S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com BEDT Page keywords = Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal BEDT Domino Havermeyer Elder Kent Avenue 4th Fourth Street model rail train Z HO scale Ztrack Pennsylvania Pennsy PRR Berlinerwerke Vest Pocket Long Island Degnon Erie Palmer dock marine water front sugar Queensboro "

Updated:   25 May 2016; 15:15  ET
[Page converted 30 Sep 2011;
{missing images restored 12 Feb 03}
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/bedt.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/bedt.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's





Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad

(extracted from SB,III's MODEL RAILROADING Continuation Page 2)

NOTE:  My pages were limited by AT&T to 30kB; thus, I had been forced to add this separate page on the BEDT and separate pages to fit the lengthy Berlinerwerke saga in HO and Z scales.

note-rt.gif  Click here re ex-railroad personnel records.


On this page:

    Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad
The Eastern District of Brooklyn.   new (25 May 2016)
Older BEDT Locomotives.
        BEDT 0-4-0T Survivors:
BEDT #12.
BEDT #13.
BEDT #14.
BEDT #15.
BEDT #16.
    BEDT HELP (questions I, at my sole discretion, may choose to post)

    (extracted from Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - BEDT 07 Sep 99).

On BEDT continuation page 1:

BEDT #10 in 1961.
BEDT #15 Today.
BEDT #16 Today.
BEDT Queensboro Terminal!.
Palmer's Docks/Cooperage..
BEDT in Z-scale (1:220).
1963 BEDT Loco Photos.   new (12 Jan 2013)

See also other "Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model":

Degnon Terminal Railroad
Marion River Carry Railroad
New York & Atlantic Railroad
Atlas Terminal





1932 BEDT Map

BEDT #13 at the RR Museum of Pennsylvania

(courtesy of Bill Russell's Penny Bridge}
Visit Penny Bridge for a wealth of info. on the BEDT,
rail-marine operations, NY City railroads, etc.}

Please also visit Phil Goldstein's BEDT site.   revdlink (25 May 2016)

See also my BEDT in Z-scale (1:220) write-up on the Z-scale continuation page 2.

- - - · - - -

The Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad was a "pocket" railroad, one with no connection to other railroads by land.  It had a main pocket yard on the Brooklyn waterfront at Kent Avenue from North 4th Street (the PRR N. 4th St. yard, immediately north of the Domino Sugar plant and the Williamsburgh Bridge, in an area formerly known as Palmer's Docks3), extending north to North 10th Street and east inland only a few blocks, and a small yard directly across Newtown Creek in Queens, Pidgeon1 Street Terminal, and a third yard, Navy Terminal, down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (New York Naval Shipyard), but this latter was strictly for in-yard transfer.  It now (Jan 01) appears that there was a second Queens yard (see below).  All commerce by rail was via carfloats, barges with rails on them (see my Rail-Marine page and the links thereon), which were moved by tugboats across or along the East, North (Hudson), and Harlem Rivers2 to railheads at St. George on Staten Island (B&O) or in the Bronx (EL, NYC, NH) or New Jersey (PRR, CNJ, LV) where connections to the mainland railroads were available.  It is also possible that connections with the LIRR via its marine terminals in Bay Ridge or LIC might have given mainland access via the New Haven over the Hell Gate Bridge but I have never seen any indication this was so, nor is the LIRR listed on the BEDT's Feb 1964 connections list.  Historian Tom Flagg advised 19 Jan 01 that there was even a Warren St. Terminal in Jersey City which only lasted from about 1910-1915 until shortly after 1920; its track plan looked much more like a Christmas Tree layout, with a loop, than it did a real railroad.  Tom suggests that perhaps that's why it didn't last long!  Further, he advised that the BEDT became a common carrier in 1940, which certainly changes its status (source: Plowden, April 1961, article on BEDT in Railroad Magazine).  Aha, interstate commerce for sure!


1 - "Pidgeon" is the correct spelling, NOT "Pigeon".

2 - The stretch of the so-called Hudson passing the west side of Manhattan Island is more properly called the North River.  One might note here that the East, North, and Harlem "Rivers" are NOT REALLY rivers at all; they are actually tidal estuaries connecting the Hudson River, which ends at Spuyten Duyvil, with the Atlantic Ocean through the Upper and Lower Harbors and through Long Island Sound via the Hell Gate (de Helle Gat).]

3 - Palmer's Dock's was actually the shipping point for Palmer's Cooperage, q.v.

Jeff Hitchens contributed the fact that the Pidgeon Street Terminal was there primarily to serve the "sugar house", which was in operation before the close of 1903 (the BEDT wasn't organized until 1906).  Rail service was being provided (possibly by the Flushing Railroad) to the ferry terminal at the foot of Dock Street, so a railroad RoW was established in the area long before the sugar house was built.  Jeff speculates as to whether or not the Pidgeon Street trackage associated with the sugar house might have been operated by, or for, the National Sugar Refining Co.  Was the Pidgeon Street yard actually owned by the BEDT or was it another of its contract operations?  Does anyone know?  Further, he relates that, at the Pidgeon Street Terminal, the track extending east of Vernon Boulevard was used to serve a purveyor in animal fats used in the manufacture of soap products (among other things!).

Adapted from the April, 1992, Long Island-Sunrise Trail Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, bulletin, the SEMAPHORE:


I was briefly married to the daughter of Hugh Gerard (Jerry) Callaghan, the Chief Electrician of the BEDT.  She remembered a Mr. Havemeyer being on the property; the men pronounced it "HaveRmeyer".  The Domino sugar plant on the Brooklyn waterfront, immediately north of the Williamsburgh Bridge, originally Havemeyers & Elder, later American Sugar Refining, then Amstar, and now Domino Sugars, just south of the BEDT Kent Avenue and PRR North 4th Street yards, was one of its largest customers, if not THE largest.  Old man Havemeyer used to come down to check on his shipments and shoot the breeze with Jerry.  Domino's main historical records were destroyed around 1970, but there are some left, so look for some follow-on pieces.

[per Ed Koehler, as amplified by Domino, Havemeyers & Elder organized the East River Terminal Company in 1875 on land originally called "Palmer's Docks" 3, above, later the Eastern District Freight Terminal, operated by the Erie RR (note the similar diamond logo), and reincorporated in 1906 as the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal RR#.]

[# - I am not so sure that the BEDT was ever actually a railroad until, perhaps, when it became a common carrier in 1940.]

Best pictorial (captioned) reference: "BROOKLYN'S WATERFRONT RAILWAYS", Jay Bendersky
See also: "THE WILLIAMSBURG CONNECTION", Edward M. Koehler, Jr., (facts credited to Harold Fagerburg).

Elsewhere on this site, I refer to this page for a story about a ride on a tugboat across NY harbor.  That seems to have evaporated so here goes.  On a tour of the NY Cross Harbor RR on 05 Jun 1993 (their 2nd Annual Railfan Day) in the company of my then-wife, we ran into Ray Aufiero, the former apprentice of Jerry Callaghan and then General Manager of the Cross Harbor and he, remembering the Yard Brat fondly, wangled us a ride across from Brooklyn to the Greenville float terminal and back!  We were not allowed on a float, so we rode on the rented tug James A. Witte (since renamed) and I, in my usual fashion, ended up spending most of the trip in the engine room, jawing with the engineer.  What was most memorable for me, however, other than observing hipping first hand and coming above-decks to watch as the Greenville float bridges loomed up, was the engine itself.  It was a Fairbanks-Morse opposed-piston unit, perhaps some 1,500HP or so, and was basically identical to their WWII submarine engines and to the unit in early LIRR F-M diesel locos; visually, olfactorily, and aurally a great treat! (added 20 Sep 2012)

  [There was also an old B&W photo of something of great interest (a tug?) tacked up in the wheelhouse but just what slips my mind now,
    nor can I find a snapshot thereof or any pix from that trip.]

The Eastern District of Brooklyn   added (25 May 2016)

Many have asked "What IS the Eastern District of Brooklyn?"  It is NOT the Eastern District of New York of the United States District Court, which comprises the counties of Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk and, concurrently with the Southern District, the waters within the counties of Bronx and New York.  Far from any current legal jurisdiction, the Eastern District of Brooklyn was created in 1855 by the consolidation of North Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and Bushwick [the Western District included the remainder of the enlarged city (Brooklyn)].  Now you know, courtesy of one Eugene L. Armbruster in his "The Eastern District of Brooklyn", published on 07 May 1912.  While it is still a valid, if outdated, area name, it ceased to exist in any legal manner when the entire city of Brooklyn was consolidated into the City of New York on 01 Jan 1898.

Older BEDT Locomotives

Thanks to Dave Keller, here is the BEDT's #7, known as "Chester", at Long Island City on 28 Sep 1934:

BEDT #7 at LIC 1934
(photo courtesy of D. Keller - all rights reserved)

Ron Ziel, on page 119 of his 1963 "The Twilight of Steam Locomotives", notes that #10 was a Baldwin product and the oldest on the roster at that time (ca. Feb 1961); he also shows #11 "unused and being cannibalized for spare parts" on page 120 and further notes that she was finally "cut to pieces" a year and a a half later.

Remaining BEDT Steam Locomotives -
all 0-6-0T tank engines
with slide valves:

The survivors:  BEDT #12, BEDT #13, BEDT #14, BEDT #15, and BEDT #16.

#12*, Side Tank, built by H. K. Porter as s/n 6368 in 1919 for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, retired in 1962, sold to Ron Ziel in Jul 63, donated to the Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum, Parrish, Florida, by Dr. Ed Ryan in 1982, and was stored at Willow for future restoration.

[Willow is about 6½ miles up the tracks from Parrish; it is just short of the county
line and was at one point a stop on the Seaboard route from Tampa to
Venice. It was a lumber town in the early years of the 20th century until 1930
when the mill shut down and the town folded up directly thereafter. Willow is
now where they own some track and land and keep the train and spare
equipment parked, including little BEDT #12.]

Let's start with this shot of #12 as she was meant to be, doing her thing in 1949{?}:

#12 at BEDT - 1949?
(photo printed from Glenn Miley eBay negative, courtesy J. R. Herron - all rights reserved)

Here's a mid-2000 (and sad) shot at Willow from FGCRRM volunteer Glenn Miley,
with the bell, headlight, number board removed to prevent their being stolen:

(photo by Glenn Miley, by permission - all rights reserved)

Here's a more recent shot, taken as a courtesy to me by Harvey Henkelman ca. 01 Dec 2001:

(cropped from photo by H. Henkelman, by permission - all rights reserved)

Oh, dear; she's NOT improving with age, but, at least, the weeds were cut (or trampled down).

Harvey sent this picture 07 Jan 02 to show that #12 was towed to Parrish (the main rods were removed for the tow), where she will serve as a static display:

(cropped from photo by H. Henkelman, by permission - all rights reserved)

Better and better! - here are a string of new photos from Jim Herron at the FGCRRM (thanks, Jim!) of her fully repainted (although not yet lettered) as of 08 May 02:

12FGC1 12FGC2 12FGC3

12FGC4 12FGC5 12FGC6
(cropped and artificially enhanced from J. Herron/FGCRRM photos, by permission - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images - click on the picture for a larger image.]

I artificially enhanced these to show more detail, cropping and lightening them; the photos were NOT washed out.

Jim, an FGCRRM founder, is THE Herron of Herron Rail Video, the distributor of great videos!

"Someone" sent me a shot of #12 as it would look as a tender engine (heaven forfend!):


Harvey chimed in again on 10 Aug 02 to advise that #12 has been repainted and kindly sent this picture:

(photo by H. Henkelman, by permission - all rights reserved)

This is a frame from a recent video:

#12 at BEDT - 1949
(image courtesy J. R. Herron - all rights reserved)

* - don't get this #12 confused with another #12 that ran at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, NOT on the BEDT, a 1918 Vulcan 0-4-0T.

#13, Side Tank, built by H. K. Porter as s/n 6369 in 1919 for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, sold to George Hart (then curator of the RR Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg); now there, cosmetically restored.

(provenance unknown - sorry)

Here, courtesy of Dave Keller, is #13, photographed in 1950 in Long Island City by W. J. Edwards:

{Photo 2-11 - bedt13~1.jpg from the D. Keller collection - by special permission}

Dave Keller's photographs are available to the general public basically at cost; see D. Keller's RR Photo Archive for more information. As of 06 Sep 2014 (at least), #13 is at Jerry Joe Jacobson's private Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.   added (25 May 2016)

#14, Saddle Tank, built by H. K. Porter as s/n 6260 in 1920 for Mesta Machine Works, was stored at the Black River & Western in Ringoes, New Jersey, cosmetically restored.  Now at Delaware & Ulster Rail Ride, Arkville, New York (former Ulster & Delaware trackage, some 50 miles west of Kingston).  #14 belongs to the Ulster & Delaware RR Historical Society; it is stored at Arkville and they hope to return it to running condition.

BEDT #14 at U&D
(photo courtesy of U&D RRHS - all rights reserved)

Former fellow NRHS-LIST member Paul Esperson, who volunteers at the U&D, had these images converted for me from slides (how's THAT for a friend?); they show #14 at Kent Avenue ca. 1956 and at Arkville ca. 2006 - FIFTY years apart:

BEDT#14Kent BEDT#14Arkvca.06
(photos from the collection, and courtesy, of P. Esperson - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images - click on pictures for larger images]]

You can make a model of this loco the size of your finger in Z-scale (1:220)!

#15@, Saddle Tank, built by H. K. Porter in 1917 as s/n 5966 for Mesta Machine Works of Homestead, Pennsylvania, previously reported at TLE&WRR in Grand Rapids, Ohio.

(TLE&W is not in the Reporting Marks file but is the
"Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway"),
now definitely at the Strasburg RR as Thomas the Tank Engine {see "HORRORS!", below}!

(provenance unknown - sorry)

Thanks to Dave Keller, here is the BEDT's #15 at the Long Island City Pidgeon Street Terminal in 1946:

BEDT #15 at Pidgeon St 1934
(photo courtesy of D. Keller - all rights reserved)

Dave says, "Check out the engineer's laundry hanging from the cab to the telephone pole!"

HORRORS! (sort of) - BEDT engine #15 was converted into Thomas the Tank Engine!  Oh, say it isn't so, please!  Oh, but it IS so!

SRR's VP/CMO wrote me on 13 Mar 00:  "Thomas is indeed made from BEDT #15.  While I know this is disturbing to BEDT fans the fact remains that the locomotive is operating and well cared for.  Though Thomas is not exactly in line with our mission of recreating early 20th century railroading he serves a more important purpose.  He makes steam exciting for the next generation.  Hopefully sacrificing the historical integrity of #15 will ensure that steam will be around well into the future."  My reaction - with so many BEDT 0-6-0's preserved, we really could have done a lot worse.

Not only could they "have done a lot worse", I was also assured that the changes do NOT affect #15's structural integrity; thank Strasburg for small favors!

On the other hand, the RRMPa wrote on 06 Apr 00, "The Strasburg RR 'Thomas' was BEDT No. 15, acquired in May 1998 from the Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway."  As noted above, they also wrote, "BEDT No. 13 is owned by the Railroad Museum of PA, and is on static exhibit in the Museum Yard.  Rest assured, there are no plans to convert No. 13 to 'Thomas' cosmetics."  For which let us all be grateful; amen.   rev.gif (20 Jan 07)

More on #15 at BEDT #15 Today on BEDT Continuation Page 1.

#16, Saddle Tank, built by H. K. Porter in 1923 as s/n 6780 for Astoria Light & Power in NYC.  It was then sold to Fleishman's Yeast Co. in Peekskill and later to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co.  In 1938, it reached the BEDT and after its relatively short but active lifetime was finally sold to George Foster ca. October 1963; it was the last BEDT steamer to operate.  She had been stored at the BEDT's Kent Avenue yard in the engine house for many years, then was abandoned, left outdoors, and heavily vandalized.  #16 was then rescued and stored in the NY Cross Harbor RR engine house at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, where it was sort of cosmetically restored and "rolled out" 05 Jun 93.  See updates below.

Photo courtesy of #35 Restoration Committee

                                               Rev. Date:  13 Mar 00, 16:30

More on #16 at BEDT #16 Today on BEDT Continuation Page 1.

by Thomas R. Flagg
(noted NY Harbor Historian)

This all-color 128-page hardcover book and a second volume are available from Ron's Books, 914-967-7541 (or ronsbooks@aol.com - as of 20 Jan 2007).

On my Electric Boxcabs page, I mention the early electric box motor #4 that puttered around the Brooklyn waterfront from 1907 to at least 1957 or later on the South Brooklyn Railway (she appears on page 7 in Bendersky).

UPDATE:  Per Carl G. Perelman's and John P. Krattinger's article, "The Railroad that goes to Sea", pp. 20-31, in the September 1992 Railpace Newsmagazine and Jay Bendersky's "Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways" (Meatball Productions, East Meadow, New York, 1988, LoC CC# 88-60327, ISBN 0-9620237-0-1, New York Dock Railroad took control of the stock of the BEDT in early 1978 and New York Dock and the BEDT were combined into the New York Cross Harbor Railroad on 06 May 1983.  As of Nov 97, B. Ente reported that the end had come for New York Cross Harbor RR; happily it was reorganized and is alive and well as the New York Regional Railroad.  The BEDT and the NYCH have bounced back again and again in the past; now the NYRRR carries on the tradition!

BEDT Queensboro Terminal!

Now, here's a kicker for you; it sure surprised me beyond belief!  Our indefatigable LIRR photographer, Art Huneke, asked if I knew that the BEDT had a yard in Queens along the East River but NORTH of Pidgeon Street.  "No way!", sez I (in effect).  "Zap", sez he, literally, but this page overloaded and I moved the coverage to BEDT continuation page 1 on 11 Aug 2002.

Bernie Ente sent me two links to David Pirmann's NYCSubway site with lots on the BEDT/NYCH, The Brooklyn Waterfront and photos of same.

Steam Loco Data - Jim Herron found 11,000 original Porter drawings at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa; see Steam Loco Data on the next page.

A stab at reproducing the BEDT in Z scale (1:220), where 6' = ¼-mile has been moved to BEDT Continuation page 1.


In 1880, the great grandfather (of a correspondent) and his brother owned a lumber importing business in Brooklyn between E. 10th and E. 11th Streets in Brooklyn on the docks of the East River.  The imported lumber logs were milled there and shipped to customers throughout the country by rail.  One of their customers was George Pullman, for the mahogany trim on his rail cars.  To help research this family business, on which almost no information has been handed down, I am asking for any input.  In its day, it was a very viable business according to "family lore", the 23 May 1903 "American Lumberman" magazine, and the front page of New York Times (an account of a fire that occurred Thanksgiving Day, 1901).  The great-grandson asks if the Long Island Rail Road would have served this area of Brooklyn any time from 1880 to about 1917 to transport goods to some exchange for points west.  Since the lumberyard was adjacent to the north end of the BEDT, that seems highly unlikely and one might well assume that the BEDT was the initiating carrier.  Anyone?  As of 28 Dec 00, per the front page of the NY TIMES of 29 Nov 1901, the fire consumed "the seven-story cigar box and veneer factory of William {E.} Uptegrove & Brother {Jerome P. Uptegrove, the great grandfather}, extending from 457 to 467 East Tenth Street, near Avenue D".  Not a word about Brooklyn!  Why?  Because, of course, it was in Manhattan, on the lower East Side!  This location exists today at the west end of the Jacob Riis Houses, with its east end obliterated by the Houses and by the northernmost athletic field in East River Park.  Coincidentally, though, it is directly across the East River from the BEDT!  Case closed?  Over and out?  Well, not quite.  Now, I have to ask if there was rail service on the East Side (curiosity killed the cat, you know) and, if so, move all this to my RR pages.  Also, Uptegrove DID in fact have a Brooklyn facility, a cedar and mahogany manufacturing facility described in a contemporary account (23 May 1903 "American Lumberman") as being "within a stone's throw" from the 23rd Street ferry landing in Greenpoint, facing on the river but served by barge (could it also have been served there by the BEDT?).

There are some very odd BEDT "loco"s on Berlinerwerke Apocrypha page 5!

Click here for BEDT Continuation page 1.

Remember to visit the other "Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model":

Degnon Terminal Railroad and

Marion River Carry Railroad (now on it's own page).

New York & Atlantic Railroad

and more model railroading

and more railoading in general.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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