of the plant life that graces the sloping trench walls along the ROW.
As we proceed easterly, we come across another overpass. This one is wide enough to allow for a four-tracked railroad operation. This overpass has also been refurbished, and it has a lot less graffiti then the one that we just passed.
Two catenary wire braces still remain fastened to the overpass.
An old signal tower stands tall and proudly shows that this line once had grand ambitions. It's interesting to note that Moses' expressways helped to kill the freight traffic that once ran along this route. As businesses turned to trucks for deliveries and shipments, railroad fright lines were left to perish. It's only been recently that politicians, businesses, and environmental groups see the potential in revitalizing train-based freight traffic. There are grand plans in the works for the Long Island Rail Road Bay Ridge Branch. One such plan is a cross-harbor rail freight tunnel that would link New Jersey to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Rail freight would be able to go from the United States mainland though the tunnel, and utilizing the Bay Ridge Branch, make it's way to Queens where connections at the Fresh Pond Yard would provide transfers to New England (via the Hell Gate Bridge and New York Connecting Railroad Line) and Eastern Long Island (via the various lines that comprise of the LIRR). It should be interesting to see if this dream will ever be fulfilled in our lifetimes.
As I look at this old signal tower, I also think about how the Cross-Brooklyn
expressway, if built, would also further the decline of rail freight within
Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Many interstate expressways and
state thruways were built alongside railroad ROWs. Take for example
the New York State Thruway. This road was built parallel to the old
New York Central Railroad line. Once people and businesses took to
their cars and trucks, competition from the Thruway helped to seal the
demise of the New York Central. The Cross-Brooklyn Expressway would
have only enticed truck operators to increase shipping via trucks, since
the CBE would have provided a southerly relief route to the Long Island
Expressway, and easier access to the Island.
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