The Central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown and Prospect Heights are once again connected to Bedford-Stuyvesant by this historic, 19th Century railroad line.
     Riding the new Franklin Avenue Shuttle might be a bit shocking to those of us who last rode the line during the '60s or '70s. Having lived in Crown Heights during the mid-'60s as a youth it was—for me (and my pals)—the beginning of the route to our adventures at Coney Island.

The Franklin Avenue Line had been demoted from mainline to branch line for only four years when this 1924 map was drawn.

The modern Botanic Garden station was still another four years in the future, but a "Botanic Garden" station is shown here at the location of former Consumers Park station. Perhaps the latter station was renamed as a reslt of its association with the Malbone Street accident of 1918, just as Malbone Street itself was renamed Empire Boulevard.

The color coding of this map differs from modern practice. The thick blue lines are services designatred as elevated lines, the thick red lines are subway lines, and the thin red lines are trolley lines.

Now closed Dean Street station is shown. The Franklin's connection at Fulton Street is to the Fulton Street L, closed in 1940.

To see a large size current track map
superimposed on an antique
Brooklyn street map, click here (50K).


Opening Day
The date was Monday, October 13, and my trip started out at the grand and expansive (along with expensive) rebuilt Fulton-Franklin terminal station.
     At approximately 8:30 a.m., a crowd of local curiosity seekers (and some subway buffs—guilty!) crowded the street-level fare control area. There, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden along with Assemblyman Al Vann, City Councilmember Mary Pinkett and MTA Chair E. Virgil Conway cut the ribbon at the Franklin Shuttle's northern-most terminal (Franklin Avenue). The new Franklin Avenue Shuttle was officially reopened to the public.
     After the pomp and circumstance, the throng climbed—or rode the brand new escalator—to the platform level of Franklin-Fulton.

The New Terminal Station
I found the most altered parts of the Shuttle are the elevated area, beginning here to just south of Park Place station. The entire structure at the terminal has been re-configured: gone was the wooden "U" shaped platform that included the remaining Fulton El steel skeleton. In its place was a combined steel and concrete station.

Continued on page 2

The New Entrance Facilities at Franklin Avenue and Fulton Street, as seen from the platform. In addition to the stairs and escalators seen here, the passageway at the right leads to elevators to the street and IND Fulton Street Line connections. Douglas Diamond photo

Looking down into the entrance well, it would appear that the Franklin Avenue station has been rebuilt in anticipation of much bigger crowds than can be anticipated to use the shuttle any time soon. The generous entrance area and amenities for boarding and transferring passengers are an enormous contrast from prior arrangements.
ouglas Diamond photo.

Two panels of the stained-glass artwork installed at the new Franklin Avenue terminal station.
Douglas Diamond photo

When Franklin Avenue station was reconstructed the original elevated station, seen here in a 1965 view, was dismantled. Still in fairly good shape here, it had deteriorated amazingly by the time the Shuttle was closed for reconstruction in 1998. The wooden platform covers the original northbound track, rails and crossties of which became visible in later years when the wooden portion of the platform was dismantled. This platform was used for exiting passengers; boarding passengers used the platform opposite. Note the "bite" out of the concrete platform in the foreground. This provided overhang space for elevated cars turning onto the Fulton Street L in the days when Brighton trains still used this terminal as a way station enroute to Park Row in Manhattan. Paul Matus photo.

In another 1965 view, the old walkway between the Franklin Shuttle (not visible at the right of the picture) enabled riders to get to the City-bound IND Fulton Street Subway. This small piece of the original Kings County L structure was decked over to the provide the walkway. This was destroyed as part of the 1998-'99 rebuild. Paul Matus photo.







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Last updated March 26, 2000