• Rockaway Beach Branch - Historical Operations

  • 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

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  by Noel Weaver
What needs to be remembered here is that the LIRR was still owned by the PRR and the shots were being called out of Philadelphia. The mentality in New York was that the city
could do a better job than the LIRR could. I don't buy that for one minute and agree with most of the others on here who think it would have been far better if operation of all
service to the Rockaways was still conducted by the LIRR.
Would this have saved the Rockaways? I doubt it but they would have had faster and better service than they have today.
Noel Weaver
  by BobLI
What destroyed the Rockaways was razing the mile(s) of buildings from Rockaway beach Blvd to the boardwalk. And of course the huge public housing projects that sprang up all over the peninsula. It was the new urban zoning plans that killed it.
  by railfaned
Hi All,
My question is: Who owns the Rego Park- Ozone Park forgotten spur and has the MTA ever proposed using it recently for either the LIRR or Subway? I know money-wise that they will spend the bucks elseware (SAS,ESA). Being above ground right-of-way, it would have been a cheap addition for the subway connection.
  by LongIslandTool
The New York City Transit Authority owns it, specifically the City of New York. It was proposed for a high-speed link from Penn to JFK but the proposal was fought by locals who either detested the traffic or lobbied for local stations. Also the MTA did not want to pay the City for the land.

As was stated elsewhere, that proposal died with the construction of AirTrain.
  by greenpointmike
The whole area by the cost was razed in the late 70s. The projects were built starting in the 50s. Rockaway was well on its path for a number of years before the LIRR ceased service. You can blame technology and the rise of cheap airfare for the majority of costal "resort" areas in the NYC area that floundered and turned into a mess.

Long Beach for instance has always had an dedicated LIRR branch, but in the 80s and early 90s was rife with problems.
  by Port Jervis
keyboardkat wrote:Herbert George's book "Change at Ozone Park" gives an excellent and detailed history of the Rockaway branches and the early history of the LIRR in general, including the beginnings of electrification.

The last train to Ozone Park, which is pictured on the rear cover of the book, consisted of five cars of the MP54 type, both arch roofed and monitor roofed, including one T54 trailer. The photo, taken from the roadbed facing the Northbound platform (which had become the only platform in service), shows a couple of passengers (apparendly a woman and a child) detraining from the rear vestibule, and the caption says the equipment and crew are preparing to deadhead back to Penn Station. After this, the third rail power was shut off and LIRR service on the Rockaway Beach Branch ended forever.

Had the fire not occured, LIRR service would probably have continued, at least for a while. The railroad had dickered with the City before about selling the Rockaway lines for subway service, and maybe this would have eventually come about. If not, remember that the LIRR and the City subway are now owned and operated by the same MTA, and so had the Rockaway branches continued as LIRR lines up through 1966, they would today still be operated as LIRR lines under the MTA. But as things developed, what evolved were three stub-end branches under (at that time) two railroad managements. The three branches became two, with the demise of the Rego Park-Ozone Park segment.

Herbert George's book ends with an angry epilogue. He says that in 1950, the tracks and right of way were still there, as were the personnel with the knowhow to move the multitudes of passengers. A way should have been worked out to publicly finance the rebuilding of the trestle and the resumption of LIRR loop service. But the bureaucrats in charge could only see incorporating the Rockaway branches into the subway. Passenger rail service to the Rockaways was saved, but at the expense of inefficient operation, much longer travel times, and inconvenience to the travelling public.
I totally disagree. Rockaway has benefited from Rockaway service being subway instead of commuter, though it took decades for that advantage to be felt, first with the abandonment of the double fare in the 70's and the implementation of expanded Fulton St. express service, starting in 1988.

Given the shabby way the LIRR treats NYC riders (except on the Port Washington branch), I'm happy to take the A train.
  by Port Jervis
railfaned wrote:Hi All,
My question is: Who owns the Rego Park- Ozone Park forgotten spur and has the MTA ever proposed using it recently for either the LIRR or Subway? I know money-wise that they will spend the bucks elseware (SAS,ESA). Being above ground right-of-way, it would have been a cheap addition for the subway connection.
There have been numerous proposals to use it, most recently as a high-speed link from NYP to JFK. Airtrain makes that impossible now (deliberately so, Airtrain uses technology which would prohibit it from ever being allowed to run on an FRA-regulated ROW). Past plans have had it connected to the Queens IND in Rego Park, but massive NIMBY issues have derailed any attempt to move such a connection forward.

There is also massive (and illegal) encroachment onto the ROW by private entities bordering it, including a school bus operator in Ozone Park and an apartment complex in Glendale, which paved over it for parking.
  by workextra
The "express" JFK-Penn via the old Rockaway branch would have been ideal and probably cost overall less to build then the current air train.
What I would like to know, Was any official study recently conducted by either the TA or LIRR to see if service is warranted (specifically LIRR service) between Ozone Park And Penn. Figure the old stations be rebuilt and the connection at Woodhaven for passengers only be restored.
Is there any proof that nowadays with higher fuel prices and over crowding on the roads that the lines ridership would increase or at least Warrant service with a minimum of a 6 car consist?
I'm not saying to restore it, Just looking for factual information.
I do know that most "Western Queens folks" prefer the subway because it's a cheaper fare then the LIRR and they don't hit you with the "on-board fare"
As far as the M7s in the Raunt, and over the bay, That would look cool!
If LIRR still ran the service do you thing it would have still connected via Far Rockaway?

In response to Pt Jervis,
The illegal encroachment is not a matter at all. They either leave or the property get's taken. Either way they loose.
To me the most expensive part of the restoration would be to clear the line of the trees and restore the sub roadbed.
The trees are rooted deep. and many have come up between the gauge. Any restoration between White Pot and Ozone would require major tare up and rebuild of the sub roadbed.
some money can be salvaged by selling off the existing metal for scrap, but it's not going to come near the cost.
Does anyone here know if the bridges on this section of line are still sound and capable of handling M7s or R44?
  by krispy
Dig back in the archives, this was discussed several times over, especially when the PA came out with the final Airtrain proposal. Yes, the MTA and LI looked at it, and the PA originally planned for decades to use it to link with LGA, which was the whole intent of the Airtrain and why they collected $$ from every ticket for decades (a dedicated light rail link from JFK to LGA and back to NYC to move people and luggage. It may have been supposed to continue to EWR, IIRC) The mandate from the PA on that collection was that it had to be spent by a certain time or they lost that money. Politics, nimby-ism and other assorted BS was why the AIrtrain took the route it did and did not utilize the old Rockaway Beach line.
  by R36 Combine Coach
workextra wrote:Does anyone here know if the bridges on this section of line are still sound and capable of handling M7s or R44?
Not likely. Many of the old overpasses remaning along the Rockaway Branch are badly rusted and were last maintained in 1962 or earlier. Corrorsion, frame fatigue and rust are common. Some lack fencing or have support braces missing.
  by LongIslandTool
Some of the encroachment is sanctioned by lease with the NYCTA.
  by jconlon6544
To railfaned,
The city owns the line with 1 big exception. A big chunk was sold to "Wilsonian Industries" a few years ago. The piece is on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue. Good luck finding out more on it. Seems suspicious to me as supposedly the developer is a friend of Bloomberg.
  by keithsy
I do remember crew changes at Euclid when I was a boy. I used to go to Playland and Jamaica Bay to fish with my old man. I was born in 1957. So, I saw the freshly split LIRR/TA property. My godfather was a TA conductor and he talked about his days at Euclid. I am glad that this matter was settled quickly. I am asking though and I will seek from my sources(RELIABLE) if the LIRR did control the movements BRIEFLY at Liberty Jct. or did LIRR C&S maintainers perform any tasks at that place. The BLE would not set foot on TA property or operate on TA property. The TWU would not allow them and the BLE has always respected that.
  by keithsy
Aha! Good! Someone seems to know the answer. I walked that line and jogged on it. I was shocked to see its condition. They ought to be ashamed and the city allows it. The people who oppose it are the first ones to jump on it. The late Marty Wayne at WNYC suggested a simpler way to operate LIRR service on that branch to Howard Beach with a transfer, by having a simple hand switch awaiting at Howard Beach. Simple? Too simple for the planners.
  by LongIslandTool
Yes, it is owned by the NYC Transit Authority with the exception of several parcels which were sold recently.

A nice walk!
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