2004-04-15 / Little Old Canarsie

Wooden Trains Preceded Trolleys To The Shore

John Denton

Around the days before the First World War, Canarsie had the B.M.T. Trains of the old wooden type running direct to Canarsie Shore Station which was just a little this side of Steamboat Creek. (where new homes are now Schenck St.) When Canarsie Shore’had the a museme nis they rain 114 or 5 cars which had a pole along the wire t as the - third rail only ent to New Lots Station those days. After placing the pole on the wire they continued from there.During slow times they used to uncouple the cars just about 2 blocks from New Lots Station, where there was a creek which ran all the way up to the railroad called Fresh Creek which was filled in to just the other side of Flatlands Ave. where it still is today near the Bowling Alleys and still runs out to Jamaica Bay. There would be a little delay here when they took off 3 or 4 cars and just continued down to Canarsie sometimes with just one car and then on the way back they would couple up the three or four cars waiting on the tracks to continue on to the Chambers & Canal St. Stations. If you wanted to get the 14th St. Line you would change at Bway Junction. Most of the times these cars were hooked and unhooked by an old time railroader, "Curly Dalton," who in all kinds of weather managed to do his job. Some of the men who worked, on this line for many years were a dispatchier- named Knad and John Skidmore who in later years was a steady fixture on Rockaway Pkway Station when the trains were replaced by a shuttle trolley fine from there to Canarsie Shore.He will always be remembered as the man who blew the whistle for them to start.

Another old Canarsien who was affectionately called Mr. B.M.T. worked on these trains - he was John Youngs; for many years a faithful employee of the B.M.T. system. Among some others I can remember who worked on these lines were Joe Aust and Brother Jack; Chas. Van Houten and Florenz Reisegel; and Joel Tonipkins & Fred Hoffman. In later years there were many more who worked on the steel trains which came down on the third rail as far as Rockaway Parkway. Then from there, a trolley shuttle ran to the shore on the same right of way, then was shifted over on Rockaway Parkway and last was taken off and replaced with buses. So this tells another Chapter of "Little Old Canarsie."


Just prior to the use of buses, the famous streetcars, or trolleys, traveled on Rockaway Parkway to the Jamaica Bay shore and Golden City Park.                                    Merlis/Rozenzweig collectionJust prior to the use of buses, the famous streetcars, or trolleys, traveled on Rockaway Parkway to the Jamaica Bay shore and Golden City Park. Merlis/Rozenzweig collection

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