The Cannonball runs express through Bay Shore to the Hamptons along the Montauk Branch.
|Type||Commuter rail, freight rail|
|System||Long Island Rail Road|
|Locale||Long Island, New York, USA|
|Termini||Long Island City
|Owner||Long Island Rail Road|
|Operator(s)||Metropolitan Transportation Authority (passenger)
New York and Atlantic Railway (freight)
|No. of tracks||2 (from Long Island City to Sayville)
1 (east of Sayville)
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Montauk Branch is a rail line owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The branch runs the length of Long Island, 115 miles (185 km) from Long Island City on the west to Montauk on the east. However, in LIRR maps and schedules for public use the term Montauk Branch refers to the line east of Babylon; the line west of there is covered by Babylon Branch schedules to Jamaica.
The westernmost portion of the Montauk Branch in Queens, known as the "Lower Montauk", runs from Long Island City to Jamaica, mostly at street level with grade crossings. The five stations along the Lower Montauk (Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman, and Penny Bridge) were closed on March 13, 1998, due to low ridership and incompatibility with then-new bi-level coach cars that can only use high platforms (only Richmond Hill had a high platform). In 2012, full control of the Lower Montauk portion of the line was transferred to the New York and Atlantic Railway for freight operations.
After Penn Station opened in 1910 the Lower Montauk became the freight route, and when the present Jamaica station opened in 1913 the two Lower Montauk tracks continued past the south side of the station, south of Hall tower and the south Union Hall Street platform and on to Holban Yard. Those two tracks now carry trains to/from the Hillside Facility that has replaced Holban Yard; they can also carry nonstop Main Line trains past Jamaica station. East from Jamaica the Montauk Branch runs between the Main Line tracks (with two usually-westward Main Line tracks north of it and two eastward tracks south of it) until it rises to cross above the other tracks at and turns southeast to swing parallel to the Atlantic Branch at . The Montauk Branch east of Jamaica is 0.7 mile longer than the Atlantic.
The portion from Jamaica to Babylon has been electrified since 1925. From Babylon east to Montauk, diesel-electric or dual-mode electric/diesel-electric locomotives haul trains of passenger coaches.
The Montauk Line has heavy ridership and frequent service as far as Patchogue and commuter service as far as Speonk. In the summer, with travelers going out to The Hamptons, Fire Island and other beaches, additional service is operated to the far eastern terminal at Montauk, such as the Cannonball, a Friday afternoon train departing from Hunterspoint Avenue and running non-stop between Jamaica and Westhampton. The Montauk Branch, along with the parallel Atlantic Branch, spawns three subsidiary branches: the West Hempstead Branch, Far Rockaway Branch, and Long Beach Branch.
The electrified portion of the Montauk Branch ends at Babylon; the electric service to Babylon is often identified as a separate service, the Babylon Branch. Some of the Montauk's diesel trains begin or end their runs at Babylon station, connecting with electric trains there. Other Montauk diesel trains operate into New York City, to Jamaica, Hunterspoint Avenue, Long Island City, or New York Penn Station. The terminal stations in diesel territory, east of Babylon, are Patchogue, Speonk, and Montauk. The Montauk Branch is double-tracked from just east of Long Island City all the way through Babylon, becoming single track at Y Interlocking (located east of the Sayville Station) (a short section of track east of Long Island City is single tracked). Most Montauk Branch diesel trains operate west to NYC via the diesel-only Central Branch, joining the Main Line east of Bethpage. Only a few actually run via the Montauk Branch west of Babylon, under normal conditions on the Main Line.
The Montauk was home to the last tower in North America that regularly used "hooping" train operations: PD Tower, in Patchogue. "Hooping" is the transfer of instructions to the engineer and conductor by attaching the folded orders to the "hoop", a rod several feet long with a loop at the end that is passed from the ground to a moving train by catching the loop on one's arm. The last train to get hooped at PD was train 2730 on May 6, 2006.
The Montauk Branch enjoys frequent service and has heavy ridership because it serves the suburban communities on Nassau County's and westernmost Suffolk County's south shore. It is grade-separated on embankments or elevated structures from Jamaica Station to Babylon Station.
Currently, the Montauk Branch intersects with the Bushwick Branch, Bay Ridge Branch, West Hempstead Branch, and Central Branch, as well as the Main Line at Long Island City and Jamaica and the Atlantic Branch at Jamaica and Valley Stream; the Far Rockaway Branch and Long Beach Branch are connected via the Atlantic Branch at Valley Stream. In the past, junctions existed with the Rockaway Beach Branch (a quarter mile east of Woodhaven Boulevard), Southern Hempstead Branch (Valley Stream to Hempstead), Manorville Branch (Eastport to Manorville on the Main Line), and Sag Harbor Branch (Bridgehampton to Sag Harbor). In early times, the Scoot ran frequently between Greenport on the North Fork, "around the horn" on the Manorville Branch, and east to Sag Harbor. In their day, both of those villages were very busy, bustling ports.
Formation and early days: 1860s to 1925
The South Side Railroad of Long Island built the line from Bushwick, Brooklyn to Patchogue in the 1860s, and completed the new line to Long Island City in 1870. With the reorganization of the South Side as the Southern Railroad of Long Island in 1874 and its lease by the LIRR in 1876, this line became the Southern Railroad Division, Southern Railroad of Long Island Division, or simply Southern Division. Effective Sunday, June 25, 1876, all Southern Division passenger trains were rerouted to use the LIRR main line from Berlin Junction (west of Jamaica) to Rockaway Junction, and the LIRR's Rockaway Branch to Springfield Junction, where it crossed the Southern. This change resulted in the closure of the Southern's Berlin, Beaver Street (Jamaica), Locust Avenue, and Springfield stations. The old line between Jamaica and Springfield, which became freight-only, was renamed the Old Southern Road. The Southern was reorganized as the Brooklyn and Montauk Railroad in 1879, and on March 14, 1880, the name was changed from the Southern Division to the Montauk Division. Thus the old South Side Railroad, except between Jamaica and Springfield Junction, was now the Montauk Division.
The LIRR opened the Sag Harbor Branch, including the present Montauk Branch from Eastport to Bridgehampton, on June 8, 1870. On July 27, 1881, after the South Side became part of the LIRR, its line – then the Montauk Division – was extended east to the Sag Harbor Branch at Eastport. The Sag Harbor Branch east of Eastport became part of the Montauk Division, and the old line from Manor (Manorville) to Eastport became the Manor Branch. An extension to Montauk, splitting off the old Sag Harbor Branch at Bridgehampton, opened to Amagansett on June 1, 1895 and to Montauk by September, and the line between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor reverted to the old Sag Harbor Branch name.
Babylon electrification: 1925 to present
Electrification of the Montauk Division from Jamaica to Babylon was completed on May 20, 1925, and normal operation began the next day. The Central Extension between Bethpage and Babylon was reopened for freight trains that had run via the Montauk Division.
The Montauk station was initially near the center of a sleepy fishing village at the north end of Fort Pond (where Austin Corbin built a pier in his unsuccessful effort to have trans-Atlantic ships dock there.) The Great Hurricane of 1938 devastated the terminus area and tore up sections of the roadbed. The population center then moved two miles (3 km) to the south, away from the station.
1998 saw the closure of three lightly used stations: Center Moriches, Quogue, and Southampton College. Southampton College was temporarily reinstated in 2004, complete with a steel walkway over Sunrise Highway to the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, during the U.S. Open (golf) tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament, the walkway was dismantled and the station stop discontinued.
Jamaica is about 11.25 miles (18 km) from Penn Station.
|Connections / Notes|
|Long Island City
Long Island City
|9||Subway: 7 <7> trains at Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue
|0.0 (0.0)||LIRR: Babylon Branch, Belmont Park Branch, Far Rockaway Branch, Hempstead Branch, Long Beach Branch, Oyster Bay Branch, Port Jefferson Branch, Ronkonkoma Branch and West Hempstead Branch trains
Subway: E J Z trains at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport
Bus: Q6, Q8, Q9, Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q25, Q30, Q31, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q43, Q44, Q60, Q65
Linden Boulevard and Montauk Street, Saint Albans
|2.8 (4.5)||New York City Bus: Q4|
|New York City / Long Island border|
|Nassau County, New York|
Sunrise Highway and Peninsula Boulevard, Lynbrook
|8.7 (14.0)||LIRR: Long Beach Branch trains
Nassau Inter-County Express: n4, n25, n31, n32, n36
North Village Avenue and Front Street, Rockville Centre
|10.3 (16.6)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n14, n15, n16|
Sunrise Highway and Grand Avenue, Baldwin
|12.2 (19.6)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n35|
between Henry Street and Benson Place, Freeport
|13.7 (22.0)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n4, n19, n36, n40, n41, n43, n62 (n88 summer service to Jones Beach)|
Sunrise Highway, between Hewlett Avenue and Merrick Avenue, Merrick
|15.1 (24.3)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n51|
Sunrise Highway and Bedford Avenue, Bellmore
|16.6 (26.7)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n45, n46, n50|
Wantagh Avenue and Railroad Avenue, Wantagh
|17.0 (27.4)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n73, n74|
Sunrise Highway and Jackson Avenue, Seaford
|18.7 (30.1)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n54|
Sunrise Highway east of Broadway (New York State Route 107), Massapequa
|19.7 (31.7)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n54, n55, n80, n81|
Sunrise Highway and Park Boulevard, Massapequa Park
|20.0 (32.2)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n54, n55, n80, n81|
|Nassau County / Suffolk County border|
John Street, between Sunrise Highway and New York State Route 27A, Amityville
|22.2 (35.7)||Nassau Inter-County Express: n54
Suffolk County Bus: 1A, S1, S33
Marconi Boulevard and Great Neck Road, Copiague
|23.4 (37.7)||Suffolk County Bus: 1B, S20, S31|
Wellwood Avenue and East Hoffman Avenue, Lindenhurst
|24.7 (39.8)||Suffolk County Bus: 1B, S20, S35|
Railroad Avenue just west of Deer Park Avenue, Babylon
|27.6 (44.4)||Most Montauk Branch trains operate via the Central Branch, which diverges west of this station.
LIRR: Babylon Branch trains
Nassau Inter-County Express: n19, n72
Suffolk County Bus: S20, S23, S25, S27, S29, S40, S42 (S47 seasonal service to Robert Moses State Park)
Park Avenue and Oak Street, Bay Shore
|31.7 (51.0)||Ferries to Fire Island|
Islip Avenue (NYS Route 111), between Sunrise Highway and Montauk Highway, Islip
Connetquot Avenue and Hawthorne Avenue, Great River
Montauk Highway and Oakdale-Bohemia Road, Oakdale
Lakeland Avenue and Depot Street, Sayville
|40.8 (65.7)||Ferries to Fire Island|
Division Street between West Avenue and South Ocean Avenue, Patchogue
|44.9 (72.3)||Ferries to Fire Island|
Station Road and Montauk Highway, Bellport
William Floyd Parkway and Northern Boulevard, Shirley
Phillips Avenue and Depot Road, Speonk
Station Road and Depot Road, Westhampton
Ponquogue Avenue and Good Ground Road, Hampton Bays
North Main Street, between Prospect Street and Willow Street, Southampton
Maple Lane and Butter Lane, Bridgehampton
Railroad Avenue, between Newtown Lane and Race Lane, East Hampton
Main Street and Abrahams Landing Road, Amagansett
Edgemere Street and Fort Pond Road, Montauk
Full list, including all former stations
|Miles from Jamaica||Name||Opened||Closed|
|Long Island City
earlier Hunter's Point
|June 26, 1854||present|
|Penny Bridge||June 26, 1854||March 16, 1998|
|Haberman||September 1910||March 16, 1998|
|Maspeth||February 1895||1924 or 1925|
earlier Bushwick Junction
|June 1869||March 16, 1998|
|Ridgewood||June 2, 1883||1924|
|4.50||Glendale||June 1869||March 16, 1998|
|July 1868||March 16, 1998|
part of Morris Park Facility
originally Van Wyck Avenue, then Berlin
|Union Hall Street
earlier New York Avenue
|Canal Street||June 24, 1890||1899|
earlier Rockaway Junction
|June 24, 1890||ca. 1930?|
|St. Albans||July 1, 1898||present|
|1870s||October 30, 1979|
earlier Foster's Meadow
|May 1870||present (Atlantic Branch only)|
|6.95||Valley Stream||June 1869||present (Atlantic Branch only)|
originally Pearsall's Corners, then Pearsall's
|October 28, 1867||present|
|9.81||Rockville Centre||October 28, 1867||present|
originally Baldwinsville, then Baldwins
|October 28, 1867||present|
|13.18||Freeport||October 28, 1867||present|
|14.90||Merrick||October 28, 1867||present|
|October 28, 1867||present|
|Seaford||May 26, 1899||present|
earlier South Oyster Bay
|October 28, 1867||present|
|Massapequa Park||December 3, 1933||present|
|21.89||Amityville||October 28, 1867||present|
|Belmont Junction||January 1875||late 1876|
originally Wellwood, then Breslau
|September 1, 1868||present|
|October 28, 1867||present|
originally Penataquit, then Bayshore
|May 20, 1868||present|
|32.80||Islip Centre||December 1, 1868||June 1869|
|33.73||Islip||September 5, 1868||present|
|Club House||May 1870||1897|
|Blue Point||May 1870
|June 1, 1882
|Hagerman||October 1890||1928 or 1929|
originally Accobomac then Brewster Place
|50.21||Brookhaven||1884||October 6, 1958|
|Mastic–Shirley||July 15, 1960||present|
|1882||July 15, 1960|
|1881||March 16, 1998|
|58.37||East Moriches||1897||October 6, 1958|
|March 1870||October 6, 1958|
|67.67||Quogue||June 1875||March 16, 1998|
earlier Good Ground
|76.00||Shinnecock Hills||1887||September 1932|
earlier Golf Grounds
May 24, 1976
March 16, 1998
earlier Water Mill
|Napeague Beach||1895||December 5, 1927|
|Fanny Bartlett||1924||December 31, 1928|
|Promised Land||1924||December 31, 1928|
- MTA LIRR – LIRR Map
- LIRR Montauk Branch Timetable
- Sengupta, Somini (1998-03-15). "End of the Line for L.I.R.R.'s 10 Loneliest Stops". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-24. "After 122 years, Glendale saw its last train on Friday."
- Block Operator Chris Soundy hooping some of the last orders from “PD” tower to the engineer of eastbound DE-30ac #420 (Photo: by Pat Masterson May 4, 2006
- Long Island Railroad Company, Long Island and where to Go, 1877
- "Long Island". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 22, 1877. p. 1.
- "Railroad Changes". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 27, 1876. p. 2.
- Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I., 1961
- "Railroad Reorganization". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). March 15, 1880. p. 10.
- "Railroad Dedication". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 6, 1870. p. 2.
- "Another Link". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 22, 1881. p. 4.
- "Golden Days". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 1, 1881. p. 4.
- "A Forest Fire". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 13, 1896. p. 4.
- "Latest Long Island News". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 1, 1895. p. 7.
- "The Fall Time Table". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). September 7, 1895. p. 7.
- "New Block Signals". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). March 8, 1896. p. 7.
- Arrt's Arrchives: Babylon Electrification
- PDF, June 2004 Edition
- Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part Two: The Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad, ©1963
- Station pages linked from LIRR Map
- "Long Island Railroad's Summer Schedule". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 30, 1897. p. 8.
- "Rapid Transit Extension". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 24, 1890. p. 1.
- Arrt's Archives, LIRR Timetable from 1869
- Unofficial LIRR History Website (Babylon/Montauk Branch Stations)
- Earliest Stations of the LIRR (LIRR Unofficial History Website)
- The LIRR Says Goodbye to the Lower Montauk Branch (The LIRR Today)
- The Cannonball (The LIRR Today)
- Montauk Branch (The LIRR Today)