An Eastern Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Long Island Rail Road

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Logo during
Pemmsy Years
The Long Island Rail Road (LI) or LIRR is a class 1 commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, servicing around 81 million passengers each year, and the oldest US railroad still operating under its original name and charter. There are 124 stations on the LIRR, and more than 700 miles of track on its two lines to the two forks of the island and eight major branches. Each weekday, the LIRR provides more than 280,000 rides to customers. From the early 1900's it was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad but operated as a separate identity.
Long Islaand
April 27, 1952

Note that Pennsy logo
has been eliminated
It is now publicly owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has styled it MTA Long Island Rail Road. In addition to commuter trains, the LIRR runs trains for travelers to eastern Long Island, including the express Cannonball to the Hamptons, operated since the 1890s. Freight service on the system has been operated by the New York and Atlantic Railway since 1997, including four freight-only branches and Bay Ridge Yard in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On May 17, 2007, Long Island Rail Road was awarded a Bronze E. H. Harriman Award for its safety record in 2006. (wik/rp)
Timeline of the Long Island Railroad (ra,wik,rp)

tThe Early Years
1832 - On April 26 the Brooklyn and Jamaica RR Company was incorporated and started building its ten-mile long route from the East River in Brooklyn along Atlantic Ave. to Jamaica.
1834 - On April 24 the Long Island Rail Road Company was formed.
The original purpose of the LIRR was to create a rail/ferry/rail connection from New York to Boston. The route was to be via rail to LI's North Fork then by boat to Stonington, Connecticut where it would continue by rail through Providence and Boston. At that time, engineers had considered it impossible to build a totally overland route through the hills of southern Connecticut.
1836 - On April 18 the B&J was completed and immediately was leased by the LIRR, which started laying its own rails east from Jamaica. The LI then built down the less populated flat lands in the center of Long Island ignoring populated shore regions.
1837 - LI reaches Hicksville.
1839 - Branch line from Mineola to HJempstead built.
1841 - Main line reaches Farmingdaale.
1842 - Completed to Deer Park.
1842 - The Main Line is extended to Central Islip.
1844 - Lines east to Medford and rails being laid west from Greenport. New York to Boston rail-ferry-rail service commences.
1844 - On July 27 the first three trains made the run from Brooklyn to Greenport in an amazing 3-1/2 hours.
1844 -- The Atlantic Ave. tunnel is built allowing trains to go all the way to the East River, replacing the horse-pulled cars previously used.
1844-50 - Things go well for LI.
1850 - The "impossible" rail route through Connecticut was built and the LI's main reason for existence disappeared.
1850's - LI had only one branch line, to Hempstead and so went into a series of bankruptcies. It became apparent that more local service was the way to survive.
1854 - The LIRR builds a branch from Hickville to Syosset. This line will eventually continue to Port Jefferson and Wading River but progress is slow.
1854 - The LIRR's first competitor, the Flushing Railroad, builds its line from Hunter's Point to Flushing.
1860 - Steam railroads are banned from the City of Brooklyn. The Atlantic Ave. line reverts to horsecars from the river to East NY. Portion from ENY to Jamaica taken over by Brooklyn, Central and Jamaica RR. In its place the LIRR bulds a line west through Woodside to Hunter's Point (Main Line).
1864 - The LIRR builds a branch north from Mineola to Glen Head. This line will eventually continue to Oyster Bay.
1860-1880 Long Island expansion and Competition
late 1860's - By this time several competitive railroad companies sprung up and began building their own routes to fill the void. Many of these companies were sold or leased to the LI
1866 - The North Shore RR, builds a line from Flushing to Great Neck. This line will eventually continue to Port Washington. It was leased and operated by the Flushing & NY RR (former Flushing RR).
1867 - Another competitor of the LIRR, the South Side RR of LI, is formed and builds a line from Jamaica to Babylon.
1867 - The LIRR extends the Port Jefferson line to Northport.
1868 -The South Side RR extends east from Babylon to Islip and west from Jamaica to Bushwick.
1868 - The LIRR extends the Oyster Bay line from Glen Head to Glen Cove.
1869 - Another competitor, The Flushing and North Side RR, bullds a line from Hunter's Point to Flushing.
1869 - The South Side extends from Islip to Patchogue, starts using steam dummies to replace horsecars from Bushwick to the East River, and builds a branch from Valley Stream to Far Rockaway.
1870 - The South Side leases a new RR, from Valley Stream to Hempstead , built by the NY & Hempstead (Plains) RR.
1870 - The South Side extends the Rockaway line to Beach House.
1870 - The LIRR builds a branch from Manor(ville) to Sag Harbor. This line will eventually continue to Montauk.
1872 - LIRR builds branch, NY&Rockaway RR, from Hillside to Far Rockaway (later known as Cedarhurst Cutoff).
1872 - South Side extends from Beach House to Seaside House (Beach 103rd St.); acquires Flushing RR from Hunter's Point to Winfield and connects Fresh Pond and Haberman.
1872 - Central RR of LI builds Flushing to Farmingdale, Garden City to Hempstead and Bethpage Jct. to Bethpage.
1873 - LIRR extends from Northport to Port Jefferson.
1873 - Central RR Extension Co. extends from Farmingdale to Babylon town dock.
1874 - LIRR builds the Newtown and Flushing RR, better known as the White Line (for the color of the cars) from Winfield to Flushing. This line ended up being the shortest lived of all the many RR's on Long Island, being abandoned in 1876 (although horse cars were later used until about 1880).
1874 - The Flushing & North Side completes its Woodside Branch, officially the Flushing and Woodside RR, which used a more northern route to get from Woodside to Flushing, following approximately what is now Northern Blvd.
1875 - LIRR extends Oyster Bay line from Glen Cove to Locust Valley.
1875 - The South Side extends its Rockaway Line to Seaside House (Beach 116th St.
1875 - The ROW of the former Flusing RR (later the NY&Flushing RR) from Haberman to Winfield is abandoned for passenger service - fright service continues for a couple of years before the tracks are torn up.
1876 - The three main competitors - the LIRR, the Flushing, North Shore and Central RR, and the South Side RR are all united under common ownership - the Poppenhusen Family, which previously owned the NS&C.
1876 - The White Line is abandoned for regular passenger service although it was connected with the Central branch for special trains to serve the Creedmoor Rifle Range.
1876 - The portion of the South Side's Bushwick line from Bushwick to the East River ferry is also abandoned. A new RR, the NY, Bay Ridge and Jamaica RR Co. is formed from the "ashes" of the NY & Hempstead RR (which first started building a failed version of the Bay Ridge branch back in 1870 - but they did build the branch from Valley Stream to Hempstead and completes the portion of the Bay Ridge branch from the Ferry at 65th St. to Bath Junction. They negotiate a lease with the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island RR (today's West End Line of the NYC Subway System), to use their tracks to get to Coney Island.
1877 - The NY and Manhattan Beach Railway is formed by Austin Corbin, takes over the NYBR&J and completes the Bay Ridge line to East New York. They also build a line to Manhattan Beach.
1877 - After an absence of 17 years, steam trains return to Brooklyn, but the line now only goes to Flatbush Ave.
1878 - The Glendale and East River RR (part of the NY & Manhattan Beach Ry) is formed and builds what is now the Evergreen branch from East NY to a terminal at the East river in Greenpoint.
1878 - The Kings County Central RR (also part of the NY&MBRy) is built from Parkville to Prospect Park. This line will close down later this same year, never to run again.
1879 - The Hempstead Branch of the old South Side RR (originally built by the NY and Hempstead Plains RR) is abandoned.
1880 - The New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway RR is built from Fresh Pond to Rockaway Beach
1880 - The New York and Long Beach RR is built from Lynbrook to Long Beach.
Post1880 expansions under Austin Corbin
881 - Patchogue to Eastport.
1882 - The LIRR took over the NY, Brooklyn and Manhattan Beach RR, which had been built in 1876.
1889 - , Locust Valley to Oyster Bay.
1895 - Bridgehampton to Montauk.
1895 - Port Jefferson to Wading River.
1898 - Great Neck to Port Washington.
The Early Pennsylvania years
1900 - The Pennsylvania Railroad bought controlling interest in the LI. The wealthy PRR subsidized the LIRR during the first half of the new century, allowing much expansion and modernization. The Pennsy planned to connect New Jersey and Long Island cities with each other and with central New York City, and to provide long distance services from Long Islaand and New York City to the rest of the country.
1901 - In July the LI took control of the NY & Rockaway Beach RR, which ran from Glendale Junction to Rockaway Park over a long trestle over Jamaica Bay.
1901-31 - Many grade eliminations, realignments station improvements, yard additions and improvements and electrifications were made to provide rapid transit and freight services on the LI. Most of the western sections of the LI were electrified.
1906-10 - Construction of the East River Tunnels.
1910 - Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan opened.
1910 - The final portion of this line, from White Pot Junction in Rego Park to Glendale Junction was built.
Later Years of the Long Island Railroad
1940-50's - The LI replaced steam with diesel-electric locomotimes which operated primarily on the eastern ends of the system.
cir 1945 - By the end of the Second World War, however, the downturn in the railroad industry and dwindling profits caused the PRR to relinquish the LI from its payroll.
1949 - The bankrupt LI went into receivership.
1950-60's - The State of New York, realizing how important the railroad was to the future of Long Island, began to subsidize the railroad gradually.
1966,- New York State bought the railroad's controlling stock from the PRR and put it under the newly formed Metropolitan Transportation Authority. With MTA subsidies, the LIRR modernized further and grew into the busiest commuter railroad in the United States.
1997 - Freight service on the system is operated by the New York and Atlantic Railway including four freight-only branches and Bay Ridge Yard in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Long Island Railroad

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guides- Various editions
Long Island We Ring-Robert W. Anderson- LI Timeline (ra)
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks


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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, June 20, 2009, revised June 20, 2011