• 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 PC1100
Does anyone know which revenue runs currently operate over the Lower Montauk line? I've been wanting to ride that line for about 10 years now, and I have just never had the time to do it.

  by Lirr168
Westbound - 8:11am from Jamaica

Eastbound - 4:54pm from Long Island City

  by BMC
Both trains are Oyster Bays ... as mentioned Train 507 in the morn and Train 560 in the evening.

560 picks up passenegers right off the LIC platform.
  by henry6
Definitely a ride any railfan, especially LIRR or PRR fans or metropolitan NY fans, must take. LIRR is a unique operation containing many unique operations within. And this is the most unique of all the LIRR operations! Handthrown switches by an on the ground switchtender; tended street crossing gates, signaled double track line with maybe 100lb clickty clack rail, PRR positon light signals, maybe a freight train waiting to get into Fresh Pond yard, marine and industry and deep forest and tenement and single house communities scenery, rail yards at both ends and in between; and its only an 11 mile, 20 minute ride!!! I would say if it isn't the best railfan ride in NYC it is in the entire East! And well worth the Peak Fare!!

  by PC1100
Thanks for the info!

  by RetiredLIRRConductor
and...if the conductor closes the rear so you cant sit in the observers seat, ask him/her if it would be possible to ride in the observers seat just to Jamaica from LIC (that would be the rear car, assuming there is no engine on the west end) He would not be in violation of any rules to let you do that, as the cab door can be swung just to close the cab area.
Some will say yes, others no, does not hurt to ask. Worst that could happen is no.
You would not really be in his/her way untill after Jamaica, when they would need that seat to get the doors after Jamaica.
In any case be polite, if he or she is having a good day ya have a shot.

  by BMC
Just don't brag about it here on the board, if he/she does let you ...

Back in the late '60's, early '70's, I took the train from LIC a number of times. The last car on the lone afternoon departure was a private car, and if my memory serves me, it was the "Locust Valley".
Best regards,

  by pineywoodsman
Shame to hear about what happened to that great engineer on the Greenport. Back in the days engineers were allowed more to "make up time". Nowadays they cant, so that's why it seems the trains are always late and the trip take slonger.
Speeds should be increased, not decreased as time goes by.

  by emfinite

Engineers can still legally make up time today, just not all of them take advantage of it. Saying that they can't make up time is an insult to them. There are plenty of tricks they can use to keep the trains on time, but some of these tricks are not taught nowadays. The senior Engineers will remember things to do that they were shown years ago. Common sense also plays a big part.

Equipment design and operation is a big issue with the new diesel coaches/locomotives. With the old engines, you could temporarily suppress the speed control and power brake the train into a code drop without losing too much speed. Nowadays, the speed control hits you with a full service application and it takes half a minute to gain your speed back. There are also a lot of places in the rails where the speed code will "flip" (temporarily flipping to a lower speed and then shooting back up to 80 MPH). This is a nuisance to the crews because it delays the train and knocks everybody around.

Other ways Engineers can make up time are figuring out where to set up their brakes to slow down for a curve, speed restriction or station. For instance, coming out of Y Interlocking going east, there is a mile long straightaway then a 55 MPH left hand curve. Before that curve, the train is permitted to operate at MAS after it leaves the Interlocking. The objective for the Engineer would be set up as close to the curve as he can while aiming to be at 55 MPH once he hits the curve AND maintaining his speed while enroute to that curve and proceeding through the curve. If he sets up the brakes too soon, the train would stay at 55 MPH way before it hit the curve. Taking advantage of the Maximum Authorized Speed (MAS) is something that should be carefully adhered to. If a train is permitted to be operated at 65 MPH, it should be operated at 65 MPH.

To run a hot train, the Engineer has to know his Physical Characteristics. That way he can anticipate whats ahead and keep the train moving as fast as he is able to. Engineers have to know the grades of the track ahead of them to know whether they should keep the throttle open to pull the cars uphill or to keep a low throttle as not to hit "overspeed" while traveling downhill. They also have to know where curves and signals are and where to slow down for them. At night, things are a lot different, too. Sunlight makes things easier, but at night other techniques are used. When slowing down for a curve at night, the Engineer should look for the "dark" spot in front of him which would be the horizon of the trees in front of the curve. That's a great indicator to help the Engineer judge where the curve is.

It is both the Conductor and Engineers obligation to keep the trains on time. They work with each other to communcate signals, orders, messages, clearance cards and mechanical issues to one another. If the crew can solve a problem quickly without calling for help, they should solve it themselves as to not further delay a train. Strong communication skills, mechanical knowledge and team work goes a long way when trying to keep a on a tight commuter schedule.

Little tricks like that are the unknown factors to the Public about keeping a train on time. So next time you say that Engineers can't make up time, think about what I said. The public should recognize that it takes a lot more than what meets the eye to keep a train on schedule. Tricks and techniques like I mentioned are used quite often on the Railroad today.


  by Liquidcamphor
Very good Emfinite. That is pretty much what I was taught as a Fireman/Engineer how to run a train "hot" to keep up the schedule and run on time.

We had to think like that years ago because we ran large consists that were always underpowered. Especially on the Pt. Jeff branch. One 2,000hp engine with 17 cars was a challenge. If you didn't "charge the hills" as the old timers said, you would watch the speedometer go counter-clockwise very quickly. Running a late train on time, was an accomplishment for an Engineer.

I'll give you another little "trick". Instead of setting up at your normal spot, keep the throttle wide open and right before the station, pour on the brake with the throttle out so you stretch and right before you want to stop drop it down to something like knotch 1 or 2. You can pick up a few minutes here and a few there doing that.

If your not an Engineer already, I think your going to be a very good one when you get the opportunity.

  by RetiredLIRRConductor
charge the hill man there is a term I have not heard In years, should add it to the RR slang thread.
Believe it or not, keeping the train on time was a matter of pride for many engineers and conductors.
A lot of us did not like it when our trains were late.
While the majority of the load was on the engineer, a good conductor would be an asset by getting the doors closed and helping giving a good move to the engineer.
I loved working with the old timers in the 70's and 80's, it was fun trying to work together and make up time. Made the job fun.
I miss those days.
Last edited by RetiredLIRRConductor on Sun May 27, 2007 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by islandtransit
Liquid, I remember hearin that tip from an engineer on the PW. He used that trick all the time on the OB he said back when the Geeps were around.

  by PC1100
Last Monday I finally took a ride on the Lower Montauk. It's definately a one of a kind ride with the changing scenery and grade crossings - all within Queens! It really must have been great when the stops were still made along the way. When I got home I checked a 1979 Oyster Bay timetable that I have in my collection, and found that not only do both the east and westbound trains have the same train numbers that they had 28 years ago, but still run on almost the exact same schedule that they did back then! I can't think of any other commuter run in the New York area where this holds true.

One interesting thing that I noticed in the 1979 timetables regarding LIC service - with the exception of the 3 trains that made the stops along the Lower Montauk, no other service is listed to or from LIC. Only service to Hunterspoint Ave. is shown. I checked the timetables for all of the branches (including the one for the City Terminal Zone which listed the trains making the stops on the Lower Montauk), and could find nothing to indicate that there was any service to LIC aside from the 3 trains that made the Lower Montauk stops. Was there no other service to LIC at the time?

  by BMC
The high level platforms on (2) and (3) track down in the yard were not built then or for that matter neither was the high wood platform between (8) and (9). What little "service" out of the yard was done by savvy commuters who knew how to find their train before it pulled into HPA. There was also a sheltered overhang that was considered the "station".

The concrete high level platform was built for expanded passenger service into the yard for two reasons. One, more people were choosing to get on the #7 subway line at the Vernon and Jackson stop (rather than at HPA) and the NY Waterways had opened a ferry stop just west of the yard on the East River with great fanfare.

There were high hopes that the ferry would take off and become another major player with the commute to Manhattan. That did not happen, the company has money problems and long ago suspended regular service from LIC.
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