Wednesday, May 22, 2013

#297 Elton Avenue Overpass (over the Port Morris Branch RR cut)

Elton Avenue Overpass (over the Port Morris Branch RR cut)
Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, May 22, 2013

View on Unicycle NYC Bridge Tour Map at:

Started: May 22, 2013, 11:59:47 AM
Ride Time: 2:12:14
Distance: 7.27 miles


in 1842 Mr. Gouverneur Morris, one of the major entrepreneurs of the 19th century Bronx and a Director of the New York and Harlem Railroad, built a two mile railroad of his own from the New York and Harlem Railroad in the vicinity of 162nd Street (near Melrose) to a point adjacent his holdings on the East River, which he thoughtfully named, "Port Morris".

Eleven years later on August 29, 1853, the New York and Harlem purchased the railroad from Mr. Morris, for $118,000: it was designated as the Port Morris Branch of the Harlem - the first of two branches.

The Port Morris "Branch" was operated as an industrial track. Inbound trains received a "Restricting" on the dwarf signal leading into the Branch at Melrose. Outbound trains departed on verbal permission and the first signal was the dwarf leading onto the Harlem Division.

It was equipped with a third rail and at one time overhead wires for electric locomotives reached down to where the third rail began.

In the 1970's the line was a combination dumping ground and open sewer, hence it's nickname "The Bronx Swamp". It was at or below sea level, so the drainage was almost non-existant. Most of the line runs below ground level.

Port Morris Branch: The so-called Bronx Swamp

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