Fort Hancock - Sandy Hook, NJ
New York Naval Shipyard "Brooklyn Navy Yard",
Fort Schuyler, the Bronx,
Governors Island - Manhattan, NY
Military Railroads of New York Metropolitan Area Brooklyn Kings County Queens Manhattan Bronx Richmond Staten Island Suffolk Long Island Monmouth New Jersey NY NJ Quartermaster Corp Engineers Coastal Artillery Defense Department Fleet Supply Repatriation Mortuary Cars Transportation Corp Railway Army Navy Fort Base railnet rail network Liberty Ellis Yard Hamilton Hancock Tilden Wadsworth Schuyler Terry Plum Governors Jay Sandy Hook Proving Grounds Wood Bedloes Bedlows Terminal Transport Center
|more National Archives images added||14 January 2018||
Hello & Welcome!
On this website, you will find a history of railroads & respective locomotives that were located on military bases and installations throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. These railways and locomotives served their locations in many ways: some facilities were coastal defense batteries, a few were supply depots, while the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a shipyard.
There is not a great deal known about most of their operations. Matter of fact, hardly anything is known about the railways that operated in the Forts, and very little if anything remains to be explored or viewed. The Governor's Island Railroad is mentioned on several websites, but no longer exists in any form, as with Forts Hamilton, Wadsworth, Schuyler and Terry. Remnants of the Fort Tilden Railroad remain, but little documentation is to be found. For the most part, we are left in a vacuum.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard (BNY) however, is literally covered with the remains of the railroad that once operated there, with a great deal of abandoned trackage and structures. This undoubtly is the most researched and documented facility, as Tom Flagg composed an article on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, including the industrial infrastructure (cranes, derricks) and history of the facility in the July - December 2005 / Number 43 issue of Transfer Magazine, published by the Rail Marine Information Group. I highly recommend procuring a copy of this informative issue at www.trainweb.org/rmig.
It must also be kept in mind that the Brooklyn Navy Yard rail operation survived after the Government's control, when operation of the BNY trackage was contracted to the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal. A portion of the BNY railway network was active as late as 1995, when the successor to the BEDT, the New York Cross Harbor RR transported subway cars to and from a transit car builder in residence at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
As far as it is known, only the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Fort Tilden show the physical remains of their railroads. Here, you can actually follow existing trackage and view original structures which remain as well. Furthermore, as Fort Tilden is the only facility that is accessible to general public, I was able to take a great deal of photographs, and which can be viewed in the Fort Tilden chapter of this website. While you can still see the right of ways on Governors Island, all physical evidence of that railroad no longer exist.
As for motive power, there are many interesting facts (and questions) that abound regarding these locomotives used at these facilities. Most were of 36" gauge. However; the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Governor's Island were standard gauge. Fort Tilden and Fort Hancock operated both narrow gauge and standard gauge. As for locomotives; we know of steam, diesel - mechanical and diesel - electric locomotives having been used, but in most cases photos of the actual locomotive in use at that location are seldom encountered.
With that being said, please enjoy this little known and rarely publicized facet of New York Area railroading! And as with my other websites, all photograph and information contributions are most welcome! Thanks for taking the time to visit this website and don't forget to sign the Guestbook !
For those of you who are interested!
I have been in communication with a member of the US Army at Fort Eustis (US Army Transportation Museum) who is researching the locomotives listed below under a FOIA request.
I have received a reply to my FOIA request of 28 April 2007; requesting of the US Army, Fort Eustis Transportation Command and Museum any information regarding steam locomotive operations on US Military Installations in New York Metropolitan area. Here is an excerpt from that email:
Ft Hamilton - Per Installation map current to 15/3/35 - No rail trackage
Ft Terry - Per Installation map current to 28/3/21 - No rail trackage
Ft Schuyler - Per Installation map current to 3/1/22 - No rail trackage
Ft Wadsworth - Per Installation map current to 15/3/38 - No rail trackage
Ft Tilden - Per Installation map current to 15/3/35
- Internal rail net only
with engine house near the Quartermaster Wharf.
I have checked the Baldwin builders list and was able to identify the following:
22726 08/03 2-4-2T Brooklyn Navy Yard No #
25743 0-4-0E U S Government - Governors Island No # - 20 hp Electric
After 1914 apparently engines were ordered in bulk lots and distributed as needed.
I forgot to write down the date for the electric but I will advise after I check the Alco & Porter lists to see what I can find.
PFC Van Derveer
Some locomotives listed in that email, were not yet "discovered" by me; so they were listed under their respective installations. Further updates will be uploaded as warranted.
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Reference Number Chart
|||.||ALCo builders records||.....||||.||Trains Magazine, December 1973|
|||Baldwin builders records||||Thomas R. Flagg; NY Harbor RR's|
|||H. K. Porter builders records||||Jay Bendersky; Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways|
|||Pittsburgh builders records||||data from photographer notes, D. Keller archives|
|||Davenport builders records||||Shore Line Trolley Museum website|
|||Plymouth builders records (Twombley/Goldsmith)||||Colin Churchers Industrial Locomotives in Canada|
|||Birmingham Loco & Rail sales records||||Robert Brendel compilation (w/ P.A. Copeland &D.E. Shelburne info)|
|||Vulcan Iron Works builders records||||Gene Gerstner research|
|||Rhode Island builders records||||Donald Nute website|
|||Mack builders records||||Illinois Railroad Museum website|
|||BEDT records & sales prospectus||||NorthEast Rails Website|
|||Lima builders records||||Bill Russell website|
|||Whitcomb builders records||||Sam Berliner, III website|
Schenectady builders records
|||Paul Strubeck research|
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For those of you who wish to visit my other railroad websites, please click here:
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Special Thanks To:
for images and information on the Governors Island Railroad
for his assistance and information on the Brooklyn Navy Yard,
and the use of his research
DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University
for forwarding the National Archives locomotive images
For forwarding family history and image of Ft Schuyler locomotive
use of his pictures of BNY #7 under restoration
proofreading, assistance & support
director: Henry L. Ferguson Museum
contributing and usage of 1898 Fort Terry construction photo w/ locomotive
curator of the Museum at Gateway NRA / Sandy Hook at Fort Hancock, NJ
mortar images from 1894 Morgan Engineering salemen's catalog
for furnishing his collection of builders records that was essential to
discovering the locomotives that were used at the Military Bases in the NY Area
Paul F. Strubeck
friend & fellow railroad historian
locomotive and crane / wrecker builders information
and Fort Wood / Bedloes Island location
Alverita D. Mack,
Evert Bono, and
PFC Robert Van Derveer
of the United States Army Transportation Museum; Fort Eustis, VA
for information per my request on steam locomotives on NY Area Military Installations
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This website is fondly dedicated to the memory of SP4 Fernando DeRubeis,
a close family friend, whom I never met.
He bravely gave his life for his country.