Between April 23 and June 2 of 1860, Staten Island was given its very own rail line. The track consisted of eighteen stations which began at Clifton and traveled along the East Shore of the Staten Island all the way down to Tottenville. This line was known as the Staten Island Railroad and, soon after having been constructed, was purchased by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had also owned the ferry terminals on this side of the Island.

Many people believed the railroad to be a prosperous business and so it went through a handful of owners. Since Cornelius Vanderbilt had owned the ferries, you can imagine what an impact it had on him when a boiler exploded on the ferry Westfield in 1871. This left Cornelius Vanderbilt bankrupt, which led to the purchasing of the Staten Island Railroad by George Law. Law, in turn, renamed the facility as the Staten Island Railway.


In 1880, the facility was purchased yet again. This time Erastus Wiman, the well-known promoter of Staten Island, bought the railroad, believing that it could prove to be quite successful. Around that time, Erastus Wiman was not the only person with these thoughts. By 1884, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad joined the Staten Island Rapid Transit, the new company which had been created under Wiman's control.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company had joined Wiman in order to construct their own railroad line, which would be located on the North Shore of Staten Island. One year later, this branch was completed. In addition, 1.1 miles were added north of Clifton, enabling the main line to be connected to St. George. In 1886, another change was made by Erastus Wiman's hand. This was the addition of the South Beach branch, which ran from South Beach all the way up to a junction at Clifton, where it would continue on the main line to the St. George station.

At the turn of the century, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company had their dreams come true-the Staten Island Rapid Transit Company became bankrupt again because the electric trolley service, which had been introduced to Staten Island between 1892 and 1894, proved to be a tough competition. As a result, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company was able to assume control of the entire railroad system on Staten Island. The railroad itself was not so lucky during financial difficulties, however. In 1953, the New York City Board of Transportation had acquired the buses on Staten Island and lowered the fares, which resulted ineltingville_station_400 the loss of customers for the Staten Island Rapid Transit Company. The company was able to retain their main railroad line, but they surrendered the North Shore and South Beach branches, which ceased operations at midnight on March 31 of that year.

After almost ninety years of operating the railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company had the facility taken over on July 1, 1971 by the Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority, a branch of the City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. By the early 1990s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had renamed the railroad as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Staten Island Railway. This company has retained operations of the facility since then.

During the time that it was open, the North Shore branch of the Staten Island Railway was made up of thirteen stations. It ran from the St. George Ferry Terminal to Port Ivory, where it served the Proctor & Gamble plant that old_oakwood_heights_400had been located there at the time. In order, the stations were St. George, New Brighton, Sailors' Snug Harbor, Livingston, West Brighton, Port Richmond, Tower Hill, Elm Park, Lake Avenue, Mariners Harbor, Harbor Road, Arlington, and Port Ivory. For the most part, the branch was used only for commercial purposes.

The South Beach branch, on the other hand, was often used for people traveling to the beach, in addition to points in between. The first three stations were the same as the main line, as there was a junction after the Clifton train station. From this junction, there were eight stations which followed. These stations, in order of location, were Bachmann, Rosebank, Belair Road, Fort Wadsworth, Arrochar, Cedar Avenue, South Beach, and Wentworth Avenue.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on


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