Everyone: Twenty years ago tomorrow morning-on December 28,1987 the first electric trains ran on the Ronkonkoma Branch under a three-week interim schedule-two rush-hour trips in each direction and a 5th train that left KO W at about 8pm. That first train left Ronkonkoma at 6:40 am. I boarded at Central Islip at 6:46 am and I rode it to Wyandanch and then I got off and watched trains go thru until the second train got there at 8:51 am-I rode that train to PSNY and enroute I was interviewed by News 12 Long Island. When I got home that night I taped the segment on the first electric Ronkonkoma runs that included me-I still have it someplace stored along with other videotapes I have. Newsday on 12/29 did a 4-page article which included a cover pic at KO with the caption "ELECTRIFYING"-"LIRR begins all-electric Ronkonkoma Service;predicts 59-minutes to NYC" as the headline-which was actually wrong-the full service started on January 18,1988-I will leave that for another post in the coming weeks.
I feel that this is one of the most significant LIRR improvements of my lifetime-the ridership increased sharply in 1988-89 and it was considered a big success by many.
Retired LIRR Conductor asks who the crew was on that first run-according to the Newsday article the Conductor on that run was Benny Prince-and the engineer George Sponheiner-they were mentioned in that Newsday writeup on page 2 that included a rail buff named Bob Gayer-who traveled down from Groton,Connecticut to ride that inaugural run. He was having a commemorative brochure punched by Trainman Dennis Lebetz in a Newsday pic-which was of Engineer Sponheiner,Trainman Lebetz and Bob Gayer at the cab of M1 9274 which was the first EB run which left PSNY at 4:55 pm.
In closing-it is hard to believe 20 years have passed since Ronkonkoma electric service began on the LIRR! MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS