Project News & Updates


DOT Trucks Arrive

The Scrapping Begins

DOT Welding Truck



















Project Status Update

March 8th 2003

BHRA's contract and street construction permits (Notice to Proceed) expired March 8th 2003, we ceased street construction on that date due to our absence of permits.  DOT has not yet informed us if they plan on: renewing our contract, turning the project over to another organization, for profit construction consortium or if they plan to complete the project themselves.  Or abandon the project and rip out / scrap the trolley tracks, trolley poles, catanary and paving stones already installed. 

All 16 of BHRA's trolley cars, all equipment and most construction materials used on this project are sole property of BHRA (these items have been donated or purchased by BHRA with private funds).

NYC DOT Scraps Brooklyn Trolley Project

May 27th

NYC DOT Trucks and work crews arrived in Red Hook early this morning, prior to the arrival of BHRA staff.   This event was the first time NYC DOT actively participated in the Brooklyn Trolley Project; Unfortunately, DOT's trucks and work crews were there not to support our efforts to return trolleys to the streets of Brooklyn.  Instead they arrived to take BHRA's "surplus" construction materials; items paid for with approximately $250,000 in state and federal money (ISTEA) and $50,000 in City money BHRA received during the 10 year period in which NYC DOT was the projects sponsoring agency.  When it came to scrapping the project the DOT showed tremendous enthusiasm and dedicated a great deal of their equipment (stopping work on  2 street construction jobs to free up equipment and laborers).

NYC DOT send approximately a dozen large dump trucks, a large pay loader, a welding rig, other equipment and a large contingent of laborers to dismantle and cart away "surplus" materials they believed they were entitled to.  City DOT provided BHRA with no advanced notice,  no tabulations of materials already implemented,  no calculations of material they believed to be "surplus" and no receipt (and we requested one) for what they carted away. 

Although we completed a quarter mile of track and catenary and paving and were nearing completion on 2 additional blocks (that we were to cease on March 8th) and the city's total contribution to the project was a mere 50,000 dollars; City DOT removed any and all items they felt they were entitled to.  BHRA estimates that the dollar value of the materials removed by DOT and their "subcontractors" today exceeds $500,000.00 (ten times the cumulative, 10-year city contribution to the project).

Inspection subsequent to the visit by DOT's "scrappers" revealed the removal of approximately:

  • 6,000 railroad ties (including ties donated by Conrail and Norfolk-Southern)
  • 12 large dump trucks full of cobblestones (including paving stones donated by Amtrak)
  • Two dozen historic, trolley control signals from the Newark City Subway System (c. 1930s) and century old US&S T2 semaphore signals. (including signals donated by Newark and NJ Transit)   
  • 400 Sections of  Rail (including rail donated by Conrail, the MTA & CSX

So What are City DOT's plans for these materials?  We can only speculate: 

One of the DOT laborers stated that the dump trucks with the ties were to be topped off with asphalt and construction debris then taken to Flatlands (and presumably dumped there).  Although the cobblestones & metal items are probably headed for the scrap heap or for resale.  Simply storing the materials would not necessitate including a welding crew with and oxy acetylene set up and a Sopranoesque subcontractor/ consultant/ metal scrapper present attired in a sweat suite with gold chains and dress shoes.  Since there was no truck at the site long enough to accommodate an uncut piece of rail, we assume the rail is likely headed for a scrap yard (once you cut it apart it doesn't really fit back together).


Recent Press Coverage Can Be Found Here



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