Port Jefferson Branch

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     Port Jefferson Branch
Stony Brook (LIRR station) in 2008.jpg
DE30AC #400 enters Stony Brook station westbound from Port Jefferson in 2008.
Overview
Type Commuter rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Status Operational
Locale Nassau and Suffolk County, New York, USA
Termini Floral Park
Port Jefferson
Stations 10
Services
  Port Jefferson Branch
Operation
Opening 1854-1873
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Technical
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 750V (DC) third rail
(west of Huntington)
Route map
Port Jefferson Branch
Main Line (west)
26.8 Hicksville
Main Line (east)
Landia closed 1973
31.0 Syosset
Nassau/Suffolk County Zone 7/Zone 9
34.0 Cold Spring Harbor
36.6 Huntington
39.4 Greenlawn
Northport Branch abandoned 1985
42.5 Northport
Zone 9/Zone 10
45.3 Kings Park
KPPC Branch abandoned 1988
49.0 Smithtown
51.5 St. James
Flowerfield closed 1958
55.1 Stony Brook
Setauket closed 1980
59.4 Port Jefferson
Mount Sinai closed 1938
Miller Place closed 1938
Rocky Point closed 1938
Shoreham closed 1938
Wading River closed 1938

Distances shown in miles from Pennsylvania Station.

The Port Jefferson Branch is a rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The branch splits from the Main Line just east of Hicksville and runs northeast and east to Port Jefferson. Several Main Line stations west of Hicksville are served by trains bound to/from the Port Jefferson branch, so LIRR maps and schedules for the public include that part of the Main Line in the "Port Jefferson Branch" service.

The Port Jefferson Branch is one of the busiest branches of the LIRR, with frequent electric service to Huntington, and diesel service east of Huntington. Many LIRR commuters and the MTA consider the line as the "Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch", due to Huntington being the termination point for electrics.

Service[edit]

Port Jefferson Branch service (as distinct from the piece of railroad called the Port Jefferson Branch) extends east from Floral Park, where the Hempstead Branch separates from the Main Line. The line west of Huntington is electrified and double tracked. Electrification extends to a point east of Huntington before Greenlawn station on a layup track for electric trains. East of there the line is single track with passing sidings at Greenlawn, east of East Northport, Kings Park, Smithtown and Stony Brook.

Stations on the electrified portion that have the heaviest traffic include Mineola, Hicksville, and Huntington. On the non-electrified portion, the heaviest traffic tends to be to the Stony Brook station where the State University of New York at Stony Brook is located.

There are occasional plans to electrify this line past Huntington, at least to Northport, in conjunction with the construction of a planned new electric train yard, to alleviate overcrowding and service limitations on the Ronkonkoma Branch, and to otherwise accommodate increased ridership expected once the East Side Access project to Grand Central Terminal is completed.[1] As of 2006, funding for this project has been deferred to a future capital budget and preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement has been suspended.

Third Main Line track[edit]

A third Main Line track from Bellerose to Mineola has also been proposed in order to provide increased services. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority original proposal was to built the line from Floral Park to Hicksville.[2][3] Components of the project include purchasing properties in the track's right of way, eliminating grade crossings (in conjunction with NYSDOT), relocating existing stations, and reconfiguring Mineola station. Fierce opposition for building a third track came from the villages of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, and Garden City,[4][5][6] which say the construction and the resulting increased train service will reduce the quality of life in their neighborhoods. However, these villages do support station improvements and the elimination of grade crossings. This project has been delayed until 2014 or 2015, when East Side Access nears completion in 2016.

Most Port Jefferson electric trains operate the full route from Penn Station to Huntington. Supplemental service is provided on Ronkonkoma Branch trains to Mineola and Hicksville. Additional service to Mineola is provided by Oyster Bay Branch trains, and some Patchogue-bound Montauk Branch trains also stop at Mineola and Hicksville on weekdays. Also, one Montauk-bound train makes a stop at Hicksville overnight on weeknights. During off-peak hours, including weekends, a diesel shuttle runs between either Hicksville or Huntington and Port Jefferson. During rush hours, there is extra service, including through service to Atlantic Terminal, service to Penn Station that bypasses Jamaica, and direct service to Hunterspoint Avenue, Long Island City, or Penn Station from stations east of Huntington.

History[edit]

The line from Hicksville to Syosset was chartered in 1853 as the Hicksville and Syosset Railroad and opened in 1854. The LIRR later planned to extend to Cold Spring Harbor, but Oliver Charlick, the LIRR's president, disagreed over the station's location, so Charlick abandoned the grade and relocated the extension south of Cold Spring, refusing to add a station stop near Cold Spring for years. Another argument at Huntington led to the line bypassing the town two miles (3 km) to the south, though a station was built. The line was extended from Syosset past Huntington to Northport in 1868,[7] and in 1873 the Smithtown and Port Jefferson Railroad opened from a mile south of Northport to Port Jefferson,[8] turning the old line into Northport into the Northport Branch, the result of another argument between Charlick and Northport.[9]

The Port Jefferson Branch formerly extended to Wading River in 1895, and was once slated to continue eastward and rejoin the Main Line at either Riverhead or Calverton. From 1905 to 1928, Wading River was also the site of an LIRR Demonstration farm. The other one was east of Medford station on the Main Line. The line east of Port Jefferson was abandoned in 1938. The right-of-way is now owned by the Long Island Power Authority and used for power lines but there are plans to create a rail trail for bicycling, running, and walking.[10] The Port Jefferson Branch was electrified to Huntington Station in 1970. The former Northport Branch was abandoned in 1985, and the Kings Park Psychiatric Center spur (see below) was abandoned in 1988.

Kings Park Psychiatric Center Spur[edit]

Kings Park Psychiatric run-off also known as KPPC is an abandoned spur off the Port Jefferson Branch for the Kings Park Psychiatric Center. This spur started just west of Kings Park station, ran north of the station house, crossed Indian Head Road(Suffolk CR 14) and then curved north to cross New York State Route 25A, where it ran along the western edge of the hospital property, and ended at the Hospital's coal power plant.

This spur was first used in 1890's for coal and passenger use on Sundays. The route was the second largest spur in the Long Island Rail Road system when it was first completed. The route came to an end during the late 80's.[11] Nowadays, this abandoned route is a Right-of-way for biking and is open to the public today. Also, today, only small fragments of rail remain as it most of it was removed during the demise of the complex. [12]

On a small note, electrification reached from Mineola to Hicksville & Huntington in 1970. For 15 years from Amott Interlocking east of Syosset Station to west of Huntington it was single-tracked. In 1985, they constructed a second electrified track in that area to avoid the single track bottle neck, this included Cold Spring Harbor adding a second platform.

Electrification to Port Jefferson[edit]

Ever since the branch was electrified to Huntington, the LIRR has always planned on electrifying the rest of the line all the way to Port Jefferson. In the mid-1980s all the stations east of Huntington had hi-level platforms installed for anticipation of the electrification. However it has not happened, but since 2008 the project has gotten the go ahead but it will be delayed due to the LIRR budget and likely the project will not begin anytime soon.

Grade Crossing eliminations; Past and future[edit]

The Port Jefferson Branch has also been known to have the most hazardous grade crossings in the country. In 1982, a van was struck by a diesel train at the Herricks Road crossing in between Mineola and Merillon Avenue. The crossing for many years was dubbed by the NTSB as "The most dangerous crossing in the U.S." In 1998, after a complicated project the crossing was finally eliminated with the tracks now going over a bridge. Other crossings eliminated along the branch include: Mineola Boulevard in Mineola (1930), crossings within Hicksville when the station was elevated in the early 1960s, and Charlotte Avenue in Hicksville (1973). Ten years later Roslyn Road also in Mineola was eliminated in the same fashion. Other hazardous crossings along the branch west of Huntington are Robbins Lane & Jackson Avenue in Syosset, School Street & Urban Avenue in Westbury, Willis Avenue & Main Street in Mineola, and New Hyde Park Road (the most hazardous today[when?]), 12th Street, and Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park. East of Huntington, Main Street in Port Jefferson is considered quite hazardous. There are plans, after a third track is added, for the branch will be fully elevated and grade separated from Hicksville westward.

Stations[edit]

Zone Station Miles (km)
from NYP[13]
Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes
3 For continuing service to Jamaica and points west, see Main Line
4 Floral Park
(limited service)
16.7 (26.9) c. 1870 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Hempstead Branch
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q36, Q79
Bus transport NICE Bus: N24
Originally Plainfield, then Stewart Junction, then Hinsdale, then East Hinsdale
New Hyde Park Handicapped/disabled access 18.0 (29.0) c. 1837 Bus transport NICE Bus: N24, N25
Originally Hyde Park
Merillon Avenue Handicapped/disabled access 19.1 (30.7) 1837 Originally Clowesville, then Garden City
Mineola Handicapped/disabled access 20.3 (32.3) 1837[14] BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Montauk and Oyster Bay Branches
Bus transport NICE Bus: N22, N23, N24, N40, N41, N78, N79
Originally Hempstead, then Branch or Hempstead Branch
Oyster Bay Branch diverges
7 Carle Place Handicapped/disabled access 22.2 (35.7) 1842[15] Bus transport NICE Bus: N22
Originally Carll Place
Westbury Handicapped/disabled access 23.2 (37.3) 1837[14] Bus transport NICE Bus: N22, N35
New Cassel 1875
Hicksville Handicapped/disabled access 26.6 (42.8) 1837[14] BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Ronkonkoma Branch
Bus transport NICE Bus: N20, N22, N48, N49, N50, N73, N74, N78, N79, N80, N81, N87
Main Line (Ronkonkoma Branch) diverges
Landia 1952 1973
Syosset Handicapped/disabled access 30.9 (49.7) 1854
Woodbury 1875 c. 1901 Replaced by Cold Spring Harbor in the early-20th Century
Nassau / Suffolk county line
9 Cold Spring Harbor Handicapped/disabled access 33.7 (54.2) c. 1901
Huntington Handicapped/disabled access 36.5 (58.7) 1868 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S1
Terminus of electrification
Greenlawn Handicapped/disabled access 39.2 (63.1) c. 1868 Bus transport Huntington Area Rapid Transit: H30
Originally Centreport
Former Northport Branch diverges
Northport Handicapped/disabled access 41.4 (66.6) 1873 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S41
Bus transport Huntington Area Rapid Transit: H40
Originally New Northport, then Northport East
10
Former Kings Park Hospital Branch diverges
Kings Park Handicapped/disabled access 45.2 (72.7) 1872 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S56
Originally St. Johnsland
Smithtown Handicapped/disabled access 48.9 (78.9) 1872 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S45, S56, S58
St. James Handicapped/disabled access 51.7 (83.2) 1873
Flowerfield 1910 1958
Stony Brook Handicapped/disabled access 54.9 (88.4) 1873 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S60, S69, S71, S76, 3D
Bus transport SBU Transit: Outer Loop, Railroad Routes 1 & 2
Setauket 1873 c. 1980
Port Jefferson Handicapped/disabled access 59.3 (95.4) 1873 Bus transport Suffolk County Transit: S60, S61, S62, S69, S76, 5A
BSicon BOOT.svg Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry to Bridgeport, CT
The following stations were on the former Wading River Branch which was abandoned on October 3, 1938
Miller Place 1938
Rocky Point 1938
Shoreham 1938
Wading River 1895 1938

References[edit]

  1. ^ Port Jefferson Branch Yard EIS
  2. ^ Main Line Corridor Improvements EIS
  3. ^ Main Line Corridor Improvements Project brochure
  4. ^ Stephanie Mariel Petrellese (2005-11-11). "Floral Park Mayor To Address LIRR Expansion". The Garden City News. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  5. ^ Carisa Keane (2005-06-24). "Residents: MTA/LIRR Needs to Get on Right Track". New Hyde Park Illustrated News. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  6. ^ Stephanie Mariel Petrellese (2006-12-15). "Village Meets With LIRR On "Third Track" Project". The Garden City News. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  7. ^ PRR Chronology, 1868 PDF (93.8 KiB), June 2004 Edition
  8. ^ PRR Chronology, 1873 PDF (100 KiB), February 2005 Edition
  9. ^ Ziel, Ron; Foster, George H. (1987). Steel Rails to the Sunrise. Mattituck: Amereon House. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-8488-0368-X. 
  10. ^ Rather, John (2009-04-10). "Agreement Moves Rails-to-Trails Project Forward". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  11. ^ Mileposts 43-44 Kings Park (Bob Emery Map; September 1957; TrainsAreFun.com)
  12. ^ Kings Park State Hospital Spur (Train Web)
  13. ^ Station pages linked from LIRR Stations
  14. ^ a b c Brooklyn Advocate, Long Island Rail Road, February 1837
  15. ^ "Long Island Railroad Company". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 28, 1842. p. 3. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Port Jefferson Branch (category) at Wikimedia Commons