• Lower Montauk Division Discussion

  • 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 freightguy
The subway ramp at Fresh Pond has long since been removed. Track 10 is now just a bad order track. Ironically the last car over the ramp wasn't one of the new subway cars, but a tank car carrying liquified petroleum gas. :wink: Shortly thereafter the ramp was removed! The M-7 ramp on trk 14 in Holban was setup just like the one in F. Pond and same guy from Bombardier assist with the unloading overthere.

  by lirrmike
When was the ramp removed? It doesn't seem that long ago I saw the NYA crews pulling the cars off the ramp at Pond. Thanks.

  by Tommy Meehan
With service down to one train each way per weekday, it's not easy for someone living in Westchester to find time to ride from Long Island City to Jamaica via the Lower Montauk. For me, Good Friday seems to work the best and I think I've made the trip about three out of the last four years. For my money, since they discontinued the old Bayonne Scoot many years ago, the ride from LIC to Jamaica via what employees call the Lower Montauk, is the best railfan ride going in the NY area.

As usual, the Good Friday weather was pretty crappy, gray and rainy. Hey at least it was warm! I rode the No.7 out to Hunterspoint Avenue and then walked back to LIC. I had time to spare and I enjoy the walk. Especially the pedestrian bridge over the Hunterspoint Avenue leads off 21st St.

I boarded the train at the high-level island platform at LIC, a 3-car Oyster Bay train (562?) with a 500-series diesel up front, the 519 I think. About four or five other people boarded and away we went. One thing was different right away about this year's trip -the asst conductor collected my ticket! :-D

We made the low speed crawl up to the interlocking by the 11th Street grade crossing. As always I thought for a moment the train was taking the switch to HP Ave - either I was on the wrong train or it doesn't go Lower Montauk anymore - but then I could see the HP lead out the coach window and we weren't on it! Whew! One odd thing, there were three cars and a truck waiting at the 11th Street grade crossing for us to clear. I was surprised a little dead end street could get that much traffic.

Then we stopped by the little yard office at the interlocking, maybe the crew needs a clearance card? Then we proceeded east past the "Begin Secondary" sign. There was a train holding in what I think is a pocket track east of the yard office. 500 on the west end then about six coaches and the 516 on the east end. (I saw it later at Jamaica, as Train 2734 to Speonk.)

We moved at very low speed until we passed the "End Secondary-Begin Block" sign east of the Montuak Cut-Off switch. I thought back to trips made many years ago when the train still made stops along the line. It does get kinda lonely on board since they discontinued stops like Habermans and Penny Bridge. (Wonder what all those people did when their service ended?) Of course back in the 70s - when the OB train parked on the northernmost track along Borden Avenue in LIC, the rear car about at 5th St. (you just walked into the yard and climbed on!) - there used to be a good 50-60 people on board out of LIC.

We were on Tk 2 and I noticed from my upper level window Tk 1 looked a little rough. (Of course I don't know what Tk 2 looks like since we were on it!) The ballast looked a little thin, it was jointed rail and some of the ties looked pretty beat up. Is it still considered a main track? I also couldn't really determine if Tk 2 was stick or cwr. The ride was pretty smooth, at least until we got close to Fresh Pond where I'm sure I heard clickety-clack and the car swayed and rolled a bit. There was a train or cut of cars up on the Fremont track when we went under it. And some NY&A power sitting by the embankment. One MP15 in NY&A livery, one MP15 in LIRR paint and very very dirty.

Then we were rolling along past the old Rockaway Branch and through Forest Park. Another thing I like about the Lower Montauk. The changing scene. All LIRR on the west end, the heavy industry along Newtown Creek, then lighter industry in what I guess is Maspeth, the freight yard and then you're in the country! A few more minutes and you're back in the City, barreling through a real urban scene at Ozone Park - Hey what happened to the high-level platform? - and then a very different look at Jamaica as you arrive on the high embankment past the bi-level coach shop and the diesel train storage tracks. Nice bird's eye view of Morris Park engine termnal out the right hand side too.

I spent a few minutes trainwatching at Jamaica. What a place during a rush hour. All the different routes, eastbounds coming down the hill, up from the 'hole'. Watching the Oyster Bay train I rode climb up to the Main Line while an MU train went under it. Seems like there's always three or four trains in view.

Most interesting train I saw -a 6-car MU. First two were M3s, rear four were M1s! 9331-9332 and 9609-9610. The rear pair still in the old blue stripes. Then, because I had to surrender my ticket on the way out (Seven bucks Ouch!), I decided to take the E train back to Manhattan. Hey there's more girls on the subway anyway. :wink:
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Updating title and consolidating threads to discuss possible future usage

  by Johnny F
Sounds like you had a blast. Thanks for sharing the story, I felt like I was along for the ride with you.

  by 9C1LT1
hey Tommy,

Glad you enjoyed the ride! I got on that train yesterday at Jamaica for my commute home... If you ever ride train 507 in the morning, that is the Westbound Oyster Bay train which traverses the Lower Montauk to LIC, you might be able to look out the cab car in front. It's a nice ride, you'll see NYA power and sometimes CP or CSX power at Fresh Pond. You'll travel the C secondary and pass Bliss. It certainly is one of the most interesting rides through industrial Queens. Those 6 car MU's usually run into or out of Brooklyn at Rush Hour, it would be unusual to see a 6 car MU going into Penn at Rush hour. Here is a photo of 9609 on the train you saw, with the old "we serve with pride" decals.



  by Lirr168
Awesome Tommy, thanks for sharing. I used to take that 4:54 home from school almost everyday, I LOVE the ride on the Lower Montauk. It is definitely the best ride on the LIRR, the only thing that comes close is the journey through the Hamptons to Montauk. I've gotta get out to LIC this summer to take that ride again...

  by BMC
I retired as the Yardmaster in Long Island City and always considered the "Lower Montauk" as the land that time forgot.

Whenever I could I'd ride back with the "Change of Engines" Engr. and obviously the view from the cab is a lot more scenic and interesting.

As far as 11th Street ... though 11th. Street itself dead ends under the Pulaski Bridge (which is a great place to get a "birds-eye" picture of the yard up on it's pedestrian walkway) there are two busy warehouses just east of it and a lot of buisness west of it including a big Budweiser plant, an oil copmpany and a NBC TV warehouse just to name a few.

As far as the stop at the Yardmaster office ... the crews get their paperwork while still in the yard, I'd never give him permission up to the office without it. More than likely he was either picking up or letting off a crew member.

Now that it's warmer, Long Island City has tons of great historic places (LIRR and NYC wise) to check out. Personally, I loved the freight float bridges which are NYC designated landmarks and now part of a beautiful state park.

Just keep going west until you hit the East River, you can't miss them.

  by jayrmli
I always liked the westbound ride better from the cab. You get a beautiful view of the NYC skyline in the distance. Depending on what time of day it is, you have the sun glistening off the sides of the skyscrapers or setting behind them in the evening - or they're lit up at night.

I also love the roller coaster type ride barreling down Mt. Olivet hill. When you take the left turn at the end, you always hope that Metropolitan Industries switch is lined properly...you wouldn't want to take it at that speed!


9c: That shot that you took of 9609-9610 is neat-The only remaining pair other than now-retired 9204 which had the original Gabreski-era WE SERVE WITH PRIDE flags and slogan. On the subject herein-the old lower Montauk branch is an interesting ride-hard to do with just two scheduled trains weekdays. MACTRAXX

  by Dave Keller
Tommy said:
A few more minutes and you're back in the City, barreling through a real urban scene at Ozone Park
Did you mean the elevated platform at Richmond Hill? You'd hit that former stop just before you reached the storage yard on your left and Morris Park Shops on your right as you headed east.

And Jay . . . .regarding climbing Mt. Olivet grade, here's one of my favorite shots:


An eastbound freight with H10s chuffing up the grade, ready to engulf "OLIVET" tower in coal smoke and pass over Flushing Ave. crossing in Maspeth, with the B&QT trolley tracks of the Flushing Line in the street and overhead trolley wires in place. Off in the distance can be seen the water tower in the yard at the base of the grade, where "pusher" engines would layup to assist getting freights up this grade, then back down into the yard again for the next time they were needed.

Here's a C51 helper backing down the grade to the yard. The water tower is again visible in the left rear of the view:


This, BTW, was the approximate site of the old Maspeth station site, at the right where the picket fence is visible.


  by Tommy Meehan
Thanks for the pics Dave. Imagine that, a helper grade in western Queens. Wow! And yeah I meant Richmond Park. But they took down the high-level platform, right?

Btw, 9C1LT1 thanks for posting the pic of 9609. I didn't realize it had yellow ends until I saw your pic. Btw, the 6-car MU train was eastbound about 5:35 and platformed on Tk 5 at Jamaica. Then it headed out the main line. I'm sure you're right that it was a Brooklyn train. Without looking at a timetable, don't they have a Flatbush-Hicksville express around that time???

I also meant to mention, they did a really nice job rebuilding the Jamaica station. The platforms and canopies are very classy now. I love the new glass overpasses. I remember seeing the work in progress over the past couple years. Seemed like they'd never finish, they didn't seem to be getting anywhere. LOL But they did a great job.

  by Lirr168
Tommy Meehan wrote: Seemed like they'd never finish, they didn't seem to be getting anywhere. LOL But they did a great job.
Actually, they did a really great job! The scheduled finish date set way back in 90-something was Summer '05, to have finished everything by early 2006 is really impressive considering how much longer construction projects usually take. ESA on the other hand....

  by BMC
The most impressive thing about the Jamaica Station project is also the thing that made it "seem like the work would never end".

That is with all that construction, delivery of materials and track outages going on they still ran a railroad through the Jamaica "bottleneck" each and every day.

This was not some off to the side project. There was demolition and new construction going on at the same time right in the station and it's platforms themselves. All the while westbound and eastbound traffic continued unabatted.

Trains continued to be layed up and drilled in "D", "E", Johnson Ave. and the Brooklyn Freight and all three tours started and finished equipment trains for the rush hours.

Let's not forget the Flag Condrs. who kept this one of the safest major projects that the LIRR ever attempted.

  by BAR
Enjoyed your naration of the trip. I will be in NYC in May and would like to take the same trip.
What time does it leave LIC? Thanks.

Williamsburg, VA

  by Tommy Meehan
Bill the train that runs the Lower Montauk leaves Long Island City at 4:54 PM, Monday thru Friday.

Enjoy (I know you will!)
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