STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s been more than 60 years since trains operated over the Staten Island Rapid Transit’s South Beach line, but a bridge pier at the intersection of Clayton Street and St. Johns Avenue is a reminder of the former line.
Caving to competition from city-owned buses, the last train rolled down the 4.1-mile-long line on March 31, 1953, the same day the final train operated over the North Shore line.
While the South Beach line tracks were eventually removed, the remnants of the line remained for decades. The Belair Road station, for example, remained vacant for years, and the former right-of-way along the stretch served as a popular place for residents to ride their dirt bikes.
Since about the 1990s, houses have been built on top of what used to be the railroad’s right of way. While it is today difficult to make out the right-of-way, the stanchion, built in 1936 and located near the former Belair Road station, serves as a reminder of the line that once served Staten Island commuters.
A trestle crossing Robin Road also remains and is the last surviving trestle along the former rail route.