Babylon Branch train #108 departs the Lynbrook Station, bound for Babylon.
|System||Long Island Rail Road|
|Locale||Nassau, and Suffolk County, New York, USA|
|Opening||1867 (as part of the Southern 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||750 V (DC) third rail|
The Babylon Branch is a rail service operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The term refers to the trains serving Montauk Branch stations from Valley Stream east to Babylon. (In other words, "Babylon Branch" is the railroad's designation for a set of trains that run along the Montauk Branch. There is no track called the "Babylon Branch".) The electrification of the Montauk Branch ends east of the Babylon station, so the Babylon Branch is mostly served by electric trains.
The west end of the "Babylon Branch" is the junction between the West Hempstead Branch and Montauk Branch (Valley Interlocking); St Albans, the only stop on the Montauk Branch west of Valley Stream, is shown in the West Hempstead Branch timetable. Trains that continue past the east end of the Babylon Branch are known as Montauk Branch trains; several of these use the Central Branch between Belmont Junction west of the Babylon station and a junction at Beth Interlocking on the Main Line southeast of the Bethpage Station, running to New York City via the Main Line. On weekends, Babylon Branch trains typically stop at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens in the eastbound direction as opposed to other Main Line trains that serve other branches.
The Babylon Branch portion of the Montauk Branch is completely grade separated with bridges over all intersecting roadways. Route 231 in between Babylon and the electrified yard, and the Meadowbrook Parkway in between Merrick and Freeport go over the tracks, with the tracks going under those roadways.
The South Side Railroad of Long Island in the 1860s built what was to become the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The Babylon Branch as a separate operational entity began as the electrification of the Montauk Branch between Valley Stream and Babylon on May 20, 1925. Eventually, this would also include the former "Springfield Branch" which the Montauk Branch was relocated to northeast of Springfield Junction. The tracks were elevated from ground-level from the 1950s through the 1970s. Elevation of the line sparked grass-roots efforts to preserve the previous versions of Wantagh and Lindendurst Stations, the former of which resulted in the creation of the Wantagh Railroad Museum. The last station to be elevated on the branch was Massapequa Park on December 13, 1980.
Since the 1990s, many station houses along the branch have been rebuilt, including the entire platform at Seaford from July 2008 to July 2009. Additionally, from July 2007 to April 10, 2011 the signals, switches, and gantries were replaced between the Wantagh Interlocking and Amityville Station, with color light signals replacing the old PRR-style position-light signals installed during the elevation of that section in 1973. Plans for the future include the modernization of Babylon Interlocking, viaduct track replacement at certain stations, replacement of platforms, escalators, and elevators at Babylon, Massapequa, and Wantagh (which will have an elevator installed to comply with ADA standards). There is also the possibility of Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copiague, and Lindenhurst receiving elevators to make them ADA accessible, and installation of a pocket track east of Massapequa.
- MTA LIRR - LIRR Map
- LIRR Babylon Branch Timetable
- LIRR Grade Crossing Elimination Projects (TraisnAreFun.com)
- Station pages linked from LIRR Stations
- "Rapid Transit Extension". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 24, 1890. p. 1.
- Long Island Railroad Station History (TrainsAreFun.com)
- Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I., © 1961
- Baldwinsville Station (Arrt's Arrchives)
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