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Queens Chronicle

End of the line for the BRT’s trains

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Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:30 am

In 1896 the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co. was chartered to control various street railways and transit lines in Brooklyn. It took over the Brooklyn Union Elevated Railroad and the Kings County Elevated Railroad.

Within 10 years the BRT had absorbed five more railroads. It was doing so well by 1913 that, along with Interborough Rapid Transit, it signed a contract with the city to increase single-track mileage from 296 to 620 miles over five years. The companies were prohibited from charging more than 5 cents on any part of the system but were permitted to issue free transfers between intersecting lines.

At left in the photo are the BRT repair shops for its fleet of trains. They were later rebuilt and renamed Fresh Pond Depot, where city bus repairs are made. An eastbound train from here would take you to Metropolitan Avenue and leave you next to Lutheran Cemetery, the end of the line.

The ground-level station’s days were numbered, as the next year the line became elevated. The superstructure and new tracks went up fast, cheap and quick. The BRT’s success was short-lived, however, as it declared bankruptcy after suffering heavy financial losses following the horrible Nov. 1, 1918 Malbone Street wreck in East Flatbush that took so many lives.

At right are a boot black and theater that are long gone, and the intersection has been obscured in the darkness of “the El” for almost 100 years now.

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