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Staten Island Tablet

 

 

Staten Island Railway

By David Paul Gerber   

 

 

 Main Line

 

 

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 Tottenville

Tottenville (Edge of Arthur Kill waterfront between Bentley and Main Streets)  I consider this station the most scenic in all of NY State, at the southern end is a beautiful view of New Jersey and the Arthur Kill waterfront, with the Outerbridge crossing in the distance to the north.  The southernmost end is ADA accessible with a ramp to Bentley Street and a tiny parking area.  The 1930’s stationhouse is in good condition and is used by NYCT employees only.  The roadway leads to the end of Arthur Kill Road.  Going up the ADA ramp we enter the grade level island platform, with 3 tracks to the east pocket track that are used for storing trains, a mini-yard.  The north end is via passageway and overpass to Main Street.  The station color is orange.   

We leave Tottenville and the yard lead merges with us, along with the usual double crossover that is required of all non-loop terminal stations. 

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 ATLANTIC

Atlantic (lot west of T intersection on Arthur Kill Road and Wood Ave)  Grade level, and side platforms with the distinction of being only 1 car in length and unrenovated.  Access is via a dead end lot off the above intersection, a couple of steps up to the N/B platform, while an overpass is used from the S/B platform.  This and Nassau stations are expected to be replaced by a new ADA compliant station, Arthur Kill.  But you can see the original remains of the old SIRT before the majority of station renovations on this line, with the steel corrugated walls, overpasses and original 4 foot high station railings with faded signs.  There are no signs anywhere on either platform, or on the overpass steps.   

We pass underneath Arthur Kill Road, the proposed site of the newest rail station of the same name.  It lies between Atlantic and Nassau Stations, the last 2 stations of a long gone era in SIRT history.  Though it is wonderful to see progress with the new stations renovations, the unrenovated Atlantic and Nassau stations are the only visual remains of when the SIRT built new platforms in the 1960’s during the multi-phase grade elimination project, without platform canopies or shelters.   

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 NASSAU

Nassau (Bethel Ave/Saint Andrews Place and roadway leading to Nassau Place)   According to the published timetables, this station is a flag stop meaning the train will only stop here upon request by a customer on the train or when the Train Operator sees customers on the platform that are ready to board the arriving train.  However the train I was on made the stop anyway.  Full length 4 car side platforms and overpass/exits at south end.  One sign on S/B platform still has original “NASSAU” lettering.  Staircase to St. Andrews Place on east side has no canopy.  An abandoned 3rd track sits next to the S/B platform and this area once had a major factory here.  Today, all of the area to the west is vacant land. The platform has been shortened due to platform failure of an extension built by a private company. Since MTA plans to abandon this station it is now required to be in the last car and have the conductor open one door panel for exit or entry

The 3rd freight track merges with use before we arrive at Richmond Valley, our next stop.  This line has numerous closed yard/freight track leads, some of which are visible as we head north to St. George. 

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 RICHMOND VALLEY

Richmond Valley (Richmond Valley Road and Amboy Road)  Station is a mixture of open cut (below grade level) at north exit leading to Richmond Valley Road, and at grade level on the south end, leading to Amboy Road.  Side platforms, orange color with the south overpass appearing to be an addition during the renovation.  Because of the short platform, only the first 3 cars in the direction of the train traveling can be platformed here, the doors on the 4th and last car do not open here. 

From Pleasant Plains on, all stations have the full 300’ 4 car length platforms.   

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 PLEASANT PLAINS

Pleasant Plains (Amboy Road at Station Road/Penton Street, 1 block south of Sharrott Ave)  Elevated, side platforms, orange canopies.  Exit to Amboy road at north end along a 75 foot long passage and steps.  It is possible that the original station was closer to Amboy Road than the current setup.  Parts of the old N/B platforms are visible and can be viewed from either side at the north end of this station; wooden boards and concrete are evidence of this. 

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 PRINCE'S BAY

Prince’s Bay (Seguine Ave and Herbert Street, 1 block south of Amboy Road)  Below grade, side platforms, green canopies and walls.  Only exit is at south end, no stationhouse.   

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 HUGENOT

Huguenot (Huguenot Ave between Richmond Parkway and Amboy Road)  Below grade/open cut, side platforms.  Exit is at south end and the 1939 brick stationhouse sits on street level.  Many stations from here to Grasmere have brick stationhouses that were built from 1939 to 1964 as part of the grade crossing elimination project.  In 1939, the first section to remove all grade crossings and make the line either elevated or open cut was from Huguenot to Great Kills. 

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 ANNADALE

Annadale (Annadale Road/Jefferson Blvd and N/S Railroad Streets)  Side platforms, below grade station, sea blue color.  North end has 1939 brick stationhouse in good condition.  South end on Belfield Avenue has overpass and stairs to each platform.  On the N/B side only, there is a second set of stairs that lead to an adjacent parking lot, nearest to Tenafly Avenue.  This parking lot holds only about 30 to 40 cars.  

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 ELTINGVILLE

Eltingville (Richmond Ave between White Street and Eltingville Blvd, 1 block north of Amboy Road)  Elevated side platforms, orange canopies and walls, with staircases at western end only to Richmond Ave.  One of the busiest stations of this line, it is a transfer point for local buses to the Staten Island Mall, as well as express buses to Manhattan.  The mall is about 2 miles north of this station.  The stationhouse is at street level; a plaque commemorates the building of this house (as well as possible other stationhouses) by the now-defunct Federal Works Agency.   

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 GREAT KILLS

Great Kills (Nelson Ave, Amboy Road and Giffords Lane)  Below grade/open cut, side platforms, turquoise blue canopies and walls.  Station is fully ADA accessible, via a pair of long, winding ramps as well as stairs and an overpass leading to Brower Court and Nelson Ave.  The Great Kills Veterans Memorial is outside this entrance on the N/B side.  North end at Giffords Lane has stationhouse and staircase only; it leads to a busy (by Staten Island standards) commercial district.  Most peak direction rush hour PM express trains run non-stop from Saint George to Great Kills. 

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BBAY TERRACE

Bay Terrace (North/South Railroad Aves between Bay Terrace Street and Justin Ave)  Embankment on single island platform.  Exits at both ends, the north end leads to Justin Ave, with a roadway underpass, while the south end leads to Bay Terrace Street.  The south side is interesting for there is only pedestrian access at this end (no roadway), as well as a greenery outside both sides of the underpass.  This greenery is maintained by the NYC Parks Department as part of the popular Greenstreets project of beautifying streets and landscapes with gardens maintained by employees of the Parks Department.  During the renovation, the glass windows and exterior staircases were maintained at both ends. 

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 OAKWOOD HEIGHTS

Oakwood Heights (North/South Railroad Aves at Guyon and Oak Aves)  Open cut, island platforms, beige color.  There are some conflicting reports as to when this station (being the last one to be grade separated) was realigned to its current form of an open cut station.  It might have been 1965 as the last known year the station was relocated to the current location, but the year engraved on the stationhouse at the south end by Guyon Ave exit says it was built in 1963.  The north end has an overpass bridge with 2 exits, one to Oak Ave on N/B platform side, with the S/B platform side leads to Cedarview Ave.   

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 NEW DORP

New Dorp (New Dorp Plaza between New Dorp and Rose Avenues)  Open cut, side platforms, orange color.  N/B platform has distinctive 20 foot high concrete wall, while S/B platform has mountain hill.  The north exit leads to New Dorp Ave with stationhouse, while the south exit leads to Rose Ave.  This side is unusual because it is the only exit location where both staircases are not aligned together on one side of the street.  The staircase to the N/B platform starts on the south side of Rose Ave, while the staircase to the S/B platform is on the north side of Rose.  The S57 bus makes a complete loop in both directions of travel, serving both ends of this station.  The former stationhouse that was there up until the 1965 grade crossing elimination is currently being preserved at Richmondtown Restoration museum, located at the odd 3-way loop intersection of Arthur Kill, Richmond Road and Richmond Hill Road. 

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 GRANT CITY

Grant City (Lincoln Ave at N/S Railroad)  Open cut, side platforms, aqua green.  There are 2 exits, the main exit at south end leads to Lincoln Ave and has brick stationhouse on street level.  There are no benches inside this house.  The 2nd exit at the middle of this station leads to Fremont Ave on both sides and utilizes an overpass to connect both platforms.   

We now rise back up as either embankment or elevated for almost all of the remaining portion or the trip.  Only Grasmere station is open cut. 

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 JEFFERSON AVENUE

Jefferson Avenue (Jefferson Ave at N/S Railroad Ave) Embankment, side platforms, the only exit at far south end leads to Jefferson Ave.  There does not appear to be a stationhouse at street level.  Station is noteworthy for being the only one in the entire SIR to be named as a street or avenue directly like NYCT does to most stations, instead of naming a station based of the neighborhood it serves (like LIRR and Metro-North).   

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 DONGAN HILLS

Dongan Hills (N/S Railroad Ave between Garretson and Seaview Avenues)  Embankment, side platforms, beige canopies.  This station fully ADA accessible station with long ramps at south end leading to Seaview Ave, while staircases at north end will take you to Garretson Ave).  The marble wall at street level on the Seaview Ave end shows when the line was converted from grade level to the current embankment level today, which took place in 1933.  Some free parking is visible from a small lot adjacent to the N/B platform.  The brick stationhouse is unusually positioned on N/B platform level, unlike other houses which are usually found on street level. 

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 OLD TOWN

Old Town  (Old Town Road at North Railroad Ave)  Embankment, side platforms, orange canopies and walls, plus the station is closest in distance from the SIR to Hylan Blvd.  The exit at south end leads to Old Town Road, while an additional staircase at the N/B platform at north end leads to Dawson Place and Oregon Road.  The path is actually a roadway, as the Street Cleaning parking signs do note this.  However, the Dawson Place path is used more frequently by pedestrians than cars; the “path” will lead you to Hylan Blvd.  Another NYC Department of Parks’ Greenstreets project was observed along the S/B side by Old Town Road. 

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 GRASMERE

Grasmere (S/S of Clove Road, between North Railroad and Christ Street)  Open cut, island platform, with lone staircase leading to Clove Road, a major transfer point to the S53 bus to/from 86th Street/Bay Ridge station on the R line in Brooklyn.  A 1933 brick stationhouse, the first such house on the SIR, is at street level. 

Just before we enter Clifton, we “merge” with the abandoned South Beach branch.  This and the North Shore line were abandoned in 1953 due to poor ridership and better bus service in Staten Island.  The South Beach line was 2 tracks and had six stations along the Staten Island’s south shore.   

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 CLIFTON

Clifton (Bay Street, across from Townsend Ave, 1 block south of Vanderbilt Ave)  Embankment, side platforms, beige canopies.  The Clifton Yard is next to the N/B track, with yard leads and wayside signals to the north of this station.  The wayside signals are expected to be replaced by modern signals.  Currently the SIR is nearing completion of an extensive signal replacement program on the entire line and yard leads to Clifton Yard that will enable reverse tracking of SIR trains (only as needed, from either track) and provide faster and more reliable service.  The north end has exits on both platforms that lead to Bay Street; the S/B side has winding stairs to Townsend Ave, while the N/B end has stairs and under ROW to Midwood Ave (a block away).  The N/B also has a second staircase on Bay and Edgewater Streets, no such staircase exists on the S/B side.  On Bay Street (sidewalk level) and facing the platform above, are remains of original steps up to the old station platform.  The shelter on S/B also has an interesting look of a stationhouse from the outside, but actually a shelter while on the platform.  Some of the boarded up windows and layout of this brick shelter does suggest that it was originally a stationhouse. 

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 STAPLETON

Stapleton (Prospect Street between Bay and Front Streets)  Elevated, island platform.  The north end has exit to Prospect Street and has a NYC DOT Park and Ride facility to the west side of the ROW (next to Bay Street).  The south end is sealed for unknown reasons and formerly had 2 staircases down to Cross Street or Water Street. 

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 TOMPKINSVILLE

Tompkinsville (East of Bay Street between end of Victory Blvd and Hannah Street)  At grade (but staircases go up for overpasses at both ends), island platform.  It is noted for an artificially high passenger count at this station because of the current MetroCard fare collection system that allows customers to use this station instead of Saint George to legally avoid fare payment.  HEET (High entry-exit turnstiles) fare control areas have been installed to collect fares from customers entering or exiting this station.  The north end leads to Victory Blvd and Bay Street; there is a parking lot adjacent to the S/B track side.  The south end leads to Hannah Street.  There is a 3rd track adjacent to the S/B track; it is part of a Maintenance of Way shop, with barns on both sides of this line and located south of this station.   

We leave Tompkinsville and make our way to St. George.  We now enter the only tunnel in the entire SIR system; it’s underneath the Light House Service of the United State Coast Guard.  This tunnel is about 500 feet in length.  As we leave the tunnel and see daylight again, we enter a diverging switch that will take us to the left, the track diverging to the left leads to St. George terminal while we enter Ballpark station.  This double track is the only such area within the abandoned North Shore line that sees limited, but active, service.  The actual length of this track from the cutoff to Ballpark station is only 0.2 miles long. 

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 BALLPARK

Ballpark (Wall Street & Richmond Terrace)  Newest station on the SIR line, it has island platform, on open cut section and has one double wide staircase at south end and ADA elevator at North End.  This station primarily serves the Richmond County Ballpark stadium, home of the Minor League, Class A Staten Island Yankees Baseball team.  During the baseball season, which runs from June to early September, a single train from Tottenville comes to this station, while 2 to 3 shuttles from St. George, and come here.  Fares were collected on board from the Tottenville train (the fares were already collected at the St. George station), since there are no turnstiles present at street level.    It has since been closed due to low ridership, proximity to the ferry and budget constraints.

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 SAINT GEORGE

Saint George (Bay Street and Richmond Terrace, inside Staten Island Ferry Terminal and parking lot.)  This station is considered open cut, since the tracks are depressed, while the 4 lane bus terminal and parking lot are both above us.  The terminal has 5 active platforms and 10 tracks; each numbered #1 through 10 from east to west.  There is also a sixth platform to the west that is now a passageway to the North Municipal Parking Field on Richmond Terrace, and towards Richmond County Ballpark, one of two access points to this station.  The track ballast is present through this construction zone.  The main access point is inside the St. George Ferry Terminal, on main level, with 17 steps down from ferry terminal to station mezzanine.  The station is ADA accessible by means of an elevator, though hard to find with the current construction going on.  The current staircase will be replaced by an expanded and slightly relocated staircase, which can be seen to the right of the existing staircase.  Going down this staircase, you can see the original MTA SIRT logo that was most likely there since the 1971 acquisition from B&O.  The mezzanine area has separate fare control areas, east side for entering passengers, and west side for exiting.  A S/A booth is available for most of the day for MetroCard sales in the same manner and purchase procedures are the same as any other S/A booth in your typical NYCT station.  MetroCard vending machines were observed inside the fare control area (for fare paying exiting customers.)  Just before each platform bay, are the old destination indicators to the left and right of each platform entrance, corresponding to each departing track.  There are green bulbs above these displays that indicate where the next train will be leaving from.  Most departures take place from tracks 1-4 while the outside tracks see very little activity for safety reasons.  Station original opened with nothing overhead, no bus bays, no ramps.  The terminal was the site of a 1949 that nearly destroyed the terminal, there may be traces of the original track locations, but I may suspect it may be near the parking area to the east (next to Track #1).  It is anticipated that the terminal will be among the last and final items for the complete renovation of the St. George terminal, so information on this terminal will be updated from time to time as the construction goes into full swing. 

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 Last revised 02/26/2011

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