Montauk Branch

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     Montauk Branch
LIRR Cannonball train 2798.jpg
The Cannonball runs express through Bay Shore to the Hamptons along the Montauk Branch.
Type Commuter rail, freight rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Status Operational
Locale Long Island, New York, USA
Termini Long Island City
Stations 33
  Montauk Branch
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 12 in (1,435 mm)
Montauk Branch
NY Waterway
1.9 mi (3.1 km) Long Island City NYCS 7 NYCS 7d
Main Line (east)
Lower Montauk
Penny Bridge closed 1998
Haberman closed 1998
Bushwick Branch freight only
Fresh Pond closed 1998
Bay Ridge Branch/New York Connecting Railroad
Glendale closed 1998
Richmond Hill closed 1998
Atlantic Branch (west)
Morris Park Facility
Main Line (west)
AirTrain JFK Zone 1/Zone 3
11.3 mi (18.2 km) Jamaica NYCS E NYCS J NYCS Z
Atlantic Branch (east)
Main Line (east)
14.0 mi (22.5 km) St. Albans
Queens/Nassau County border Zone 3/Zone 4
West Hempstead Branch
Long Beach Branch (west)
19.5 mi (31.4 km) Lynbrook
Zone 4/Zone 7
Long Beach Branch (east)
20.9 mi (33.6 km) Rockville Centre
22.9 mi (36.9 km) Baldwin
24.1 mi (38.8 km) Freeport
25.9 mi (41.7 km) Merrick
27.2 mi (43.8 km) Bellmore
28.2 mi (45.4 km) Wantagh
29.4 mi (47.3 km) Seaford
30.3 mi (48.8 km) Massapequa
31.0 mi (49.9 km) Massapequa Park
Nassau/Suffolk County border Zone 7/Zone 9
32.9 mi (52.9 km) Amityville
34.0 mi (54.7 km) Copiague
35.5 mi (57.1 km) Lindenhurst
Central Branch
32.2 mi (51.8 km) Babylon
Zone 9/Zone 10
42.3 mi (68.1 km) Bay Shore Fire Island Ferries
44.8 mi (72.1 km) Islip
46.9 mi (75.5 km) Great River
49.0 mi (78.9 km) Oakdale
51.5 mi (82.9 km) Sayville Sayville Ferry Service
55.6 mi (89.5 km) Patchogue Davis Park Ferry
Zone 10/Zone 12
59.4 mi (95.6 km) Bellport
64.0 mi (103.0 km) Mastic–Shirley
Manorville Branch abandoned 1949
Eastport closed 1958
73.1 mi (117.6 km) Speonk
Zone 12/Zone 14
75.9 mi (122.1 km) Westhampton
83.7 mi (134.7 km) Hampton Bays
90.9 mi (146.3 km) Southampton
96.1 mi (154.7 km) Bridgehampton
Sag Harbor Branch abandoned 1939
103 mi (166 km) East Hampton
106 mi (171 km) Amagansett
117 mi (188 km) Montauk

The Babylon Branch is highlighted.
Distances shown from New York Pennsylvania Station.

Logo of the Cannonball express train

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.[1][2]

Route description[edit]

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 this stretch (Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman, and Penny Bridge) were closed on March 13, 1998,[3] due to low ridership and incompatibility with then-new C3 bi-level coach cars that can only use high platforms (only Richmond Hill had an actual platform, the other four stations' platforms were actually pavement strips beside the tracks). In November 2012, passenger train service on the Lower Montauk ceased and full control was transferred to the New York and Atlantic Railway for freight operations.[4]

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 40°42′21″N 73°47′04″W / 40.70585°N 73.7845°W / 40.70585; -73.7845 and turns southeast to swing parallel to the Atlantic Branch at 40°40′01″N 73°44′49″W / 40.667°N 73.747°W / 40.667; -73.747. The Montauk Branch east of Jamaica is 0.7 mile longer than the Atlantic.

88th Street grade crossing over the Lower Montauk Branch; Woodhaven Boulevard overpass in background.
Lower Montauk passing over Grand Avenue, Queens

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 Penn Station (originally Hunterspoint Avenue) and running non-stop to 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.[5]

The Montauk Branch encounters 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[edit]

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.[6] 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,[7] Southern Railroad of Long Island Division, or simply Southern Division.[8] 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.[9] The old line between Jamaica and Springfield, which became freight-only, was renamed the Old Southern Road.[10] The Southern was reorganized as the Brooklyn and Montauk Railroad in 1879,[11] and on March 14, 1880, the name was changed from the Southern Division to the Montauk Division.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] The Sag Harbor Branch east of Eastport became part of the Montauk Division,[15] and the old line from Manor (Manorville) to Eastport became the Manor Branch.[16] An extension to Montauk, splitting off the old Sag Harbor Branch at Bridgehampton, opened to Amagansett on June 1, 1895[17] and to Montauk by September,[18] and the line between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor reverted to the old Sag Harbor Branch name.[19]

Babylon electrification: 1925 to present[edit]

Electrification of the Montauk Division from Jamaica to Babylon was completed on May 20, 1925,[20] and normal operation began the next day.[21] The Central Extension between Bethpage and Babylon was reopened for freight trains that had run via the Montauk Division.[22]

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.


West Hempstead Branch trains split off after St. Albans. Babylon Branch trains terminate at Babylon, while Montauk Branch trains continue beyond.

Jamaica is about 11.25 miles (18 km) from Penn Station.

from Jamaica[23]
Connections / Notes
Long Island City Handicapped/disabled access
Long Island City
9 Subway: 7 <7> trains at Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue
Bus: Q103
NY Waterway
Jamaica Handicapped/disabled access
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
AirTrain JFK
St. Albans
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
Lynbrook Handicapped/disabled access
Sunrise Highway and Peninsula Boulevard, Lynbrook
8.7 (14.0) LIRR: Long Beach Branch trains
Nassau Inter-County Express: n4, n25, n31, n32, n36
Rockville Centre Handicapped/disabled access
North Village Avenue and Front Street, Rockville Centre
10.3 (16.6) Nassau Inter-County Express: n14, n15, n16
Baldwin Handicapped/disabled access
Sunrise Highway and Grand Avenue, Baldwin
12.2 (19.6) Nassau Inter-County Express: n35
Freeport Handicapped/disabled access
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)
Merrick Handicapped/disabled access
Sunrise Highway, between Hewlett Avenue and Merrick Avenue, Merrick
15.1 (24.3) Nassau Inter-County Express: n51
Bellmore Handicapped/disabled access
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
Massapequa Handicapped/disabled access
Sunrise Highway east of Broadway (New York State Route 107), Massapequa
19.7 (31.7) Nassau Inter-County Express: n54, n55, n80, n81
Massapequa Park
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
Babylon Handicapped/disabled access
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)
Bay Shore Handicapped/disabled access
Park Avenue and Oak Street, Bay Shore
31.7 (51.0) Ferries to Fire Island
Islip Handicapped/disabled access
Islip Avenue (NYS Route 111), between Sunrise Highway and Montauk Highway, Islip
34.1 (54.9)
Great River Handicapped/disabled access
Connetquot Avenue and Hawthorne Avenue, Great River
36.2 (58.3)
Oakdale Handicapped/disabled access
Montauk Highway and Oakdale-Bohemia Road, Oakdale
38.4 (61.8)
Sayville Handicapped/disabled access
Lakeland Avenue and Depot Street, Sayville
40.8 (65.7) Ferries to Fire Island
Patchogue Handicapped/disabled access
Division Street between West Avenue and South Ocean Avenue, Patchogue
44.9 (72.3) Ferries to Fire Island
Bellport Handicapped/disabled access
Station Road and Montauk Highway, Bellport
48.8 (78.5)
Mastic–Shirley Handicapped/disabled access
William Floyd Parkway and Northern Boulevard, Shirley
53.3 (85.8)
Speonk Handicapped/disabled access
Phillips Avenue and Depot Road, Speonk
62.6 (100.7)
Westhampton Handicapped/disabled access
Station Road and Depot Road, Westhampton
65.3 (105.1)
Hampton Bays Handicapped/disabled access
Ponquogue Avenue and Good Ground Road, Hampton Bays
72.2 (116.2)
Southampton Handicapped/disabled access
North Main Street, between Prospect Street and Willow Street, Southampton
80.3 (129.2)
Bridgehampton Handicapped/disabled access
Maple Lane and Butter Lane, Bridgehampton
85.0 (136.8)
East Hampton Handicapped/disabled access
Railroad Avenue, between Newtown Lane and Race Lane, East Hampton
91.9 (147.9)
Amagansett Handicapped/disabled access
Main Street and Abrahams Landing Road, Amagansett
95.3 (153.4)
Montauk Handicapped/disabled access
Edgemere Street and Fort Pond Road, Montauk
106.8 (171.9)

Full list, including all former stations[edit]

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[3]
Laurel Hill 1890 1900
Haberman September 1910 March 16, 1998[3]
Maspeth February 1895 1924 or 1925
5.73[24] Fresh Pond
earlier Bushwick Junction
June 1869 March 16, 1998[3]
4.50[24] Glendale June 1869 March 16, 1998[3]
Ridgewood June 2, 1883 1924
2.64[24] Richmond Hill
earlier Clarenceville
July 1868 March 16, 1998[3]
part of Morris Park Facility
c. 1900
1.06[24] Dunton
originally Van Wyck Avenue, then Berlin
June 1869
June 1876
November 1939
0.00 Jamaica 1836 present
Union Hall Street
earlier New York Avenue
ca. 1890 1976
Canal Street June 24, 1890[25] 1899
0.97[24] Hillside
earlier Rockaway Junction
June 24, 1890[25] ca. 1930?
St. Albans July 1, 1898 present
3.65[24] Springfield Gardens
earlier Springfield
1870s October 30, 1979
5.05[24] Rosedale
earlier Foster's Meadow
May 1870 present (Atlantic Branch only)
6.95[24] Valley Stream June 1869 present (Atlantic Branch only)
8.52[24] Lynbrook
originally Pearsall's Corners, then Pearsall's
October 28, 1867 present
9.81[24] Rockville Centre October 28, 1867 present
11.83[24] Baldwin
originally Baldwinsville, then Baldwins
October 28, 1867 present
13.18[24] Freeport October 28, 1867 present
14.90[24] Merrick October 28, 1867 present
16.17[24] Bellmore May 1870 present
17.20[24] Wantagh
earlier Ridgewood
October 28, 1867 present
Seaford May 26, 1899 present
19.00[24] Massapequa
earlier South Oyster Bay
October 28, 1867 present
Massapequa Park December 3, 1933 present
Unqua 1880 1881
21.89[24] Amityville October 28, 1867 present
Copiague 1902 present
Belmont Junction January 1875 late 1876
24.45[24] Lindenhurst
originally Wellwood, then Breslau
September 1, 1868 present
27.19[24] Babylon
earlier Seaside
October 28, 1867 present
31.30[24] Bay Shore
originally Penataquit, then Bayshore
May 20, 1868 present
32.80[26] Islip Centre December 1, 1868 June 1869
33.73[24] Islip September 5, 1868 present
Club House May 1870 1897
Great River 1897 present
38.03[24] Oakdale December 1868 present
40.46[24] Sayville December 1868 present
42.37[24] Bayport March 1869 1980
Blue Point May 1870
June 1900
June 1, 1882
44.54[24] Patchogue April 1869 present
East Patchogue
Hagerman October 1890 1928 or 1929
48.38[24] Bellport
originally Accobomac then Brewster Place[27]
1882 present
50.21[24] Brookhaven 1884 October 6, 1958
Mastic–Shirley July 15, 1960 present
54.30[24] Mastic
earlier Forge
1882 July 15, 1960
56.94[24] Center Moriches
earlier Moriches
1881 March 16, 1998
58.37[24] East Moriches 1897 October 6, 1958
60.54[24] Eastport
earlier Moriches
March 1870 October 6, 1958
62.07[24] Speonk February 1870 present
64.93[24] Westhampton 1870 present
67.67[24] Quogue June 1875 March 16, 1998
East Quogue
earlier Atlanticville[28]
1871 c.1883
72.69[24] Hampton Bays
earlier Good Ground
February 1871 present
Canoe Place 1935 1953
Suffolk Downs 1907 1921
76.00[24] Shinnecock Hills 1887 September 1932
Southampton Campus
earlier Golf Grounds
April 1907
May 24, 1976
March 16, 1998
79.85[24] Southampton February 1871 present
82.52[24] Watermill
earlier Water Mill
1875 ca. 1968[27]
85.11[24] Bridgehampton June 1870 present
87.61[24] Wainscott 1898 1938
91.55[24] East Hampton
earlier Easthampton
1895 present
94.71[24] Amagansett 1895 present
Napeague Beach 1895 December 5, 1927
Fanny Bartlett 1924 December 31, 1928
Promised Land 1924 December 31, 1928
106.34[24] Montauk 1895 present


  1. ^ MTA LIRR – LIRR Map
  2. ^ LIRR Montauk Branch Timetable
  3. ^ a b c d e f 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." 
  4. ^ The LIRR Says Goodbye to the Lower Montauk (The LIRR Today; March 15, 2013)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ PRR Chronology, 1870 PDF (57.0 KiB), January 2005 Edition
  7. ^ Long Island Railroad Company, Long Island and where to Go, 1877
  8. ^ "Long Island". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 22, 1877. p. 1. 
  9. ^ "Railroad Changes". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 27, 1876. p. 2. 
  10. ^ Electrification of the "Old Southern Road" between Jamaica and Springfield Junction; October 3, 1905 (Arrt's Arrchives)
  11. ^ Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I., 1961
  12. ^ "Railroad Reorganization". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). March 15, 1880. p. 10. 
  13. ^ "Railroad Dedication". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 6, 1870. p. 2. 
  14. ^ "Another Link". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 22, 1881. p. 4. 
  15. ^ "Golden Days". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 1, 1881. p. 4. 
  16. ^ "A Forest Fire". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 13, 1896. p. 4. 
  17. ^ "Latest Long Island News". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 1, 1895. p. 7. 
  18. ^ "The Fall Time Table". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). September 7, 1895. p. 7. 
  19. ^ "New Block Signals". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). March 8, 1896. p. 7. 
  20. ^ Arrt's Arrchives: Babylon Electrification
  21. ^ PRR Chronology, PRR Chronology, 1925 PDF, June 2004 Edition
  22. ^ Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part Two: The Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad, ©1963
  23. ^ Station pages linked from LIRR Map
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq "Long Island Railroad's Summer Schedule". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 30, 1897. p. 8. 
  25. ^ a b "Rapid Transit Extension". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 24, 1890. p. 1. 
  26. ^ Arrt's Archives, LIRR Timetable from 1869
  27. ^ a b Unofficial LIRR History Website (Babylon/Montauk Branch Stations)
  28. ^ Earliest Stations of the LIRR (LIRR Unofficial History Website)

External links[edit]

Media related to Montauk Branch (category) at Wikimedia Commons