-SIRT-MU 503-Train-Old Sta-St. George - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-MU 503-Train-Old Sta-St. George - c. 1946
6-SIRT-Tunnel-Yard Throat Tracks-Semaphore Signals-St. George - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-Tunnel-Yard Throat Tracks-Semaphore Signals-St. George - c. 1946
7-SIRT-MU One-Car Train-Approaching Terminal  - St. George - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-MU One-Car Train-Approaching Terminal - St. George - c. 1946
8-SIRT-Tunnel -Yard Throat Tracks-Signals-St. George - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT-Tunnel -Yard Throat Tracks-Signals-St. George - c. 1946
8A-SIRT-Closeup-1918 Bridge Constr. Date - St. George - c. 1946.jpg
SIRT Closeup 1918 Bridge Constr. Date  St. George c. 1946
9-SIRT-Chloride-Sweeper Car X-600-at Shops-Clifton - c. 1946 (1).jpg
SIRT Chloride Sweeper Car X-600 at Shops Clifton  c. 1946

10-SIRT-Chloride-Sweeper Car X-600-at Shops-Clifton - c. 1946 (2).jpg
SIRT Chloride Sweeper Car X-600 at Shops Clifton  c. 1946
SIRT-One-Car Train-Approaching Sta-New-Brighton_viewNE-c.1948_Keller.jpg (101094 bytes)
A one-car MU electric train is eastbound approaching the Staten Island Rapid Transit's shoreline station at New Brighton, Staten Island c. 1948.  Richmond Terrace is elevated at the right.  The tracks in the distance make the curve to the right and head towards the terminal at St. George.  This branch, known in timetables as the North Shore Sub-division, ended passenger service on March 31, 1953 from St. George, eastward to Arlington and station buildings and platforms were removed. Freight service, however, continued for a number of years after but when it, too, came to an end, the tracks were torn up   Today, Bank Street occupies the former right-of-way at New Brighton and provides access to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark.  (Robert J. Wasche photo, Dave Keller archive and data)  
11-SIRT-Coaling Tower-St. George - c. 1946.jpg
11-SIRT-Coaling Tower-St. George - c. 1946
12-SIRT-MU Cars-Coaling Tower-St. George - c. 1946.jpg
12-SIRT-MU Cars-Coaling Tower-St. George - c. 194613-SIRT-ALCO S2-489-Light-Past Sta-Arlington-c.1946.jpg
13-SIRT-ALCO S2-489-Light-Past Sta-Arlington-c.1946
SIRT(B&O)_1952map.jpg (103846 bytes)
SIRT (B&O) 1952 freight connections map from timetable

 

 

Above material courtesy Stephen Bogart photos/caption information, Dave Keller archive, unless as noted.

B&O #1183 1921 St. George Terminal
Collection: Dave Keller

B&O #1347 1921 St. George Terminal
Collection: Dave Keller
Statan Island Rapid Transit Track Plan
(circa 1949)
Staten Island, NY




B&O 0-6-0 Camelback #1180 
SIRT B&O St. George Yard 1933
Collection: Dave Keller

SIRT 2 Car train Richmond Valley
c.1950 Collection: Dave Keller
sirt_s2_9029c1955dkeller.jpg (36883 bytes)
SIRT Alco S-2 #9029 Freight run c.1955 Collection: Dave Keller
SIRT-MU 2-Car Train at Madera St. Crossing-Nearing Prince's Bay-SI, NY-08-1955 (Keller).jpg (119820 bytes)
SIRT MU 2-car electric train eastbound for St. George is crossing Madera Street after making the station stop at Prince's (aka Princess) Bay in this view looking east in August, 1955 (Dave Keller archive, Ed Bommer data)
sirt_s2_9033_w26thstnyny10-06-57dkeller.jpg (60845 bytes)
SIRT Alco S-2 #9033 at West 26th St., New York, NY  10-06-57 
Collection: Dave Keller
 LIRR2513statenisland_joekorman.jpg (42416 bytes)
LIRR #2513 Photo: Joe Korman

LIRR #2513 Jefferson Ave. 8/21/72
NewDorpStation4-28-73Joe Testagrose.jpg (81021 bytes)
New Dorp Station LIRR #2509 04/28/1973 Fan Trip Photo: Joe Testagrose
ex-lirr407_SIRailway_c.2000_Tom-Healy.jpg (116364 bytes)
Ex-LIRR Alco S-1 #407 c.2000 
Photo: Tom Healy

exlirr_AlcoS1_407bobanderson_Clifton05-25-07.jpg (126546 bytes)
Ex-LIRR Alco S-1 #407 Clifton 05/25/2007 Photo: Bobby J. Kasza
MU-2509-2-Car-Train-Princes-Bay-Staten-Island-4-28-73.jpg (69511 bytes)
MU #2509 Two car train Princes Bay,  Staten Island 04/28/1973 
Archive: Dave Keller

Back in the early 1970s, the LIRR loaned or leased six (6) MU cars to the Staten Island Rapid Transit for their use. 

These two LIRR MU cars are seen in SIRT service, stopped at Princes Bay station on Staten Island on April 28, 1973.

The LIRR never had any stations that looked like this structure and located in a cut.  Also . . . . check out that shelter shed across from the depot building!  Certainly not “Pennsy style!” Info: Dave Keller

arthurkill08-12-07.jpg (72990 bytes)
Arthur Kill Lift Bridge
08/12/07 view W from Hilton 6th floor Photo: Steve Lynch

ArthurKillLiftBridge2012.jpg (69017 bytes)
Arthur Kill Lift Bridge 2012 view N

ArthurKillBayway10-07-2006johnmccluskey.jpg (100352 bytes)
Arthur Kill Bayway, NJ view east 10/07/2006
Photo: John McCluskey

  MOW Facility at Clifton Station 6/02/75 Photo: Steve Lynch

 

 Starting in the 1880's Erastus Wiman rose to the leadership of the company and in a reorganization he renamed the company the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company (SIRT).

 Wiman oversaw the opening of the extension of the Main Line from its original Clifton terminus north to Tompkinsville on July 31, 1884; the opening of the North Shore Branch on February 23, 1886; and the South Beach Branch on March 8, 1886. 

Wiman soon began negotiations with the leaders of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for the mutual benefit of the two companies that were then still independent. Being smaller than the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad, the B&O relished the opportunity to start rail service to the potentially lucrative New York City market via collaboration with the SIRT RR. 

With capital provided by the B&O the SIRT RR opened its first connection to the mainland rail network on June 13, 1889 over the first bridge over the Arthur Kill waterway. The SIRT RR connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Linden, NJ, the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Staten Island Junction in Cranford, NJ and the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Cranford Junction, also in Cranford.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, primary interstate freight traffic terminated at the B&O car float bridges in St. George, and many railroads, including the Chesapeake and Ohio had interstate trackage rights. Direct track connections were possible with the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey and Reading Railroad, plus the carfloat operation which connected with offline terminals in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan and New Jersey.

Direct connections were also made to two small private railroads such as American Dock Company located at Tompkinsville and Pouch Terminal at Clifton. American Dock operated electric locomotives utilizing overhead trolley wire, while Pouch Terminal was first switched by a gas mechanical locomotive, then a Mack Diesel which has been preserved and now residing at Allaire State Park in New Jersey. American Dock and Pouch Terminal were both owned by different members of the Pouch family, but retained separate identities. The American Dock trackage despite being overhead trolley wire, did not connect with the Staten Island trolley system, but purchased power from them.

During the late 19th Century, a small 3 ft (914 mm) gauge railroad with a single 0-4-0 ran on Fort Wadsworth and connected with a team track on the South Beach line. .

The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge replaced the original bridge in 1959 and carried freight until 1991 when traffic had essentially disappeared. From 2004 to 2006 the bridge was refurbished and freight service over the bridge, along the western portions of the North Shore Branch, resumed in 2007.

The freight line connection from New Jersey to the Staten Island Railway was restored in late 2006, and is operated in part by the Morristown and Erie Railway under contract with the State of New Jersey and other companies. The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge which transports trains from Staten Island to New Jersey over the Arthur Kill waterway was renovated from 2004 to 2006 and began regular service on April 2, 2007, 16 years after the bridge closed. A portion of the North Shore of the Staten Island Railway was rehabilitated, the Arlington Yard was expanded, and 6,500 feet (1,981 m) of new track was laid along the Travis Branch to Fresh Kills. Soon after service restarted on the line Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg officially commemorated the reactivation on April 17, 2007. On behalf of the City of New York, the New York City Economic Development Corporation formed an agreement with CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Conrail to provide service over the reactivated line to haul waste from the Staten Island Transfer Station and ship container freight from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal and other industrial businesses.

In November 1957, an Esso oil tanker collided with the old Arthur Kill bridge, knocking it off its central pivot. With the bridge rendered useless, the B&O immediately transferred all Staten Island freight to Jersey City. Car floats were used to bring Staten Island rail traffic back to St. George. By 1959, a new 558 foot single track vertical lift span replaced the old swing bridge. It is the longest of its type in the U.S. Along with the new bridge, the entire line from Cranford Jct to Arlington Yard was re-laid with new, heavier rail. A three mile branch line was extended from Gulf Port to Travis, along Staten Island’s west shore. This was done for unit coal trains coming from West Virginia to service a new Consolidated Edison power plant. Even late in the 1950’s, the B&O continued to invest in its New Jersey and Staten Island holdings.
By 1973, the Jersey Central closed its car float yard at Jersey City. The B&O then moved its car float freight back to St. George on Staten Island. In September 1979, this car float operation was taken over by the New York Dock Railway and was terminated in 1980. The St. George Yard was essentially abandoned, except for servicing a few isolated Staten Island industries still using rail service.
The interline tariff routing arrangement used by B&O/Chessie to reach New Jersey and New York was ended by Conrail in the early 1980’s, leaving the line completely out of the New Jersey freight market. In April 1985, the operating rights for the tracks between Cranford Jct to St. George were sold to the Delaware-Otsego Corp. of Cooperstown, NY.

In April 1985, the Delaware Otsego / NYS&W took over the freight operations from the B&O/Chessie/SIRT. The railroad was named Staten Island Railway. They operated freight service between St. George Yard and Cranford Jct., NJ. Interchange was with Conrail on Tks 4 and 6 at Cranford Jct. At the time of the takeover, the NYS&W retained 4 former B&O train crew employees, 1 clerk, 1 AK Bridge operator and 1 trainmaster. Also included in the deal was former Chessie engine C&O 9051 which became NYS&W 120 and a caboose which became NYS&W 0121.The main customers on Staten Island at the time were Proctor & Gamble, US Lines at the Howland Hook Marine Terminal and Consolidated Edison. However, there were a handful of other customers some of which included Laminated Paper, Federal Plastics, Terminal Lumber and Cross Sinclair.

In 1986, the NYS&W took over the Rahway Valley Railroad. Customers I recall on the RVRR included Monsanto and Jaeger Lumber. The RV had 2 70-ton engines # 16 and # 17 which remained in RV paint the remainder of their lives under NYS&W control. Eventually as business on the Staten Island Railway declined, the SIRY crew also serviced the Rahway Valley customers crossing over the NJT Raritan Line at Excee Tower.

The SIRY crew and engine was based in Arlington Yard. My records indicate the last train to pull cars off Staten Island ran on March 9, 1991. The last train on SIRY-RVRR ran in April 1991 with engineer Anthony Carone (original B&O/Chessie employee) and Richard Travis as conductor. (I can't find the exact date but perhaps Rich Travis will read this and fill in the blanks) Over the years, eng 120 (painted in NYS&W yellow and black) was the primary engine used on Staten Island however the NYS&W 1800 series engines were also used at times.

by NaDspr

---------------
In the 60's and the 70's, carloads of rolled newspaper was delivered to the local paper on Staten Island, 'the Staten Island Advance". Later the print paper was brought in via truck.

FYI, when I worked at Phelps Dodge Corp, in the Traffic Dept. from 1968 to 1979, we moved freight over the B&O to St George.
This freight consisted of carloads of copper, railed to St George and floated to Laurel Hill on Newtown Creek in Queens for our refinery

They operated it. There was still business on the Island when they took over, however as the business left, the line became shorter and shorter. The main killer to the service there was the closing of the Proctor and Gamble plant which for the most part was the majority of the traffic on the island. Service ended towards the end of 92 with the locking of AK drawbridge in the upright position. NYS&W