The New York & Brooklyn Bridge Railway
The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, predating the adoption of the automobile by several decades. As such, it was originally envisioned as a bridge to transport horse-drawn carriages, trains and trolleys. The latter of which was carried over the bridge until 1950.
Today, pedestrians, bikes and cars use the bridge, and it remains a major tourist attraction for the city.
"Bird's-Eye View of the Great New York and Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Display of Fire Works on Opening Night" (1883)
The New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway, a cable car service, began operations in 1883, shortly after the bridge itself opened. It ran on the inner lanes of the bridge, between terminals at the Manhattan and Brooklyn ends.
|"To cross Brooklyn Bridge there were special train shuttles that gripped a cable driven by a static steam engine and were then moved to the other track by a steam locomotive for the next departure (1883-1908)" Funimag on Twitter.
When Brooklyn and New York City unified in 1898, this company was absorbed by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT). Shortly thereafter, trolleys began to run on the bridge along the roadway.
This 1899 video shows some very early rail operations on the Brooklyn Bridge, the last of which ended in 1950. Afterwards, the bridge was redesigned completely to accommodate only vehicular and walking traffic.
|Walking along the very crowded Brooklyn Bridge. FRRandP photo, 2018.