Passenger trains first crossed the span on New Year’s Day of the following year. The mainline trackage of the SIRT had reached its greatest extent. The entire operation from Staten Island to Cranford Junction was classified as SIRT property from its building to the end of its days as a private road.
The B&O Takes Over
and Soon Loses the Ferries
The introduction of trolleys to Staten Island in 1895 attracted riders from the SIRT and, in breaking the railroad’s monopoly, broke the company as well. Thrown into bankruptcy it was bought at an auction held at the First National Bank in St. George by the B&O for the "upset price" of $2,000,000 on the 20th of April 1899.
The B&O, in acquiring the SIRT also got the ferries. The dissatisfaction with the older boats was reaching a high pitch when, on June 14th (Flag Day), 1901, the ferry boat Mauch Chunk of the B&O’s subsidiary Central Railroad of New Jersey rammed and sank the SIRT ferry Northfield at the Whitehall Street Terminal.
Though the death toll in this potentially great disaster numbered but five, the City government demanded that the B&O relinquish the ferries and in 1905 this objective was accomplished, and thus the Municipal Ferry that still plies the route was established.