Coordinates: 40°34′31″N 73°58′24″W / 40.575235°N 73.973338°W / 40.575235; -73.973338

The rapid transit platforms of the Culver Depot after its 1904 renovations, showing the platform gates.

Culver Depot, also called Culver Terminal[1] or Culver Plaza,[2] was a railroad and streetcar terminal in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City, United States, located on the northern side of Surf Avenue near West 5th Street.[3][4] It was just north of the boardwalk, near the former Luna Park amusement complex, and across from the current New York Aquarium.[5][6] Originally built by the Prospect Park and Coney Island Railroad for the Culver surface line, it later became a major terminal for the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT).[1][7]


1904 map

The terminal was located at grade-level, at the north side of Surf Avenue. On the east side of the terminal, there were four tracks and five high-level platforms for BRT elevated trains from the Culver and Brighton lines.[1][4][7][8][9][10] The two outer platforms were side platforms, while the three inner platforms were island platforms, similar to the former layout of Chambers Street. The outer side platforms and center island platform were for the unloading of passengers, while the western and eastern island platforms were used by outbound passengers, in a Spanish solution layout.[1][4][7][8][9][10]

The easternmost two tracks were used by Brighton trains. The westernmost pair were used by Culver trains, which continued north along the Fifth Avenue elevated towards Downtown Brooklyn and City Hall in Manhattan.[1][4][7][8][9][10] At the south end of the platforms, gates were present to further segregate inbound and outbound passengers. Passengers were required to purchase tickets before boarding (unlike at other stations, where fares were collected on trains), via ticket booths in the passenger concourse designed to resemble an elevated car cab. At the north end of the elevated station was a dispatchers office, connected to the western outer platform. Further north was a signal and switch tower.[1][4][7][8][9][10] On the west side of the depot, there were five balloon loops for terminating streetcars.[1][4][8][9][10] Additional storage tracks for both elevated trains and streetcars were at the north end of the depot.[1][4][8][9][10]

Transfers and attractions

Surface trolley lines which served the depot included the Culver Line, Coney Island Plank Road Line, Smith Street Line, Vanderbilt Avenue Line, Court Street Line, Reid Avenue Line, and Union Street Line.[3][11][12][13][14]

Across from the station on the south side of Surf Avenue was Culver Plaza, illuminated by gas lights, and lined with grass and flower gardens. It featured several attractions and amenities including a carousel, the Ocean View and Prospect Hotels, and the 300-foot (91 m) Iron Tower or Observation Tower acquired from the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition.[2][11][15][16][17]

The terminal and plaza were located in close proximity to several Coney Island attractions, most notably the Luna Park and Dreamland amusement parks, the latter of which was located adjacent and south of Culver Plaza on the current New York Aquarium site.[5][6][11]


The depot was opened on July 27, 1875 to serve trains on the Prospect Park and Coney Island Railroad, a surface railroad popularly known as the Culver Line after its founder and long-time president, Andrew Culver.[2][10][18] After the introduction of electric trolley cars on the Culver Line in 1890,[19] trolleys and elevated railway trains both used the station. It originally had only ground-level loading and unloading areas for passengers, shared by both rapid transit and streetcars.[1]

In 1903, following the integration of the Culver line into the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company's operations, the Brighton Beach Line extended its tracks to access Culver Depot from Brighton Beach to the east.[7] In early 1904, the terminal underwent extensive renovations to increase passenger capacity and speed operations. This included creating separate loading areas for elevated trains and streetcars. Switch and signal upgrades were performed by Union Switch & Signal.[1][7][8][9][11] Brighton trains left the station in 1919 to use the new elevated terminal at the Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue station, while stopping at the nearby West Eighth Street station.[5][20] On May 1, 1920, now-elevated Culver trains began using the new terminal,[5][14][20][21][22] while Culver Depot continued in use only for streetcars and freight from the South Brooklyn Railway.[14][23] The terminal was razed in January 1923.[18][24] Plans for new developments on the site included a theater, a stadium, and a commercial block.[23][24][25]

The Culver Depot was replaced by the adjacent Coney Island and Brooklyn Railroad depot, which served Culver streetcars until October 30, 1956.[7][19][26] This facility was later used by the New York City Transit Authority as a bus depot until it closed on July 27, 1960.[27] The site of Culver Depot is now occupied by some housing projects, specifically the Brightwater Towers and Trump Village West.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "An Improved Terminal For Handling the Heavy Coney Island Crowds–Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company". Street Railway Journal. McGraw Publishing Company. 23 (24): 884–888. June 11, 1904. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Denson, Charles (2011). Coney Island and Astroland. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0738574287. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Coney Island Terminal of the Coney Island & Brooklyn Railroad". Electric Railway Journal. McGraw Publishing Company. 39 (19): 790–792. May 11, 1912. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Plan of the New Terminal Yard Arrangement For The Culver Terminal At Coney Island−Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, Street Railway Journal, 1904.
  5. ^ a b c d Walsh, Kevin (August 2002). "OLD STILLWELL AVE. TERMINAL — Forgotten New York". Forgotten NY. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Walsh, Kevin (February 2002). "CULVER'S TRAVELS. The demolition of a Brooklyn elevated link". Forgotten New York. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Brian J. Cudahy (January 2002). How We Got to Coney Island: The Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-2208-7.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "The Brooklyn Rapid Transit's New Culver Terminal". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 15, 1904. p. 8. Retrieved 2 September 2016 – via
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "The Rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company". Railroad Gazette. 42 (20): 670–673. May 17, 1907. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Feinman, Mark S. (February 17, 2001). " Early Rapid Transit in Brooklyn, 1878–1913". Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d W.J. Ennisson (1905). Souvenir Guide to Coney Island: Where to Go, What to See, and How to Find it. The Megaphone Press Company. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  12. ^ "New Amusement Features of Surf Avenue; Coney Island and the Public Service Corporations". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 27, 1911. p. 27. Retrieved 2 September 2016 – via
  13. ^ "NEW TROLLEY ROAD; Extension Through Utica Avenue to Be Ready June 1; The Line Will Open Up a Big Territory of Borough With Shore Cut to Bay". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 3, 1910. p. 24. Retrieved 18 January 2016 – via
  14. ^ a b c "NEW CULVER STRUCTURE IN SERVICE 90 YEARS NEW CULVER STRUCTURE IN SERVICE 90 YEARS AGO". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 53 (5): 1, 4. May 2010.
  15. ^ Stanton, Jeffrey (1997). "Coney Island — Early Years". Coney Island History Site. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Stanton, Jeffrey (1997). "Coney Island — Luxury Hotels". Coney Island History Site. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  17. ^ McLoughlin, Maurice E. (November 11, 1930). "Stories of Old Brooklyn: Old Coney Choo-Choo Gave Brooklyn Thrill". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 19. Retrieved 2 September 2016 – via
  18. ^ a b "Culver Terminal Razed: Coney Island Gateway to Be Succeeded by Amusement Place" (PDF). The New York Times. January 14, 1923. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  19. ^ a b "City Trolley Cars Near End of Line: Transit Agency to Switch to Buses on Last 2 Runs in Brooklyn in Fall" (PDF). The New York Times. April 20, 1956. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  20. ^ a b Matus, Paul (May 2003). "The New BMT Coney Island Terminal". p. 2. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  21. ^ The New York Times, Coney Fare Cut Saturday, April 28, 1920, page 6
  22. ^ The New York Times, 5-Cent Fare to Coney, May 1, 1920, page 18
  23. ^ a b "Activity in Brooklyn" (PDF). The New York Times. July 25, 1922. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Old Culver Depot at Coney Island Razed; Theater to Take Its Place". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 12, 1923. p. 19. Retrieved 2 September 2016 – via
  25. ^ "Stadium and Business Block Planned for Site of Old Culver Depot at Coney Island". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 28, 1924. p. 57. Retrieved 2 September 2016 – via
  26. ^ Casey, Leo (October 30, 1956). "NYCTA 1956 Press Release" (PDF). New York City Transit Authority. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  27. ^ "New City Garage Washes and Fuels Bus in 3 Minutes" (PDF). The New York Times. July 27, 1960. Retrieved 1 September 2016.

External links

  • CULVER’S TRAVELS. The demolition of a Brooklyn elevated link (Forgotten New York)
  • Culver Terminal (Arrt's Arrchive)