Railroad Sights of Prolonged Island: Hicksville, Oyster Bay, and Wantagh
Defined by, and developed simply because of, the Extensive Island Railroad, the slender, almost fish-profiled tract of land initially referred to as Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to New York, owes considerably of its existence to it.
Earthly distances demand suggests, speed, and at times intermodal connections to traverse so that miles, as measurements, can be minimized to hours and minutes. Untethered to the continental Untied States, and consequently surrounded by drinking water, Long Island itself sought solutions for the population which grew soon after the farmers ended up attracted there by the promise of sprouting crops. But not promptly.
“The century calendar year of 1800 located Extended Island to be a mostly rural location of remote villages situated together the shores,” in accordance to Robert C. Sturm in his guide, “The Very long Island Rail Highway Firm: A History, 1834-1965” (Extended Island-Sunrise Trail Chapter, Nationwide Railway Historical Society. 2014, p. three). “The basic principle usually means of transpiration and interaction ended up carriages and sailing vessels. The fact that journey was slow, arduous, and at times perilous meant that the regular human being not often, if ever, traveled additional than twenty miles from his or her put of start.”
Integral to the seed that progressed into the Very long Island Railroad and in the end fixed this predicament was the ten-mile Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad Company, whose April twenty five, 1832 incorporation was envisioned as the first action in a land-and-sea link to Boston, effectively bypassing Extensive Island itself, but cutting down the primitive, three-day horse-drawn mentor and 16-hour all-steamer solutions to 11 hrs.
The next phase of the intermodal journey grew to become actuality on April 24, 1834, when the Extended Island Rail Road Company was chartered to run from Brooklyn to Greenport on the North Fork. The 3rd was the cross-sound ferry voyage to Stonington, Connecticut, whose hilly and river-interspersed southern shore otherwise eclipsed technological, track-laying capabilities, and the fourth was the ongoing and remaining rail hyperlink to Boston on the Norwich and Worcester.
Two yrs afterwards, on April 18, or the pretty working day that the Brooklyn and Jamaica was finished, the barren island commenced sprouting tracks, along with its crops, achieving Farmingdale in Suffolk County in 1841, Deer Park the next 12 months, and Medford two years following that, and fulfilled the North Fork-originating, westward-laid rails by summer, despite the fact that a scarcity necessitated a non permanent, two-mile, heavy timber and strap iron topped insertion right until the remaining portion was shipped from Britain.
Inaugurating company on July 27, 1844, the fledgling, steam-driven railroad right away demonstrated its capacity, covering the ninety four miles from Brooklyn to Greenport in a few-and-a-50 percent hrs.
But the ground which supported it began to crumble following only a couple of a long time of procedure, due to the fact the earlier regarded “extremely hard” southern Connecticut rail route was conquered by 1850, eradicating the will need for the Prolonged Island Railroad’s intermodal and inter-condition function and leaving it to serve a sparsely populated farm local community. Now, far more than ever, it essential to develop branches that would cater to establishing cities, soon after its first, cross-island line spurred their progress.
Nowadays, tunnel-connected, beneath the East River, to Manhattan, the Very long Island Railroad operates nine branches to 124 stations, masking more than 700 miles of track, and is both of those North America’s busiest commuter railroad, feeding and fielding the daily workforce, and the oldest a person nonetheless running below its original name. In 2009, it celebrated its one hundred and seventy fifth anniversary and six years later on carried 87.six million annual passengers.
Its wealthy background can be gleaned by means of Prolonged Island’s several railroad-similar sights.
two. Hicksville and the John Bull Locomotive:
Positioned on the flat, barren, sixty,000-acre Hempstead Plains–the most significant such prairie in the eastern United States-Hicksville was first claimed by Welsh settler, Robert Williams, in 1648. But, despite the promise of populace, it remained just as virgin for a further two centuries, until Valentine Hicks, a Jericho businessman, obtained the internet site and shaped a land affiliation to establish a town on it in 1834.
Due to the fact the to start with fifteen miles of keep track of experienced reached the space a few years afterwards, in March, its then terminus position remodeled it into a desired destination or, in the reverse way, a gateway to Manhattan in the west, creating a tether to a significant city.
Not coincidentally, Hicks himself turned a Lengthy Island Railroad board member and its next president, though the station, in the long run located at the crossroads of the Key Line and the Port Jefferson department, progressed into a hub.
But monetary stress at the time of its inception ensured that it remained the terminus for four yrs, until eventually the intermodal link could regain its momentum and at any time eastward-laid observe could imprint the floor. In the meantime, even so, the railroad transported people, who, in sedentary kind, translated into inhabitants, and the as soon as barren farmland took root as a city comprised of retailers, corporations, residences, and accommodations. Its “Hicksville” identify, once more not coincidentally, mirrored its Valentine Hicks founder.
The Lengthy Island Railroad’s initially locomotive, the “Ariel” and the nineteenth produced by Matthias W. Baldwin, was delivered in November of 1835 and, apart from providing motive electricity for the inaugural Hicksville provider, was utilized for some two a long time.
“The original locomotives have been of easy development, comprising a 5-tube boiler mounted on a frame that also accommodated a two-cylinder engine,” wrote Sturm in “The Prolonged Island Rail Highway Organization: A Background, 1834-1965” (p. ten). “Hand-slice pine, which was conveniently harvested from the Pine Barrens, was the gasoline. Water was carried on the tender motor vehicle, possibly in casks or (in) an iron tank. There ended up no brakes coasting to the station and lastly ‘plugging’ the engine (working it in reverse) was the only approach used to end the trains.”
Insignificant in size and primitive in design, it yet designed a big impact. It lit the fireplace on the steam revolution, shrank distances, and served as the threshold to the industrial period.
Requested by Robert Stevens, who desired propulsion for the Camden and Amboy Railroad he established, the quite initial this sort of John Bull locomotive commenced its journey as a collection of crate-cradled areas in Liverpool, England, in 1831, arriving on this side of the Atlantic from the Robert Stephenson and Corporation factory marked “just one locomotive steam motor.” Assembly, needless to say, was essential.
But right after it was, it inaugurated New Jersey’s initially rail service, as its name implies, among Camden and South Amboy two many years afterwards and plied tracks with it or other organizations for 35 many years. It was not retired until finally 1866, at the finish of the Civil War.
It was eventually operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took about the Camden and Amboy and later owned the Very long Island Railroad.
Featuring a fourteen.9-foot length and 6.3-foot width, the 10-ton engine, with a -four- wheel configuration, had a 4.11-foot wheel foundation and four-foot, 8.5 inch gauge. It was equipped with a ten.07-square-foot firebox and a six.nine-foot-prolonged boiler, which experienced a two.six-foot diameter.
Ability was transmitted to the driving axles by indicates of pistons mounted beneath the boiler concerning the two entrance wheels.
The preliminary floor-amount Hicksville Station was served by numerous depots through its historical past, such as the second, which opened in 1873 to switch the 1st, eaten by fire 9 many years before the 3rd, which changed the second soon after it was moved to a non-public place in 1909 and the fourth, which was temporarily used among 1962 and 1965 though the tracks were elevated. That $8.eight million challenge, which protected a few miles, but included 11 miles of keep track of, eradicated five grade crossings on the Most important Line and two on the Port Jefferson department, and essential the extension and relocation of Newbridge Road underneath a viaduct.
Not significantly from those people elevated tracks is a full-sized, non-operating reproduction of the John Bull locomotive named “Valentine’s Desire” and located in Hicksville’s Kennedy Memorial Park. Made by Chamber of Commerce President James Pavone all through a two-yr period of time and based on the original a single from 1831, which ran on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, it served as the inspiration for Matthias W. Baldwin to construct locomotives in this state, just one of which, of training course, was the Prolonged Island Rail Road’s very first locomotive, “the Ariel,” whose graphic graces the town’s welcome signals and banners.
Unveiled on Might seventeen, 2008, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the central Prolonged Island town, the “Valentine’s Aspiration” replica turned Hicksville’s own icon.
three. Oyster Bay Railroad Museum:
Eternally linked with Oyster Bay is President Theodore Roosevelt, who usually traveled by rail and used the station as his threshold to other components of the country, since his Sagamore Hill residence was situated only a brief length from it. But the equally close by, appropriately named Oyster Bay Railroad Museum was not designed for that cause. Rather, it commenced in 1990, when the volunteer Locomotive #35 Restoration Committee, less than the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Parks Fee, cleaned and painted the deteriorating steam motor displayed in Mitchel Park.
Subsequently integrated as the Pals of Locomotive #35, the team sought funding for a total restoration and a place to showcase it, ensuing in the 2006-set up not-for-earnings corporation that planted its roots in Oyster Bay and obtained supplemental artifacts, railroad equipment, and rolling inventory.
“The mission of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is to heighten public awareness, comprehending, and appreciation of the railroad’s job in our heritage,” it self states, “and to raise public knowledge of rail engineering and its effects on Extended Island lifestyle. (It) will obtain, preserve, and interpret the railroad heritage of Very long Island for foreseeable future generations.”
Presently divided into an indoor visitor center and outdoor rolling inventory screen sophisticated, it attributes photographs, artifacts, little railroad implements, a massive-scale Hudson locomotive and tender, with a 4-6-four wheel configuration, and a product coach structure in the former, found at 102 Audrey Avenue. But considerably a lot more is to be noticed in the latter, a quick travel absent.
Below, locomotive #35, cornerstone of and catalyst to the museum, and traditionally substantial due to the fact of its participation in the 1955 “End of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, continues to be a sectioned, unassembled perform-in-progress, and is beneath renovation at the Steam Operations Company in Birmingham, Alabama. Created in 1928 in the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Juniata, Pennsylvania, shops for procedure by its then-subsidiary Lengthy Island Railroad, the engine, with a 4-6- wheel configuration, gave faithful, superior daily, numerous-halt assistance for 27 yrs before passing the torch to diesel technological innovation. It was the last steam locomotive to function on Very long Island.
There are numerous other completely restored and assembled engines and cars and trucks listed here, nonetheless.
The first of these is truly a pair of 25-ton switchers. Built in 1958 by Basic Electric, these two one hundred fifty-hp mini-locomotives ended up utilised to “change” and transfer passenger and freight engines during the railroad’s Morris Park servicing and restore facility in Richmond Hill, Queens.
According to the museum, the affectionately identified as “dinkies” were being “4-wheel, cabin-driven, 25-ton diesel locomotives that toiled absent in the back again retailers of the Lengthy Island Railroad from 1958 as a result of the early-2000s.”
Not retired until finally 2006, motor #398 was ordered as much again as 1958 and #397 was obtained practically 3 a long time later, in 1987, from the Naporana Iron and Metallic Enterprise.
Another motor-this time of diesel technologies-is also on show-at minimum in spirit, if not in complete bodily type.
Developed by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1947 and specified FA-1 (for “Freight A” unit), it was operated by the New Haven Railroad, which numbered it 0402, until it returned it in 1963 immediately after an accident. Separating the cab from the engine, Alco sold the former portion to the Very long Island Railroad for screen at the 1964-1965 World’s Truthful, held in Flushing Meadows, whereafter it served as an interactive show for youngsters at the Tanglewood Day Damp in Malverne. The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum obtained it in 1999. The plaque commemorating its restoration is dated May perhaps eight, 2010.
Although the Very long Island Railroad was hardly ever inceptionally envisioned as a commuter carrier connecting its namesake populace with the metropolises of New York and Brooklyn and, to a lesser diploma, to its personal towns, it in the end advanced into 1, attaining its real reason. Towards that conclusion, steam- and, afterwards, diesel locomotive-pulled autos had been integral to the early morning and night visitors flows from and to the island by way of the East River tunnels. A person of them is on display screen.
Produced in 1923 by the American Automobile and Foundry Enterprise and initially appendaged to steam engines, the P54 mentor, a light-weight structure that replaced the all-wooden and later on hybrid metal body and wood overall body ones which preceded it, is an expression of building development.
Numbered 7433, it was the initial all-steel passenger motor vehicle. It was one of pretty much a thousand built for the Pennsylvania and Very long Island railroads, and showcased route-changeable, “wander above” seats, and, in the situation of the museum’s instance, overhead followers mounted on their primary ventilators.
Since the coach’s diminished pounds subjected riders to a bouncing influence, it was typically dubbed a “Ping Pong” car or truck. Draped in numerous liveries and retrofitted with much more fashionable lighting, flooring, seats, and baggage racks, #7433 offered a half-century of services and was not retired right until 1974. It is just one of the final of its style to continue being.
Other museum reveals involve two divergent-era and -reason cabooses, which, ahead of the fifties, traveled from finish to close through Lengthy Island’s nonetheless-considerable, potato- and cauliflower-sprouting farmland as the finish by themselves to elongated freight trains.
Created in February of 1927 by the American Car or truck and Foundry Company at a $17,880 expense, caboose #12 consisted of mixed content construction, its body, underbody, and vehicles designed of steel, but its upper body using wood, and stretched 29.4 toes in size and weighed in at 35,430 lbs ..
“The end of the prepare had numerous names: crummy, palace, shack, or caboose,” according to the museum. “It was house for the crew and an workplace, way too. Bobbing alongside at the rear of a string of freight autos, like an exclamation position at the close of a sentence, the caboose spoke loud and clear, saying, ‘I am the close. The practice is comprehensive.'”
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 dependable for a train’s harmless motion and on whose directive the engineer relied, and a brakeman, who ensured that the hose extending from the locomotive to the caboose itself maintained the needed level of air strain.
Lengthy Island generate usually presented “complementary,” keep track of-facet “procuring” for crews until some farmers routinely bundled freshly picked crops and built them obtainable to them.
Serving all branches of the Lengthy Island Railroad, caboose #12 was not retired until finally 1961, whereafter it served as the sleeping quarters of Shore Line Trolley Museum restorers in East Haven, Connecticut, and was at last obtained by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in June of 2002. It have restoration transpired involving 2008 and 2009.
Its other caboose, #fifty, was manufactured by the Worldwide Railway Motor vehicle Corporation in 1958. Selected a Course N-22 unit, it was a single of the 1st all-steel types to replace the preceding wood types. Even though train visibility was either afforded by tall cupola or extended facet bay window style and design capabilities, this one supplied neither, but even so furnished faithful utilitarian support until eventually its 1993 retirement.
A later on, 2011 museum addition is the quarter-length electric simulator, which appears similar to the true car, and was used to train and certify engineers on M1 and M3 equipment.
A Condition of New York contract, in conjunction with the Prolonged Island Railroad’s new operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was signed for 770 M1 electrified passenger coaches (figures 9001 to 9770). Branded “Metropolitans” by themselves and created amongst 1968 and 1973, they replaced the combination of out-of-date devices remnants from the Pennsylvania Railroad regime, besides the fifties-period, diesel-hauled Pullman Standard kinds, which themselves ended up numbered 2700 to 2900.
The workhorse of the electrified fleet, the M1 vehicles ended up not retired until the early-twenty first century, when they were being changed by the highly developed M7s.
Contrasting the old with the new, the museum’s turntable, of steady girder layout, was the second to have been utilised at the Oyster Bay Station and, along with the wye and the loop, served as 1 of 3 procedures of reorienting a locomotive for its return excursion.
“The turntable at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is actually the 2nd at this location,” in accordance to the museum. “The LIRR attained Oyster Bay in 1889, owning been prolonged from Locust Valley. That turntable experienced been at that locale considering that 1869 and, after twenty many years, it was moved with enlargement of the assistance to Oyster Bay.”
It was not the only early-railroad remnants after below, on the other hand.
“A 4-stall engine household was developed in 1889 and was located southeast of the turntable,” it ongoing. “In 1904, the previous turntable was removed and a new 70-foot-lengthy 1 was installed north of the engine house. It was at first driven by a pneumatic motor… In 1932, it was electrified and operated under that energy resource until taken out of service sometime in the seventies.”
Beyond the fence is the Oyster Bay property, cradling bi-stage commuter vehicles, and past them is the railroad station depot, symbol of each the earlier and the future.
Developed by architect Bradford Lee Gilbert in the Tudor revival fashion, it was accomplished in the spring of 1889 to cater to the track extension from Locust Valley to Oyster Bay, but subsequently expanded in anticipation of improved travel spurred by Theodore Roosevelt’s 1901 election as US president. A rail fanatic himself, he frequently protected the small distance from his Sagamore Hill dwelling to the station and commenced his journey to Washington, D.C., among the other destinations.
Subjected to modifications in the course of its background, it lost its canopies throughout the forties, some of its doorways and home windows by brick-plugging during the nineteen sixties, and was eventually closed in 1999, just after a one hundred ten-calendar year utilization, when it was replaced by a new platform to the west to conform to the most current bi-amount passenger automobiles.
Owned, alongside with the plaza, by the Town of Oyster Bay, it was subleased and is presently managed by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and is the two an Oyster Bay Landmark and is shown on the Countrywide Sign-up of Historic Destinations.
Its plaque reads, “Oyster Bay Railroad Station. Dwelling prepare station of Theodore Roosevelt, President t of the United States, 1901-1909. July 2005 placed on the Nationwide Sign-up of Historic Locations. Plaque sponsored by Theodore Roosevelt Association and Oyster Bay Historical Culture.”
Now underneath renovation, it will ultimately swap the museum’s Audrey Avenue facility and property both of those reveals and a visitor centre, and will be joined, by way of a brief going for walks path, by way of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to the outside rolling stock and turntable show lawn.
4. Wantagh Railroad Station Museum:
Initially encompassing Wantagh, Seaford, and the southern portion of Levittown, the area, settled by Captain John Searman, Robert Jackson, and their households in 1644, was a single of the earliest to have been claimed by the English in japanese Nassau County. To begin with regarded as Jerusalem, it was one particular of several biblically named towns, together with Jericho and Bethpage.
A quiet village until finally the Searman, Jackson, and Birdsall families serving George Washington’s military occupied Jerusalem itself in the course of the Revolutionary War, it harnessed the event as a post-conflict catalyst to advancement in 1783.
Facilitated by the arrival of the railroad additional than a century later, in 1867, its southern part captivated considerable development and was renamed Ridgewood in order to distinguish it from its initial roots in the north. But that difference was additional cemented only 24 many years later on when it adopted the current Wantagh designation, considering that confusion with the identically named Queens town was frequent. Picked to honor Wyandance, the grand sachem of the Montauk Indians, it retains its title to the present working day.
Integral to its progress was the Wantagh Railroad Station. Created in 1865 at an $800 price tag and positioned on Railroad Avenue, the at first-specified Ridgewood Station featured an enclosed ticket office, in which Emma Whitmore served as its initially female employee, a telegraph workplace, a passenger waiting area, a baggage room, and open east and west finishes. Heated by a potbelly stove in its heart, it sports activities just one really comparable to its authentic now.
The platform consisted of wood planks.
the reason that it was slated for demolition in 1966 when the
avenue-degree tracks were being elevated to minimize vehicular targeted
visitors congestion, it was obtained by the prior-12 months founded
Wantagh Preservation Society and relocated to the existing Wantagh
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Restored to its 1904 look, it was opened as a general public museum on May perhaps sixteen, 1982 and provides a glance into turn-of-the-century existence via classic photographs and display screen conditions that function memorabilia from the area’s past.
Trains even now await travellers outdoors. At minimum one particular car or truck does. Recognized by and the incredibly image which provides the Wantagh Station to railroad lifetime, is the pink-liveried, monitor-supported passenger coach, “Jamaica.”
Created by the American Auto and Foundry Corporation in 1912 for the Long Island Railroad’s Extensive Island Parlor Vehicle Enterprise subsidiary, the eighty-ton mentor, measuring eighty toes extended by fourteen feet substantial, at first accommodated 26 travellers, but was subjected to a many-application historical past Redesignated “The Montauk” for Long Island Railroad enterprise use in 1925, for example, it was subsequently rebuilt only five many years afterwards as an observation vehicle, incorporating staterooms, a galley, a dining room, butler’s quarters, and open up decks.