• Electrification from Mineola to Hicksville and Huntington (1968-1970)

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by MattAmity90
In the mid-1960's the LIRR underwent an overhaul for the greater good. At the time, bankruptcy, an aging fleet dating to the 1930's that was modified in the early-1960's, so Gov. Rockefeller and New York State took the railroad into their own hands by forming what is now the MTA. When that occurred, legislation and bringing the LIRR to what it is today began. This resulted in a new fleet of commuter cars, elevating the rest of the Babylon Branch, the electrification of the Ronkonkoma Branch from Hicksville to said station from 1985-1988 followed by double-tracking it from KO to Farmingdale from 2015-2018, and finally the LIRR Expansion/Third Track project of the Main Line that now sees 3 tracks in service along the busiest 10-miles of railroad on the system that were opened in 3 phases. East Side Access should be completed in a few months, but there is one project that also kicked off that doesn't get a closer look. This would be the electrification project that extended electrified service from Mineola to Hicksville and Huntington from 1968-1970, in fact we are approaching 52 years since that project was completed. Few key bullet points on this project:

1.) First electrification project since the Babylon Branch in 1925.
2.) Added Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington to the short list of stations in Suffolk County that sees electric service.
3.) Alleviated the stress of storing EMU's on side tracks between Mineola and East Williston.
4.) Increased the amount of commuters especially at Hicksville, plus making Hicksville a termination point for trains.
5.) Unfortunately, it was still single-tracked from AMOTT to just West of Huntington (would be modified in the mid-1980's) and spelled the end for Landia.

What I want to do, and if you are willing, is to discuss or point out how the project went compared to other electrification projects, if they opened them in phases, and were they considering other additions that didn't get kickstarted in the process?
  by krispy
MattAmity90 wrote:and were they considering other additions that didn't get kickstarted in the process?
Mid/early 1980's - electrifying to Port Jeff, hence the high platforms and unused platform at Greenlawn. There was a ET/3rd rail thing at old Divide Tower (EO switches) which was thing the ET guys would occasionally call up and ask us to cycle a switch that was the foundation for the third rail system that was never put in.

Electrifying the Central Branch during the Mainline electrification project.

Electrifying east of Babylon. Plans were laid (not sure how far, maybe to PD?) and they did give Bayshore high level platforms at the time.

A lot of plans were made for these and other projects that were never implemented due to other projects running over budget, so these were halted for various reasons and the funding used for other things that popped up. An example was cost overruns at Hillside, etc.

I remember hearing Landia was one of several big companies that used to operate on LI that had minimal stations that either went out of business or declined to the point where it was a no-brainer for the LI to abandon them. Republic and Grumman also come to mind. I remember seeing these stations having buttons at the old Movement Bureau's public address system (forgot the actual name of the position, it's the PIO now) that were no longer used, which is how I found out about that old station.
MA90 - The Mineola-Huntington Electrification Project of 1968 to 1970 was the first expansion of LIRR
electrification under the MTA...This set the stage for increasing ridership over the course of the 1970s...
I am going to make two posts on this subject with the limitations of my device...

I am using two LIRR Form A timetables from May 22, 1966 and October 19, 1970 - which was when electric
service began between Mineola and Huntington as a posting reference...Form A folders covered Hempstead,
Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches - and showed electric service to Mineola/East Williston
and Hicksville to Huntington respectively...

The electrified service to Mineola and East Williston was only operated on weekdays - the 5/22/1966 schedule
shows 8 eastbound trains - five from Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn - three during the PM Peak from Penn Station.
Six westbound trains were scheduled - one during the AM Peak at 7:26 AM to Penn Station; Four midday trains
ran to Brooklyn with the last run leaving East Williston at 4:38 PM running to Penn Station. Midday service ran
about every 90 minutes to two hours on average. There were no MU trains after the PM Peak hours to E. W.

The 1.6 mile electrified portion of the Oyster Bay Branch were basically used as "tail" tracks to allow these MU
trains to turn off of the much busier Main Line through Mineola. There was never any MU cars stored on the OB
Branch electrified segment through East Williston - and no additional yard tracks there...

The last remaining remnant of this older service was Train #1501 AM Peak westbound (7:25 AM) on weekdays.
The turn was from an eastbound deadhead equipment train...During the Main Line Third Track Project when
through service operated between Mineola and Penn Station those trains were sometimes turned on the OB
Branch at East Williston when it was necessary during Mineola-Hicksville weekend track outages...MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Fri Oct 14, 2022 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Head-end View
As a young guy fresh out of school working my first full-time job, I was commuting on the Mainline from Westbury in the Fall of 1970 when the electrification to Hicksville began. What a difference! New M-1 trains every day instead of those ratty old diesel trains. It was a welcome change after the hellish summer of 1970 when the LIRR had been in the worst shape ever. :-D
  by krispy
An old timer when I started mentioned there was 5 "motor jobs" that turned at East Willi at one point. He related that they were a pain and the unions all pressed for the majority of them to be moved to the North Side of Hicksville. So when I started there was just the one turn in the morning. Adding Nassau 4 was huge and did help, but given the new configuration I don't see any increase in Mineola turns.

When I started they had 2 MU's and a diesel in the North Side. Over time one would go instead by the tower and then back into the station, the move varied. There had been a siding post-electrification just south of the tracks in Divide which also held a diesel but after the Mainline was electrified they stopped that and gave up the siding.
  by MattAmity90
The same practice of "tailing" is what we see at Huntington. Just past the East end of the station, the Southern (T2/PB) track is called a linear track that can store up to three consists, and the track crosses over to the through track at the Park Avenue grade crossing. The Northern (T1/PA) track is a through track for people to transfer to diesel service to Port Jefferson. I was sort of hinting that they used one of the OB tracks as a temporary linear where they turned them around. Luckily for residents of Mineola and East Williston, there were never any grade crossings between the Northern end of NASSAU-2 and NASSAU-4 (Second Avenue, Willis Avenue, and Main Street were located within NASSAU-2. Willis and Main of course were closed/eliminated in 2020-2021).

Were there any differences/similarities in the electrification as compared to the Ronkonkoma project? Electric service extended in phases to certain stations such as getting them to Hicksville, and then opening the segment to Huntington? Obviously, Landia was closed shortly after the project was finished because Cerro Wire went out of business next to the Robbins Lane grade crossing. They were going to make that a stop with hi-level platforms but stuck to where it always has been next to Jackson Avenue. Another was they double-tracked from AMOTT to W of Huntington to avoid that bottleneck, which included a second platform at Cold Spring Harbor (albeit only 8 cars long).
  by MattAmity90
Did they run interim electric service like they did with the Ronkonkoma Branch for a few weeks, or did they go full blown electric on October 19th, 1970?

I do contribute the electrification project to a higher volume of trains that went over Herricks Road, because with service to Huntington and some trains terminating/originating at Hicksville, the service obviously expanded not just systemwide but by number of trains. I do know Willis Avenue, Roslyn Road, School Street, Urban Avenue, Charlotte Avenue, Robbins Lane, Jackson Avenue, Syosset/Woodbury Road, those two just before CSH, and the four in between CSH and Huntington saw their gates down more than ever. In addition to all the Main Line crossings, Charlotte Avenue was eliminated in 1973, while the rest were eliminated from 1998-2021.

The project also added two more stops for electric service in Suffolk County: Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington. Prior to that from 1925-1970, Amityville, Copiague, Lindenhurst, and Babylon were the only stations in Suffolk County that saw electric service. It also added four more Nassau County stations electric service: Carle Place, Westbury, Hicksville, and Syosset.
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