Ten years ago I posted this topic about what was then the 20th Anniversary of the completion of the
Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification - and with the 30th Anniversary of the first electrified service
being today (12/28/2017) the time was appropriate to revive and further discuss this interesting
LIRR historical subject...
The major recent change as most of us is already aware of is the construction of the second track
in three segments between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip; Central Islip and Brentwood; Deer Park
and Republic/NYS 110 which was really needed with the original electrification but not constructed
with the funding then available. As we know this electrification extension was a success literally
from day one with significant steady ridership a constant here...
If anyone has any memories and comments about the last 30 years - or are looking forward to the
future improvements especially when the full second track is complete please post and contribute...
I will thank all in advance and wish everyone a Happy New Year 2018!!!
So this subject has been officially renamed HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2017 30 YEARS?
I will make the first one by saying the following:
"Yesterday, we marked the 30th anniversary of the completion of the Long Island Rail Road's most recent electrification project. In 1985, we got the contract and green light to electrify a rail line known as the Greenport/Ronkonkoma Branch that extends from Hicksville at Divide Tower to the North Fork town of Greenport through Central Suffolk County, with electrification terminating at Ronkonkoma adjacent to MacArthur Airport. Before the project was completed electric service in Suffolk County was only available at six stations (Babylon, Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Huntington, and Cold Spring Harbor). Commuters relied on diesel trains with a switch to an electric at Hicksville to get to NYC, with their commutes taking 2 hours or more depending on where you boarded. After part of the project was completed on June 12th, 1987 the citizens of Bethpage and Farmingdale now had electric service with a linear siding for terminating trains East of the station. For the next year and a half, we brought electric service to the Suffolk County towns of Wyandanch, Deer Park (no the water doesn't come from there), Brentwood, Central Islip, and Ronkonkoma. In addition we added to the line by relocating some depots, double-tracking from West of Deer Park to just East of Brentwood by constructing JS and Brent Interlocking, then double-tracked Central Islip from East of Carleton Avenue to East of Lowell Avenue with two CI switch points, and of course Ronkonkoma with originally an island platform with two tracks and two staircases connecting an enclosed pedestrian bridge. The new Ronkonkoma Yard or KO for short became a staple with more than a dozen tracks for layup, and becoming just the second yard to a major branch to have a train-wash erected (Babylon was the first, which had its torn down and a new one opened in 2012). All of this was completed on December 28th, 1987 with the first revenue electric train making its voyage, with increasing electric service over the next week as 1987 clocked out and 1988 began. Thanks to the electrification of the branch, commuting times which were in upwards of over two hours and not necessarily comfortable or clean, was cut down to in between 80-90 minutes aboard the sleek, cozy, and clean Metropolitan M1 and M3 electric cars."
"In the last ten years from the beginning of 2008 to today, we have seen clear changes as usual when it comes to the LIRR tacking on another year of service. Most notably was in 2015 when we got the green light and approval to finally double-track the rest of the branch from West of Ronkonkoma to East of Farmingdale, something that should have been completed maybe 15-20 years ago. As I'm typing this right now, work is in progress to ensure we are one day closer to that day in which bottlenecks that occurred between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip, Central Islip and Brentwood, Deer Park and Farmingdale are delays of the past with a continuous STRAIGHT LINE. We have already laid down the second track from Ronkonkoma to Central Islip or Phase I, with Phase II currently underway. We reached another milestone recently when the NTC laid the second track from Central Islip to Brentwood, along with converting 11 grade crossings from one to two tracks. In the end, I am going to say that the LIRR's second-busiest branch will be just like a 1970's version of the Babylon Branch."
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.