Railroad Sights of Lengthy Island: Hicksville, Oyster Bay, and Wantagh

1. Lengthy Island Railroad Origins:Outlined by, and developed due to, the Lengthy Island Railroad, the slender, nearly fish-profiled tract of land initially known as Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to New York, owes a lot of its existence to it.Earthly distances require means, velocity, and typically intermodal connections to traverse in order that miles, as measurements, could be diminished to hours and minutes. Untethered to the continental Untied States, and thus surrounded by water, Lengthy Island itself sought options for the inhabitants which grew after the farmers had been attracted there by the promise of sprouting crops. However not instantly.”The century year of 1800 found Long Island to be a largely rural region of remote villages located along the shores,” in keeping with Robert C. Sturm in his guide, “The Long Island Rail Road Company: A History, 1834-1965” (Lengthy Island-Dawn Path Chapter, Nationwide Railway Historic Society. 2014, p. Three). “The principle means of transpiration and communication were carriages and sailing vessels. The fact that travel was slow, arduous, and sometimes perilous meant that the average person rarely, if ever, traveled further than 20 miles from his or her place of birth.”Integral to the seed that developed into the Lengthy Island Railroad and in the end resolved this dilemma was the ten-mile Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad Firm, whose April 25, 1832 incorporation was envisioned as step one in a land-and-sea hyperlink to Boston, primarily bypassing Lengthy Island itself, however decreasing the primitive, three-day horse-drawn coach and 16-hour all-steamer strategies to 11 hours.The second section of the intermodal journey grew to become actuality on April 24, 1834, when the Lengthy Island Rail Highway Firm was chartered to function from Brooklyn to Greenport on the North Fork. The third was the cross-sound ferry voyage to Stonington, Connecticut, whose hilly and river-interspersed southern shore in any other case eclipsed technological, track-laying capabilities, and the fourth was the continued and last rail hyperlink to Boston on the Norwich and Worcester.Two years later, on April 18, or the very day that the Brooklyn and Jamaica was accomplished, the barren island started sprouting tracks, together with its crops, reaching Farmingdale in Suffolk County in 1841, Deer Park the next 12 months, and Medford two years after that, and met the North Fork-originating, westward-laid rails by summer season, though a scarcity necessitated a brief, two-mile, heavy timber and strap iron topped insertion till the ultimate part was delivered from Britain.Inaugurating service on July 27, 1844, the fledgling, steam-powered railroad instantly demonstrated its functionality, overlaying the 94 miles from Brooklyn to Greenport in three-and-a-half hours.However the floor which supported it started to crumble after just a few years of operation, for the reason that beforehand thought of “impossible” southern Connecticut rail route was conquered by 1850, eliminating the necessity for the Lengthy Island Railroad’s intermodal and inter-state function and leaving it to serve a sparsely populated farm group. Now, greater than ever, it wanted to develop branches that may cater to growing cities, after its preliminary, cross-island line spurred their growth.At this time, tunnel-connected, beneath the East River, to Manhattan, the Lengthy Island Railroad operates 9 branches to 124 stations, overlaying greater than 700 miles of monitor, and is each North America’s busiest commuter railroad, feeding and fielding the each day workforce, and the oldest one nonetheless working underneath its authentic title. In 2009, it celebrated its 175th anniversary and 6 years later carried 87.6 million annual passengers.Its wealthy historical past could be gleaned by Lengthy Island’s many railroad-related sights.2. Hicksville and the John Bull Locomotive:Positioned on the flat, barren, 60,000-acre Hempstead Plains–the largest such prairie within the japanese United States-Hicksville was first claimed by Welsh settler, Robert Williams, in 1648. However, regardless of the promise of inhabitants, it remained simply as virgin for one more two centuries, till Valentine Hicks, a Jericho businessman, acquired the location and fashioned a land affiliation to ascertain a city on it in 1834.As a result of the primary 15 miles of monitor had reached the realm three years later, in March, its then terminus standing reworked it right into a vacation spot or, within the reverse path, a gateway to Manhattan within the west, establishing a tether to a significant metropolis.Not coincidentally, Hicks himself grew to become a Lengthy Island Railroad board member and its second president, whereas the station, in the end situated on the crossroads of the Important Line and the Port Jefferson department, developed right into a hub.However monetary panic on the time of its inception ensured that it remained the terminus for 4 years, till the intermodal connection may regain its momentum and ever eastward-laid monitor may imprint the bottom. Within the meantime, nevertheless, the railroad transported individuals, who, in sedentary kind, translated into inhabitants, and the as soon as barren farmland took root as a city comprised of shops, companies, residences, and accommodations. Its “Hicksville” title, once more not coincidentally, mirrored its Valentine Hicks founder.The Lengthy Island Railroad’s first locomotive, the “Ariel” and the 19th constructed by Matthias W. Baldwin, was delivered in November of 1835 and, except for offering motive energy for the inaugural Hicksville service, was employed for some 20 years.”The original locomotives were of simple construction, comprising a five-tube boiler mounted on a frame that also accommodated a two-cylinder engine,” wrote Sturm in “The Long Island Rail Road Company: A History, 1834-1965” (p. 10). “Hand-cut pine, which was conveniently harvested from the Pine Barrens, was the fuel. Water was carried on the tender car, either in casks or (in) an iron tank. There were no brakes; coasting to the station and finally ‘plugging’ the engine (running it in reverse) was the only method used to stop the trains.”Insignificant in dimension and primitive in development, it nonetheless made a significant influence. It lit the hearth on the steam revolution, shrank distances, and served as the edge to the commercial period.

Ordered by Robert Stevens, who wanted propulsion for the Camden and Amboy Railroad he established, the very first such John Bull locomotive commenced its journey as a group of crate-cradled elements in Liverpool, England, in 1831, arriving on this facet of the Atlantic from the Robert Stephenson and Firm manufacturing facility marked “one locomotive steam engine.” Meeting, for sure, was required.However after it was, it inaugurated New Jersey’s first rail service, as its title implies, between Camden and South Amboy two years later and plied tracks with it or different corporations for 35 years. It was not retired till 1866, on the finish of the Civil Struggle.It was in the end operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took over the Camden and Amboy and later owned the Lengthy Island Railroad.That includes a 14.9-foot size and 6.Three-foot width, the ten-ton engine, with a Zero-Four-Zero wheel configuration, had a Four.11-foot wheel base and four-foot, eight.5 inch gauge. It was geared up with a 10.07-square-foot firebox and a 6.9-foot-long boiler, which had a 2.6-foot diameter.Energy was transmitted to the driving axles by the use of pistons mounted underneath the boiler between the 2 entrance wheels.The preliminary ground-level Hicksville Station was served by a number of depots all through its historical past, together with the second, which opened in 1873 to exchange the primary, consumed by fireplace 9 years earlier; the third, which changed the second after it was moved to a personal location in 1909; and the fourth, which was briefly employed between 1962 and 1965 whereas the tracks had been elevated. That $eight.eight million venture, which coated three miles, however concerned 11 miles of monitor, eradicated 5 grade crossings on the Important Line and two on the Port Jefferson department, and required the extension and relocation of Newbridge Highway underneath a viaduct.Not removed from these elevated tracks is a full-sized, non-operating duplicate of the John Bull locomotive named “Valentine’s Dream” and situated in Hicksville’s Kennedy Memorial Park. Constructed by Chamber of Commerce President James Pavone throughout a two-year interval and based mostly upon the unique one from 1831, which ran on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, it served because the inspiration for Matthias W. Baldwin to construct locomotives on this nation, one in all which, in fact, was the Lengthy Island Rail Highway’s first locomotive, “the Ariel,” whose picture graces the city’s welcome indicators and banners.Unveiled on Might 17, 2008, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the central Lengthy Island city, the “Valentine’s Dream” copy grew to become Hicksville’s personal icon.Three. Oyster Bay Railroad Museum:Endlessly related to Oyster Bay is President Theodore Roosevelt, who incessantly traveled by rail and used the station as his threshold to different elements of the nation, since his Sagamore Hill residence was situated solely a brief distance from it. However the equally close by, appropriately named Oyster Bay Railroad Museum was not created for that cause. As an alternative, it started in 1990, when the volunteer Locomotive #35 Restoration Committee, underneath the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Parks Fee, cleaned and painted the deteriorating steam engine displayed in Mitchel Park.Subsequently included because the Associates of Locomotive #35, the group sought funding for a full restoration and a location to showcase it, ensuing within the 2006-established not-for-profit group that planted its roots in Oyster Bay and purchased further artifacts, railroad gear, and rolling inventory.”The mission of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is to heighten public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the railroad’s role in our heritage,” it self states, “and to increase public understanding of rail technology and its impact on Long Island life. (It) will collect, preserve, and interpret the railroad heritage of Long Island for future generations.”Presently divided into an indoor customer middle and outside rolling inventory show advanced, it options pictures, artifacts, small railroad implements, a large-scale Hudson locomotive and tender, with a Four-6-Four wheel configuration, and a mannequin practice format within the former, situated at 102 Audrey Avenue. However far more is to be seen within the latter, a brief drive away.Right here, locomotive #35, cornerstone of and catalyst to the museum, and traditionally important due to its participation within the 1955 “End of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, stays a sectioned, unassembled work-in-progress, and is underneath renovation on the Steam Operations Company in Birmingham, Alabama. Inbuilt 1928 within the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Juniata, Pennsylvania, outlets for operation by its then-subsidiary Lengthy Island Railroad, the engine, with a Four-6-Zero wheel configuration, gave devoted, excessive each day, multiple-stop service for 27 years earlier than passing the torch to diesel expertise. It was the final steam locomotive to function on Lengthy Island.There are a number of different absolutely restored and assembled engines and automobiles right here, nevertheless.The primary of those is definitely a pair of 25-ton switchers. Constructed in 1958 by Common Electrical, these two 150-hp mini-locomotives had been used to “switch” and transfer passenger and freight engines all through the railroad’s Morris Park servicing and restore facility in Richmond Hill, Queens.In accordance with the museum, the affectionately known as “dinkies” had been “four-wheel, cabin-driven, 25-ton diesel locomotives that toiled away in the back shops of the Long Island Railroad from 1958 through the early-2000s.”Not retired till 2006, engine #398 was bought way back to 1958 and #397 was acquired nearly three many years later, in 1987, from the Naporana Iron and Metallic Firm.One other engine-this time of diesel technology-is additionally on display-at least in spirit, if not in full bodily kind.Constructed by the American Locomotive Firm (Alco) in 1947 and designated FA-1 (for “Freight A” unit), it was operated by the New Haven Railroad, which numbered it 0402, till it returned it in 1963 after an accident. Separating the cab from the engine, Alco offered the previous portion to the Lengthy Island Railroad for show on the 1964-1965 World’s Truthful, held in Flushing Meadows, whereafter it served as an interactive exhibit for kids on the Tanglewood Day Damp in Malverne. The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum acquired it in 1999. The plaque commemorating its restoration is dated Might eight, 2010.Though the Lengthy Island Railroad was by no means inceptionally envisioned as a commuter service connecting its namesake inhabitants with the metropolises of New York and Brooklyn and, to a lesser diploma, to its personal cities, it in the end developed into one, attaining its true function. Towards that finish, steam- and, later, diesel locomotive-pulled automobiles had been integral to the morning and night visitors flows from and to the island by the East River tunnels. One in all them is on show.Constructed in 1923 by the American Automobile and Foundry Firm and initially appendaged to steam engines, the P54 coach, a light-weight construction that changed the all-wood and later hybrid metal body and wooden physique ones which preceded it, is an expression of development growth.Numbered 7433, it was the primary all-steel passenger automotive. It was one in all nearly a thousand constructed for the Pennsylvania and Lengthy Island railroads, and featured direction-changeable, “walk over” seats, and, within the case of the museum’s instance, overhead followers mounted on their authentic ventilators.As a result of the coach’s diminished weight subjected riders to a bouncing impact, it was usually dubbed a “Ping Pong” automotive. Draped in a number of liveries and retrofitted with extra trendy lighting, flooring, seats, and baggage racks, #7433 supplied a half-century of service and was not retired till 1974. It is without doubt one of the final of its sort to stay.Different museum reveals embrace two divergent-era and -purpose cabooses, which, earlier than the 1950s, traveled from finish to finish by Lengthy Island’s still-abundant, potato- and cauliflower-sprouting farmland as the top themselves to elongated freight trains.Inbuilt February of 1927 by the American Automobile and Foundry Firm at a $17,880 value, caboose #12 consisted of blended materials development, its body, underbody, and vehicles fabricated from metal, however its higher physique using wooden, and stretched 29.Four toes in size and weighed in at 35,430 kilos.”The end of the train had many names: crummy, palace, shack, or caboose,” in keeping with the museum. “It was home for the crew and an office, too. Bobbing along behind a string of freight cars, like an exclamation point at the end of a sentence, the caboose spoke loud and clear, saying, ‘I am the end. The train is complete.'”As befitting all houses on wheels, it was outfitted with sleeping bunks, storage closets, a sink, a coal range, and a bathroom, and was occupied by a conductor, who was chargeable for a practice’s protected motion and upon whose directive the engineer relied, and a brakeman, who ensured that the hose extending from the locomotive to the caboose itself maintained the required degree of air strain.Lengthy Island produce usually supplied “complementary,” track-side “shopping” for crews till some farmers routinely bundled freshly picked crops and made them accessible to them.Serving all branches of the Lengthy Island Railroad, caboose #12 was not retired till 1961, whereafter it served because the sleeping quarters of Shore Line Trolley Museum restorers in East Haven, Connecticut, and was lastly acquired by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in June of 2002. It personal restoration occurred between 2008 and 2009.Its different caboose, #50, was constructed by the Worldwide Railway Automobile Firm in 1958. Designated a Class N-22 unit, it was one of many first all-steel ones to exchange the previous wood ones. Though practice visibility was both afforded by tall cupola or prolonged facet bay window design options, this one provided neither, however nonetheless supplied devoted utilitarian service till its 1993 retirement.A later, 2011 museum addition is the quarter-length electrical simulator, which seems similar to the precise automotive, and was employed to coach and certify engineers on M1 and M3 gear.A State of New York contract, at the side of the Lengthy Island Railroad’s new proprietor, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was signed for 770 M1 electrified passenger coaches (numbers 9001 to 9770). Branded “Metropolitans” themselves and constructed between 1968 and 1973, they changed the combination of outdated gear remnants from the Pennsylvania Railroad regime, besides the 1950s-era, diesel-hauled Pullman Customary ones, which themselves had been numbered 2700 to 2900.The workhorse of the electrified fleet, the M1 automobiles weren’t retired till the early-21st century, after they had been changed by the superior M7s.Contrasting the previous with the brand new, the museum’s turntable, of steady girder design, was the second to have been used on the Oyster Bay Station and, together with the wye and the loop, served as one in all three strategies of reorienting a locomotive for its return journey.”The turntable at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is actually the second at this location,” in keeping with the museum. “The LIRR reached Oyster Bay in 1889, having been extended from Locust Valley. That turntable had been at that location since 1869 and, after 20 years, it was moved with expansion of the service to Oyster Bay.”It was not the one early-railroad remnants as soon as right here, nevertheless.”A four-stall engine house was built in 1889 and was located southeast of the turntable,” it continued. “In 1904, the old turntable was removed and a new 70-foot-long one was installed north of the engine house. It was originally powered by a pneumatic motor… In 1932, it was electrified and operated under that power source until taken out of service sometime in the 1970s.”Past the fence is the Oyster Bay yard, cradling bi-level commuter automobiles, and past them is the railroad station depot, image of each the previous and the long run.Designed by architect Bradford Lee Gilbert within the Tudor revival fashion, it was accomplished within the spring of 1889 to cater to the monitor extension from Locust Valley to Oyster Bay, however subsequently expanded in anticipation of elevated journey spurred by Theodore Roosevelt’s 1901 election as US president. A rail fanatic himself, he incessantly coated the quick distance from his Sagamore Hill residence to the station and commenced his journey to Washington, D.C., amongst different locations.Subjected to modifications all through its historical past, it misplaced its canopies throughout the 1940s, a few of its doorways and home windows by brick-plugging throughout the 1960s, and was lastly closed in 1999, after a 110-year utilization, when it was changed by a brand new platform to the west to adapt to the newest bi-level passenger automobiles.Owned, together with the plaza, by the City of Oyster Bay, it was subleased and is at the moment managed by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and is each an Oyster Bay Landmark and is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

Its plaque reads, “Oyster Bay Railroad Station. Home train station of Theodore Roosevelt, President t of the United States, 1901-1909. July 2005 placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plaque sponsored by Theodore Roosevelt Association and Oyster Bay Historical Society.”Now underneath renovation, it would finally change the museum’s Audrey Avenue facility and home each reveals and a customer middle, and will likely be linked, through a brief strolling path, by Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to the outside rolling inventory and turntable show yard.Four. Wantagh Railroad Station Museum:Initially encompassing Wantagh, Seaford, and the southern portion of Levittown, the realm, settled by Captain John Searman, Robert Jackson, and their households in 1644, was one of many earliest to have been claimed by the English in japanese Nassau County. Initially often known as Jerusalem, it was one in all many biblically named cities, together with Jericho and Bethpage.A quiet village till the Searman, Jackson, and Birdsall households serving George Washington’s military occupied Jerusalem itself throughout the Revolutionary Struggle, it harnessed the occasion as a post-conflict catalyst to development in 1783.Facilitated by the arrival of the railroad greater than a century later, in 1867, its southern portion attracted appreciable growth and was renamed Ridgewood in an effort to distinguish it from its authentic roots within the north. However that distinction was additional cemented solely 24 years later when it adopted the current Wantagh designation, since confusion with the identically named Queens city was frequent. Chosen to honor Wyandance, the grand sachem of the Montauk Indians, it retains its title to the current day.Integral to its growth was the Wantagh Railroad Station. Constructed in 1865 at an $800 value and situated on Railroad Avenue, the originally-designated Ridgewood Station featured an enclosed ticket workplace, through which Emma Whitmore served as its first feminine worker, a telegraph workplace, a passenger ready room, a baggage room, and open east and west ends. Heated by a potbelly range in its middle, it sports activities one similar to its authentic right now.The platform consisted of wood planks.As a result of it was slated for demolition in 1966 when the street-level tracks had been elevated to scale back vehicular visitors congestion, it was acquired by the prior-year established Wantagh Preservation Society and relocated to the current Wantagh Avenue website.Restored to its 1904 look, it was opened as a public museum on Might 16, 1982 and affords a glance into turn-of-the-century life by classic pictures and show circumstances that characteristic memorabilia from the realm’s previous.Trains nonetheless await passengers exterior. At the least one automotive does. Recognized by and the very image which brings the Wantagh Station to railroad life, is the red-liveried, track-supported passenger coach, “Jamaica.”Manufactured by the American Automobile and Foundry Company in 1912 for the Lengthy Island Railroad’s Lengthy Island Parlor Automobile Firm subsidiary, the 80-ton coach, measuring 80 toes lengthy by 14 toes excessive, initially accommodated 26 passengers, however was subjected to a multiple-application historical past Redesignated “The Montauk” for Lengthy Island Railroad enterprise use in 1925, for instance, it was subsequently rebuilt solely 5 years later as an statement automotive, incorporating staterooms, a galley, a eating room, butler’s quarters, and open decks.As an enlargement of then-advanced expertise, it featured its personal energy generator, was heated by coal stoves and pipe-circulating, baseboard-hidden scorching water, and cooled by a fan that blew air over two 300-pound ice blocks, guaranteeing early air-con throughout its weekend journey suspensions in Montauk.Eight years after its 1941 return to mum or dad firm Pennsylvania Railroad for modernization, it was repurchased for the sum of $26,434 and operated till 1957 because the “Jamaica,” as soon as once more reclassified as a passenger coach in 1962 and serving Lengthy Island Railroad categorical practice routes.Retired six years later and donated to the Wantagh Preservation Society, it spent one other 4 years in storage at Grumman’s Bethpage plant, earlier than being moved to its current location on October 25, 1972. It was rededicated in 1996.At this time, it sits on authentic, hand-hewn ties and 80-pound rails, and options its authentic, hand-applied pin stripping in its inside.Only some toes away is one other hark to Wantagh’s previous: its submit workplace. As soon as serving the agricultural city, which was then principally populated by farmers, the tiny, ten- by twelve-foot wood construction throughout from the railroad depot was in-built 1907 and served as the realm’s preliminary submit workplace, situated on the nook of Wantagh and Railroad avenues. Operated by a single particular person, who sorted the mail into slots, it witnessed the rise of postage from a former two to a present 49 cents for a two-ounce letter. Gertrude Ballem was the final particular person to work in it.Collectively, the railroad station, the passenger coach, and the submit workplace, maintained by the Wantagh Preservation Society, supply glimpses into early 20th-century Wantagh life.The society itself, chartered by the New York State Board of Regents as a nonprofit academic company, was based in 1965 for the aim of saving the station’s Victorian structure when plans for the elevated monitor crossing known as for its removing, and Nassau County subsequently supplied the current website at Wantagh and Emeric avenues for it.In August of 1983, the station and the railroad automotive had been positioned on the State and Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.