The spur to Outerbridge Crossing is the West Shore branch on B&O track maps of the SIRT.

It was built in the 1920s to hauling materials to construct the bridge. The track originally extended to the village of Charleston at Allentown Lane, which was beyond the end of Drumgoole Boulevard.  After the bridge was built, this branch was cut back to end south of the bridge.


Also in the 1920s, a West Shore branch was built out of Arlington Yard to Gulfport on the north end of the Island. This branch was extended to Travis in 1958, to service a new Consolidated Edison coal burning power plant. Unit coal trains of 100 or so cars were run by B&O directly from West Virginia to Staten Island for several years, until ConEd elected to receive its coal by barge. In 2004 the West Shore was extended another mile or so farther to Fresh Kills by the Port Authority of NY&NJ, for hauling out New York City’s compacted trash by rail for disposal elsewhere.


These two West Shore branches were at one time mapped by B&O to be joined. This was planned in the 1920s. By creating a West Shore line between Arlington and Tottenville, rail freight destined for Nassau Smelting and other freight customers on the Perth Amboy subdivision (Clifton to Tottenville) could avoid the congestion of going through St. George Yard as well as working around the frequent commuter train service of the North Shore, East Shore and Perth Amboy sub-divisions.  


No doubt the Great Depression from late 1929 and after killed this idea. Only 3.5 miles separated the two West Shore lines by 2004, but that West Shore  branch leading to Outerbridge has since been removed.  


Attached is a 1922 map showing a possible route of the proposed B&O/SIRT West Shore Line.


Next, A 1930 proposal for rapid transit expansion on Staten Island with an Interborough  Loop joining the Perth Amboy subdivision to the North Shore, as well as a proposal to join the North Shore line to Tottenville. This though, does not follow the West Shore tracks as they existed at the time.


Third is a more recent proposal to link Staten Island to light rail system in Bergen and Hudson counties of New Jersey. It shows a line that would pass over a ‘replaced’ Bayonne Bridge, thence west toward Arlington and then down the West Shore to Tottenville.  


The road way on the present  Bayonne Bridge is being raised considerably for clearing huge container ships going to and from Elizabethport.  It is not being replaced.  The grades on each side with the higher roadway would likely be too steep for light rail or commuter rail.


The Bayonne Bridge as originally designed and built, would have been able to carry commuter rail between Staten Island and New Jersey.  Possibly for SIRT MUE trains to reach the CNJ at West 8th Street station in Bayonne, or more ambitiously the Trans-Hudson Tubes in Hoboken, via the CNJ and connecting tracks electrified for SIRT trains.


All vain dreams!

Ed Bommer