Staten Island's first railroad began in 1860 as a passenger line connecting towns along the island's eastern shore, with ferry service from Vanderbilt's Landing to Manhattan. The Staten Island Rapid Transit was a second line, built in 1885. During the 19th century, major eastern trunk railroads competed for the New York freight market. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) was a latecomer but saw opportunity with Staten Island in 1886, buying interest in both railroads. The B&O took control of the island's passenger service and turned it into a thriving commuter railroad with three branches and nearly 40 stations, forever changing transportation in the borough. Reaching Staten Island from Cranford, New Jersey, the B&O built a major freight yard at Arlington and a waterfront terminal at St. George. The railroad's customers ran the gamut from large industries like Procter & Gamble to small one-carload coal dealerships. By 1971, the cash-strapped B&O sold the passenger service to the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), and by 1985, the B&O had left New York for good.
About the Author
Marc Pitanza grew up on Staten Island and became fascinated by the railroad that served his hometown. Since 2009, he has lectured extensively on the line and now presents a visual tour using images from the collections of some of New York's best rail photographers.
Table of Contents
1 A Transportation System for Staten Island 11
2 Route of the Royal Blue 19
3 Arlington Yard and Port Ivory 31
4 The Travis Branch 41
5 North Shore Subdivision 47
6 St. George Yard and Waterfront Terminal 59
7 Clifton Shops and the Line to South Beach 79
8 The Perth Amboy Subdivision 93
9 Staten Island Rails in the 21st Century 117