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

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by mirrodie
They axe d the old lower Montauk 20 years ago. I worked LIC in those years and sure, between the cost of replacing high level platforms and new diesels, they opted to close the line.

But Having worked Penn for awhile, I can tell you that WHemp has pretty abysmal ridership too. Surprised it’s not defunct yet.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Those decisions are all political. The Railroad is supported by taxpayers and it provides a service to them, regardless of the financial challenges.

It has long ago made the decision to minimally serve New York City stations, based on its limited rush hour capacity there and the City's resistance to paying for station maintenance.
  by Meal Period
Woodside, Bayside, Flushing, and of course Jamaica are all in NYC and have pretty good service. I think Bayside is even in the top 4 in ridership.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Yes, Bayside was long among the five heaviest stations on the Railroad. But then many years ago, Far Rockaway was the heaviest. Demographics change.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Meal Period wrote:Woodside, Bayside, Flushing, and of course Jamaica are all in NYC and have pretty good service. I think Bayside is even in the top 4 in ridership.
Note until 2006, the Port Washington Branch had only hourly weekend/off-peak schedules and CityTicket was not yet introduced.
  by rr503
The WH really should not be part of the LIRR. If you could get it to downtown Hempstead and then up to Mineola and/or to Roosevelt Field, it'd make a great candidate for LRT.
  by njtmnrrbuff
The WHB would make a nice candidate for a light rail route. It would be nice is there was one running from the cities on the North Shore down to the South Shore. People who live along the WHB probably drive to stations on the Babylon Line.
  by bellstbarn
Wasn't the West Hempstead route operated by "light rail" cars long ago, cars that looked like TARS or Steinway cars but had power from third rail? Our Lakeview relatives called it The Dinky. I thought the service went from Mineola to someplace in the Rockaways.
As for ridership, even on Sundays, N16 bus from Long Beach to Rockville Centre, Lakeview (where Woodfield Road crosses the West Hempstead branch), Hempstead, and Roosevelt Field offers 34 trips!
  by Kelly&Kelly
The LIRR had a small collection of battery cars, third-rail-shod trolleys and short MP41cars that all saw service on lightly traveled branches up until the 1940's. For a short time there was shuttle service from Far Rockaway, up through Valley and into Mineola. Even earlier were two daily steam shuttles from Rockaway to Oyster Bay.

Back in the 1980's the Railroad had some light rail demonstrators on the property that were being tested for possible use on routes like West Hempstead. There was also talk of acquiring battery cars or diesel MU's for branches like Oyster Bay. With reliability and standardization a bigger priority than operating cost savings, none of these concepts went anywhere. Nobody in the operating departments saw any benefit to acquiring and maintaining an additional small fleet of odd equipment.
  by Head-end View
I remember seeing one of those light-rail test trains at Mineola back in the 1980's.
  by CentralValleyRail
Does anyone have the WH ridership numbers?
  by gamer4616
Daily Branch Travel
Westbound Customers
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

Daily Branch Travel
Eastbound Customers
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

AM Peak
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

AM Peak (Average Per Train)
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

PM Peak
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

PM Peak (Average Per Train)
2017 - East of Jamaica
West Hempstead

Reverse AM Peak
West Hempstead
2 Trains / 90 Total Passengers

Reverse PM Peak
West Hempstead
2 Trains / 50 Total Passengers

Saturday Ridership
West Hempstead

Saturday Ridership (Average Per Train)
West Hempstead

Sunday Ridership
West Hempstead

Sunday Ridership (Average Per Train)
West Hempstead

Misc Info -

Trains exceeding 90% capacity-
907 (780 passengers west of Jamaica on an 8 Car Train) - 91.98% capacity
  by hs3730
The weekend ridership wouldn't be so abysmal if it didn't require two transfers to get to the WH branch from Manhattan. Move the connection to the Long Beach train instead of the Far Rockaway train.

Alternatively, moving the WH branch (and by necessity Valley Stream) into Zone 3 would improve its appeal against the Hempstead and Babylon branches.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Boy those weekend ridership numbers on the West Hempstead Branch are unsurprisingly shoddy. I don't think too many people are happy about having to change twice, especially the ones coming from Manhattan. This is why people will use other lines to travel to and from Manhattan. Even with a single transfer, more people will still prefer to drive to a station with more direct service.
  by krispy
Some heavy hitters commute on that branch, and when there was talk of cutting service on the Branch a few years back, they made abundantly clear to Albany to keep it around. Consider Malverne and how the demographics are changing there, wealthy, childless NYC commuters who like their walk to the station. Same for Westwood and Hempstead Gardens. VS and Lynbrook are fully maxed out in parking, and so is NICE in terms of what little service they now provide. Can't just look at the low numbers during the weekend, what is used during the rush more than justifies keeping the service at it's present levels.