One of New York Cross Harbor Railroad's locomotives, parked in Bush Terminal yard. The New York Cross Harbor Railroad is also known as the Cross Harbor Railroad. The Cross Harbor Railroad (CHRR) is located between Upper Bay and 1st Avenue, in Sunset Park Brooklyn. The CHRR yard occupies eight city blocks, from 43rd Street to 51st Street. "Industry City", a complex of old factories and warehouses, surrounds the CHRR yard.
Just a note to all of the urban explorers out there: your OldNYC.com
webmaster received special permission to access to the CHRR yard.
If you try to enter the yard on your own, you will be trespassing and will
be subject to interrogation by the CHRR police. Now that the legalities
are out of the way, let's see what makes this little freight railroad so
Why A Virtual Tour of the Cross Harbor Railroad?
At one time in New York City's transportation history, there existed small independently operated freight railroads that conducted business along the Brooklyn waterfront. One of the railroad companies was the Bush Terminal Railroad company, formed by Irving T. Bush at the turn of the twentieth century. In the early 1920s, Bush bought several acres of property in southwest Brooklyn, and built a freight railroad complex that served the local industry and factories in the area. The railroad freight terminal contained two large float bridges, several team and layup tracks, maintenance and storage facilities, as well as a building that served as the company's headquarters. The Bush Terminal Railroad company serviced New York City's freight railroad system for nearly forty years, up until 1960's when large shipping containerization and trucks helped to kill the railroad. In 1971, the Bush Terminal Railroad company went bankrupt. The City of New York bought the company's assets, and signed contracts to let the New York Dock company operate the railroad. In the early 1980's, the New York Dock company became the New York Cross Harbor Railroad. The New York Cross Harbor Railroad is the company that operates freight trains in the Bush Terminal yard and surrounding rail right-of-way to this day. The New York Cross Harbor Railroad works with such facilities as the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority via the old South Brooklyn Railway (SBK) connection, and the New York Atlantic Railway (NYA) via a connection on First Avenue and the NYA's 65th Street Bay Ridge yards.
There is hope that new infrastructure initiatives will increase the amount of freight rail traffic in New York City. Proposals such as the Cross Harbor Rail Tunnel, a tunnel that will connect New Jersey to NYA's Bay Ridge yard in Brooklyn, may help revive the freight train transportation network within New York City. Freight railroad companies such as the New York Cross Harbor Railroad and the New York and Atlantic Railway may once again become the powerhouses that their ancestors once were, as they help to deliver industry's goods to New York City consumers and businesses.
Let's begin the tour....
map that shows where the Cross Harbor Railroad resides. The railroad
is located in southwest Brooklyn, New York City.
Map provided by Harry Hassler; original map creator unknown.
A CHRR locomotive is parked in the train storage and maintenance building.
CHRR railroad has several diesel locomotives that services freight rail traffic for the company.
Inside the maintenance facility, a deep pit was constructed so that mechanics could service the underbelly of the locomotives.
A profile view of the Cross Harbor locomotive. The black and yellow paint scheme are just one of the many paint schemes of the CHRR. As we will see, CHRR locomotives come in all different types of locomotive models and colors.
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