The Manhattan Railway Company was an elevated railway company in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York City, United States. It operated four lines: the Second Avenue Line, Third Avenue Line, Sixth Avenue Line, and Ninth Avenue Line.
By the late 1870s, the elevated railways in Manhattan were operated by two companies, the Metropolitan Elevated Railway (Sixth Avenue) and New York Elevated Railroad (Third and Ninth Avenues). The Metropolitan also began constructing a line above Second Avenue. The Manhattan Railway was chartered on December 29, 1875, and leased both companies on May 20, 1879. From 1881 the Third Avenue Line and the Sixth Avenue Line were in service 24/7. The Suburban Rapid Transit Company, operating the Third Avenue Line in the Bronx, was leased on June 4, 1891; all three companies were eventually merged into the Manhattan Railway in February 1890.
Richard Croker, boss of Tammany Hall, was in the newspapers in 1899 after a disagreement with Jay Gould's son, George Gould, president of the Manhattan Elevated Railroad Company, when Gould refused Croker's attempt to attach compressed-air pipes to the Elevated company's structures. Croker owned many shares of the New York Auto-Truck Company, a company which would have benefited from the arrangement. In response to the refusal, Croker used Tammany influence to create new city laws requiring drip pans under structures in Manhattan at every street crossing and the requirement that the railroad run trains every five minutes with a $100 violation for every instance.
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company, incorporated in April 1902 as the operating company for its first subway line, signed a 999-year lease on the Manhattan Railway Company lines on April 1, 1903, over a year before the subway opened.
Finally, after 60 or more years of service, and after having operated under a series of companies and jurisdictions, mainly the IRT, the successor to the Manhattan Railway, the elevated lines began to disappear, with the first line closing in 1938, and the final section closing in 1973:
Substation 7, built by the company around 1898 to convert AC to DC, survives at 1782 Third Avenue, at 99th Street and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The contemporaneous 74th Street Powerhouse at York Avenue supplies electricity for Consolidated Edison.