• What if...NY&A never happened?

  • Discussion related to NYAR operations on Long Island. Official web site can be found here: www.anacostia.com/nyar/nyar.html. Also includes discussion related to NYNJ Rail, the carfloat operation successor to New York Cross Harbor that connects with NYAR.
Discussion related to NYAR operations on Long Island. Official web site can be found here: www.anacostia.com/nyar/nyar.html. Also includes discussion related to NYNJ Rail, the carfloat operation successor to New York Cross Harbor that connects with NYAR.
  by Sir Ray
Just spent a bit of time perusing the soc.history.what-if usenet group, and this thought occured to me - what if the state never brought Anacostia in, but instead LIRR continued to support freight service on LI? If this had been the LIRR of the 70s, well there would probably be no freight service by now, but the LIRR of the late 80s/early '90s seemed to be actively trying to revive freight service (perhaps with some dead-ends - e.g. the intermodal bogies) up until it was 'contracted out'.
I put this in the NY&A forum as it would be a parallel universe LI freight history ("Parallel Universe Parking" - Crow from MST3k) and, well that's about it. Go with it as you wish, but some realities would still occur (Continental Extrusion would still close (did before NY&A in fact), American Tissue would too, the warehouse on Dribblee would still become a Lowes, and so on, but perhaps other revisions would happen (service continues past Riverhead, Chesler Plywood, etc.).

I searched, and couldn't find a similar thread...if there was one in the LIRR froum, well, then never mind :P
  by The Tenth Legion
Interesting premise.....
  by Bob Sandusky
Well the reality is that the government doesn't want to be in the freight business. Heck it would have to actually COMPETE or possible face financial penalties or worse yet actually be efficient.

There are also insurance and labor costs that just make it impossible for the government to operate a frieght operation as small as Long Island at anything like a reasonable cost.

I used to be a subcontractor for NYSDOH and I could do twice the job with half the staff that the state could do. I was operating at 400% over contract requirements (trying to keep my staff busy) with 75% of the staff AND underspending my grant by 10-15% every year. And my employees were being paid 25% less than state employees.

If the government had TRIED to provide freight services we wouldn't have any such services to discuss today and this board would have to go under the "Fallen Flags" category.

Bob Sandusky
  by jayrmli
First of all, there would still have been some freight service on Long Island. As much as the Long Island "wanted out," they still are required by federal law to provide interstate commerce. By privatizing, they were able to opt out without facing this situation.

Before NYAR started up, there was no service east of Riverhead, BTW. Penny Lumber only started taking cars after NYAR started up, and hadn't taken a car before that in quite awhile. (I believe Southold Lumber took cars though, but had not taken a car under NYAR).

Some businesses have to use rail, basically bulk commodities. These are the companies that endured LIRR freight service, because there was (and still is) no viable alternative to rail. These are industries like paper, plastic pellets, etc. However, some businesses have been able to expand under NYAR, primarily waste products such as scrap metal, and of course, garbage.

  by Sir Ray
Jay - While I realize that the LIRR would have had to continue service, the LIRR of the '70s tried mightily to get rid of it... however, the LIRR of the late 80s/early '90s seemed to take a friendly and more forward approach (witness the ash trains from Garden City of that time-frame).
Anyway, speaking of ash trains, my feeling is that the 'Garden City' branch would more or less be in the same condition as it is today - used only for maintaince & storage, even though there would probably NOT be a State freight embargo on it. Reason is the same as why there's no freight service at Voice Road anymore - nothing to serve.
If the ash trains were never reinstated, would the LIRR continue to serve Segoli[sp?] foods (this spur had been refurbished w/ a new crossing on Oak St, before the NY&A contract) if that was their only client on that branch (the post-LIRR history of the surrounding area seems to bear that out - I think even the removing of the Stewart Avenue crossing would occur when the LIRR realized there was no traffic to be had north of it, although when it would be removed is be impossible to say for this alternate timeline.
  by jayrmli
The LIRR tried to improve the freight business in the early 1990's for one reason - to get a higher price to sell it off to a private company. If everything was ready to fall apart, who would even be interested?

On a personal note, if the NYAR didn't happen, I wouldn't be where I am at now with Metro-North.
  by DogBert
Here's another question: What if Conrail never sold out to CSX, with the mandate that CP get trackage rights? Are there customers that specifically use CP's service that might not otherwise ship by rail? Has CSX played a hand in developing more traffic on and off the island? If I recall right early on while CR was still around there was some talk of NY&A going over to the Bronx to interchange, since CR I believe was down to a 5 day a week interchange at that point.

As for LIRR, I mostly know their freight operations around LIC, and it seems safe to say Yard A would have gone to ESA regardless of what happened. By the mid 90s Yard A was just a bone yard for ole passenger cars. Very little freight was to be found there.

I'm not so sure about Arch st. through. With the way LIC has transformed over the years, and the MTA trying to sell development rights over west side yards & atlantic av, I bet they'd have tried to move any customers from Arch st. over to a revived Blissville or Maspeth. I often marvel at the fact that Arch street still exists considering how quickly the neighborhood has changed from industrial to High Rise condos (not that anyone seems to be buying any of them). I don't think it's a matter of If the powers that be will eventually try to get NY&A out of arch street, but When.