Two Lines of the Dual System In Operation (1915)

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Public Service Record · Vol. II, No. 6, June 1915.

Two Lines of the Dual System in Operation.

The month of June, 1915, will always be notable in the annals of rapid transit in New York City because of the opening to traffic of the Fourth Avenue subway in Brooklyn and the Queensborough Subway (Steinway Tunnel), connecting Manhattan and Queens. Both these lines are parts of the Dual System of rapid transit planned by the Public Service Commission. The Fourth Avenue line is one of those allotted to the New York Municipal Railway Corporation (Brooklyn Rapid Transit) for operation, while the other is a part of the extended system to be operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. By a coincidence, the reconstruction work upon each line was completed at about the same time, so that both new subways were thrown open to traffic on the same day, namely Tuesday, June 22d.

Public celebration of the opening of the Fourth Avenue line, however, antedated the traffic opening by a few days. On June 19th, namely, the Saturday previous to the traffic opening, the citizens of South Brooklyn held interesting exercises in which public officials participated. Exercises signaling the opening of the Queensborough subway were held on the day of its opening to traffic.

Fourth Avenue Celebration. Brooklyn was favored with an ideal June day for its celebration. The first passenger train operated through the Fourth Avenue subway, carrying public officials and invited guests, left the Chambers Street station, in the Municipal Building, Manhattan, at 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon and ran through to Coney Island. The run was made in forty-five minutes not-withstanding a few stops and slowing down on some occasions. The route was through the Centre Street Loop subway to Canal Street, over the Manhattan Bridge and through the Fourth Avenue subway to Fourth Avenue and 65th Street, and thence over the tracks of the Sea Beach railroad to Coney Island. Owing to unfinished portions of reconstruction, the local tracks were used from Manhattan to 36th Street and Fourth Avenue, the express tracks from that point to 65th Street, and the local tracks on the Sea Beach line for the rest of the way.

Returning from Coney Island after a brief stop, the train halted at 62nd Street long enough for most of the passengers to take part in an informal parade through that section of South Brooklyn, and then conveyed them to the station at 59th Street on the Fourth Avenue line. Here the party left the Subway and marched to Bay Ridge Park, where a natural amphitheater in front of the Bay Ridge high school had been prepared for the exercises. Thousands of children from the public schools of Brooklyn, each bearing a small American flag, filled three sides of the amphitheater, and when they stood up and sang "America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" to the accompaniment of a brass band and the waving of flags, the scene was so unusual and inspiring as to cause general comment.

In the speakers' stand, Mr. Jeremiah J. O'Leary, President of the Citizens' Committee, conducted the exercises. Addresses were made by Mr. Lewis H. Pounds, Borough President of Brooklyn, Mr. Edward E. McCall, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, and Mr. Timothy S. Williams, President of the New York Municipal Railway Corporation. The speech-making was interrupted by the finish of the Marathon race, and was finished later at the Ridge Club, where the Committee entertained its guests at luncheon.

Other features of the program were a salute to the flag by a battery of artillery and the reading of a prize essay on the Fourth Avenue subway, written by Miss Thora Royston of the Bay Ridge high school in a competition organized by the Citizens' Committee. Borough President Pounds made a formal presentation of the prize, a handsome bracelet gold watch, to the talented young lady. Incidentally, the singing by the girls from the Bay Ridge high school was a most enjoyable feature of the program.

Following the exercises here the Committee and its guests assembled at the Ridge Club, where short addresses were made by Mr. George V. S. Williams, Public Service Commissioner, Mr. Bird S. Coler, formerly Borough President and City Comptroller, and others. After luncheon the party was entertained by a film exhibition showing motion pictures of the construction work on various parts of the Dual System.

Queensborough Subway Opening. The Queensborough Subway, formerly known as the Steinway Tunnel, was opened for traffic at noon on Tuesday, June 22nd. A short program of exercises preceded the opening. Officers of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and public officials left the Manhattan terminal of the tunnel at 10:45 o'clock and proceeded by special train through the tunnel to the Jackson Avenue station on the Queens side. The trip was made in three and a half minutes. Here they met a large number of invited guests from Queens and other boroughs of the City, and all assembled upon the station platform. Mr. James Blaine Walker, Acting Secretary of the Commission in the absence of Mr. Travis H. Whitney, Secretary, who was attending a class reunion at Harvard, took a position on the stairway leading from the station platform to the street surface and introduced the following speakers: Mr. Edward E. McCall, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mr. Maurice E. Connolly, President of Queens Borough, Mr. Theodore P. Shonts, President of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, Mr. George J. Ryan and Mr. John Adikes, Vice-Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce of Queens Borough, and Mr. August Belmont, of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Mr. Walker announced that he had received a letter of regret from Mayor Mitchel, who had to go to Albany on that day to appear before the Constitutional Convention. Flashlight photographs were taken of the group as they stood on the stairway, and one of them is reproduced in this issue of the Record.

The first two tickets sold for passage over the new line were purchased for the Chamber of Commerce of the Borough of Queens by its Secretary, Mr. Walter I. Willis. They were sold by Mr. W. J. Walsh, Cashier of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, who has been in the service of that company for thirty years, and who took the ticket-seller's place for the occasion.

Among the Commission's representatives present were Mr. Alfred Craven, Chief Engineer, Mr. Robert Ridgway, Engineer of Subway Construction, Mr. Sig. Cederstrom, Real Estate Expert, Mr. J. H. Myers, Division Engineer of the Second Division, who had charge of the reconstruction work on the tunnel, Mr. J. 0. Shipman, Division Engineer of the First Division, Mr. F. W. Carpenter, Division Engineer of the Seventh Division, Mr. L. D. Fouquet, Division Engineer of the Sewer Division, Mr. D. L. Turner, Deputy Engineer of Subway Construction, Mr. C. W. Wilder, Electrical Engineer, Mr. Sverre Dahm, Principal Assistant Engineer, Mr. Arthur McKinney, Assistant Secretary, Mr. George F. Daggett, Chief Clerk, and others.

The party was taken back in two trains through the new tunnel to the Manhattan terminal, where it dispersed, and a few minutes after all had left the subway regular operation of the line was begun.

Public Service Record · Vol. IV, No. 4, April 1917.

Extension of the Corona Line.

A tentative understanding has been reached between a Committee of the Public Service Commission, consisting of Commissioners Henry W. Hodge and Travis H. Whitney; LeRoy T. Harkness, Chief of Rapid Transit, and Daniel L. Turner. Chief Engineer, and representatives of the Long Island Railroad Company, in respect to the proposal of the company that the City, through the Commission, lease the railroad tracks to Whitestone and to Little Neck as extensions of the Corona branch in Queens.

Because of the progress made the Committee has continued the negotiations and has in hand the preparation of a form of agreement between the City and the company, and the negotiation of forms of agreements with the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the New York Municipal Railway Corporation, looking to the necessary modifications of Dual System Contracts 3 and 4, respectively, to provide for the operation of the additional mileage by these companies.

The Commission was informed by its Committee that, if the negotiations are successful, there must be a definite provision for charging an additional fare for a period amply sufficient not only to make the line self-sustaining with a ten-cent fare but also with a reduced fare.

The Committee reported generally the terms of the tentative understanding reached with the railroad company, pointing out that the results of the negotiations at the time the report was made indicated a substantial improvement from the City's standpoint in the several propositions previously made by the railroad company. These concessions, it is stated, represent a saving of $70,000 a year.

The following are the general terms of the tentative understanding:

Term of Lease. Fixed term of ten years to continue thereafter until terminated by either party upon notice. Notice to be given by railroad company to City, five years. Notice to be given by City to railroad company, three years. Such notice may be given within ten years so as to terminate the term at any time after the tenth year.

Basis of Apportionment. Car mileage basis to be used. Expenses of joint operation and maintenance including taxes are to be pro-rated on car mileage basis. The question of power to be subject to subsequent negotiations.

Additional Facilities. For joint use to be provided by the Long Island. 5% per annum on the cost to be prorated on car mileage basis and added to basic rental. The cost of eliminating grade crossings shall not be considered an additional facility, and no interest thereon to be added to the rental.

News, Vending, etc. In regard to the news, vending, advertising and other station privileges, the Long Island Company will consult its licensee and endeavor to have a joint understanding for division of the privileges so that the rapid transit line will not be deprived of its share of the privilege.

In regard to transportation of property-package freight, the Long Island Company will consult its licensee, the Adams Express Company, and endeavor to make arrangements that will permit of the rapid transit lines' retaining its privilege for this service under their existing rapid transit contracts.

Rentals. Basic rental, $125,000 for first year; subsequent years rental to be increased 6% per annum over each preceding year, up to and including the tenth year, which shall be the maximum and which will continue for any additional period over or beyond the ten years. The word maximum applies only to basic rental which is subject to increase for interest on account of additional facilities as set forth above. Only such portion of the basic rental not including of course expenses of operation and maintenance. etc., as may be earned by the City rapid transit shall be paid each year, but such amounts as may not be earned shall subsequently be paid. The effect of this is that any short deficits in rental in the beginning of the operation shall be accumulated without interest.

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