Branch Brook Park is the modern name of the replacement station of the former Franklin Avenue Station that was the northern terminus of the Newark City Subway from 1940 to 2002 when the Grove Street extension opened. Originally the PPC cars reversed using a turning loop that has now been removed. The new station also resulted in the closing on June 21, 2002 of the Heller Parkway Station (the original terminus of the Newark City Subway when it opened in 1935) The new stop was gradually constructed beginning in 2000 and became ADA accessible in 2002 for the new LVRs that completely replaced the PPC cars over the course of one weekend on August 27, 2001. The new station was dedicated (and Franklin Avenue renamed) in March 2001 according to a plaque. Construction seems to still be ongoing in 2013 with the island platform becoming officially an island and a new side platform along the Grove Street-bound track (giving the two tracks platforms on both sides) getting added that has normal black fencing and not the unique green fencing the rest of the station has.
The current station has two tracks that have a two side platforms and an island platform between them. North of the station is a middle lay-up track used by about every other LRV car during weekday rush hours that terminates here at Branch Brook Park returning to Penn Station and doesn't continue to Grove Street. The main station entrance area is in a plaza between Antony Street (that is cobblestoned) and the tracks that becomes the Penn Station-bound side platform. This plaza has a nicely canopied bus stop area with a retro looking green canopy along Anthony Street in three places the canopy becomes a unique double height to be directly over the tops of the buses and provide completely covered boarding. The portion that is the side platform has a similar canopy for about half the length of the platform. In between them is a circular kiosk that is a newsstand and has cover extending out from the middle of it.
Along the southern side of this plaza is a small building. On the walls of this building are white tile with white sculptural murals by Tom Otterness (2001) that play homage to the WPA murals found in the underground subway stations. One has a brass sculpture coming out of it that looks very similar to those at 14 Street-8 Avenue on the New York City Subway because that art installation is by the same artist. At the northern end of the plaza a ways beyond the ends of the platforms an unprotected pedestrian crossing what are three tracks here and leads across the tracks to Grafton Avenue and the continuation of the road through Branch Brook Park.
The island platform originally only was completed for the Grove Street-bound track and has a fence running down the middle of it with most of the Penn Station-bound side still locked off (with some locked gates, this side was underconstruction during a 2011 visit). It has a green canopy for most of its length. Access is via pedestrian grade-crossings at each end of the platform. The northern one only leads across the Penn Station-bound track to the main side platform while the southern crossing leads across both tracks. Beyond the Grove Street track is the only short up to the new side platform and the gradual ramp (that is completely covered) that slowly rises to the overpass bridge of Heller Parkway and provides passengers that once used that station access to the Branch Brook Park Station.
Photos 1-12: 6 July, 2011, 13-39: 28 October, 2013
Last Updated: 15 November, 2013