Hempstead Branch train #757 enters Stewart Manor, due west to Brooklyn.
|System||Long Island Rail Road|
|Locale||Queens and Nassau County, New York, USA|
|Opening||1873 (as part of the Central Railroad of Long Island)|
|Owner||Long Island Rail Road|
|Operator(s)||Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||750V (DC) Third rail|
The Hempstead Branch is an electrified rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The branch begins at the Main Line at Queens Interlocking, just east of Queens Village station. It parallels the Main Line past Bellerose to Floral Park, where it splits southward and continues east via the village of Garden City to Hempstead Crossing. There it turns south to the final two stations, Country Life Press and Hempstead. LIRR maps and schedules show Hempstead Branch service continuing west along the Main Line to Jamaica. (In other words, Queens Village and Hollis are actually on Main Line track, but the only trains stopping there are bound to/from the Hempstead Branch). The line is double tracked to just east of Garden City Station, where it is reduced to one track at Garden Interlocking for the final 1.4 miles to Hempstead station.
The Central Railroad of Long Island opened from Flushing east to Hempstead Crossing and south to Hempstead on January 8, 1873; the main line east from Hempstead Crossing opened later that year on May 26. The Central Railroad's successor, the Flushing, North Shore and Central Railroad, was leased to the LIRR on May 3, 1876, and in June a connection at Hempstead Crossing was built, allowing trains from Mineola to use the ex-Central's Hempstead Branch; the original LIRR Hempstead Branch was abandoned south of Hempstead Crossing.
The old Central main line through Hempstead was named the Central Branch by the LIRR, while the line from Mineola on the LIRR's Main Line south past Hempstead Crossing to Hempstead was the Hempstead Branch. The New York Bay Extension Railroad opened the current West Hempstead Branch in 1893, resulting in a realignment of the Hempstead Branch from Hempstead Crossing south to Meadow Street to better connect to the new line.
The current route of the Hempstead Branch, from Queens Village east along the Main Line and Central Branch and south along the Hempstead Branch to Hempstead, was electrified on May 26, 1908. The then-Hempstead Branch north to Mineola was electrified on October 20, 1926, along with the West Hempstead Branch. The line north of Hempstead Crossing last saw passenger service on September 14, 1935, and was abandoned for freight in 1965. Park Interlocking at Floral Park was taken out in the circa-1960 grade crossing elimination; since then Hempstead Branch trains switch off the Main Line at Queens Village and continue next to it to Floral Park. At some point the old Central Branch west of Hempstead Crossing was renamed as part of the Hempstead Branch.
- MTA LIRR - LIRR Map
- LIRR Hempstead Branch Timetable
- Map showing the route & connections of the Central Rail Road Extension Company of Long Island, 1873
- PDF (82.7 KiB), June 2004 Edition
- PDF (100 KiB), February 2005 Edition
- PDF (116 KiB), April 2006 Edition
- Pennsylvania Railroad, Long Island Railroad map, 1941
- Interstate Commerce Commission, Valuation Report, Long Island Railroad
- Arrt's Arrchives: Hempstead Crossing
- PDF (52.2 KiB), March 2005 Edition
- PDF (101 KiB), June 2004 Edition
- PDF (47.8 KiB), August 2004 Edition
- PDF (83.5 KiB), June 2004 Edition
- Station pages linked from LIRR Stations
- Woodhull Park Station, Hillside Station & RJ Tower (Arrt's Arrchives)
- Willow Tree Station (Arrt's Arrchives)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hempstead Branch.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hempstead Branch (Long Island Rail Road).|
- Hempstead Branch Stations (Unofficial LIRR History web site)
- NYCSubway.org: Hempstead Branch
- Hempstead Branch (The LIRR Today)