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

Described by, and developed for the reason that of, the Extended Island Railroad, the slender, pretty much fish-profiled tract of land originally referred to as Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to New York, owes a lot of its existence to it.

Earthly distances involve indicates, speed, and from time to time intermodal connections to traverse so that miles, as measurements, can be lowered to several hours and minutes. Untethered to the continental Untied States, and hence surrounded by water, Long Island by itself sought options for the population which grew after the farmers have been attracted there by the assure of sprouting crops. But not straight away.

“The century yr of 1800 observed Prolonged Island to be a largely rural area of remote villages situated along the shores,” according to Robert C. Sturm in his guide, “The Lengthy Island Rail Street Organization: A History, 1834-1965” (Extended Island-Dawn Path Chapter, Nationwide Railway Historical Modern society. 2014, p. 3). “The principle implies of transpiration and interaction had been carriages and sailing vessels. The point that journey was slow, arduous, and at times perilous intended that the average particular person seldom, if ever, traveled more than twenty miles from his or her position of delivery.”

Integral to the seed that progressed into the Extended Island Railroad and ultimately resolved this dilemma was the 10-mile Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad Firm, whose April twenty five, 1832 incorporation was envisioned as the initially step in a land-and-sea url to Boston, basically bypassing Extensive Island by itself, but lessening the primitive, a few-day horse-drawn mentor and sixteen-hour all-steamer solutions to eleven hrs.

The next segment of the intermodal journey became reality on April 24, 1834, when the Lengthy Island Rail Road Firm was chartered to work from Brooklyn to Greenport on the North Fork. The 3rd was the cross-seem ferry voyage to Stonington, Connecticut, whose hilly and river-interspersed southern shore if not eclipsed technological, observe-laying capabilities, and the fourth was the continued and last rail connection to Boston on the Norwich and Worcester.

Two many years afterwards, on April eighteen, or the really working day that the Brooklyn and Jamaica was concluded, the barren island started sprouting tracks, along with its crops, reaching Farmingdale in Suffolk County in 1841, Deer Park the pursuing year, and Medford two many years just after that, and met the North Fork-originating, westward-laid rails by summer months, while a scarcity necessitated a momentary, two-mile, large timber and strap iron topped insertion right up until the last area was sent from Britain.

Inaugurating support on July 27, 1844, the fledgling, steam-driven railroad immediately shown its capacity, masking the 94 miles from Brooklyn to Greenport in a few-and-a-50 % several hours.

But the floor which supported it began to crumble following only a couple decades of procedure, due to the fact the previously regarded as “unattainable” southern Connecticut rail route was conquered by 1850, getting rid of the need for the Very long Island Railroad’s intermodal and inter-state function and leaving it to serve a sparsely populated farm local community. Now, more than ever, it desired to develop branches that would cater to creating towns, soon after its original, cross-island line spurred their progress.

These days, tunnel-linked, beneath the East River, to Manhattan, the Very long Island Railroad operates nine branches to 124 stations, masking far more than seven-hundred miles of monitor, and is both of those North America’s busiest commuter railroad, feeding and fielding the every day workforce, and the oldest one particular nonetheless operating underneath its unique title. In 2009, it celebrated its one hundred and seventy fifth anniversary and six several years later on carried 87.6 million yearly passengers.

Its rich background can be gleaned by way of Lengthy Island’s many railroad-associated sights.

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Hicksville and the John Bull Locomotive:

Situated on the flat, barren, 60,000-acre Hempstead Plains–the major this sort of prairie in the japanese United States-Hicksville was 1st claimed by Welsh settler, Robert Williams, in 1648. But, irrespective of the guarantee of population, it remained just as virgin for one more two centuries, right up until Valentine Hicks, a Jericho businessman, obtained the site and formed a land association to establish a town on it in 1834.

Due to the fact the initial 15 miles of monitor had attained the spot 3 decades later on, in March, its then terminus status reworked it into a vacation spot or, in the reverse way, a gateway to Manhattan in the west, setting up a tether to a major town.

Not coincidentally, Hicks himself turned a Extensive Island Railroad board member and its second president, though the station, eventually situated at the crossroads of the Most important Line and the Port Jefferson branch, progressed into a hub.

But monetary stress at the time of its inception ensured that it remained the terminus for 4 yrs, right up until the intermodal connection could regain its momentum and ever eastward-laid track could imprint the floor. In the meantime, however, the railroad transported men and women, who, in sedentary sort, translated into inhabitants, and the the moment barren farmland took root as a town comprised of merchants, enterprises, residences, and hotels. Its “Hicksville” name, yet again not coincidentally, mirrored its Valentine Hicks founder.

The Prolonged Island Railroad’s initially locomotive, the “Ariel” and the nineteenth built by Matthias W. Baldwin, was shipped in November of 1835 and, apart from delivering motive ability for the inaugural Hicksville support, was used for some two decades.

“The authentic locomotives had been of very simple development, comprising a five-tube boiler mounted on a frame that also accommodated a two-cylinder engine,” wrote Sturm in “The Lengthy Island Rail Road Company: A History, 1834-1965” (p. ten). “Hand-lower pine, which was conveniently harvested from the Pine Barrens, was the gas. Drinking water was carried on the tender vehicle, either in casks or (in) an iron tank. There had been no brakes coasting to the station and at last ‘plugging’ the engine (running it in reverse) was the only strategy applied to prevent the trains.”

Insignificant in dimension and primitive in development, it nonetheless produced a big impression. It lit the fire on the steam revolution, shrank distances, and served as the threshold to the industrial period.

Requested by Robert Stevens, who necessary propulsion for the Camden and Amboy Railroad he established, the very to start with such John Bull locomotive commenced its journey as a selection of crate-cradled areas in Liverpool, England, in 1831, arriving on this side of the Atlantic from the Robert Stephenson and Organization manufacturing facility marked “a person locomotive steam motor.” Assembly, pointless to say, was expected.

But right after it was, it inaugurated New Jersey’s 1st rail assistance, as its title indicates, in between Camden and South Amboy two several years later on and plied tracks with it or other corporations for 35 several years. It was not retired right until 1866, at the conclusion of the Civil War.

It was ultimately operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took around the Camden and Amboy and later on owned the Extended Island Railroad.

That includes a 14.9-foot size and 6.3-foot width, the ten-ton motor, with a -4- wheel configuration, had a 4.11-foot wheel foundation and four-foot, 8.five inch gauge. It was outfitted with a 10.07-square-foot firebox and a six.nine-foot-lengthy boiler, which had a 2.6-foot diameter.

Power was transmitted to the driving axles by indicates of pistons mounted under the boiler in between the two entrance wheels.

The initial ground-level Hicksville Station was served by a number of depots all through its heritage, which include the second, which opened in 1873 to exchange the 1st, consumed by fireplace nine several years before the third, which replaced the second after it was moved to a private spot in 1909 and the fourth, which was briefly employed involving 1962 and 1965 while the tracks had been elevated. That $8.eight million challenge, which lined 3 miles, but associated eleven miles of observe, eradicated five grade crossings on the Main Line and two on the Port Jefferson branch, and required the extension and relocation of Newbridge Road beneath a viaduct.

Not significantly from all those elevated tracks is a whole-sized, non-functioning reproduction of the John Bull locomotive named “Valentine’s Dream” and positioned in Hicksville’s Kennedy Memorial Park. Produced by Chamber of Commerce President James Pavone in the course of a two-year interval and based mostly upon the original a person from 1831, which ran on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, it served as the inspiration for Matthias W. Baldwin to establish locomotives in this country, one of which, of program, was the Long Island Rail Road’s initial locomotive, “the Ariel,” whose impression graces the town’s welcome indications and banners.

Unveiled on May 17, 2008, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the central Extended Island city, the “Valentine’s Aspiration” reproduction grew to become Hicksville’s possess icon.

three. Oyster Bay Railroad Museum:

Forever affiliated with Oyster Bay is President Theodore Roosevelt, who usually traveled by rail and applied the station as his threshold to other pieces of the country, because his Sagamore Hill household was positioned only a shorter distance from it. But the similarly close by, correctly named Oyster Bay Railroad Museum was not established for that reason. As an alternative, it started in 1990, when the volunteer Locomotive #35 Restoration Committee, beneath the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Parks Commission, cleaned and painted the deteriorating steam engine displayed in Mitchel Park.

Subsequently integrated as the Good friends of Locomotive #35, the team sought funding for a whole restoration and a place to showcase it, resulting in the 2006-proven not-for-earnings firm that planted its roots in Oyster Bay and acquired further artifacts, railroad gear, and rolling stock.

“The mission of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is to heighten general public recognition, knowing, and appreciation of the railroad’s position in our heritage,” it self states, “and to enhance public comprehending of rail know-how and its influence on Very long Island lifetime. (It) will accumulate, maintain, and interpret the railroad heritage of Lengthy Island for long term generations.”

Presently divided into an indoor customer heart and out of doors rolling stock screen sophisticated, it features photographs, artifacts, modest railroad implements, a huge-scale Hudson locomotive and tender, with a four-6-four wheel configuration, and a model teach format in the former, found at 102 Audrey Avenue. But significantly extra is to be observed in the latter, a brief drive away.

Right here, locomotive #35, cornerstone of and catalyst to the museum, and traditionally sizeable because of its participation in the 1955 “Close of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, stays a sectioned, unassembled operate-in-progress, and is underneath renovation at the Steam Functions Company in Birmingham, Alabama. Developed in 1928 in the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Juniata, Pennsylvania, retailers for operation by its then-subsidiary Lengthy Island Railroad, the engine, with a four-6- wheel configuration, gave faithful, higher day-to-day, numerous-end company for 27 many years prior to passing the torch to diesel technological know-how. It was the very last steam locomotive to run on Long Island.

There are quite a few other entirely restored and assembled engines and automobiles below, on the other hand.

The initial of these is basically a pair of 25-ton switchers. Created in 1958 by Normal Electrical, these two one hundred fifty-hp mini-locomotives were made use of to “swap” and shift passenger and freight engines through the railroad’s Morris Park servicing and fix facility in Richmond Hill, Queens.

According to the museum, the affectionately referred to as “dinkies” were “4-wheel, cabin-driven, 25-ton diesel locomotives that toiled away in the again retailers of the Prolonged Island Railroad from 1958 as a result of the early-2000s.”

Not retired till 2006, motor #398 was purchased as much back again as 1958 and #397 was obtained virtually three decades later on, in 1987, from the Naporana Iron and Metallic Corporation.

One more motor-this time of diesel know-how-is also on show-at minimum in spirit, if not in comprehensive physical type.

Built by the American Locomotive Business (Alco) in 1947 and designated FA-1 (for “Freight A” device), it was operated by the New Haven Railroad, which numbered it 0402, till it returned it in 1963 following an accident. Separating the taxi from the engine, Alco marketed the previous portion to the Extended Island Railroad for display screen at the 1964-1965 World’s Reasonable, held in Flushing Meadows, whereafter it served as an interactive show for little ones at the Tanglewood Day Damp in Malverne. The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum acquired it in 1999. The plaque commemorating its restoration is dated May possibly eight, 2010.

Despite the fact that the Very long Island Railroad was under no circumstances inceptionally envisioned as a commuter provider connecting its namesake population with the metropolises of New York and Brooklyn and, to a lesser degree, to its possess towns, it ultimately advanced into a person, acquiring its genuine purpose. Toward that stop, steam- and, afterwards, diesel locomotive-pulled automobiles had been integral to the morning and night targeted visitors flows from and to the island through the East River tunnels. One particular of them is on screen.

Created in 1923 by the American Car and Foundry Enterprise and in the beginning appendaged to steam engines, the P54 coach, a light-weight composition that replaced the all-wood and later hybrid steel frame and wood system types which preceded it, is an expression of construction progress.

Numbered 7433, it was the to start with all-metal passenger automobile. It was one particular of just about a thousand designed for the Pennsylvania and Lengthy Island railroads, and showcased course-changeable, “walk more than” seats, and, in the circumstance of the museum’s case in point, overhead lovers mounted on their first ventilators.

For the reason that the coach’s decreased weight subjected riders to a bouncing outcome, it was typically dubbed a “Ping Pong” automobile. Draped in several liveries and retrofitted with additional fashionable lighting, flooring, seats, and luggage racks, #7433 provided a 50 %-century of company and was not retired until finally 1974. It is a single of the previous of its variety to remain.

Other museum reveals consist of two divergent-period and -reason cabooses, which, right before the nineteen fifties, traveled from end to end via Very long Island’s nonetheless-ample, potato- and cauliflower-sprouting farmland as the end by themselves to elongated freight trains.

Designed in February of 1927 by the American Car or truck and Foundry Enterprise at a $seventeen,880 cost, caboose #twelve consisted of blended material construction, its body, underbody, and trucks manufactured of steel, but its higher system using wooden, and stretched 29.4 toes in duration and weighed in at 35,430 kilos.

“The finish of the practice had lots of names: crummy, palace, shack, or caboose,” according to the museum. “It was residence for the crew and an workplace, as well. Bobbing along powering a string of freight vehicles, like an exclamation stage at the close of a sentence, the caboose spoke loud and obvious, indicating, ‘I am the end. The teach is full.'”

As befitting all houses on wheels, it was outfitted with sleeping bunks, storage closets, a sink, a coal stove, and a bathroom, and was occupied by a conductor, who was liable for a train’s secure 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 expected level of air pressure.

Extensive Island generate generally delivered “complementary,” monitor-aspect “purchasing” for crews right until some farmers routinely bundled freshly picked crops and built them obtainable to them.

Serving all branches of the Lengthy Island Railroad, caboose #twelve was not retired until eventually 1961, whereafter it served as the sleeping quarters of Shore Line Trolley Museum restorers in East Haven, Connecticut, and was eventually acquired by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in June of 2002. It own restoration occurred between 2008 and 2009.

Its other caboose, #fifty, was built by the Global Railway Vehicle Company in 1958. Selected a Class N-22 device, it was a single of the to start with all-steel types to change the previous picket kinds. While coach visibility was both afforded by tall cupola or prolonged facet bay window style and design capabilities, this a person made available neither, but yet presented faithful utilitarian service right until its 1993 retirement.

A afterwards, 2011 museum addition is the quarter-size electric simulator, which seems equivalent to the genuine auto, and was employed to coach and certify engineers on M1 and M3 tools.

A Point out of New York contract, in conjunction with the Extensive Island Railroad’s new proprietor, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was signed for 770 M1 electrified passenger coaches (figures 9001 to 9770). Branded “Metropolitans” on their own and constructed involving 1968 and 1973, they changed the combination of out-of-date equipment remnants from the Pennsylvania Railroad regime, other than the nineteen fifties-era, diesel-hauled Pullman Normal types, which on their own were numbered 2700 to 2900.

The workhorse of the electrified fleet, the M1 cars and trucks have been not retired until the early-21st century, when they had been replaced by the superior M7s.

Contrasting the previous with the new, the museum’s turntable, of continual girder design, was the second to have been applied at the Oyster Bay Station and, together with the wye and the loop, served as one particular of a few strategies of reorienting a locomotive for its return vacation.

“The turntable at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is essentially the next at this spot,” in accordance to the museum. “The LIRR arrived at Oyster Bay in 1889, getting been prolonged from Locust Valley. That turntable had been at that place given that 1869 and, just after 20 years, it was moved with enlargement of the service to Oyster Bay.”

It was not the only early-railroad remnants when here, nonetheless.

“A 4-stall engine household was crafted in 1889 and was found southeast of the turntable,” it continued. “In 1904, the aged turntable was removed and a new 70-foot-long a person was mounted north of the motor residence. It was initially run by a pneumatic motor… In 1932, it was electrified and operated below that ability supply until eventually taken out of service sometime in the seventies.”

Outside of the fence is the Oyster Bay garden, cradling bi-level commuter autos, and outside of them is the railroad station depot, symbol of the two the previous and the foreseeable future.

Designed by architect Bradford Lee Gilbert in the Tudor revival design, it was completed in the spring of 1889 to cater to the keep track of extension from Locust Valley to Oyster Bay, but subsequently expanded in anticipation of increased journey spurred by Theodore Roosevelt’s 1901 election as US president. A rail enthusiast himself, he routinely coated the limited distance from his Sagamore Hill household to the station and commenced his journey to Washington, D.C., among the other destinations.

Subjected to modifications all over its background, it shed its canopies all through the nineteen forties, some of its doors and windows by brick-plugging all through the nineteen sixties, and was lastly closed in 1999, right after a a hundred and ten-year utilization, when it was changed by a new platform to the west to conform to the newest bi-amount passenger autos.

Owned, together with the plaza, by the City of Oyster Bay, it was subleased and is now managed by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and is both of those an Oyster Bay Landmark and is mentioned on the Nationwide Sign-up of Historic Destinations.

Its plaque reads, “Oyster Bay Railroad Station. Residence teach station of Theodore Roosevelt, President t of the United States, 1901-1909. July 2005 positioned on the National Sign up of Historic Destinations. Plaque sponsored by Theodore Roosevelt Association and Oyster Bay Historic Culture.”

Now under renovation, it will at some point change the museum’s Audrey Avenue facility and home equally exhibits and a customer centre, and will be linked, via a limited walking path, as a result of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to the out of doors rolling inventory and turntable display yard.

4. Wantagh Railroad Station Museum:

Originally encompassing Wantagh, Seaford, and the southern portion of Levittown, the spot, settled by Captain John Searman, Robert Jackson, and their people in 1644, was one particular of the earliest to have been claimed by the English in jap Nassau County. At first known as Jerusalem, it was just one of lots of biblically named cities, along with Jericho and Bethpage.

A tranquil village until finally the Searman, Jackson, and Birdsall family members serving George Washington’s military occupied Jerusalem itself all through the Groundbreaking War, it harnessed the occasion as a write-up-conflict catalyst to progress in 1783.

Facilitated by the arrival of the railroad much more than a century later on, in 1867, its southern part attracted appreciable enhancement and was renamed Ridgewood in purchase to distinguish it from its first roots in the north. But that difference was even more cemented only 24 years later on 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 name to the present day.

Integral to its development was the Wantagh Railroad Station. Made in 1865 at an $800 expense and located on Railroad Avenue, the originally-specified Ridgewood Station highlighted an enclosed ticket workplace, in which Emma Whitmore served as its 1st female employee, a telegraph business, a passenger ready place, a baggage room, and open east and west ends. Heated by a potbelly stove in its heart, it sporting activities just one quite similar to its unique nowadays.

The platform consisted of wooden planks.

Mainly because it was slated for demolition in 1966 when the avenue-degree tracks ended up elevated to lower vehicular targeted visitors congestion, it was acquired by the prior-12 months established Wantagh Preservation Society and relocated to the present Wantagh Avenue web site.

Restored to its 1904 appearance, it was opened as a community museum on May well sixteen, 1982 and features a glance into switch-of-the-century daily life by classic photographs and exhibit circumstances that attribute memorabilia from the area’s previous.

Trains nonetheless await passengers outside. At least a person motor vehicle does. Recognized by and the quite image which provides the Wantagh Station to railroad daily life, is the purple-liveried, track-supported passenger coach, “Jamaica.”

Produced by the American Auto and Foundry Corporation in 1912 for the Lengthy Island Railroad’s Long Island Parlor Car or truck Firm subsidiary, the 80-ton coach, measuring 80 ft extensive by 14 ft large, at first accommodated 26 travellers, but was subjected to a several-software historical past Redesignated “The Montauk” for Extensive Island Railroad organization use in 1925, for illustration, it was subsequently rebuilt only five a long time later on as an observation car or truck, incorporating staterooms, a galley, a eating space, butler’s quarters, and open up decks.