Heights History: Brooklyn Heights Railroad


On July 20, 1891 the cable cars connecting Brooklyn City Hall (now Borough Hall) and the Wall Street Ferry started running on Montague Street. The line was designed by Robert Gillham who was known for his work on the Kansas City Cable Railway. It ran until 1924, twelve years after the Wall Street Ferry stopped running.

There were a few accidents on the line including one on February 9, 1892. Three people were injured. The Brooklyn Eagle reported:

An accident that occasioned a great deal of excitement and injured three persons occurred this morning on the Montague street cable road. Car No. 6 was rolling down toward the Wall street ferry house at 9:30 o’clock in charge of B. Jay Raymond, conductor, and Thomas Halliday brakeman, when just at the turn of the hill approaching Montague terrace the brake chain slipped and the vehiclestarted on a bound and jump for the ferry house. Brakeman Halliday blames an obstinate coach driver for the trouble. He says that for several days he has been annoyed by a private coachman who persistently drove down ahead of his car in the morning and doggedly kept in the tracks, thereby obstructing the road. The wicked coachman was at his old tricks this morning.

Another accident occurred three years later:

Something unexplained happened at 8:15 o’clock this morning to car No. 5 of the cable line, which runs down Montague street from the city hall to the ferry. The car had just started on its way down the hill toward the hill when it stopped suddenly with a jar which threw all the passengers about like corn in a popper. Herman Beck, aged 15 years, of 188 Van Buren street was standing looking through the glass of the front door at the moment of the accident. He was thrown through the window but escaped with a cut chin.

More info on the Brooklyn Heights Railroad at Cable-Car Guy.

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  • Mark Foley

    I have an older wooden train which has “1492 BHRR” marked on the locomotive. It consists of the loco with a coal tender built onto the rear of the loco and six wooden wheels (red in color) and a “flatbed” car with removable square blocks (red, gold and green in color) held in by a dowel through the middle of the blocks with four wooden wheels (also red in color). The loco and attached car are held together by a “hook and eye” type of connection (like a door lock) with the “hook side being mounted on the loco and the “eye” side on the flatbed. It is black in color with gold lettering (1492 BHRR) and gold stripes on the engine. There is also a gold engineer painted on the cab of the loco. Any info available?

  • http://www.selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales


    I seriously doubt that “BHRR” on your model steam loco stands for “Brooklyn Heights Rail Road”, as the railroad that ran through the heights was an electified trolley line. Steam switcher locos were used on the tracks that served the docks and the carfloat pier below the Heights, but the railroads that served the Brooklyn docks, described here, did not include a BHRR.

    If you want more information about your loco, you might want to contact the folks at Classic Toy Trains magazine.