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.
Overview
Type Commuter rail, freight rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Status Operational
Locale Long Island, New York, USA
Termini Long Island City
Montauk
Stations 33
Services
  Montauk Branch
Operation
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (passenger)
New York and Atlantic Railway (freight)
Technical
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.

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.

History[edit]

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.


Stations[edit]

West Hempstead Branch trains split off after St. Albans. Babylon Branch trains terminate at Babylon, while Montauk Branch trains continue beyond. Many non-electric Montauk Branch trains that run express between Jamaica and Babylon run via the Main Line and Central Branch.

Zone Station Miles (km)
from Penn Station[23]
Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes
1 Long Island City Handicapped/disabled access 1.9 (3.1) June 26, 1854 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS 7 NYCS 7d (at Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue)
Bus transport MTA Bus: Q103
BSicon BOOT.svg NY Waterway: East River Ferry
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
Fresh Pond June 1869 March 16, 1998[3] Originally Bushwick Junction
Glendale June 1869 March 16, 1998[3]
Ridgewood June 2, 1883 1924
Richmond Hill July 1868 March 16, 1998[3] Originally Clarenceville
Shops c. 1900 1913 Part of the Morris Park Facility
Dunton June 1869
June 1876
June 1876
November 1939
Originally Van Wyck Avenue, then Berlin
3 Jamaica Handicapped/disabled access 10.8 (17.4) 1836 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR; Atlantic, Babylon, Belmont Park, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS E NYCS J NYCS Z (at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56
Bus transport MTA Bus: Q6, Q8, Q9, Q25, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q60, Q65
Bus transport NICE Bus: N4
BSicon TRAM.svg AirTrain JFK: Jamaica Station Route
Union Hall Street ca. 1890 1976 Originally New York Avenue
Canal Street June 24, 1890[24] 1899
Hillside June 24, 1890[24] July 1, 1966 Originally Rockaway Junction
St. Albans 13.6 (21.9) July 1, 1898[25] Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q4
Springfield Gardens 1870s October 30, 1979 Originally Springfield
Atlantic Branch converges at Springfield Junction
Rosedale 15.8 (25.4) May 1870 Served by Atlantic Branch trains
Originally Foster's Meadow
Queens / Nassau County border
4
Valley Stream Handicapped/disabled access 17.9 (28.8) June 1869[11] Served by Atlantic Branch trains
Lynbrook Handicapped/disabled access 19.5 (31.4) October 28, 1867[11] BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Long Beach Branch
Bus transport NICE Bus: N4, N25, N31, N32, N36
Originally Pearsall's Corners, then Pearsall's
7 Rockville Centre Handicapped/disabled access 21.1 (34.0) October 28, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N14, N15, N16
Baldwin Handicapped/disabled access 23.0 (37.0) October 28, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N35
Originally Baldwinsville,[26] then Baldwins
Freeport Handicapped/disabled access 24.5 (39.4) October 28, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N4, N19, N36, N40, N41, N43, N62, N88 (summer only)
Merrick Handicapped/disabled access 25.9 (41.7) October 28, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N51
Bellmore Handicapped/disabled access 27.4 (44.1) October 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: N45, N46, N50
Wantagh 27.8 (44.7) October 28, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N73, N74
Originally Ridgewood
Seaford Handicapped/disabled access 29.5 (47.5) May 26, 1899 Bus transport NICE Bus: N54
Massapequa Handicapped/disabled access 30.5 (49.1) October 26, 1867 Bus transport NICE Bus: N54, N55, N80, N81
Originally South Oyster Bay
Massapequa Park 30.8 (49.6) December 3, 1933 Bus transport NICE Bus: N54, N55, N80, N81
Unqua 1880 1881
Nassau County / Suffolk County border
9 Amityville 33.1 (53.3) 1868 Bus transport NICE Bus: N54
Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: 1A, S1, S33
Copiague 34.2 (55.0) 1902 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: 1B, S20, S31
Belmont Junction January 1875 late 1876
Lindenhurst 35.5 (57.1) October 28, 1867 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: 1B, S20, S35
Originally Wellwood, then Breslau
Central Branch converges
Babylon Handicapped/disabled access 38.4 (61.8) October 28, 1867[11] BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Montauk Branch
Bus transport NICE Bus: N19, N72
Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S20, S23, S25, S27, S29, S40, S42, S47 (summer only)
Terminus of electrification
Originally Seaside[11]
10 Bay Shore Handicapped/disabled access 42.5 (68.4) May 28, 1868 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S40, S41, S42, S45, 2A, 2B
BSicon BOOT.svg Fire Island Ferries to Fire Island (1 mile south)
Originally Penataquit, then Bayshore
Islip Centre December 1, 1868 June 1869
Islip Handicapped/disabled access 44.9 (72.3) September 5, 1868 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S42
Club House May 1870 1897
Great River Handicapped/disabled access 47.0 (75.6) 1897 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S40, 3C
Originally Youngsport
Oakdale Handicapped/disabled access 49.2 (79.2) December 1868 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S40
Sayville Handicapped/disabled access 51.6 (83.0) December 1868 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S40, S57, S59
BSicon BOOT.svg Sayville Ferry Service to Fire Island (1.4 miles south)
Bayport March 1869 1980
Blue Point May 1870
June 1900
June 1, 1882
1980
Patchogue Handicapped/disabled access 55.7 (89.6) April 1869 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S40, S54, S61, S63, S66, S68, 7A, 7B
Bus transport Patchogue Village Bus
BSicon BOOT.svg Davis Park Ferry to Fire Island (1 mile south)
East Patchogue
Hagerman October 1890 1929
12 Bellport Handicapped/disabled access 59.6 (95.9) 1882 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S66, S68, 7B
Originally Accobomac then Brewster Place[27]
Brookhaven 1884 October 6, 1958
Mastic–Shirley Handicapped/disabled access 64.1 (103.2) July 15, 1960 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S66, S68, S71, 7D, 7E
Mastic 1882 July 15, 1960 Originally Forge
Center Moriches 1881 March 16, 1998 Originally Moriches
East Moriches 1897 October 6, 1958
Eastport March 1870 October 6, 1958 Originally Moriches
Speonk Handicapped/disabled access 73.4 (118.1) February 1870 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S90
14 Westhampton Handicapped/disabled access 76.1 (122.5) 1870 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S90
Quogue June 1875 March 16, 1998
East Quogue 1871 c.1883 Originally Atlanticville[28]
Hampton Bays Handicapped/disabled access 83.0 (133.6) February 1871 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S92, 10B, 10E
Originally Good Ground
Canoe Place 1935 1953
Suffolk Downs 1907 1921
Shinnecock Hills 1887 September 1932
Southampton College April 1907
May 24, 1976
June 12, 1986
1939
March 16, 1998
June 15, 1986
Originally Golf Grounds, then Southampton Campus
Temporarily reopened for the 1986 U.S. Open
Southampton Handicapped/disabled access 91.1 (146.6) February 1871 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S92, 10A
Water Mill 1875 ca. 1968[27] Originally Watermill
Bridgehampton Handicapped/disabled access 95.8 (154.2) June 1870 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S92, 10B
Wainscott 1898 1938
East Hampton Handicapped/disabled access 103.0 (165.8) 1895 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S92, 10B, 10C
Originally Easthampton
Amagansett Handicapped/disabled access 106 (170.6) 1895 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: 10C
Napeague Beach 1895 December 5, 1927
Fanny Bartlett 1924 December 31, 1928
Promised Land 1924 December 31, 1928
Montauk Handicapped/disabled access 117.0 (188.3) 1895 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: 10C

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b c d e 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 Stations
  24. ^ a b "Rapid Transit Extension". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 24, 1890. p. 1. 
  25. ^ Long Island Railroad Station History (TrainsAreFun.com)
  26. ^ Baldwinsville Station (Arrt's Arrchives)
  27. ^ a b Unofficial LIRR History Website (Babylon/Montauk Branch Stations)
  28. ^ Earliest Stations of the LIRR (LIRR Unofficial History Website)