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The Red Line is a route that is part of the SIRT division. It is also known as the SIRT North Shore Line.

Cars South Terminal North Terminal
R44 Staten Island Mall St. George

The line begins at St. George terminal. The terminal station at St. George provides a direct connection to the Staten Island Ferry. At St. George there are twelve tracks, and it only uses the two northernmost tracks. The red line operates sightly under street level until RCB Ballpark, where it then runs under a new underground line under Richmond Terrace. The line stays underground until before Port Richmond, where it runs on the original right-of way of the North Shore Line. The line then runs along the north and west shore sections of Staten Island until Travis. After Travis, the Red Line enters a portal to reach its terminal at Staten Island Mall. During late nights, the red line does not operate south of Arlington, instead being rerouted to Arlington North for a connection to the Purple Line. This is the only line to have a closed portion during late nights.

There are physical track connections to the Green Line and Brown lines runs between Travis yard and Staten Island Mall.

History[]

Opening[]

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, operators of the SIRT until 1971, began construction on the line in 1884. In order to build the North Shore Branch, property needed to be acquired along the North Shore of Staten Island. About 2 miles (3.2 km) of rock fill along the Kill Van Kull needed to be built to deal with opposition from property owners in Sailor's Snug Harbor. In order to get property for the line to pass over the cove at Palmer's run, the company had to undergo a contest in litigation. In Port Richmond, some property was acquired, displacing businesses and homes. On the northwestern corner of Staten Island, the B&O purchased a farm and renamed it "Arlington"; the B&O built a freight yard on the farm by 1886.

The SIR was leased to the B&O for 99 years in 1885. The proceeds of the sale were used to complete the terminal facilities at St. George, pay for 2 miles (3.2 km) of waterfront property, complete the Rapid Transit Railroad, build a bridge over the Kill Van Kull at Elizabethport, and build other terminal facilities. The North Shore Branch opened for service on February 23, 1886, up to Elm Park cutting travel times to 39 minutes from an hour and a half via the ferry system. The Saint George Terminal opened on March 7, 1886, and all SIR lines were extended to this station. On March 8, 1886, the South Beach Branch opened for passenger service to Arrochar. The remainder of the North Shore Branch to its terminus at Erastina was opened in the summer of 1886. The new lines opened by the B&O railroad were called the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railway, while the original line from Clifton to Tottenville was called the Staten Island Railway. In 1889–1890 a station was put up at the South Avenue grade crossing at Arlington in 1889–1890, where trains were turned on their way back to St. George.

Various proposals were made by the B&O for a railroad between Staten Island and New Jersey. The accepted proposal consisted of a 5.25-mile (8.45 km) line from the Arthur Kill to meet the Jersey Central at Cranford, through Union County and the communities of Roselle Park and Linden. Construction on this road started in 1889, and the line was finished in the latter part of that year. Congress passed a law on June 16, 1886 authorizing the construction of a 500-foot (150 m) swing bridge over the Arthur Kill, after three years of effort by Erastus Wiman. The start of construction was delayed for nine months by the need for approval of the Secretary of War, and another six months due to an injunction from the State of New Jersey. This required construction to continue through the brutal winter of 1888 because Congress had set a completion deadline of June 16, 1888, two years after signing the bill. The bridge was completed three days early on June 13, 1888, at 3 p.m. At the time of its opening, the Arthur Kill Bridge was the largest drawbridge ever constructed in the world. There were no fatalities in the construction of the bridge. On January 1, 1890, the first train operated from Saint George Terminal to Cranford Junction. Once the Arthur Kill Bridge was completed, pressure was brought upon the United States War Department by the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad to have the newly built bridge torn down and replaced with a bridge with a different design, claiming that it was an obstruction for the navigation of the large numbers of coal barges past Howland Hook on the Arthur Kill. They were not successful in these efforts, however.

1900's[]

In 1905, Procter & Gamble opened a large plant near Arlington Yard, later called Port Ivory, resulting in additional traffic. The line's electrification project was completed on Christmas Day of 1925, cutting ten minutes off of travel time from Arlington to Saint George.

In the 1930s, the SIRT began several projects to remove grade crossings along the formerly surface-level right-of-way, constructing the current concrete viaduct and open-cut sections of the line. On February 25, 1937, the Port Richmond–Tower Hill viaduct was completed, becoming the largest grade crossing elimination project in the United States. The viaduct was more than 1 mile (1.6 km) long, and spanned eight grade crossings on the North Shore Branch of the SIRT. The opening of the viaduct marked the final part of a $6 million grade crossing elimination project on Staten Island, which eliminated 34 grade crossings on the north and south shores of Staten Island. While the viaduct was being constructed, service on the branch was operated on one track. With the opening of the viaduct, the stations at Port Richmond and Tower Hill reopened as elevated stations. Arthur S. Tuttle, state director of the PWA, cut ribbons to dedicate the reopened stations, and rode over the 1 mile (1.6 km) of the viaduct and the 7 miles (11 km) of the route project in a two car train. The project eliminated 37 grade crossings including ones at several dangerous intersections and the 8-foot-high (2.4 m) crossing over Bodine Creek. Around this time, the Lake Avenue and Harbor Road stations were constructed.

In the 1940s, freight and World War II traffic helped pay off some of the debt the SIRT had accumulated, briefly making the SIRT profitable. During the second World War, all of the east coast military hospital trains were handled by the SIRT, with some trains stopping at Arlington on Staten Island to transfer wounded soldiers to a large military hospital. The need to transport war material, POW trains, and troops, made the stretch of the Baltimore & New York Railway between Cranford Junction and the Arthur Kill extremely busy. The B&O also operated special trains for important officials such as Winston Churchill.

In 1945, SIRT purchased the property of the B&NY and merged it with the Staten Island Railway. The line had been worked with B&O and SIRT equipment since it opened in 1890. By 1949, there were no longer any staffed offices along the line except at Arlington. All of the stations on the line, with the exception of Harbor Road, Lake Avenue, Livingston and Snug Harbor, had waiting rooms and agents. The stations without waiting rooms were flag stops; the train would only stop if there was someone waiting at the station. The station at Port Ivory, which was used for workers of the Procter & Gamble Plant and was only open for the morning and evening rush hour, closed around the year 1950.

SIRT discontinued passenger service on the North Shore Branch to Arlington at midnight on March 31, 1953, along with service on the South Beach Branch. Passenger service had ceased because of city-operated bus competition, though the branch continued to carry freight.

On October 21, 1957, four years after North Shore Branch passenger trains ended, the very last SIRT special—a train from Washington carrying Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to the Staten Island Ferry from a state meeting in Washington, D.C. with President Eisenhower—crossed the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge. There was a royal train and a press train and they traveled over the Reading Railroad and the B&O to get to Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. Since British royalty was being transported, the movement was done in secrecy with high security. The trains reached the Camp by traveling via the Port Reading Branch of the Reading Railroad. In order to travel to Staten Island, which required traveling over the Arthur Kill swing bridge, the two trains had to be reconfigured. Done at the Camp, the two diesel locomotives in the front were dropped from the two consists, allowing the trains to pass over the bridge, which had a limited load capacity. Awaiting the return of the equipment from Staten Island, the two diesel trains were sent to Cranford Junction. On the morning of October 21, the press train, consisting of 10 cars, left the Camp in New Jersey and traveled to the SIRT via the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The royal train, which was constructed by Pullman Standard, followed an hour later. These two trains terminated at the Stapleton freight yard, which was cleaned up for the occasion. Each of the trains were hauled back to Cranford Junction by a SIRT switcher after the Queen's motorcade left the yard. The trains, that afternoon, then went south to Baltimore.

Due to protests of closing the North Shore line in the 1950's, the line was briefly restored between Port Richmond and Arlington on August 25, 1959 with conjunction of replacement of the Arthur Kill swing bridge. Under a temporary agreement to NJ Transit, the line was dubbed as the Staten Island line branch of the Raritan Valley Line, although this line operated separately as a shuttle. There was intermediate stops between Arlington and Cranford Junction at Roselle, North Linden and Bayway. On February 28, 1973, service was transferred to MTA Staten Island Rapid Transit with a rebuilt "subway" from Port Richmond to St George. All operations on the branch in NJ ended on July 25, 1991, when the Arthur Kill bridge was taken out of service. During the same time, the line was rerouted through the West Shore and to Staten Island Mall. An in-fill station at Old Place connecting to the Purple Line was added on August 25, 1991.

21st Century[]

On August 19, 2018, Matrix Park station opened in anticipation of serving the new IKEA and Amazon centers in Bloomfield.

In a list of proposals in March 2022, it was said to split the Red line into two lines, with the Red line rerouted from Staten Island Mall to a New "Jersey Gardens" Station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The section between Arlington and Staten Island Mall would be replaced by a new line, the Pink Line. This was the former proposal in the 1980's, although the original plan was for the West Shore like to act as a limited service shuttle at the time. The new proposal would make all Red Line stops to Old Place, then connect to Newark Liberty Airport or Newark, making connections to the PATH and New Jersey Transit Commuter Rail at the Airport.

In the Red-Green Line connector project, a new track connection to the Green Line would have the Green Line replace the Red Line between Port Richmond and St. George. As well as the extension, Harbor Road and Lake Avenue stations would close due to low ridership. New Brighton would also be closed, being replaced by a new ADA accessible station at Heritage Park, which would be the new Eastern terminal of the Red Line.

Stations[]

Station Minutes from St. George Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes
St. George Terminal 0 March 7, 1886 Staten Island Ferry to Whitehall Terminal
NYCT Bus: S40, S42, S44, S46, S48, S51, S52, S61, S62, S66, S74, S76, S78, S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96, S98
SIRT: Brown Line, Blue Line
RCB Ballpark 1 June 24, 2001 NYCT Bus: S40, S44, S90, S94
New Brighton 4 February 23, 1886 (Original station)
February 28, 1973 (Subway station)
March 31, 1953 (Original station; demolished) NYCT Bus: S40, S44, S90, S94
Originally Westervelt Avenue
S.S. Harbor 6 February 23, 1886 (Original station)
February 28, 1973 (Subway station)
March 31, 1953 (Original station; demolished) NYCT Bus: S40, S90
West New Brighton 8 February 23, 1886 (Original station)
February 28, 1973 (Subway station)
March 31, 1953 (Original station; demolished) NYCT Bus: S40, S54, S90
Originally West Brighton − Broadway
Port Richmond 10 February 23, 1886 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR) NYCT Bus: S40, S53, S59, S66, S80-SBS, S90
SIRT: Orange Line, Yellow Line, Green Line
Tower Hill 11 February 23, 1886 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR)
Elm Park 13 February 23, 1886 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR) NYCT Bus: S46, S96
Originally Elm Park − Morningstar Road
Lake Avenue 15 February 26, 1937 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR)
Mariner's Harbor 16 February 23, 1886 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR) NYCT Bus: S46, S96
Originally Erastina
Harbor Road 18 February 23, 1886 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR)
Arlington 20 1889-1890 (BORR)
February 28, 1973 (SIRT)
March 31, 1953 (BORR) NYCT Bus: S40, S46, S48, S90, S96, S98, X12, X42
Originally Arlington − South Avenue
Old Place 24 August 25, 1991 NYCT Bus: S40, S90
SIRT: Purple Line
Matrix Park 26 August 19, 2018 NYCT Bus: S40, S90
Chelsea 29 July 25, 1991 NYCT Bus: S46, S96
Travis 33 July 25, 1991 NYCT Bus: S62, S92
Staten Island Mall 38 July 25, 1991 NYCT Bus: S44, S55, S56, S59, S61, S79-SBS, S89, S91, S94, X17, X31
SIRT: Brown Line, Green Line
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