Fresh Pond Junction 

Emery Map 1917 DF Tower Archive: Dave Keller

DF Tower 1925 NE view
Collection : Dave Keller

Fresh Pond c.1908 Map: Stephen Rothuag
1906 Fresh Pond Station* (see below) rebuilt in 1917 and the tracks went under the street. It was said to be the worst intersection in NY City for train accidents.

Old Timer’s Notes: Ridgewood was the terminal (end of the line) for many of the street car lines in Brooklyn. Initially they were horse drawn, then steam dummies which were small steam engines pulling from one to three passenger cars and then in the 1890s electric trolley cars.

In the 1880s and early 1890s steam dummies operated from Ridgewood Depot at Wyckoff and Myrtle avenues, to Lutheran/All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Cypress Hills and to what is now Richmond Hill along Myrtle Avenue. Steam locomotives operated from city to city, whereas the small steam dummy engines primarily operated within cities. 

Steam dummies and locomotives operated on the Manhattan Beach Division of the LIRR from the Terminal at 68th Street in Bay Ridge to Bushwick Junction in Ridgewood. As Robert Nelson noted, some of the freight cars passing through Bay Ridge Terminal came by float barge across Upper New York Bay from Greenville, New Jersey.

A railroad station at Fresh Pond's dates back to 1868/1869 when the South Side Railroad established a branch line from Jamaica to the ferry docks on the East River in Williamsburg with stations at what is now Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Ponds, etc.

Ticket_Fresh-Pond-LI-City_8-19-1896_BradPhillips.jpg (68125 bytes) Fresh Ponds was named from the two fresh water ponds which were on the east side of Fresh Pond Road and several hundred yards north of Metropolitan Avenue. These ponds were filled in the early 1900’s. In 1878, the Long Island Rail Road acquired the South Side Railroad. By the early 1900’s the intersection at Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue was a busy one as the trains passed through there at street level. In 1913 the tracks were depressed on the southeast section of the intersection and then on the northwest side, raised to street level.  Note: Ticket is 8/19/1896 Archive: Brad Phillips

* In 1906 the Myrtle Avenue elevated line was extended at street level from Wyckoff Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village. This was known as the Lutheran/All Faiths Cemetery Extension. In preparation for this a car barn and a power plant were constructed, with the car barn on the east side of Fresh Pond Road and north of the tracks. The extension went into service on October 1, 1906.

In May, 1925, when the Philadelphia System of street numbers was placed in effect in Queens County, a number of the street names were discontinued and numbers substituted. However, some of the street names for important streets were continued and the designation “Avenue” used.  

1929 brakeman at Fresh Pond West Yard view East

Fresh Pond Jct. - LIRR and NYCRR Hagstrom map 1934 Archive: Dave Keller

West Yard Info:

The forerunner of the west yard was built in 1910. The one track adjacent to the #2 track of the Montauk branch had signals and was the connection of the Bushwick branch.

The yard consisted of three (3) storage tacks and one (1) track that extended to Fresh Pond Road to access the freight house and team track. The 2nd team track was accessed off the Bushwick branch track.

The "new" West Yard as it became known, is listed on Bob Emery's maps as being placed in service on 1/25/21, but that can't be a true date as the yard appears on LIRR valuation plans in 1916, probably built in anticipation of the NYCRR, which began regular service on 1/17/1918.

The tracks of the West Yard connected by a ladder track to the Bushwick branch lead track, which was newly constructed in 1915. There were crossovers west of Metropolitan Blvd. connecting the Bushwick branch with the secondary main, then another connecting the secondary main with the first main, both in a westerly trailing direction.

So . . . there was access to the yard from the west end via the Montauk branch for trains heading eastbound.

According to the map notes, the East Yard was placed in service on 1/25/1921. Once again, I don't know if this is a true date, because it matches the incorrect date on Bob Emery's West Yard map. But then again . . . the East Yard could have been added later as more storage space was needed.    Info: Dave Keller

Back 50 years ago, Fresh Pond Junction was an important place with freights of the New Haven and LIRR serving the 11 mile long Bay Ridge Branch. 36 year old Fremont Tower in Ridgewood, Queens, literally on the Brooklyn border, handled authorities for both railroads on the branch. Here a passenger extra approaches Fremont northbound, ready to make the right turn to the Montauk Branch.  Commentary/Photo:  Richard F. Makse 

lirr411FremontTowerNYCRRwinter1963-64.jpg (68323 bytes)

LIRR  #411 Baldwin DS4-4-660 southbound on the interchange with the NYCRR photographed from Fremont Tower. LIRR bridge #35 crossing Montauk Branch distant in photo. Winter 1963-64. Info: Steve Lynch

NH-EF4-Electrics-310-309_Fremont-Tower-viewN_NYCRR_winter63-64_ArtHuneke.jpg (152352 bytes)NH (ex-Virginian Railway) EF4 Electrics #310, #309 on NYCRR trackage photographed from Fremont Tower view N Winter 1963-64 Photo: Art Huneke

Alco S1 #421 Fremont Tower 1960's Photo: Joe Testagrose Archive: Paul Pesante

NH EF-3 crossing Bridge #35 Fresh Pond Junction Photo/Archive: Art Huneke

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Fresh Pond  - POND Tower blueprint 1946-56 Archive: Art Huneke

West Yard Map 1958 Emery - Fresh Pond Rd. MP4 east to POND Tower

East Yard Map 1958 Emery - POND Tower to MP5

H10s on Montauk Track 1 working the west yard at Fresh Pond Station near MP 4 -1944 Collection : Dave Keller


 After 1968 remodeling; POND and  yard office between the BMT and  NYCRR bridge. Archive: Dave Keller

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POND 05/23/1975 Archive: Henry Wagner

LIRR  train 1831 Eng 1557  9/12/1969
Photo: Richard F. Makse


Photo: Steve Lynch 6/2000 NW view

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Mechanical interlocking and model board at Pond Tower, Fresh Pond, Queens, NY on 3/05/1978

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Interlocking switch levers at Pond Tower 3/05/1978

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LIRR #229 coming off the Bay Ridge Branch, west into Fresh Pond. Notice the doll head in the top grab! It is the last time I saw a C420 L-2 on the LIRR. 06/05/1989 
Photo: A. Joseph Daly 

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LIRR #229 westbound under Bridge #35 July, 1989
Photo: A. Joseph Daly 

1958 Maspeth Ave. to Fresh Pond Schematic  Map: Steve Rothaug

LIRR 1966 Fresh Pond Map

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LIRR C420 #229 Conrail GE B23-7 #2805 Fresh Pond Interchange c.1985 Archive: Frank Fiore

South of Fresh Pond Junction where the NYCRR used to run near the abandoned Fremont Tower: 12/1970

Junction of Montauk Branch and Conrail. Previously "FN" Tower. CR makes the set outs for the LIRR to pick up. View N. The crews are discussing the upcoming freight moves. 

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Three GP-38s Fresh Pond Jct. view E 5/1989 Photo: A. Joseph Daly
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LIRR #159  "Baby Huey" Engineer
 Photo: A. Joseph Daly
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LIRR #103, #274 Fresh Pond Junction view E 10/89 
Photo: A. Joseph Daly
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LIRR #273 Fresh Pond Jct. westbound 5/1989 Photo: A. Joseph Daly
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LIRR #614 Fresh Pond Jct. 7/1989 
Photo: A. Joseph Daly

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LIRR #272 Eastbound 1984
Photo: Mike Koehler

CR now CSX working the bridge lead 1999 Photo: Bernard Ente

More action over at Fresh Pond
April 24, 2000 Photo: Bernard Ente

With a train of cars just delivered to the LIRR by Conrail, the RF-15 leaves Fresh Pond on its way east. Judging by the plume of smoke, the freshly-repainted L-2's are throttled out in the 8th notch!
July, 1982. Photo/Archive: Jay Bendersky

East at Fresh Pond. CSX outbound upstairs and RS-70 switching-joetischner.jpg (120304 bytes)
East at Fresh Pond. CSX outbound upstairs and RS-70 switching
Photo: Joe Tischner 07/2006

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BMT Overpass view west 05/16/2003
Photo/Archive: Bernie Ente

Bridge #35 NYCRR/Conrail/CSX
overpass built by the Pennsylvania Steel Company of Steelton, PA for 
$84,000 in 1916 Photo: Steve Lynch 6/2000

An eastbound LIRR fre
ight, with the #222 and #228, has no work at Fresh Pond today. It passes Conrail GE B23-7 #2810 laying up in the East Yard at Fresh Pond on an overcast day in July of 1983.
Photo/Archive: Jay Bendersky

Fresh Pond - Glendale Topographic map

Fresh Pond Yard - Bridge 35 aerial view NW 2020

NYA and westbound LIRR 2/2001
Photo: Bernard Ente

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LIRR #161 view E c.12/1988 
Photo: A. Joseph Daly

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NYA Fresh Pond Bridge #35 - View E  (NY Times-Joe Carrotta)
NYA GP38-2 #268 east leg of the wye interchange 
at Fresh Pond Photo: Steve Lynch 6/2000
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NYA Fresh Pond west leg of wye - BMT overpass
 (NY Times-Joe Carrotta)

CR-GM-EMD-B23-7-2808_CR-GE-U23B-2797_LIRR-EMD-MP15ACs-152_Fresh-Pond-Junction_viewN_c.mid1980s.jpg (88746 bytes)
CR EMD B23-7 #2808, CR GE U23B #2797, LIRR EMD MP15ACs #152  Fresh Pond Junction View N c. 1985



Abandoned Fremont Tower: 12/1970
Junction of Montauk Branch and NYCRR. Previously "FN" Tower
Out of service: 4/15/70 Interlocking and tracks between Fremont and tracks between Fremont and Bay Ridge under jurisdiction of  PC Transportation Co.: 01/20/71 

Closed: 1971 and abandoned, burned, and razed prior to 1995. (per Jim Minor, LIRR block opr.)
Collection : Dave Keller
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Fremont Tower view S 12/30/88 Photo: A. Joseph Daly

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 LIRR MP-15AC #156 Fresh Pond Jct. 
Photo: A. Joseph Daly


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LIRR MP-15AC #156 Conductor on steps as 
the job is done Fresh Pond Jct. Wye
Photo: A. Joseph Daly

lirr155_crew-trouble-freight-coupler_Fremont-Tower_12-30-1988_viewN_AJosephDaly.jpg (437782 bytes)
LIRR MP-15AC #155 Crew having trouble with the freight coupler 12/30/1988 view N

This was the RF-7. On the porch of the #155 is Engineer Bob Gianuzzi. George Bedell is the Conductor with the cap visor on. The Brakemen working the coupler might be Bob Gheringer. Info: Ben Jankowski Photo: A. Joseph Daly


New Haven EF-3a electric #158 pulls a freight geographically southbound on the Bay Ridge branch/NY Connecting RR, passing the LIRR's "FREMONT" tower at Fresh Pond Jct. - Fresh Pond, NY - c. 1950.  View East  (Dave Keller archive)

SELI was the road freight from Selkirk, NY to Fremont tower and LIRR Fresh Pond yard. 

They would drop a cut of cars at Croton North Yard for the GM plant in Tarrytown, NY then run on the wye track at MO Tower, crossing over the Harlem line 4 track main to the Port Morris Branch, to the ex-NH yard at Oak Point Yard, drop another cut of cars for the Oak Point based locals, run around train and head to Fremont Tower over the Hellgate Bridge to bring interchange to the LIRR at Fresh Pond yard.

Fremont Tower was a bit south of Pond, but "upstairs" from Pond Tower back then as it was the interchange track “upgrade” to the NY Connecting RR ROW (ex-NH) from Fresh Pond Yard (downstairs), not sure if this was during LIRR's turn to work the Fremont-Bay Ridge section of track to interchange with the South Brooklyn Railway (NYCTA)and Cross Harbor shortline operation. All freights were part of the NE region, with their T&E crews.

The return trip to Selkirk was known as LISE, following the route in reverse back to north. Conrail changed the Symbol to SEOP/OPSE in the mid '70's, and the run to Fremont was WNOP- 4, a local freight based at Oak Point Yard. 

After the May 8, 1974 Poughkeepsie Bridge Fire, 90-95% of the freight bound inbound is routed thru Selkirk, the other 5-10% of Long Island bound freight is car floated over from Greenville, NJ.