Hempstead Branch

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This article is about the current LIRR service and original branch from Mineola. For the defunct line operated in the 1870s, see Southern Hempstead Branch. For the current form of the Southern Hempstead, see West Hempstead Branch. For the Pennsylvania Railroad line near Dayton, Ohio, see Hempstead Branch (Pennsylvania Railroad).
Hempstead Branch
LIRR Bombardier M-7 7425 train 757.jpg
Hempstead Branch train #757 enters Stewart Manor, due west to Brooklyn.
Type Commuter rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Status Operational
Locale Queens and Nassau County, New York, USA
Termini Jamaica
Stations 9
  Hempstead Branch
Opened 1873 (as part of the Central Railroad of Long Island)
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 750 V (DC) Third rail
Route map
Main Line (west)
16.1 Bellerose
16.9 Floral Park
Main Line (east)
18.1 Stewart Manor
19.1 Nassau Boulevard
20.2 Garden City
Mitchel Field Secondary
Former Oyster Bay Branch diverges
20.8 Country Life Press
Former West Hempstead Branch diverges
22.6 Hempstead

Distances shown in miles from Pennsylvania Station.

The Hempstead Branch is an electrified rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The branch begins at the Main Line at Queens Interlocking, just east of Queens Village station. It parallels the Main Line past Bellerose to Floral Park, where it splits southward and continues east via the village of Garden City to Hempstead Crossing. There it turns south to the final two stations, Country Life Press and Hempstead.

LIRR maps and schedules show Hempstead Branch service continuing west along the Main Line to Jamaica. The Hempstead Branch's trains stop at Hollis and Queens Village stations on the Main Line, but these two stations are not served by any other Main Line branch.[1][2] The line is double tracked to just east of Garden City Station, where it is reduced to one track at Garden Interlocking for the final 1.4 miles to Hempstead station.


The original Hempstead Branch of the LIRR ran south from Mineola, ending just west of the current terminal in Hempstead.[3] It opened on July 4, 1839 as the first branch of the LIRR.[4]

The Central Railroad of Long Island opened from Flushing east to Hempstead Crossing and south to Hempstead on January 8, 1873; the main line east from Hempstead Crossing opened later that year on May 26.[5] The Central Railroad's successor, the Flushing, North Shore and Central Railroad, was leased to the LIRR on May 3, 1876, and in June a connection at Hempstead Crossing was built, allowing trains from Mineola to use the ex-Central's Hempstead Branch; the original LIRR Hempstead Branch was abandoned south of Hempstead Crossing.[6]

Covert Avenue grade crossing

The old Central main line through Hempstead was named the Central Branch by the LIRR, while the line from Mineola on the LIRR's Main Line south past Hempstead Crossing to Hempstead was the Hempstead Branch.[7] The New York Bay Extension Railroad opened the current West Hempstead Branch in 1893,[8] resulting in a realignment of the Hempstead Branch from Hempstead Crossing south to Meadow Street to better connect to the new line.[9]

The current route of the Hempstead Branch, from Queens Village east along the Main Line and Central Branch and south along the Hempstead Branch to Hempstead, was electrified on May 26, 1908.[10] The then-Hempstead Branch north to Mineola was electrified on October 20, 1926, along with the West Hempstead Branch.[11] The line north of Hempstead Crossing last saw passenger service on September 14, 1935,[12] and was abandoned for freight in 1965.[13] Park Interlocking at Floral Park was taken out in the circa-1960 grade crossing elimination; since then Hempstead Branch trains switch off the Main Line at Queens Village and continue next to it to Floral Park. At some point the old Central Branch west of Hempstead Crossing was renamed as part of the Hempstead Branch.[citation needed]


Zone Station Miles (km)
from NYP[14]
Connections / notes
1 For continuing service west of Jamaica, see City Terminal Zone
3 Jamaica Handicapped/disabled access 10.8 (17.4) 1836 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR; Atlantic, Babylon, Belmont Park, Far Rockaway, Long Beach,
Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS-bull-trans-E.svg NYCS-bull-trans-J.svg NYCS-bull-trans-Z.svg (at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44 SBS, 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 1890 1976 Originally New York Avenue
Canal Street 1890 1899
Hillside 1966
Hillside Facility 1991 Employees-only station
Woodhull Park[15] 1890 c. 1905
Willow Tree[16] c. 1837 c. 1871
Hollis 13.4 (21.6) 1885 Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q2, Q3
Bus transport MTA Bus: Q110
Bellaire 1837 1972 Originally Flushing Avenue, then Brushville, then Interstate Park, then Brushville Road
Queens Village 15.0 (24.1) 1881 Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q1, Q27, Q36, Q83, Q88
Bus transport NICE Bus: n24
Belmont Park Branch diverges
Queens / Nassau county line
4 Bellerose 16.1 (25.9) 1898
Floral Park 16.7 (26.9) 1878 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, and Ronkonkoma Branches
Main Line (Port Jefferson Branch) diverges
Stewart Manor Handicapped/disabled access 18.1 (29.1) 1873 Bus transport NICE Bus: n25
Nassau Boulevard Handicapped/disabled access 19.1 (30.7) 1907
Garden City Handicapped/disabled access 20.2 (32.5) 1872 Bus transport NICE Bus: n40, n41
Garden City-Mitchel Field Secondary diverges
Country Life Press Handicapped/disabled access 20.8 (33.5) 1911 Bus transport NICE Bus: N15, N40, N41
Hempstead Handicapped/disabled access 22.6 (36.4) 1872 Bus transport NICE Bus: n6, n6X, n15, n16, n27, n31, n32, n35, n40, n41, n47, n48, n49, n54, n55, n70, n71, n72
Bus transport Short Line Bus: 495


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