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Old Prospect Park Substation and the Malbone Street Switch

November 18, 2018 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rotary converter at Prospect Park substation

Old Prospect Park Substation was constructed at the turn of the 20th century to provide power for local trolleys, the Brighton Line, and today’s Franklin Avenue Shuttle Line. When a train traveling too fast through a tunnel just outside Prospect Park derailed on the evening of November 1, 1918, the force cut power to the third rail and de-energized the tracks. Not understanding the gravity of the situation, substation operators ordered the power to be restored immediately, causing an explosion and fires that further complicated the scene at the accident.

The substation remained in service as a manually-operated substation until the 1980s, when modernization increased the substation’s reliability and reduced operating expenditures. Join long-time Museum guide and historian Robert W. Lobenstein, former General Superintendent for Power Systems at New York City Transit, to tour what is now known as the Flatbush-Empire Substation and see the original rotary converters, the modern power controls alongside them, and the switch that restored power to the tracks at the site of the Malbone Street wreck.


Tickets are $50 for museum members only. Winter 2019 tours and excursions will go on sale in mid-December. Learn more about members’ ticketing. 

Not a member yet? Join now to access all the perks of membership!

Tours last approximately 2 hours from beginning to end, run rain or shine, and require walking, standing, and stair climbing. Shoes must be closed-toed and sturdy-soled; flip-flops and other backless shoes are prohibited. Restrooms may not be available along the route.  If you have any concerns, please email [email protected] or call 718-694-1867.

Children must be 10+ to attend and accompanied by an adult at all times.

To be admitted to these restricted sites, participants must provide a copy of a government-issued ID for a background check, and must sign a release immediately after purchasing tickets.

Photography and video recording are permitted. However, tripods, stands, selfie sticks, and external lights may not be used. All photographs taken are for personal use only and permission to photograph may be revoked at any time.

All ticket sales are final. Should you be unable to attend the tour on the date you reserved, the full price of unused tickets may be treated as a donation to the Transit Museum and is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The Museum is not able to reschedule reservations to another tour date.

For information on American Sign Language interpreters, Assisted Listening Devices, or other accessibility matters please visit nytransitmuseum.org/accessibility


November 18, 2018
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Luz Montano